Advice to students (Paper 1)

Ten tips to give your students for Paper 1


1. Revision. Go through the syllabus thoroughly checking that you know and understand the chemistry given under 'Nature of Science', 'Understandings', 'Applications and skills' and 'Guidance' for each sub-topic. Check through the gallery of slides for each sub-topic on this site and ensure that you understand all the concepts and the exemplar tasks given.

2. Practice. Practice with multiple choice questions in two ways. As you review each topic test yourself with the quiz questions on each sub-topic and the multiple choice questions given on this site for each whole topic. Once you have revised (UK) or reviewed (US) all topics, practice with past multiple choice exam papers paying attention to the time limit. If you get a question wrong try to understand why you got it wrong. You can do this by reading around the topic, checking the information on this site, discussing with other students or by asking your teacher. Learn from your mistakes. Similar questions do come up each year.

During the exam

3. Answer correctly. The yellow answer sheets are optically read. Make sure you read the instructions carefully and you give your answers in the correct way using a lead pencil. The answer you should give is what you consider to be the best answer to the question.

4. Read each question carefully. In an exam it is easy to confuse decrease with increase or confuse contain with not contain etc. You can make notes on rough paper or even write on or around the question as the question paper is not handed in. Some students underline or highlight key words.

5. Timing. There is no reading time so on average you have 1.5 minutes to answer each question. The questions are arranged in order of topic. This means that stoichiometric relationships comes first and some of these questions (those involving calculations) can take longer to answer. If you are finding you are spending too long on a question move on. (Some students leave stoichiometric relationships questions to the end).

6. Multiple completion. Be aware that some of the questions will involve multiple completion. There will be three statements I, II and III. The answers are always in the same order:

A. I and II only

B. I and III only

C. II and III only

D. I, II and III

This means that if you know that III is not correct then the answer must be A. even though you may be uncertain about I and II.

7. Don’t panic. There are likely to be one or two questions that you find difficult. Don’t let this cloud your judgement about other more straightforward questions.

8. Use of Periodic Table. The periodic table gives atomic masses to two decimal places. Ignore this and just use whole numbers (except for chlorine where you should use 35.5). The IB assumes you can multiply and divide only up to your twelve times table so calculations should not be difficult.

9. Problem questions. As you go through the paper some answers you will be fairly sure about and others you may have some doubts. Make a note of those questions where you are uncertain of the answer. At the end, if you have time, you can then revisit the questions you had difficulty with rather than trying to go through all of your answers again.

10. Guess. At the end of the exam make sure you have left no question unanswered. You are not penalised for giving a wrong answer. You cannot ‘phone a friend’ but your computer (brain) may be able to take two away. Make an educated guess if you can – if you can’t then just guess randomly – you have a one in four chance of being right!

Download as teaching notes  Advice for Paper 1

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