So today I’m going to be going over what I’ve been doing lately to study for my Chemistry class, as well as what I like and don’t like about everything. These things could be helpful in any subject, but some things might be more relevant in science subjects.
Taking notes from the syllabus:
This was the basis for me improving my understanding of the subject. I’d been taking it for a year, but I’d not yet had the “Aha!” moment of understanding. Since I do the IB and the syllabus is the same all over the world I found some very handy videos to help me. They are made by Richard Thornely and there is one for every learning outcome. I found this really helpful, for several reasons. It took me through, at length, the entire syllabus and I got a revision that way. I also took notes, which helped me learn it. And finally, these notes were very helpful later, especially as my textbook isn’t very good explanation wise. I refer to these notes a lot, and I know that they’re correct.
Rewrite notes / Make mind-maps:
For one of my options in Chemistry, I rewrote my syllabus notes, making them neater, shorter and more condensed. This form suited this chapter really well, as there was a lot of lists and explanations, rather than formulas and the like.
For the rest of the chapters, where there were more formulas and equations, I made mind-maps. I managed to condense down every chapter onto one A4 page. This really helped me sort through the information and figure out what was important. It is also super convenient, because now I have 12 pages of mind-maps I can bring everywhere, instead of a bundle of notes. It is also super quick to reference and find exactly what I’m looking for. I did find that mind-maps were not as convenient for all type of content though. There were two chapters I didn’t make mind-maps for, simply because the information didn’t fit the format.
Do ALL the tasks:
Another handy thing about the IB system is that the exams as the same all over the world. This means that the previous exams are relatively easy to find online. Our teacher actually put out a lot of them for us, so we have had tonnes of questions to do. This is so helpful, because when it comes to the exam, even if I don’t know the answer, chances are that I have at least seen the the type of question before.
Also, doing questions – and then correcting them using the mark scheme!!! – is a great way to assess what you know and what you need to go over again. After I do the initial readings of the material, I mostly just do questions, and then read the over the material I struggled with. This way my learning get more focused and I can spend time of the things that I actually need to work on.