1. Study Tips and Features for IB Chemistry
|Content of Study|
+ For all the other topics, the HL syllabus contains the extension of SL topics which results in more content
Chemistry HL (Higher Level)
1.2 Overview of Chemistry HL
The Chemistry HL course consists of 11 core topics that are the same as the SL topics. Additionally, within those 11 topics, 10 of them will have Additional Higher Level topics (AHL), which are extension topics that will go more in depth. You would also be asked to choose one Option topic from the four options provided (shown above). In general, the HL content will go more in-depth compared to SL.
1.3 Study Tips
- It is important to do the past papers several times in order to get used to the exam style.
- Make sure you complete your assignments right after your lesson so that you won’t forget the content.
- If you are struggling with certain concepts, go through the past papers for that concept, understand how you would get to that answer, and do the question again on your own.
Chemistry SL (Standard Level)
1.4 Overview of Chemistry SL
There are 11 core topics for SL. In addition, you would be asked to choose one Option topic from the four options provided (shown above).
1.5 Study Tips
- Be familiar with the use of calculator as it will save your time.
- If you are struggling with certain topics, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your teachers and peers.
- Each core topic acts as a fundamental of another topic so make sure you understand the content of the topics that you have learned before going into a new one.
- If you are studying another science subject along with chemistry, try to spot the similarities as the calculations and ways of conducting experiments are similar for certain areas.
2. Assessment Model for IB Chemistry
Studying for IB Chemistry requires dedication and could be time consuming. Always seek for help from your teachers or peers when you are stuck or unsure about a topic so that you can study efficiently without wasting time. Time management is also crucial for your exams. Make sure you know how much time you should spend on each question so that you won’t have trouble finishing the entire paper!
|Chemistry HL (Higher Level)|
Section A– One data based + short-answer questions on experimental work
|Chemistry SL (Standard Level)|
Section A– One data based + short-answer questions on experimental work
3. Advices and Tips for Improving Your Score
3.1 Advices and Study Tips for Chemistry
For Chemistry, there are a lot of topics that are hard to understand if you only attend your classes and read the textbooks. Therefore, watching videos or using other resources online to input the information visually can actually help you learn the content more effectively. According to IB graduates who have studied chemistry, most of them agreed that watching chemistry videos during their free time actually helped them understand more about certain topics. As long as the videos are related to the topic that you are studying, any chemistry video could actually work even if they don’t necessarily specify for the IB curriculum!
3.2 How to Tackle the Exam
This might vary between different schools but most of the time, the questions for your exams will be based on past paper questions. Sometimes, they might just copy the entire question from the past paper! Since calculation questions weigh a lot in your exams, make sure you practice these questions again and again. It is also important to have a deep understanding of the data booklet, such as which formula is on which page, as it saves time and makes it easier for you to get a high score.
3.3 Ways for Memorising the Content
In general, understanding the concepts is more important than solely memorising them. However, for some topics, you will be expected to memorise the chemical structures and reactions so try to master them. Additionally, even though the data booklet contains the periodic table and a set of equations, you will still have to know how to use this information to do your calculations. Therefore, doing questions repeatedly will help you master the use of data booklet as well as the exam techniques.
3.4 How to Use the Past Papers Effectively
There are 3 papers in total and each paper has their questions tailored differently. Understand the exam style for each paper and try different strategies for each of them until you find the best one.
3.5 Strategies for Each Paper
- Paper 1: Paper 1 only has multiple choice-questions so use the elimination strategy and practice the questions over and over.
- Paper 2: Paper 2 is a little bit different compared to paper 1 as it contains both short and long written responses as well as graphs and calculations. Since there is a variety of questions, the only way to tackle this paper is to go through the past papers and understand the ways to do the calculations and the ways to respond to certain questions. The exam style questions in the textbooks are also helpful as they are structurally similar to the real exam questions.
- Paper 3: The current syllabus was adapted in 2016 so there aren’t many past papers out there yet. Therefore, make sure you review what you have done during your class experiments and revise the key points.
4. Chemistry IA (Internal Assessment) & EE (Extended Essay)
4.1 Chemistry IA (Internal Assessment) Advices
For the IA, you will be expected to create a 6-12 pages lab report based on an investigation of a topic that is related to chemistry. Examples may include:
- Experiments conducted in your school lab
- Experiments conducted through simulations or models
- Analysing pre-existing data
Components for Your Investigation
- Aim + Research Question
- Raw Data
- Processed Data
To succeed in your IA, there are two important points that you should keep in mind.
1. Always utilise the comments and feedbacks that you get from your teachers
This is not a piece of individual work. You have to communicate with your teacher and discuss about your IA during your school time. Your teacher is the person who is going to mark your IA so get as much feedback as possible and reflect the changes onto your IA. This is the key for you to score high in this component.
2. Get used to the criteria
The Chemistry IA is made up of 5 key components, which adds up to a total of 24 points. Know these 5 components when writing the IA.
- Personal Engagement: 8%
- Exploration: 25%
- Analysis: 25%
- Evaluation: 25%
- Communication: 17%
4.2 Chemistry EE Advice and Tips
One of the things that you should be careful of when writing a natural science EE is that you have to focus on your subject and stress about the importance of the topic in your desired subject. For example, if you choose a topic that has something to do with food, you would have to make sure that you are investigating the chemical aspect of the topic rather than the biological or environmental aspect of it. For data gathering, you can choose to conduct the experiment yourself or analyse pre-existing data. Don’t make your topic too broad either. Be specific. For example, instead of saying “analysis of water,” provide the name of the water products that you are using so that it could lead to an in-depth discussion.
4.3 Advice for Conducting Experiments
The experiments you do in class don’t necessarily count to your final grade. However, it will help you gain a further understanding of the concepts. The experimental techniques that you have learned will also be useful for your IA experiments as you will have to design your own experiment procedures from scratch. The key is to understand the concepts behind each experiment.
5. Curriculum and Criteria for IB Chemistry
Please click here (IBO homepage) for further information on the curriculum and criteria.