Common Mistakes & Study Tips for GCE & GCSE O Level Chemistry Exams 

O Level Chemistry

Once you’ve come to the GCE O Level Chemistry you have already grasped the basics of chemistry you’ve studied and will be more focused on studying and getting a better understanding of chemistry more in-depth in order to get the best grade for your exam.

Therefore, the best way for students to learn and get the preparation needed for their upcoming chemistry exam is by running through the curriculum.


As students, you will be learning about chemical changes, chemistry concepts, atoms – the structure as well as the periodic table.


In Chemistry, it teaches students that not only will the learning of theory be adequate but they will also be tested on their practical skills in the laboratory and would be prepared to conduct and plan experiments – ultimately writing their findings and analyzing its results.

The process of studying for your exams could indeed be overwhelming at the start – however, once you get started you would be gaining a better understanding of the chemistry curriculum and the knowledge needed to achieve high grades for your exams.

Read also: What is Study Smart and How do you Study Smartly?


This article will take you through some of the most important points for sitting the O level chemistry exam (regardless of which curriculum you belong to as chemistry is universal!) 

This article will cover the following points:

1 – common mistakes made by students in the O Level Chemistry 

2 – Study tips to ace your O Level Chemistry exam

3 – Where to find additional resources


1 – common mistakes made by students in the O Level Chemistry


When revising for Chemistry there are many mistakes which students often make which are crucial to be corrected before the exam in order for the student to improve.


Here is one common mistake made by students in their O Level Chemistry: 


Students often write a summarised description when a question specifies an explanation in which chemistry examiners expect. Therefore the description alone will not give them marks. Hence, it is crucial to get into the habit/practice of demonstrating those answers with the use of correct scientific vocabulary as it teaches students how to score better.


2 – Study Tips for O Level Chemistry 

Science subjects such as Chemistry are extremely useful as it provides definitions on terms which often enables students score’s to be better.

There will also be a clear-cut set of examples to be remembered in detail along with different chemistry concepts where once it’s embedded into your mind, you would always be able to answer any question well.


Familiarise yourself with definitions and calculations  

With chemistry, it is different from when studying Biology. You often need to familiarise yourself with not only definitions but also calculations along with their processes.


Practising more past year papers 

Past papers for chemistry exams are a vital tool for students when revising. By practising with past papers, you would be able to get a better grasp of how the exam paper will be structured. While you get a better understanding of the structure – you could also look over the Mark Schemes which would highlight the errors made and correct them in order for students to improve.

There are often key terms in Chemistry concepts that need to be covered in order to get marks – therefore, it would mean that the chemistry exam is not marked based on just the student’s knowledge of the subject but you are expected to answer all questions based on how the chemistry examiners expect you to.

Therefore, with thousands of students across the country sitting for this chemistry exam in the coming months, mark schemes are seemingly changing, often increasing the more challenging questions for junior college level students.

We have noted some past papers along with their mark scheme to help students answer effectively.



Many scientists have contributed to ideas about the structure of the atom as we know it today.

(a) (i) Name the scientist who proposed the ‘Plum Pudding’ model of the atom.

(ii) Name the two subatomic particles found in the nucleus of an atom.

(iii) Name the subatomic particle discovered by James Chadwick in 1932.

(iv) An atom of aluminium has 13 electrons. Write the electronic configuration of an aluminium atom.

(v) Draw the electronic configuration of an aluminium ion and state the charge



1 (a) (i) Thomson

(ii) proton and neutron

(iii) neutron

(iv) 2,8,3


Getting help if you need it 

It is always okay to reach out to find help if you are struggling or lagging behind. A tutor can help to detect your lacking areas and help you improve accordingly. You will also have a trusted individual to help you with your chemistry studies and clear any or all your doubts. 

Tutopiya offers online live tuition for students in the Singapore MOE curriculum as well as international curriculums such as the IGCSE and IB. Our respective pool of tutors is experienced and trained to provide high quality and effective online tuition. Contact us today and we will help you find a tutor that best suits your learning needs.


3 – Where to find additional resources for O Level Chemistry

Therefore, we have included some online chemistry resources which hold a great number of study materials for chemistry students to refer to when revising for their chemistry exam. 


1 – Overmugged 

OVERMUGGED was started as a project to help all students in Singapore and to lend them a helping hand as they journey through Singapore’s demanding education system!

They provide students with comprehensive study notes for O and A level students. 

2 – Chemistry for SG 

A blog forum made specifically for chemistry students that are looking for additional resources to add to their existing revision. 

3 – Achievers Dream

You can download up to 20 free chemistry summary notes or cheat sheets for revision at Achievers Dream. 


These are some useful websites for Singapore GCE O Level Chemistry students (both combined and pure chemistry students). Be sure to check them out and keep all the study tips in your head! Tutopiya wishes all students the best of luck for their upcoming Chemistry examinations. 

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