Chemistry exam tips

The month of May is already peeking around the corner and that only means one thing: final exams. Whether you've been blocking for weeks or it's going to be last-minute work again, is happy to lend a hand. That is why we have collected super handy exam tips for each subject. Print them in your head and you will soon walk into that sports hall full of confidence!

Tip 1: Draw up reaction equations step by step

Writing reaction equations: It's an important and common part of chemistry on your exam. The trick is only to do it right, otherwise you can lose a lot of points unnecessarily.

Kenneth: “When creating a reaction equation, the most important step is to write down everything you know beforehand.” Much of the information can be found in the text of the assignment. Which substances react? Is there perhaps an unknown substance (X) that reacts with it?

Note these substances for the arrow. Then write down everything that has already been given about the outcome after the arrow. If you have only taken the substances from the text and write it in this way, you often already get one point, sometimes even two. Free! If you want to get even more, then you have to make the reaction correct. In an acid-base reaction you have to pay attention to H+ transfer. If it is a redox, don't forget the half reactions. All other reactions must be matched in such a way that all individual atoms from the left also ‘come back' to the right side of the arrow, and vice versa.

Tip 2: How do you avoid losing valuable points on your exam?

So now you know how to draw up a reaction equation and you have dutifully copied the contents of your college chemistry textbook pdf to your brain, but you still make mistakes every time. Fortunately, this is a common problem, according to Kenneth. “We know from experience that students lose on average five tenths of a point on their final exam due to unnecessary mistakes. Do you always have that: you understand the sum, you even have a good final answer but you do not get the full number of points from your teacher?

You can prevent this by checking your answer against the word ‘EVERYTHING'. EVERYTHING stands for the following: A=answer: did I answer the question? L= logical: is my answer logical (if my cyclist goes 250 km/h then that is not logical, for example)? L= readable, E=unit and S=significance.”

Tip 3: Time management

Furthermore, time pressure during your exam also influences your grade. Kenneth says the following about this: “When taking an exam, always look at the number of points you can earn with a question. Usually the maximum number is 70 points and you have 180 minutes, so you can assume about 2 minutes per point. if you can get a lot of points with a question, it's just that it usually takes you a long time, that's quite normal, but don't linger too long on a question where you can only get a few points.

Also don't be put off by box diagrams: the wall of text you get can be very long, but in fact these are questions where you can score a lot of points in an easy way.”

So in short: write down reaction equations carefully, check everything and EVERYTHING and don't linger too long on a question if it takes more time than it is worth in terms of points. As far as that is concerned it should be fine now… only: “other than that it is practice, practice, practice!”