The Common Problem
Many students study a lot before a test/ an exam; some might even stay up super late just to study. On the next day, they write down everything they know in the answers but when they get their paper back, the result is not what they expected. It is frustrating, very frustrating. Unfortunately, it happens to almost everyone. It happened to me –sometimes I was very confident in my answer (my understanding and concept were right) but what I got was a big red cross; sometimes I wasn’t even sure what to answer in a question even though I studied hard beforehand. Being so annoyed and frustrated, I started to ask ‘IB, what do you want from me?’ I compared my answers with the mark scheme and the difference between the two made me realize that there was something else I needed to study other than my notes –the IB mark scheme.
How to make use of the IB mark scheme?
I didn’t mean that people should start revising/memorizing the mark scheme. There is no point doing that because if you don’t understand the concept, you won’t be able to apply your knowledge (which the new syllabus emphasizes). However, it is important to ANALYSE it by paying attention to how they ask the question and what they want to test you for so that you will know what to answer and that THEY WILL GIVE YOU THE MARK for your answer.
Here are the steps you can start implementing now to make your notes and answers more refined and focused on what the IB wants:
1. Do the practice questions in the textbook after you learn each concept
-the questions may not be past paper questions but it is still good practice because they will be similar to the IB questions. I recommend doing the questions in the textbook first for understanding and past paper questions before a test/ an exam for familiarizing the exam style.
2. Check the answers
-compare your answer with the one in the textbook/ past paper –are they similar/quite different?
3. If they are quite different, ask yourself:
-which concept(s) is the answer related to in the topic?
-what did I answer instead?
he secret of getting high marks is to make use of the practice questions and the mark scheme. To make use of them, you need to ‘analyze’ why you got it wrong/not quite right. What most students do is that they did the questions, got a different answer from the mark scheme, couldn’t be bothered finding out the reason and decided to let it go and do another question. But the similar questions may come up again and they WILL get it wrong –AGAIN.
So don’t let go of any wrong answers –during your own revision and also in tests/exams. Always get your tests/exams back and note down the mistakes. I know that sometimes they are flattering to look at/think about but you will never get it right unless you find out why you got it wrong! Similar questions will come up again in the final IB exam. Don’t be afraid of your mistakes because they are going to help you refine or even correct your notes and understanding. They tell you something is not right and you need to fix them so that you will know what to do next time.
If you want more resources on Chem, check out ibexamsurvivalguide.com!
I post condensed chem notes written according to the IB mark scheme and tips on acing the exam. You can also contact me for any questions.
Wish you all the best!