Understanding Chemistry




The questions and their answers are in two separate pdf files which you will find at the bottom of the relevant Chemguide pages.

How pdf files are treated will depend on your computer settings, and may well vary from browser to browser. They may open in your browser or in a pdf reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader or Preview. Or they may be saved to a download folder or to your desktop.

The questions

You should find the questions straight-forward if you have understood what you have read. I haven't tried to write clever or especially searching questions which might lower your confidence if you can't do them. Any questions which might need a little bit more thought will be fully explained in the answers.

It is important to realise that the questions are not designed to look like those in any particular exam system. They are just a simple check that will tell you whether or not you ought to look again at the page(s) you have just read.

The answers

I have given very full answers in most cases, because I want to use them to reinforce the important points. In an exam, you may not have enough space to write as much as I have done.

But this isn't about giving you exam answers; it is about making sure that you understand. When you write your answers, write them in enough detail so that a reasonably intelligent friend, with a similar background to you, could understand them. The best way of being absolutely sure that you understand something is to try to teach it to somebody else.

Worry about producing exam answers later on when you are sure that your understanding is good.

Should I use these questions for revision purposes?

No, you shouldn't! The questions are designed to help the learning process, and at revision time you need something entirely different. To be honest, if you haven't got the basic understanding in place by then (which is what these questions are designed to help), then it is too late. You can't re-learn the whole course in a couple of weeks and expect to succeed.

The best revision you can do is to work from past papers, mark schemes and examiner's reports (if they are available) so that you can practise and learn exactly what your examiners want. If you have left it late to start this, then you probably won't have time to actually do all the questions, but reading them together with the mark schemes will give you a good idea of exactly what you need to know, and how you should present it to your examiners.

Revision is a time to fine-tune what you already know and understand, and make sure that it exactly matches what your examiners want.

Mistakes in the questions or answers

Although I have done my best to keep mistakes to a minimum, there are bound to be some. If you spot any mistakes, however trivial, please contact me using the address on the about this site page so that I can correct them.

Similarly, could you contact me if you don't understand the answer to any question so that I can make it clearer - or correct it if I have got it wrong.

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© Jim Clark 2012 (last modified June 2016)