9 Habits of Highly Successful Students

Source: The Guardian

All classes contain students of mixed ability levels. However, performance in an end-of-year examination is more dependent on how hard a student is willing to work than on any measure of innate ability. Student learning correlates much more with “grit” than with talent. In other words, the more hours you study, the higher your grades will be.

In this article, I’m giving you my observations from a teacher’s perspective of what students in the top 20% (in terms of grades) tend to do.

1. They don’t play games on their iPad

Students with low scores tend to resort to picking up their iPads at every spare moment. iPad addiction is a typical sign that a student doesn’t spend any of their free moments reading or thinking. Successful students don’t usually have games on their iPad. If they do have games, they’ll be the more intellectually-stimulating ones such as Scrabble or quiz apps: you certainly won’t find an A-grade student frantically thumbing their iPad screen to Flappy Bird or Crossy Road between lessons.

2. They read the textbook at home, highlighting and annotating as they go

VCE Chemistry annotated textbook Heinemann

When I ask a class of students to open their textbooks to a certain page, four things happen:

  • The most successful students open their books to those pages, which are already highlighted and annotated with key vocabulary circled and translated/explained in the margins (see picture above);
  • The mid-range students open their textbooks, which look brand new;
  • The least successful students do nothing because they weren’t listening;
  • The remainder (if any) didn’t bring their book to school.

Reading the textbook before class does two things. First, it helps you to understand the lesson much better. It’s much more effective to read the textbook at home then ask questions in class than to learn the textbook in class then ask those questions at home. Second, a textbook that’s highlighted and annotated looks very impressive. Your teacher and classmates will be impressed.

3. They write neatly and colour-code their notes

Successful students use large, A4 notebooks. They write the date, title, and subheadings in the same places with the same colour pen. They don’t cram too much writing on one page, and they organise their notes heavily using subheadings.

An interesting study found that students who reviewed their own notes outperformed students who reviewed notes given to them by their lecturer.

4. They have a designated homework diary (or an app)

Successful students always remember to do their homework. They record their homework tasks in their diaries with due dates. Reminders for iOS does this job excellently.

5. They do all their homework on time

Even if the teacher forgets to ask to see students’ homework, the most successful students will actively hand it to their teacher because they’re proud of the work they’ve done.

Even if there’s no homework set, they’ll still spend time reading the textbook (or another relevant book) or watching YouTube videos to supplement their understand of what’s been taught. The most successful students are self-motivated.

6. They pay most attention to their teacher during the lesson

From experience, students who chat to each other too much tend to get low grades at the end of the year. They miss crucial instructions, homework, questions and information being delivered by the teacher. While it’s important to be sociable, the most successful students always pay more attention to their teacher than to their classmates.

“Students who reviewed their own notes outperformed students who reviewed notes given to them by their lecturer.”

7. They ask questions after class and email their teachers at evenings/weekends with questions regarding the homework

Most days, I receive Chemistry-related emails from students. However, these emails are usually sent by the same 30% or so of the students I teach. The students with the habit of asking more questions—both inside and outside the classroom—tend to fare better in the end-of-year examination.

8. They understand that we learn primarily through reading, and that the classroom is just a place to discuss what they’ve read and put it into practice

Successful students learn more outside the classroom than in. They read the relevant textbook section before class; they come to class with questions about what they’ve read. They re-read the textbook section after the lesson as well. They know that the more times they read the textbook, the more they’ll learn and the better their scores will be in the end-of-year examination. They know that their textbook (not their teacher) is their primary learning resource, and that their success depends more on how many hours they put into studying than on how ‘good’ their teacher is.

9. They know when to say, “Sir, I don’t get this!”

This is one of the most valuable skills on this list: admitting that we don’t know what we’re about to learn is the first step we take when we learn something new. Successful students have the confidence to admit to things they don’t understand and are thus more receptive when their teachers explain them. In other words, it’s a dangerous habit to pretend that you actually understand something—this habit usually has disastrous consequences before the end of the year. In a classroom, always admit when you don’t understand something.

“admitting that we don’t know what we’re about to learn is the first step we take when we learn something new”

What do you think?

Are you a student who agrees/disagrees with these 9 observations? Are you a teacher with more observations to add to the list? Write them in the comments section below.

For more study tips, click here.

Chapter 10: Organic reactions: pathways to new products

10.1 Reactions of Alkanes

Alkanes contain strong carbon-carbon single bonds and strong carbon-hydrogen bonds. There are no partial charges on alkane molecules that might initiate reactions. The effect is that alkanes only undergo very few reactions.

(1) Combustion of alkanes

Alkanes can undergo combustion, producing CO2(g) and H2O(g)

When asked to create a combustion equation for a particular fuel, do the following steps:

  1. Write the fuel’s molecular formula
  2. Add excess O2(g)
  3. Produce CO2(g) and H2O(g)
  4. Balance C, H and O in that order.
  5. REMEMBER TO INCLUDE ALL THE STATES!

General formula: alkane + O2(g) → CO2(g) + H2O(g)

Example: C6H14(l) + O2(g) → 6CO2(g) + 7H2O(g) (halves are okay!)

(2) Substitution of alkanes

Alkanes can also undergo substitution, in which one of the hydrogen atoms is replaced with a halogen (e.g. F, Cl, Br, or I).

General formula: alkane + X2 → chloroalkane

Example: CH3CH3(g) + Cl2(g) + UV light → CH3CH2Cl(g) + HCl(g) (note that HCl is a gas!)

10.2 Reactions of alkenes

(1) Addition of alkenes

Alkenes can under addition reactions with halogens, hydrogen gas or water.

addition reactions of alkenes
Source: VCEasy.org

The first reaction happens at room temperature. If you have a gaseous alkene like ethene, you can bubble it through either pure liquid bromine or a solution of bromine in an organic solvent like tetrachloromethane. The reddish-brown bromine is decolourised as it reacts with the alkene.

(2) Addition polymerisation of alkenes
Source: Chemhume.co.uk

Chemguide links

Chemguide is an excellent revision resource that goes a little further than VCE. Read the relevant Chemguide pages below.

http://www.chemguide.co.uk/organicprops/alkanemenu.html
http://www.chemguide.co.uk/organicprops/alkenemenu.html
http://www.chemguide.co.uk/organicprops/estermenu.html

10.3 Oxidising ethanol to ethanoic acid

You will need to memorise the following ways to oxidise an alkanol into a carboxylic acid.

3 ways to oxidise alcohols
Source: VCEasy.org

For more information, visit this Chemguide page.

10.4: Making Esters

Table of Esters and their Smells
Click to enlarge

10.5: Organic Reaction Pathways

making esters from alkenes
Source: VCEasy.org

10.6: Fractional distillation

Fractional distillation can be used to separate compounds with different boiling points. It is commonly used in the separation of the compounds contained within crude oil.

More information about fractional distillation can be found here.

When hydrochloric acid is added to propene, two products can be produced: 1-chloropropane and 2-chloropropaneOnly the 1-chloropropane can be made into a carboxylic acid. We must therefore separate the 1-chloropropane from the 2-chloropropane by fractional distillation.

When reacting alkenes with 3 or more carbons (such as propene) with hydrochloric acid, we must write “HCl and fractional distillation” on the arrow.

For example:

propane fractional distillation
Source: Heinemann Chemistry 2

Click here for a 4-minute explanatory video about fractional distillation (beyond the VCE Chemistry course).

Read: Heinemann Chemistry 2 Chapter 10

Chapter 3: The Periodic Table

Click to go to Theodore Gray’s amazing site

3.1 Why is the periodic table important?

Click here for an excellent periodic table for desktops and laptops (ptable.com).

Every Chemistry student should download the K-12 Periodic Table app for iOS below. It’s the best free periodic table app I’ve found so far.

Source: App Store (K12 Periodic Table app for iPad preview)

Even better than that is Theodore Gray’s Elements app. It’s the best paid-for periodic table app on the App Store. It comes with a fascinating e-book that contains stories and further information about each of the elements.

Periodictable.com (screenshots are from the printed edition). Click to download.

3.2: Why are element properties periodic?

We can find the electron configuration of an element just by looking at its position in the periodic table.

Periodic table with subshells labelled
Source: Wikimedia Commons. Each segment is labelled with the name of the last-filled subshell (e.g. 5d or 3s).

3.3 Trends in the Periodic Table

Periodic table trends
Source: Metasynthesis.net

Remember that all the trends are explained by core charge and shielding.

  • Core charge increases from left to right and is the effective nuclear charge experienced by an outer shell electron. Atoms with more core charge hold onto their electrons more tightly.
  • Shielding (of the core charge) increases down the periodic table because there are more electron shells between the positively-charged nucleus and the negatively-charged valence electrons. Atoms with more shielding hold onto their electrons less tightly.

IMPORTANT: Students must practice explaining each of the vertical and horizontal trends separately using words. Answers need to contain references to “core charge” (for the horizontal trends) and “shielding” (for the vertical trends) to be awarded marks in an examination.

Common Names of Carboxylic Acids

Ever wondered why ‘formic acid’ is so-called? Or montanic acid? Or melissic acid? This handy A3 poster shows you the Latin/Greek/Persian origins of each of the carboxylic acids’ common names from ‘formic acid’ (no. 1) to ‘hexatriacontylic acid’ (no. 36). Each acid comes with a cute graphical description of where its name comes from.

Common Names of Carboxylic Acids
Click to enlarge

There are some interesting origin stories behind each of these names. Formic acid, for example, is found in insect stings (hence the name). Palmitic acid is found in palm trees (hence the name), and myristic acid is found in nutmeg.

Three of the carboxylic acids are named after goats: caproic acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. Together, these three molecules comprise 15% of the fatty acids found in goats’ milk, and many reports also suggest that they smell ‘goat-like’!

Many of the odd-numbered higher carboxylic acids are rarer in nature and thus didn’t earn a common name until recently. Undecylic acid, for example, which has eleven carbon atoms in its backbone, is named simply after the Greek word for ‘eleven’.

Click here for more Chemistry posters.

Chapter 9: Compounds of carbon

What are alkanes?

Alkanes are the simplest family of hydrocarbons – compounds containing carbon and hydrogen only. They only contain carbon-hydrogen bonds and carbon-carbon single bonds. The first eight are:

methane             CH4
ethane                 C2H6
propane               C3H8
butane                 C4H10
pentane               C5H12
hexane                 C6H14
heptane               C7H16
octane                  C8H18

You can work out the formula of any of them using: CnH2n+2

The first four alkanes are gases at room temperature. Solids don’t start to appear until about C17H36. The states at room temperature are all shown on the last page of the VCAA Chemistry Data Booklet.

Alkanes are comprised entirely of C–C and C–H covalent bonds, which both have very low ΔEN (0.0 and 0.3, respectively). Therefore, alkanes can only form dispersion forces with other molecules. The strength of dispersion forces depends on the number of electrons in a molecule. Methane has very weak dispersion forces (and therefore a low boiling point), but dispersion forces increase as the alkane chains get longer. That’s why alkanes with longer carbon backbones have higher boiling points.

Alkanes are non-polar and are thus virtually insoluble in water. They dissolve well in non-polar solvents such as cyclohexane (think: “like dissolves like”!)

What are alkenes?

Alkenes are a family of hydrocarbons (compounds containing carbon and hydrogen only) that contain at least one carbon-carbon double bond (C=C). The first eight are:

ethene                 C2H6
propene              C3H8
but-1-ene           C4H10
pent-1-ene         C5H12
hex-1-ene           C6H14
hept-1-ene         C7H16
oct-1-ene            C8H18

General formula: CnH2n

Side-chains

Alkanes or alkenes with side-chains (such as CH3 or CH2CH3) are described as branched. Branched alkanes or alkenes have prefixes attached to the name, for example:

methylpropane:   (CH3)2CCH3
methylbutane:  (CH3)2CH2CH3

How to name organic compounds

We need to learn IUPAC nomenclature for VCE Chemistry. Read/watch the following excellent resources:

How to draw organic compounds

Carbon atoms have four electrons in their outer shell. (We therefore say that carbon has a valency of four.“) Carbon thus forms exactly 4 covalent bonds with up to 4 other atoms. Since pairs of electrons repel each other (this is called VSEPR theory), the pairs of electrons in each covalent bond are repelled as far apart as possible from each other. This results in bond angles of 109.5° around the central carbon atom.

carbon tetrahedral

When drawing organic molecules, we must remember to draw a tetrahedral shape around each carbon atom. In other words, the carbon backbone should be zig-zagged, not straight!

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Alkanes and alkenes make a plethora of wonderful compounds

Meet the Terpenes - A Visual Introduction from Isoprene to Latex
Click to download 200dpi JPEG (5.4Mb)

If you’re interested in resonance, the phenomenon that gives benzene rings their incredible stability, watch the next few minutes of Crash Course Chemistry below.

Further information on resonance in benzene is available from Kahn Academy here.

Read: Heinemann Chemistry 2 Chapter 9

Chapter 1: How did Chemistry begin?

What’s an element?

Elements are:

“…each of more than one hundred substances that cannot be chemically inter-converted or broken down into simpler substances and are primary constituents of matter.”

Each element is distinguished by its atomic number, i.e. the number of protons in the nuclei of its atoms.

The periodic table is a tool for organising elements according to their chemical and physical properties. Major contributors to the periodic table include Dmitri Mendeleev and Glenn Seaborg (only these two are on our VCE course).

Mendeleev

mendeleev and his periodic table of the elements

Dmitri Mendeleev made the first modern periodic table. He arranged elements by atomic mass and found repeating properties (which he called periods). Gaps in these periods allowed Mendeleev to predict correctly the existence of elements that were undiscovered at the time.

There are two key differences between Mendeleev’s periodic table and our modern periodic table:

  1. He arranged elements by atomic mass, not by atomic number. This caused some elements to be the wrong way around (e.g. tellurium & iodine, pictured below). We now arrange the elements in order of increasing atomic number.
  2. He didn’t include any noble gases. They were discovered later by William Ramsay.

iodine tellurium

Glenn T Seaborg

Glenn T Seaborg discovered 10 transuranium elements (in the f-block) while doing atomic research during the Second World War. He was the only person to have an element named after them (Seaborgium) while they were still alive.

Source: allperiodictables.com

There have been many suggested modifications to the periodic table since its invention in 1869. Two such improvements are a helical structure and the addition of extra blocks to accommodate heavier elements.

A more modern periodic table!

Click here for instructions on how to make your own 3D periodic table with a g-block (pictured below). The g-block allows provides space for dozens of new transuranic elements, some of which will likely be discovered in the next decade or so.

A 3-dimensional periodic table with a g-block (front)
A 3-dimensional periodic table with a g-block (front)

Read: Heinemann Chemistry 1 Chapter 1

Chapter 2: A particulate view of matter

We begin our journey into Chemistry with atomic theory, which sits on the boundary between Chemistry and Physics.

Chemistry is applied Physics! Source: xkcd.com

Professor Brian Cox gives an excellent introduction to Atomic Theory in his documentary In Search of Giants.

The following infographic summarises how each model of the atom contributed to our current understanding of atoms.

Source: VCEasy.org

Let’s take a look at how the electrons are arranged around a nucleus (this is called electron configuration). First, we need to understand that electrons, like all subatomic particles, behave as both particles and as waves. This is called the wave/particle duality, and it is a key principle of quantum mechanics. An excellent introduction is shown below.

Electrons are arranged around the nucleus in subshells. Each subshell has a name, which consists of one number and one letter.

Subshells are filled from lowest energy level (near the nucleus) to highest energy level (furthest from the nucleus). The first seven subshells in the sequence are shown below.

The Aufbau Principle (shown below) helps you to remember the order in which the subshells are filled. You should be prepared to draw the Aufbau Principle quickly during a Chemistry examination.

Crash Course Chemistry’s Hank Green explains electron configuration beautifully.

Click here for two more difficult worked examples.

Read: Heinemann Chemistry 1 Chapter 2

Annotated VCAA Chemistry Data Booklet

Annotated VCAA Chemistry Data Booklet image
Click to download my Annotated VCAA Chemistry Data Booklet

The VCAA Chemistry Data Booklet contains answers to many questions you’ll be asked in the end-of-year examination. Unfortunately for students, however, the information it contains is neither explicit nor complete. Students need to know how to use the data booklet if they are to make the most of it.

Many formulae and definitions still need to be learned. For example, the data booklet doesn’t give you calorimetry formulae, and hydrogen bonds aren’t shown on DNA nucleotides. Trends are missing from the periodic table, and the electrochemical series comes with no annotations whatsoever! All this extra information needs to be memorised for VCE Chemistry.

I’ve annotated a real VCAA Chemistry Data Booklet to help you understand it. You can download it here.

Features include:

  • Trends are now shown on the periodic table (page 3);
  • Electrochemical series is fully labelled and explained (page 4);
  • 17 equations and 4 gas laws are given on page 5;
  • NMR data is now labelled to help you identify functional groups (pages 6 & 7);
  • Infrared absorption data is now pictured with 3 peaks described (page 7);
  • Amino acids are now labelled “polar/non-polar” and “acidic/basic” (pages 8 & 9);
  • Number of C=C bonds is now included for fatty acids (page 10);
  • DNA structure is explained in much more detail (page 10);
  • Colours of two indicators are corrected (page 11);
  • Ka is explained (page 11);
  • Solubility rules are added on the back.
Annotated VCAA Chemistry Data Booklet
Every page is colour-coded and annotated with explanations

Chemistry data booklets make great revision tools. Check out the following data booklets from around the world:

The most beautiful Chemistry videos I’ve ever seen

Beautiful Chemistry banner
Image via BeautifulChemistry.net

I’ve discovered the most beautiful Chemistry website ever created via someone’s Twitter feed. It was created by several researchers at the Institute of Advanced Technology at University of Science and Technology in China. The goal of this project is to bring the beauty of chemistry to the general public through digital media and technology.

The first project of the collaboration used a 4K UltraHD camera to capture beautiful chemical reactions in specially-designed glass containers that eliminate the problems of refraction and reflection caused by rounded beakers and test tubes. I also love how the researchers play with time, slowing down and speeding up the videos at just the right moments. The video footage is then annotated and matched perfectly with background music to give a truly mesmerising result. Here are three of my favourites:

Precipitation reactions (my favourite)

Metal displacement reactions

Bubbles!

As a visual learner and a huge fan of new ways to pique people’s interest in science, I got in touch with Yan Liang, an Associate professor at the Department of Science and Technology Communication at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC).

Yan Liang, like the visionary data-visualisation gurus David McCandless and Hans Rosling, is passionate about bringing hidden data to the public domain in a form that’s really easy to digest. When I asked him what inspired him to make these videos, he said:

“To me, science is beautiful and full of wonders. However, the beauty of science is often hidden inside research laboratories and buried in scientific literature. By creating engaging visuals and make them available to the general public, I believe more people would appreciate the beauty and wonders of science, and hopeful get interested in science.”

Just like the All-Natural Banana poster series I posted one year ago, the goal of the BeautifulChemistry.net project is mostly about education and scientific outreach.

“The goal is to bring the beauty of chemistry to the general public. To many people, Chemistry might usually be associated with pollution, poison, explosions, etc. We want to show them the other side of chemistry, which is much less well-known. We also want to get more kids and students interested in chemistry and inspire them to learn more chemical knowledge.”

Since Yan Liang, Edison Zheng, Jiyuan Liu, Xiangang Tao and Wei Huang launched Beautiful Chemistry on September 30th, 2014, they have received over 110,000 unique visitors and over 2 million page views. The project has been a huge success, and has already inspired young people worldwide to pursue Chemistry.

“People love our videos of chemical reactions. Some people commented if they saw these videos when they were in high schools, they might work harder and learn more chemistry. A 15-year old student from Germany and others told us our videos inspired them to shoot their own videos of chemical reactions. Artists like these videos and many request our footage to make music videos.”

They’ve got some exciting plans for the future, too. Yan Liang tells me they’re planning to use microscopes to film future videos and that they’re developing a fashionable clothing line-up as well!

Beautiful Chemistry Metal Displacement Clothing for Women
Reaction between Zn(s) + Pb(NO3)2(aq) to produce beautiful crystals of lead

There are currently 33 gorgeous 4K videos on their website, and there’s even a Chinese version as well. Check out their website and subscribe to their blog here. You can see more of Yan Liang’s projects, including amazing scientific illustrations, at l2molecule.com.

Significant Figures: 6.0 Rules

Ruler

Significant figures tell you how accurately a number is known. This invariably depends on the precision of your instruments.

To illustrate this, use a pencil and a ruler to draw a square with sides of 8.109435 cm in length. Now, calculate the area of the square that you’ve drawn.

A ruler can only measure length to within ±0.1 cm. Our square therefore has sides 8.1 cm in length (not 8.109435 cm) because our measurements are limited by the accuracy of the ruler. The area of our square is therefore 8.1×8.1=66 cm², not 65.762936019225 cm², because there was no way to measure all of those decimal places precisely using a ruler.

Accurately-known digits are known as significant digits. All other digits are described as not significant. We must always round our final answer (not the intermediate steps) to the correct number of significant digits by following the six rules below.

1. Numbers without a decimal point

  1. First non-zero digit is significant
  2. Last non-zero digit is significant
  3. All digits in-between are significant
  • 45 is to 2 significant figures (s.f.)
  • 1,240 (3 s.f.)
  • 68,686,000 (5 s.f.)

2. Numbers with a decimal point

  1. First non-zero digit is significant
  2. All digits afterwards are significant
  • 1.2 (2 s.f.)
  • 6.810 (4 s.f.)
  • 900,001 (6 s.f.)

3. Scientific notation

Scientific notation is a way of writing numbers in the form:

a × 10 where 1 ≤ a < 10.

Count the number of significant figures in a to find the number of significant figures in the number (a × 10b).

  • 5.56 × 103 is to 3 significant figures
  • 2.012 × 10-4 is to 4 significant figures

4. Conversions

Some unit conversions are exact and are said to have an unlimited number of significant figures.

  • 1 minute = 60.0000000000… seconds (infinite s.f.)
  • 1 metre = 100.0000000000… metres (infinite s.f.)

Temperatures usually have 3 (sometimes 4) significant figures when converted into Kelvin!

  • 10°C = 283 K (3 significant figures)
  • 100°C = 373 K (3 significant figures)
  • 4000°C = 4273 K (4 significant figures)

5. Addition and subtraction

Rule: Always round your final answer (not any intermediate answers!) to the smallest number of decimal places.

  • 441 + 65.42 = 506 (use zero decimal places)
  • 200.1 – 144.2456 = 55.9 (use 1 decimal place)

6. Multiplication and division

Rule: Always round your answer so it has the same number of significant figures as the input value with the smallest number of significant figures.

  • 481.56 × 14.5 = 6980 (use only 3 s.f.)
  • 7800 ÷ 41.1 = 190 (use only 2 s.f.)

Remember to round your ANSWER (not the intermediate steps) to the correct number of significant figures.

Questions? Comments? Still confused? Leave a message in the comments below. I’ve tried to make sig figs as simple as I can in this post.

More great resources:

Crash Course Chemistry Explains All!

Help! My exam is in 3 days’ time and I haven’t studied for it. What should I do?

jameskennedymonash Beat Exam Stress

First, relax.

The priority at this late stage is that you enter the examination hall well-rested, well-fed and with an appropriate level of stress.

1. Sleep early every night

  • Go to bed before 10pm (or 9pm with an exam the next day)
  • Wake up naturally. If you’re waking up too late, go to sleep at 7pm.
  • Avoid backlit screens for one hour prior to sleeping. Backlit screens emit light in the 484-nanometre range, which excites melanopsin in the retinal ganglion cell photoreceptor. This disrupts your circadian rhythm and keeps you awake!

2. Eat healthily

  • Eat regular meals at regular times.
  • Eat plenty of fruit. (Five per day.)
  • Drink plenty of water.

3. Get some lighter exercise

  • Avoid exhausting sports around exam time (e.g. rugby).
  • Do more walking, jogging, and lighter sports at exam time (e.g. badminton).
  • Drink plenty of water(!) Aim to drink 3 litres per day.

Research has shown that you perform difficult tasks (such as a Chemistry exam) much better under moderately relaxed conditions. The famous Yerkes-Dodson curve illustrates this beautifully.

The Yerkes–Dodson law is an empirical relationship between arousal and performance level. Source: Uni of Minnesota
You want to be on top of that blue curve.

More information about the Yerkes-Dodson curve.

Light exercise will help you to position yourself at the tip of that blue curve, which will optimise your state of mind for learning as much as possible in the few days you’ve got left.

Second, do targeted revision.

4. Mise en place (get everything ready)

5. Spend 3½ hours doing a practice examination

  • Spend 3½ hours doing the exam in semi-exam conditions.
  • Mark it immediately afterwards.
  • Keep it for next time: you’ll use the incorrect questions to guide your theory revision (step 6).

6. Spend 3½ hours reading & annotating your textbook

  • Read and annotate the textbook chapters relating to questions you got wrong.
  • DON’T READ YOUR NOTES. Read the textbook instead: it’s much clearer.
  • Re-do those questions now you’ve learned the theory behind them.
  • Follow steps 1-4 on How to use a Textbook: 6 Rules to Follow. This includes making vocabulary lists and beautiful, clear theory notes to go on your wall.
  • Repeat steps 5 and 6 (in this article) every day. (Study at least 7 hours per day.)

Finally, get help.

7. Get help!

  • Contact your teacher with any questions you have; exam content you don’t understand or worries you have about the exam.
  • Talk to a friend if you’re stressed about the exam.
  • Check out the resources below if your stress levels are still too high.

8. More resources

Veritasium image

10 Best Science Channels on YouTube

1. Veritasium blows your mind by breaking misconceptions

2. Periodic Videos: experiments you’d love to do but can’t

3. SciShow blasts fun facts

4. Numberphile makes you LOVE mathematics

5. AsapSCIENCE: fascinating hand-drawn mini-tutorials

6. MinutePhysics: fascinating mini-Physics tutorials

7. Vsauce investigates fascinating questions

8. SmarterEveryDay explains cat-flipping, and more

9. Science Channel gives you the latest Science news

10. NASA gives you real-life science inspiration

Are there any that I missed from this list? Add them in the comments section below.