Yes, I know. It seems almost impossible. But its do-able, and every year there are those apparent geniuses that get 7s in IB Chemistry HL. But I’m here to tell you that you do not need to be a genius to get a 7 in this subject, here is how to get a 7 in IB Chemistry HL:(check out the list of resources at the end of this article too, really useful stuff!)
- Pay attention in class and consolidate – the more you pay attention to what your teacher is saying, and then go home to consolidate what you have learned, the better you will understand the content. You can do this in two ways: you can consolidate ahead, or consolidate after. Both work very well. Consolidation could mean just 3 minutes of reading the topic you covered in class in your textbook. It could be on calculating enthalpy change, or the workings of a voltaic cell. Or, you could be doing the homework that was set, doing extra stoichiometry questions, writing notes (based on the syllabus), or watching Youtube videos on chemistry. It can take from 2 minutes to 30, depending on how well you understand the content.
- Notes are not necessary – I’m serious. A good revision book like the ones from Oxford or the OSC Revision Guides can serve as notes. If you feel you need notes to consolidate your learning (above), then feel free, but this is NOT a form of study for HL Chemistry (it can be in other subjects, but not this one). If your teacher is giving you notes, writing your own can be a waste of time.
- Do those IAs well – if done well, they can be the difference between a 6 and a 7. They are worth 24% of your final grade after all!
- Practice, Practice, Practice – do questions, past papers, solve problems. As my teacher once said, you could know nothing about chemistry, but as long as you can answer the questions in your exam, you could get a 7. On the other hand, you could know everything about chemistry, but if you can’t answer the questions, you could fail. For me, in the last 3 months before my exam, I did all 7 years of past papers and ended up almost memorising the mark scheme as the questions came up again and again in all the papers. It got me from a 55% in my trial exam to 85-90% in the last 2 weeks before my exam (thats a whopping difference!). Even if you have to sit there and copy out mark scheme answers, eventually you will find that you can answer the questions no problem! (NB. this works a lot better if you understand the content to begin with, and does not work for things like stoichiometry, where you MUST understand what is going on!) The more past papers you do, the better your grades will be. Simple.
I cannot emphasise enough the usefulness of the last point. Practice, practice, practice. It will consolidate your understanding, and in some cases, even make you understand. Essentially, it is the best form of preparation for the final exam.
If you need a 7 in HL Chemistry to get into the course you want at uni, or to boost your final score, I’m telling you now that its not impossible. If you are determined enough, if you dedicate enough time and effort into the subject, anything is possible.
“Anything is possible, the word itself says I’m possible” – Audrey Hepburn
- Khan Academy (I used this to teach myself the last three topics of the HL syllabus, really really useful!)
- OSC Revisions Guides (core and options)
- Advanced Chemistry by M.J Clugston and Rosalind Fleming (the bank of practice questions per topic in this book is highly recommended!)