The Board exams for Class 10 is the first major academic test that students have to compete at a national level, be it CBSE, ICSE or any other state board of education. Not surprisingly it is a time when students often find themselves in quandary as to how to prepare best for the impending exams.

Board examinations can become the stuff of nightmares for many young minds. It is important to create a relaxed environment for them to prepare in earnest for the tests.

Questions about scoring good marks in each paper, the subconscious fear of the board exams, and most importantly, perhaps, why board exams exist, in the first place, go through the minds of each student!. The important thing to remember is this - it is just a round of examinations that will set you on your chosen academic path.

Obtaining good scores in the Board exams reflects the amount of hard work, dedication, and sincerity that a student has put into it. So, how does one prepare for Class 10 board exams, especially for traditionally challenging subjects such as Chemistry?

Exam time can be a source of immense anxiety and stress for many students | Source: Perrimoon on Visual Hunt

Acquaint Yourself with the Class 10 Chemistry Syllabus

The first step towards giving yourself a better chance of scoring well in Class 10 Chemistry is to familiarize yourself with the class 10 syllabus.

Benefits of Complete Knowledge of the Curricula across Boards:

  • Unit-wise weight of marks.
  • Important topics and sub-topics that need particular focus.
  • List of experiments for Chemistry lab work.
  • Question paper design for the board examination.
  • Components of internal assessment.
  • Prescribed books.
  • Good time-management skills when it comes to the actual exam.
  • Accuracy of answers in the exam paper.

CBSE Chemistry Syllabus for Class 10

  • Chemical reactions: Chemical equation, Balanced chemical equation, the implication of a balanced chemical equation, types of chemical reactions: Combination, decomposition, displacement, double displacement, precipitation, neutralization, oxidation, and reduction.
  • Acids, bases, and salts: Their definitions in terms of furnishing of H+ and OH- ions, General properties, examples, and uses, the concept of pH scale (Definition relating to logarithm not required), the importance of pH in everyday life; preparation and uses of Sodium Hydroxide, Bleaching powder, Baking soda, Washing soda and Plaster of Paris.
  • Metals and nonmetals: Properties of metals and non-metals; Reactivity series; Formation and properties of ionic compounds; Basic metallurgical processes; Corrosion and its prevention.
  • Carbon compounds: Covalent bonding in carbon compounds. Versatile nature of carbon. Homologous series. Nomenclature of carbon compounds containing functional groups (halogens, alcohol, ketones, aldehydes, alkanes, and alkynes), the difference between saturated hydrocarbons and unsaturated hydrocarbons. Chemical properties of carbon compounds (combustion, oxidation, addition and substitution reaction). Ethanol and Ethanoic acid (only properties and uses), soaps and detergents.
  • Periodic classification of elements: Need for classification, Early attempts at classification of elements (Dobereiner’s Triads, Newland’s Law of Octaves, Mendeleev’s Periodic Table), Modern periodic table, gradation in properties, valency, atomic number, metallic and non-metallic properties.

ICSE Class 10 Chemistry Curriculum

  • Periodic Properties and variations of Properties – Physical and Chemical, including atomic size, metallic character, non-metallic character, ionization potential, electron affinity, electronegativity, etc.
  • Chemical Bonding, including electrovalent, covalent and co-ordinate bonding, structures of various compounds – orbit structure and electron dot structure, etc.
  • Study of Acids, Bases, and Salts, including definitions in terms of the molecules and their characteristic properties, etc.
  • Analytical Chemistry, including the use of Ammonium Hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide, etc.
  • Electrolysis, including  Definitions and examples of electrolytes and non-electrolytes, etc.
  • Mole Concept and Stoichiometry, including Gay Lussac’s Law of Combining Volumes; Avogadro’s Law. The idea of mole, etc.
  • Metallurgy, including metals, and their alloys, non-metals, reduction of metallic oxide, etc.
  • Compounds, including Hydrogen Chloride, Ammonia, Nitric Acid, Sulphuric Acid.
  • Organic Chemistry, including an introduction to Organic compounds, structure and Isomerism, Homologous Series, Hydrocarbons: alkanes, alkenes, alkynes.
  • Practical Work

Class 10 Chemistry Revision Notes

There are various online learning platforms that offer curated revision notes, in adherence to the various syllabi prescribed by different boards of education in the country. The revision notes packages also include additional details about a particular topic that students find especially helpful while preparing for their Chemistry paper.

Color coded revision notes
Use color coding to prepare revision notes, according to the topics you pick up. This helps in easier comprehension and long-term retention | Source: Hugo Rocha on Unsplash

Why do you need the revision notes?

Class 10 revision notes are a useful resource containing, on many occasions useful learning tools such as mind maps, formulae, definitions, diagrams, and concise explanations of theories and concepts of Chemistry. Often, these notes are color-coded according to the topic they are designed for. 

They come in an easy language, accompanied by illustrations and images that make them attractive as well as interesting for students to use and retain easily.

The revision notes are prepared by subject matter experts (often high school Chemistry teachers and Chemistry professors). Thus, the notes are designed to provide students with an advantage, come exam day!

When should you prepare revision notes?

There is a time for everything in life, including the preparation of revision notes for your Chemistry chapters. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

  • Write down your notes immediately after you finish a chapter. This way, you can capture the key points of the topic you just revised and retain them.
  • Maintain and update your revision notes weekly. This will help you check the power of your memory.
  • A quick round of notes on the eve of the exam. This allows you to recap the key takeaways from a chapter, without having to invest a lot of time in it.

Take a quick look at the important reactions

Chemical reactions, along with their chemical equations are a critical part of the study material for Class 10 Chemistry. If you get your chemical reactions right (by that, we mean balanced reactions, accurately explained), you score really high with them! Moreover, the examiner knows immediately about the clarity of thought that has gone into the exercise.

Sample Papers and Past Question Papers

A month or a couple of weeks prior to your Chemistry exam, sit down with sample papers and past question papers that are released by the exam boards for the benefit of students. Along with the past years' question papers, detailed solutions are also provided by experts in Chemistry.

The express purpose of sample papers past question papers is to give students an idea of the format that will be followed in the actual exam paper.  

Prior knowledge of the structure of the question paper helps in preparing an adequate and effective learning plan for Chemistry. Students are able to identify areas of weakness and strength in their understanding of the concepts of Chemistry. Also, these mock tests are a great self-assessment tool. Remember the old adage - practice makes one perfect!

Chemistry Books
While revision notes, along with lecture notes are a great companion in exam prep, keep your textbooks handy as they contain all the answers | Source: quinn.anya on Visual Hunt

Use the Available Reference Books

Finally, going by the pattern of board exams in India, questions are usually based on a few recurring themes. Look out for subtle changes in the language used and cull out these themes as you practice with the help of sample and past question papers.

Class 10 students will do well to adhere to the NCERT textbook. Try to solve all the NCERT questions and examples. Use the NCERT Exemplar Problems as a mock question paper as board exam questions are often based on them, sometimes even completely unchanged in their language and tone. You can also use some of the most celebrated reference books such as Lakhmir Singh Chemistry Class 10 (CBSE) and Selina Concise Chemistry Class 10 (ICSE).

The first major step is to push yourself to start revising. Devise a comprehensive revision strategy and follow it thoroughly. Make daily or weekly schedules, according to your learning style. The more you revise and practice, the better chance you give yourself at excelling in your exam.

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Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.