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A-Level Chemistry Singapore - The Full Guide To H1/H2 Chemistry

Chemistry is one of the core science subjects in A-Levels, and studying for it can be challenging. That is because the difficulty is advanced, and you really need to put your best foot forward to gain higher grades. Because of this, it is crucial to understand everything you can about H1/H2 chemistry in A-Levels.

It will allow you to mentally prepare for what you need to do and how you can score good grades. So, if you want to have a solid understanding of A-Level chemistry, you have come to the right place. Here is everything you need to know.


The Breakdown Of A-Level Chemistry

The first thing you need to understand is the breakdown of this subject to help you know what is required of you. There are two ways in which A-Level chemistry is separated, which are H1 and H2. However, there is an additional option of H3 for students wanting to go further and learn more.

But, most of the students opt for H1 and H2 because the subject is already challenging, and they are not sure if they can excel in H3. Here are some things about the exams that you should know:

  • The H1 chemistry exam has two papers. Paper one has a weightage of 33% and consists of thirty MCQs
  • Paper 2 has a weightage of 67%, and it consists of open-ended and structured questions
  • H2 chemistry has four papers
  • Paper 1 has 15% weightage and 30 MCQs
  • Paper 2 has 30% weightage and structured questions
  • Paper 3 has 35% weightage and open-ended questions
  • Paper 4 is a practical paper and has a weightage of 20%

Besides that, the syllabus of each level of chemistry is also unique. Keep reading for a breakdown of the syllabus.


What To Expect From The A-Level Chemistry Syllabus

The syllabus of each level is different because they have a unique level of difficulty. Here are the topics you can expect from the H1 Chemistry syllabus:

  • Chemical equilibria
  • Periodic table
  • Stoichiochemistry
  • Chemical bonding
  • Kinetics
  • And more

The primary aim behind the H1 chemistry exam is to ensure that students can understand the various concepts and easily apply them while evaluating them. Keep in mind that H1 is much lower in difficulty when you compare it to H2. Besides that, the subject will also not prove to be too difficult for people that don’t want to pursue sciences after graduating.

Now, the syllabus of H2 chemistry is different. The syllabus aims to build on the topics done in H1 and also offer additional new topics such as Electrochemistry and Organic Chemistry. You will have to apply your investigation and experiment skills during the practical paper.

The primary aim of the H2 chemistry exam is to ensure learning but it is also important because the subject is a prerequisite if you want to pursue science majors. These include majors such as Dentistry, Medicine, Engineering, and much more.


Why Is H2 Chemistry Much More Difficult Than H1?

While you may pass H1 chemistry with flying colors, you will find H2 to be highly difficult. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Challenging Topics

Perhaps the most challenging topic for the students is organic chemistry. The topic includes learning more about organic molecules and their reaction pathways and formations.

As a student, here is what you will be expected of in H2 chemistry:

  • Identify and understand the different organic compound classes
  • What reaction pathways you will need to derive these organic compounds
  • Recognition of the unique functional groups in organic compounds
  • Finding results based on your knowledge and application

There are a lot of things you will have to understand in H2 chemistry. This is why it is important to build a solid foundation first of all the concepts you need to study. Having such a foundation will help you to understand the H2 topics deeply so that you can pass your exam.

2. The Practical Paper

The practical exam is one of the most important components of the H2 Chemistry paper. The purpose of this exam is to test the skills of the students on various topics. These include topics such as Equilibria, Stoichiometry, Thermochemistry, Qualitative Analysis, and more.

You are expected to draw experiment designs, apply how to derive various reaction rates, how to rate equations, and much more. Keep in mind that while the weightage of this paper may not be high, it is still the most challenging exam. This is why it is important to ace it so that you can receive a good overall grade.

3. Conceptualizing Abstract Concepts

H2 chemistry is also much more difficult than H1 because students are required to conceptualize abstract concepts that they might not understand. What you must know is that H2 chemistry is not an intuitive subject like others. This is why you are more prone to score a lower grade.

The only way to ease this difficulty is to build a strong foundation of all the concepts. You can do this by opting for resources that will allow you to gain insight into the topics. Once you do, understanding these concepts will become much easier for you.

4. Balancing Academics And Other Activities

A-Level life is not just about studying for your exams. Instead, you also participate in various extra-curricular activities because universities like accepting diverse students that have to offer more than just good grades. This is why you have to balance your academics with other activities.

However, this can be challenging when you have such difficult subjects at your disposal. Many people lose motivation to study and focus on their ECAs rather than studying. Because of this, it is crucial to understand that you need to create a balance.

You don’t have to take on a lot of ECAs that will consume too much of your time. Instead, follow your passions but don’t over-commit so that you have ample time to study. It will enable you to balance everything out so you can score well.


Tips To Study For A-Level Chemistry

Now that you have a complete overview of A-Level chemistry and the various challenges that students face, you might be wondering how you can score the best grades. Well, here are some of the top tips you can apply to score A-Level chemistry with flying colors:

1. Create A Comprehensive Study Plan

The only way to ace the A-Level chemistry exam is to create a study plan beforehand so that you have enough time to study. After all, there are other subjects you also have to study for, and all of them are equally challenging. You will have to create an extensive study plan that should include the following:

  • How will you manage your study time
  • What days and times will you be focusing on different subjects
  • What topics you will cover
  • How long before the exam do you plan on finishing the syllabus
  • Carving out time for revision and past papers
  • And more

As soon as the academic year starts, you should create a study plan for yourself that includes all of these elements. The only way to ace this exam is to carve out time daily after studying the subject in school. It will help you revise the concept so that you can have a solid understanding of it.

2. Don’t Try To Cram Studying Everything At Once

The most important thing you can do in your study plan is to ensure that you are going at a steady pace. If you try to study too much at once, you will burn out easily and lose motivation in the long run. This is why you should plan your studying from the beginning of the school year and try to study small each day.

You can create daily goals or invest in a studying planner that will help you achieve these daily tasks and goals. There are various methods you can apply to crush your goals. For example, SMART goal-setting is a great way to create studying goals that will not burn you out.

3. Stay Consistent

Motivation comes and goes from time to time, which is why the only way to study is to make it a habit and stay consistent. There are a lot of topics in the syllabus, along with endless formulas, concepts, and much more. This is why you need to stay consistent so that you can cover all of these things without an issue.

Make sure that you focus on your lectures and pay attention to what your teacher is saying. It will allow you to become good at the subject, which will also serve as a motivator for you to stay consistent with studying. By the time the exam date comes near, you will have covered the syllabus and done your revision with ample time to spare.

4. Opt For Resources

You don’t need to try to study everything by yourself if you can’t do that. Instead, there are many resources out there that will help you ace your exams. For example, you can opt for A-Level Chemistry tuition, YouTube videos, chemistry study guides, and many other things that will help provide you with a much clearer picture of the concepts.

There are also past papers that you can get to practice the various questions and understand what type of questions you can expect from the exam. All of these resources are designed to help you with acing your exam in the long run. So, make sure that you are opting for resources apart from your textbooks, school notes, and other such things.

5. Study With Your Peers

It is always great to learn a challenging subject with your peers. All of us are unique, which is why we can understand one topic in various different ways. When you study with your peers outside school, you will get to understand their perspective, which might help you in gaining a clearer understanding of the topic.

Besides that, it will also help you be more motivated to study and stay productive. When you know that you are not alone, you can take help from peers and stay consistent. So, you can connect with other people in your class and take out the time to study outside school.

It will help you clear misconceptions and learn from peers that are doing better and do better overall. All of us can learn from each other in the classroom and strive to do better.

6. Regular Revision

The only way to get yourself to excel at a topic is to keep on revising. There is a lot of content to cover in the chemistry syllabus, which is why revision will be your best friend during this time. Make sure that you keep revising previous concepts as you go along and use that information to build on new ones.

It will refresh your memory and allow you to reinforce your understanding. In the long run, this will give you the confidence you need to ace your exam and get a great score in no time. So, revise the topics regularly.

7. Don’t Let Yourself Burn Out

Finally, while studying is important, it is also just as important to set out time for play. Carve out time for leisure so that you can stay motivated and have the energy to study better. That is because leisure time has been shown to boost mental and physical well-being.

However, all of this has to be in balance for you to gain the maximum benefits. So, make sure that you create some time for recreational activities in your schedule to maximize your studying.


Final Thoughts

That was your complete guide to H1 and H2 chemistry in A-Levels. The subject is not easy, but there are many ways you can do better and learn chemistry in the best way possible.

It will enable you to get good grades and enter a good university of your choice. After all, if you plan on pursuing sciences, you will need a good score in chemistry.

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.