Five Tips on Excelling in H2 Chemistry

Hard Truths for Prospective JC1 Students
January 31, 2019

This article is written by a recent A Level graduate who scored B3 in O-Level Pure Chemistry but went on to score the much coveted ‘A’ Grade in A Level H2 Chemistry - sharing the 5 principles to excel in H2 Chemistry!

Author is a recent A Level graduate who scored B3 in O-Level Pure Chemistry but went on to score the much coveted ‘A’ Grade in A Level H2 Chemistry.


Hey there! I graduated from Maris Stella High School with an GCE O-Level Raw L1R5 Score of 12. I went on to study in Serangoon Junior College (now known as Anderson-Serangoon Junior College). I hated the feeling that I didn’t have many JC choices to choose from and I definitely did not want to feel so limited when choosing my university courses as well. This mindset subsequently motivated me to push on even when I didn’t feel like it and through that, I managed to improve from scoring 12 points for my O-Levels, to eventually achieving 6 As for my A-Level.

I have always held the following 5 principles close to my heart and eventually managed to excel in H2 Chemistry! Also if you haven’t read “Hard Truths for Prospective JC1 Students”, I advise you to read it first before continuing as it would better frame your mind on how you would approach your JC journey in order to emerge not just as a survivor, but as a winner!

Put in the 10,000 hours into Practising Harder Questions Under Timed Conditions

This is a hard truth that everybody needs to embrace. You REALLY need to spend time sitting down by yourself and consolidating your learning through practising the use of Chemistry concepts. More than just fine-tuning the mastery of the concepts, you also need to practise solving questions within the stipulated exam time (about 1.5 min per mark). Many students don’t know what they don’t know. The only way to know what you don’t know is to face-off with exam questions under time trial settings!

Aim to Understand Every Single Topic Fully and Deeply

What is so difficult about Chemistry is that every topic (I really mean EVERY) is related to one another and thus, getting lost in one topic would severely affect your understanding of the other topics. This also means any topic can easily be tested together with others in a single question. Thus, you must to be disciplined: complete the school tutorials and Ten-Year Series (TYS) practice questions as soon as the lectures are delivered in school, so that you can progress to the other topics when they are being taught.

Unfortunately, school tutorials and TYS would only build the foundation for your H2 Chemistry concepts. You will need resources of higher difficulty level if you want to mimic what comes out during your school lecture tests and exams.

Be Bold and Ask for Help

If you are unsure of a concept, please seek help during tutorial class! Please ignore what your friends might say (or all other forms of potential embarrassment) when you ask questions in class because ultimately you will benefit the most out of it.

It will be very draining and frustrating if you accumulate all your doubts even for a week. Remember what I shared about how topics are interlinked? Because, what will eventually happen if you were to accumulate your doubts is that you will be unable to complete the questions in Paper 3 as the questions are integrated.

Assistance does not have to always come from your school. If you realise that your teachers are unable to resolve the doubts you have, you might want to seek external help. I found Julian Chemistry extremely helpful because Mr Tan offers good explanations and is almost on his phone 24/7! He is professional and very approachable. Every time I have questions, I can send him a text and receive a reply on the day itself!

Never Be Satisfied with Your Performance Within Your Own School

The A-Level Bell Curve can be heartlessly steep! Therefore, it is advantageous to have the attitude of constantly seeking improvement in your results. Even if you were to get an ‘A’ in your tests/exams, strive for a higher A! Or you can even try other schools’ exam papers to test your abilities.

Never get complacent about your performance because there will ALWAYS be a more challenging question out there waiting to kill you. What is also interesting about Chemistry is that they can always link different topics in the most impossible way ever…tThose are questions that really put your abilities to the test.

Love It, Not Hate It

Chemistry is a wonderful subject with many real-life applications. Please click here or here to discover more reasons to love H2 Chemistry. Trust me, you will learn to view day-to-day objects differently: alcohols, skin-care products, pharmaceutical drugs, soap, glue, materials etc.

Never ever hate the subject just because you fail in it. As long as you put in the 10,000 hours and ask for assistance, you will surely see results. Instead of feeling frustrated and defeated when you fail a test or exam, view it as an opportunity to rise back up! JC is a time to embrace failure and develop a fighting spirit because nobody likes a quitter right?

That is all! If you can overcome H2 Chemistry (especially Organic Chemistry), you can overcome almost anything else in the world. Wishing you all the best in your endeavours!