S205 chemistry 2012 exam thoughts

Thanks to the excellent pre-exam briefings by the course team, this was one exam that didn’t seem to cause people anything like the level of anxiety that others have been known to do.

As noted in the earlier post, the chemistry exam follows a very similar pattern from one year to the next. Almost to the point of being identical in many respects. Thus, question 1 is always a box diagram question and, as the course team commented, just about everyone gets full marks for it. In fact, the majority of the short questions are very similar from one year to the next and, because they follow the order of the books, you can pretty much bank on, say, question 7 being on whatever question 7 was on last year. That’s not to say that they’re all doable as it’s a massive course and few people revise everything but it does mean that selective revision is quite effective.

That follows through largely for the longer questions too although as the years have gone on, there seems to be more of a tendency to have one question covering parts of one or two other related areas ie if you’re doing selective revision then you’ll not be on totally firm ground all of the time. Moreover, the second and third longer sections are less easy use focused revision with than in the first section (which I think is always a choice between kinetics, orbitals and retrosynthetic analysis). Or perhaps it’s just that I’m less keen on the section C  and Dquestions?

What I did find pleasantly surprising was that even on my pessimistic in-exam estimate, I was well clear of 40%. That’s not so much because the exam was easy but that the whole exam is broken up into what’s effectively a very long list of short questions, albeit with several grouped into topics (ie the long questions).



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