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Comparing O Level Chemistry to A Level Chemistry: What’s the Difference?

The transition from O Levels to A levels is exceptionally challenging for students to adjust to and often takes longer than anticipated. If timely efforts are not made to bridge the gap between O Level and A Level chemistry, students can witness a dramatic drop in their grades. In this article, we help our students understand the contrasts and similarities between the chemistry A Level syllabus and the O Level chemistry syllabus.

Through this, the students would be aware of the effort and focus required to ace A Level Chemistry. If you want additional assistance in A Level chemistry, click here to learn more about the top tuition centres in Singapore.

Comparing the Paper Patterns

O Level Chemistry has three components: Paper 1, Paper 2, and Paper 3. Paper 1 is an MCQ-based paper consisting of 40 questions in an hour-long exam. The second paper is 1 hour 45 minutes and has a variable number of questions for 80 marks. Paper 3 is a practical examination of 1 hour 50 minutes and is worth 40 points.

On the other hand, A Level Chemistry has four components: Paper 1, Paper 2, Paper 3, and Paper 4. Similar to O Level Chemistry, paper 1 is an MCQ-based exam of 30 marks and is an hour-long exam.

Paper 2 is based on structured questions consisting of 75 marks and is 2 hours long. Paper 3 is a free response examination, and the time duration of the exam is 2 hours and is worth 80 marks. Lastly, paper 4 is a practical exam and is worth 55 marks. It has a duration of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

When comparing both of these paper patterns, it is essential to conclude that the A Level Chemistry exams are longer and more difficult than the O Level Chemistry exams. The A Level Chemistry exams also consist of a higher number of marks.

Topics from O Levels Discussed in Detail

A Level chemistry further discusses many topics from O Level chemistry. However, these topics are deeply delved into and might seem extensively different from what students studied during their O Levels. These topics might seem easy initially, but it is crucial to remember that Advanced Level Chemistry is extremely difficult to cope with for most students.

While O Level Chemistry discusses the basics of topics such as Atoms, Molecules, and Stoichiometry, A Level Chemistry gives students many minute details about the same subject that were previously unheard of and might contradict particular ideas taught in the O Levels. Redox Reactions is the only topic taught almost as it is without significant changes.

Essential O Level topics such as atomic structures, kinetics, chemical bondings, equilibrium, and acid-base equilibria are also taught in A levels. However, these topics include new and complex concepts such as Gibbs free energy, bond angles, energetics, pressure and temperature laws, and various kinds of bondings.

While the initial idea of these A Level topics is similar to those of O Levels, there are numerous new additions to make these ideas Advanced Level appropriate.

New Topics and Concepts in the Chemistry A Level Syllabus

A Level chemistry syllabus also includes incredibly different and new topics that O Level students have not studied previously. These topics are also crucial for your grade because a substantial number of questions in the exam are regarding them.

Here’s a list of the new topics that students will study in A Level Chemistry:

  • Group 2 elements
  • Group 17 elements
  • Transition metals
  • Nitrogen compounds
  • Molecular orbital theory
  • IR and NMR spectroscopy
  • Mass spectroscopy
  • Kinetic and thermodynamic controls

Since these are all unfamiliar topics for O Level students, they should be kept in high focus by the A Level students.

Even though organic chemistry was a part of O Levels, it was only briefly explained. In A Levels, organic chemistry is described in detail and is an essential part of the examinations.

It has numerous subtopics that are all detailed as well. Furthermore, it is the foundation of many topics like NMR and IR Spectroscopy. Multiple questions are based on this topic in each examination. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to ace A Level Chemistry without an exceptional understanding of Organic Chemistry.

At Peak Tuitions, we understand that students require proper guidance to cope with the transition from O Level to A Level. Consequently, our trained tutors are always available to guide our students and help them excel. To enroll at Peak Tuitions, fill out this form.

Scoring an A* in O Level Chemistry vs. Scoring an A* in Level Chemistry

Percentage of students Scoring an A*Percentage of students Scoring an A
A Level Chemistry 13.6%24.4%
O Level Chemistry 14.8%41.7%

The table above indicates that a very small proportion of A Level Chemistry students achieve the highest possible grade. Scoring an A* in A Level Chemistry requires a deep understanding of the content, excellent problem-solving skills, and the ability to apply knowledge in complex scenarios. Roughly one-fourth of students manage to attain an A grade, indicating that while it is challenging, it is attainable for a significant portion of the student population.

How does Peak Tuition Assist you in Mastering Chemistry A Level Syllabus?

girl studying on her laptop

Peak Tuition takes pride in providing the highest quality services to its students. Our chemistry tutors, Clement Ong, and Kydy Yew, are highly qualified teachers. They have extensive knowledge of A Level Chemistry, which they convey to their students through innovative teaching methods.

Due to our small class sizes, students receive the essential attention needed to address their questions and grasp the intricacies of the subject matter.  To discover more about our facilities, book a trial lesson now!

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