Mastering O-Level Chemistry: Essential Answering Techniques

Mastering O-Level Chemistry: Essential Answering Techniques

There are generally three types of students in the world. The first type refers to those students who study very hard – they read everything, memorise materials to the smallest full stop, and drown themselves in an endless flood of notes. The second type, on the other hand, studies nothing at all. Now, for a student to perform well at O-Level Chemistry, they should aspire to be the third type: the smart learners.

This type of students refers to the clever few who know how to excel in every O-Level examination without necessarily drowning themselves in a lot of study materials and stressing themselves out. If you are enrolled in an O-Level Chemistry tuition, then you should be aware that in answering a Chemistry exam, having the ability to apply critical principles to tackle questions is far more essential to scoring than memorising every chemical formula you have been taught.

Read on to find out the most effective answering techniques that will surely help you excel in O-Level Chemistry.

1. Read and understand each question carefully

Fully understanding what each question requires of you is crucial, as it helps you make use of the concepts you have learned to come up with an answer that will earn you a high score. Conversely, if you do not understand the question, you will likely end up with an answer that is not just incorrect but is also very far from what is asked of you. When approaching a question, you should always begin by identifying keywords and phrases.

If the question starts with the word “define,” “describe,” “state,” “outline,” or “explain,” it is testing your factual knowledge and understanding. If the question specifically asks you to “describe,” you need to utilise observations or results from the question in its answer. Meanwhile, if the question asks you to “explain,” you have to use scientific concepts to support the observations you make. Proper identification of the type of question you are facing will essentially help you answer the question with relevant knowledge.

2. Connect different topics to one another

Salt and O-Level Chemistry questions usually have one thing in common: they both require combination. Just as sodium and chlorine must be combined to form sodium chloride or salt, your knowledge from various topics also needs to combined when formulating your answers to O-Level questions. This means that instead of studying every topic in isolation, you must be prepared to draw links between the individual topics that you have learned.

Some usual topic combinations in O-Level Chemistry include:

  • Periodic Table and Salts or Metals
  • Elements, Mixtures, and Compounds and Separation Methods
  • Metals and Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
  • Electrolysis and Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
  • Bases, Acids, and Salts and Metals and/or Qualitative Analysis
  • Atomic Structure and Chemical Bonding
  • Periodic Table and Chemical Bonding

3. Be sure to complete all questions

Completing the entire paper without missing out on any question is necessary if you wish to score high on your O-Level Chemistry exam. Although this sounds like common sense, many students still sometimes forget this, especially when they get stuck on a specifically challenging question. To excel in an O-Level exam, time management is key. Plan out the time you need for every question so that you can track your progress and move forward should you exceed the time you allotted.

In every exam, there will always be a hard question or two nestled within the questionnaire, but you need to remind yourself that these difficult questions are worth the same marks as the easier ones you might not have reached yet. As much as possible, try not to leave any question blank, even if you are unsure or confused. Always try your best to answer each and every question based on its requirements.

4. Familiarise yourself with the periodic table and memorise critical facts

Unfortunately, in studying O-Level Chemistry, you really cannot get away from memorising concepts altogether. With that said, you need to make sure that you spend the limited review time you have on memorising the most vital facts. For Chemistry, you should always familiarise yourself with the periodic table, which provides an array of information across all topics.

Having information like mass number and proton number at your fingertips is very useful in answering questions that require the deduction of other chemical properties, such as electronic configuration and the number of valence shells. You will also likely need to memorise certain information pieces that you cannot find, such as the properties of every group in the periodic table (e.g. Group I, Group II, noble gases, and metals).


Overall, when it comes to answering an O-Level exam paper, studying smart instead of just studying hard is often of utmost significance. Studying smart basically allows you to make optimal use of your time. For Chemistry, the best way to excel in the O-Level examinations is to know exactly what kind of answer is required for every question that is asked. Ultimately, when you study smart on top of studying hard, you can be more confident that you will perform your best on the exam day.

If you are in need of a reliable O-Level Chemistry tuition in Singapore to help you ace all your exams, Twig Learning Center is here for you! We are an established learning center that offers the most effective and trusted Chemistry tuition in Singapore. Whatever level you are on – from O-Level to JC, IB, and IP – our classes will surely help you achieve a mastery of Chemistry concepts that will turn you into an excellent student!