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Tips to Ace the HSC Chemistry Exam

By Kayla Kev in HSC
30th of March 2021

Chemistry is one of the more demanding exams you will face in the HSC. It can be very easy to derail from the question and even more challenging to stay focused while studying.

Here are my top study tips and strategies to succeed in the HSC Chemistry exam.

 Do not neglect reading time

You have five minutes of reading time versus three hours of writing time for the HSC Chemistry Exam. The first five minutes is crucial, especially for written questions.

Personally, I tend to skip over the multiple choice questions and get straight into section two of the paper. I find that if I have an idea of the short response questions being asked, then I will subconsciously be thinking and planning my answers to those questions before I have written anything down. For longer response questions, I like to spend some time to mentally jot down a plan of attack and structure for my answers. This provides the best opportunity to flesh out the entire question.

Write all equations and chemical reactions

In calculation questions, it is often easier to get started by writing relevant equations before substituting in values from the question. By doing so, it allows you to minimise silly mistakes and gives the marker a clear structure to follow your answer.

Furthermore, always write out a balanced chemical reactions for quantitative questions. This should include all chemical phases, ensuring the Law of Conservation of Energy is not violated and the correct elemental symbols.

Annotate the formula sheet

My last tip to smash the HSC Chemistry exam is to annotate the data sheet. In your exam, you will be provided with four pages of formulas. This can be quite intimidating, particularly if you have not taken the time to become familiar with every constant and functional group during your HSC year. Thus, I would recommend you to colour code each module and highlight the important equations on the data sheet. This will also allow you to better navigate the formula sheet and pinpoint specific equations or values you are searching for during your exam.

I hope these study tips and strategies have given you some insight to acing the HSC Chemistry Exam. Good luck!