Chemistry doesn’t always come easily to everyone; as much as you’ve tried to concentrate during your GCSE lessons, and as many times as you’ve looked over the periodic table, you can still experience stress going into your exams. It’s important, then, to think about some ways in which you can try to master the periodic table for your exams, and to make use of some apps and other methods to get on top of your chemistry revision.
The first thing you should focus on is breaking down your chemistry revision into different blocks; doing so is particularly important for the periodic table, where you can separate out different elements into their individual groups, and can look at how they relate to each other. The periodic table is ranked in order of electrons and groups, with transition metals representing an additional challenge – try to view each of the groups as a revision subject in their own right, and then bring them all together.
In this way, you can spend time looking just at the Group 1 elements, or alkali metals, or Group 7 halogens; a good way to start memorising different groups is to use mnemonics, whereby you use a rhyming scheme or numbers to help you remember a sequence of elements. For example, if you’re learning Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Oxygen, Fluorine, and Neon, you might want to try using the following mnemonic: Happy Henry Likes Beer But Could Not Obtain Four Nuts. With mnemonics, the funnier or more memorable the words used to signify information, the better.
Alternatively, you can focus on the transition metals by working out compounds and different colour combinations. Transition metals are usually defined by their density, and by their relationship to other elements; you may, in this context, focus on the reactivity of elements such as iron, copper, silver, and gold – flash cards can be a good way of memorising the colours of different compounds, and how these metals might be used to form new combinations.
Another good approach to take when trying to revise your periodic table and chemistry is to focus on memorising experiments; your GCSE lessons may have included some work on forensic science, whereby you study how transition metals can be revealed through different solutions and flame tests. In this way, chemists can find out whether a substance contains iron nitrate compounds by testing for its reactivity with sodium hydroxide, and by looking to see what colours are produced when a substance is exposed to a flame.
Smartphone and computer apps can make this process of visualising the periodic table and chemical combinations much easier; apps like the Elements App for the iPad feature colourful designs and animation, which can help you to memorise key concepts. You could also use apps such as iElements and Chemistry Flashcards Lite to test out your knowledge, and to go into more detail with individual elements. Other apps like Chemistry Pro Lite also contain short video lessons and reminders of what goes into the periodic table.
Author Bio: SJ is a freelance writer and contributor. She is an expertize in writing articles about education and their results. She advices her students that for your GCSE lessons you should include some work on forensic science which might give them a new way of learning.