It could be considered a rite of passage, one that establishes all of your future opportunities to earn well and pursue the career path you’d long set your sights on.
Your school leaving exams and university entrance exams are no small ordeal and preparation for them starts months – maybe even years ahead of the actual sitting.
If you are in your last year of secondary school or in the interim phase of your academic career, meaning you are preparing for your A-Levels, you must be subjected to so much pressure: to study, to choose your subjects, to earn good marks...
Of all of the information available to today’s students in the digital realm, the traditional manual still stands out as one of the best, most reliable resources for studying any subject, including chemistry.
What are the advantages of books over other media?
Books tend to be organised in such a way that the material flows sequentially, from one topic to the next, until their logical conclusion, after everything has been covered.
Compare that to web pages that actually encourage skipping around from site to site by providing links to ever more material – how confusing!
Books make it easy to track your study progress; they give you a physical and visual indication of how far along you’ve come in your studies.
In the endless parade of online materials, it is hard to determine if you’ve started at the beginning or middle of your subject matter, and the end is never in sight!
Books permit highlighting or otherwise marking important points for future review – without you having to frantically search for where you placed that bookmark, and why.
Books are ultimately accessible: no need for a WIFI connection or a charged battery. (you will need a light source come nightfall, though, if you plan to study after dark.)
Nothing says ‘I’m serious about my studies’ like poring over the open pages of a book, possibly with a neon coloured marker in hand.
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In this article, Superprof highlights some of the best books you could find to solidify your knowledge of chemistry; some specifically meant to prepare you for exam day.
From chemical interactions to isotope counts, we aim to provide you with the broadest selection of bound study materials possible so that, come time to test, you will feel fully confident of your mastery of molecules and their composition.
Really, confidence is half the battle of successfully completing an exam, and the best way to gain it is to know your subject material cold.
So, as the saying goes: it’s time to hit the books!
Get to know more about chemistry tuition here.
Recommended Texts for GCSE Revision
Unless you’ve had absolutely no contact whatsoever with the outside world, you must have at least heard of CGP learning and revision guides.
Coordination Group Publishing, the name behind the acronym CGP, consists of teachers, education specialists and subject matter experts who constantly review and revise their study manuals so that students may have the most up-to-date information possible.
Furthermore, each subject receives its own treatment: you won’t find much physics in their chemistry review manual, and no biology whatsoever – those branches of science have their own books!
Between the covers of this most trusted study resource, you will find so much more than just words arranged in an informative manner!
Graphs, charts and illustrations flesh out this easy-to-absorb text.
Do you need an entropy chart? How about a standard enthalpy table?
You will find these, along with molecular structure diagrams and other general chemistry tables accompanying their relevant texts.
At the end of each segment, you will find exam practice questions and, interspersed throughout the text are test-taking tips that are sure to help.
Many students shudder at the thought of chemistry as a subject and the idea of reviewing years worth of learning condensed into one focused exercise is enough to fill anyone with dread.
That is why this review guide does its best to emphasise the needed nuggets of knowledge, keeping discrete topics bite-sized and written in downright lighthearted tones.
You may order this book from Amazon for as low as £5.00
Although used manuals are available, we recommend buying a new volume so that you won’t be possibly subjected to former test takers’notes and highlights.
Besides, that is not a steep price to pay for a boost in your knowledge of chemistry, especially as your future hangs in the balance!
If you are certain you will sit the AQA exam, you may prefer CGP’s GCSE for AQA edition.
Although the science remains the same no matter which exam you confront, some questions that feature on the OCR version of the test may not factor on the other exams.
For example, one exam may call for detailed knowledge of scientific notation while another merely glosses over it, drilling down instead on bonding and the atomic structure of the various elements.
In spite of its specialist theme, this review manual costs just a few pence more on Amazon; you may own it for under £6.
You might also be interested in their accompanying workbooks, all of which get rave reviews.
Find out what other chemistry resources get rave reviews!
A-Level Revision Materials
When it comes to review materials for these exams, things get a little trickier.
Quality manuals for the AS exam abound but digging for AS and A levels, the complete materials for both years of study, things get a bit more difficult.
Again we turn to CGP, our partner in learning, to find exactly what we are looking for.
New for the 2018 study year, this volume features everything you need to know for either the OCR exam or the AQA. (They are separate manuals, of course).
Study modules are arranged in such a way that the review is progressive; from best practices in the lab to how to conduct a successful experiment.
For instance, the AS study modules include a review of:
acids and bases
the periodic table
alkane and alkene review
And then, after glossing over such elementary topics such as atoms, electrons and covalent bonding, you slide right into physical chemistry, free energy and synthesis.
Year 2 review topics include, among others:
rates, equilibrium and pH
analysis – chromatography and spectroscopy
At the end of select study modules, you will find practice questions that cover the material you have just reviewed and, towards the end of the book, there are exercises and an answer sheet explaining why the selected response is correct.
Note: these are particulars of the OCR study guide. The AQA manual is similarly set up but places its emphasis on the topics reflected in that exam.
This volume is available on Amazon for under £15!
As a bonus, you will be granted access to the online version of this textbook, free with your purchase of this bound edition.
What other chemistry revision websites are there?
Being the serious scholar that you are, you may consider a further purchase: the OCR AS/A Level revision workbook.
The most helpful feature of this companion paperback is its page-for-page match feature that makes it easy to reference the text as you complete the practice questions.
You will also be treated to skills building pages the same types of questions found on the exam.
It too is available on Amazon, and for only £6 new!
By no means are we discouraging the use of online chemistry review resources, especially as some of them are really quite useful and engaging.
In fact, making use of resources found on the web alongside a structured review guide such as any of the books featured in this article is more likely to bring you a satisfactory result than using any one resource to the exclusion of all others.
The takeaway from all of this is that you, like the molecules you so ardently strive to know, must have some sort of structure; a study arrangement preferably built around something tangible, such as a book or classroom sessions.
You may also consider review sessions with a chemistry tutor as such an event to build extracurricular studies around.
Keep that in mind as you go through your chemistry topics, study module by study module.
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