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August 12, 2020, 03:58:06 pm

Author Topic: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)  (Read 17898 times)  Share 

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mr.politiks

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How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« on: December 25, 2011, 06:37:45 pm »
+30
Hey guys, just thought i'd share my approach:

For Year 12, it's a bit different. You take differing approaches for U3 and U4.

U3:
You need a solid set of notes that cover the concepts, not too much extra detail. Try to adress each point on the study design. Remember though, Unit 3 is very applied, so these notes should be based on just the core and should help you understand the concepts. You should revise these regularly in lead up to exams. A really good thing to cover in these notes is how analytical techniques such as NMR and IR work (very complicated), and what is actually hapenning during the analysis. There is a new trend towards questions about the principles rather than just reading the spectra in Chem.

Next, make sure you read (not write too much notes) broadly. Read as much resources and study guides as possible, as breadth of knowledge in terms of being exposed to various applied situations is important for the exam.

Example: though it wouldn't have been a great idea to write notes on this, having read about catalytic converters in cars from an extension area in the textbook helped me apply knowledge that i had been exposed to in the unit 4 exam, as a question popped up on catalytic converters.

This makes it a good idea to read TSFX, other study guides etc.

Next, trial questions and trial exams. This is the most important if u want to do well. Get a good study guide or two (I recommend NEAP chem guides or the Lisachem Exam Question book Ė big blue one available from J&P book sellers). Use questions in these (not book questions) to prepare for SACS.  Do tons of practice questions, in fact, try to finish the guides. Also, prepare heavily for SACs by reading into your practicals before hand, and thouroughly understanding the principles behind what is happening. Get a solid set of 25+ practice exams for the mid-year and do all of them in exam situation. Mark them thoroughly and record and revise your mistakes using a Log book that records mistakes under each exam.  Make sure you have solid systems for each question. Record down number of Sig Figs for each data set for each analysis question next to the question during the exam. Develop a solid and memorised fool proof step by step technique for reading spectra. Write sample answer structures for the common questions in your log book.Alternatively, just remember that when answering a question just answer all parts of it, in logical order, using chemistry language - I would say there are no real tricks as such, Chem examiners will try and GIVE you marks rather than take them off (Thushan).

U4:

The differences are:  Write notes on the bare fundamental s only, no extension. Very summarised.

Ready broadly, but on only the topics that broad reading is required (things like equilibrium are very repetitive, and you should be exposed to enough through exams). So read broadly on only electrochemical cells (TSFX, study guides, textbook etc.) and methods of energy production (advantages and disadvantages, efficiency etc.).

Not us much time for study guides, so only try to do some of the questions.

Do 15-20 trial exams. Not 25+, or else you wont have enough time for maths/eng/others. Persevere with the log book, it's the number one score maximising technique. When reading up on a new question, ask urself "have i made a mistake on this before?". This will help minimise errors.

Good luck, and keep a positive mindset.

EDIT: Discussion is welcome, also, i will most probably be doing chem tuitiion in 2012. PM if interested.

Regards, Istafa :)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 11:15:05 pm by thushan »

Ravit

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2011, 07:15:54 pm »
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Istafa really really good advice!
i recommend all ANer's read this :D
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b^3

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2011, 07:21:47 pm »
+1
Nice guide Istafa and thanks for contributing to the community :). I've added a link to this into the sticked Chemistry Resources thread. Keep up the good work! :)
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 07:23:41 pm by b^3 »
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mr.politiks

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2011, 07:52:47 pm »
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Thanks  :)
I'll be writing things up for bio and eng soon as well  :)

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 12:09:02 am »
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Thanks a lot Istafa  :)
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butene

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 11:50:54 am »
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BRILLIANT!

samad

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 08:51:25 pm »
+15
Hi all, Istafa's twin here

Will be tutoring alongside my bro as well. This advice pretty much covers it, but there are some things that i'd like to add.

Why understanding the principle of all analytical techniques is important: It is tested in the exam to assess your depth of knowledge about chemistry. the rationale of the area of study is the work of the analytical chemist, from the purpose of doing analyses to making a conclusion from the results. you need to have a holistic understanding of all the steps involved, not just the interpretation of results such as titre values and spectra. This is why you need to know how the instruments work and the physical/chemical principles behind how results are obtained- if u were an analytical chemist, this knowledge would be crucial. An example of such a question was an MCQ in the 2011 U3 exam that tested trends in IR absorption wavenumbers as atomic masses of atoms increased. in contrast to the more 'difficult' applied knowledge questions in chemistry, this was in many ways a straight 'recall' question that was in the textbook. Unfortunately, most people had no idea. another MCQ that same year mentioned a reduction reaction in the atomic absorption spectrophotometer flame (atomiser).
 
These questions reveal that the examiners are hacking deeper and deeper every year into content that has never appeared on trial exams or past exams before. This is why you canít rely on exams alone for revision in chem. You need to read broadly to gain understanding of knowledge that may be tested even if it hasnít been before.

The other thing is written answers. Reading through past exam reports, it seems many alternative explanations or answers are accepted in chem. However, the main reasons why people lose marks in written answers is not always specificity, but going down the wrong line of thinking.  Often, the examiners provide heaps of prior information that guides you onto the expected track, and then give you a commonplace question, only for you to go ďIíve seen this question beforeĒ and write an answer that is out of context. To stay in the right context, you need to practice reading the information before questions very carefully (not just the questions themselves) to determine what they are looking for. In formulating your answer, however, never lose sight of the hard and fast chemistry principles that always apply (e.g. a catalyst does not increase yield).

e.g. last year in the U3 exam's chromotography question they asked "why can't the caffeine concentration in the espresso be determined from the information given?". many people had not studied the preceding data carefully and only notice that the caffeine peak on the chromatogram, which was beyond the scale, and wrote that the peak area could not be determined. they had to realise that the peak area was given and the real reason was that it was not in the range of the calibration curve. This shows that the most important part of answering written questions correctly is starting your thinking processes as you read the preceding info and critically analyse it.
 

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 01:59:56 pm »
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Thanks a lot Samad and Istafa. Very Helpful. and congrats on your ATAR score.

blsr999

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2012, 08:12:22 pm »
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Hi Istafa,
Can you post " How to do well at Methods(CAS)-SCORE A 50" on the Math Methods Forum

s...

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2012, 09:07:11 pm »
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wow: twins and both 99.95?

very nice.

great advice!

Thank-you
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Tonychet2

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 01:14:46 am »
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thx, bookmarked

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 08:00:36 pm »
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Thank you! :)
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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2012, 08:44:52 pm »
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Great!! :) Print it out and stick in front of my folder ;)
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Mariammm

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2012, 09:35:34 pm »
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I wonder how they will combine both of these units into one exam in 2013

Nobby

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Re: How to do well in Chem from ISTAFA (Chem 50, ATAR 99.95)
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2012, 09:38:44 pm »
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I wonder how they will combine both of these units into one exam in 2013
It's gonna have to be one bloody big exam