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How to revise for chemistry GCSE


GCSE chemistry revision challenges you in several ways. Aside from having to memorise facts spanning the whole specification, you also need to know your chemistry formulae. As a result, it's hard to know where to start. Here's what you need to know.

Start revision early

With a subject as broad as chemistry, you need to start your revision earlier in the year, compared to other subjects. This then allows you to break the core topics down into digestible chunks and study them little and often. This method ensures better memory retention and recall.

At the same time, stay engaged in your lessons right until your exams. Ask questions, and be honest about your knowledge gaps so your teacher can help you fill them.

Identify what you need to know

Before you start your revision look at the specification for your examining board and ensure you know what exam papers you have and the exact chemistry topics that will be covered.

This will help you to identify what you need to know, and what you don't need. If you're confused in any way, see your Chemistry teacher for confirmation of the core areas.

Work out where you are right now

Next, looking at the specification work out and highlight everything into three zones:

Green indicates what you know and understand.

Orange indicates what you vaguely know but aren't sure about.

Red indicates what you don't know, and or don't understand.

This colour-coded key will help you to see where to focus your revision and where to seek help. Always start with the topics in the red zone as this is the area that will help improve your grade.

If you have large knowledge and understanding gaps seek the help of a chemistry tutor who can work with you to catch up.

Change up your revision tactics

For ideas on how to revise do check out our blog post on How to revise for GCSE science - for general tips and advice. Alongside this, find yourself a chemistry revision partner. Explaining what you have learned to a peer is the best way to work out what you know and understand. It also has the added benefit of someone being able to add ideas that you may not have considered.

Work on past papers

You will hear this piece of advice a lot. However, it's vital to look at past papers at the right time. Trying them without revising or before you have started your revision is demoralising. Factor them into your revision, but only when your revision is in full swing, and you are ready to test yourself.

Ask for help

Chemistry involves a lot of concepts, which are essential for you to understand before you apply the information to your exam questions. So, if there are any chemistry topics you don't understand, don't be afraid to ask your teacher or a tutor and bring it up in class.

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