Science Study Tips

The best tip for revision in science is to understand the relationships behind each concept rather than just memorising the concept. This allows you to build a better knowledge of the idea, and helps you to remember it as you can see how it fits in the scheme of things.

An extension of this is relating what you have learned to real life. This makes it more interesting and relevant for you, which makes it easier to revise. A very fun way I did this was applying the concepts learnt in the heat topic to the kitchen, cooking the perfect steak.

Another thing to remember is the language use. You have be specific and know the technical terms instead of general ones. A friend received 1 out of 3 for his explanation of temperature merely because he failed to mention the term ‘average kinetic energy’.

Chemistry

Chemistry is based on ions. Try to memorise them. It’s tedious, but if you do not know your ions, chemistry will be made infinitely harder.

Luckily, there are a few tricks. Elements in the same group almost always form the same charge, and, excepting transition metals, their group number is the same as the number of valence electrons. Thus, all Group I elements have 1 valence electron, and will always form an ion with a charge of +1.

If ions are the alphabet of chemistry, then equations are the language. There are thousands of chemical equations used in chemistry, but you only need to remember a few general ones, for example, the acid-base reactions, combustion reactions and so on. Once you know that all acid-base reactions form water and a salt, and all combustion reactions form carbon dioxide and water, everything else is easy.

Remember to use equations in your explanations, even if the question doesn’t ask for it. It helps your explanation, shows you know what you’re talking about and you are usually awarded marks for it.

Biology and Human Biology

An important tip for revising biology is working from general to specific. Start with the functions and definitions of a system or topic, say the digestive system or genetics, before you start revising the specific details and names. This ensures you have a thorough knowledge of the topic.

Biology, especially Human Biology, has quite a bit of rote learning involved, so the best way to revise is relating what you have learnt to real life. I often find that in human bio, relating body parts to diseases helps me to remember them. E.g. I will always remember how the immune system works because of how HIV disables it.

This works for biology too. I maintain a vegetable garden, so genetics and punnet squares suddenly becomes infinitely more relevant to me.

Physics

Physics may seem just like a bunch of random formulas, but it isn’t.

You need to understand the principles behind each formula; otherwise, you open yourself up to failure. Just memorising formulae may mean that, in critical moments, you forget them, but once you learn how or why a formula works, and you understand the reasoning behind it, you remember it better.

A simple example is the formula I=q/t. I can never remember whether it’s I equals q divided by t, or q multiplied by t. Once I learnt that current was how much charge passed a point per second, I never got confused again.

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