Tips for Chemistry Practicals (P3)

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Tips for Chemistry Practicals (P3)

Are you taking a chemistry class? Chemistry may be challenging, but there are many things you can do to help yourself succeed. Here are some tips to help you pass chemistry.

  • Just keep your mind cool and read everything on the paper, most students just don't read long paragraphs of text carefully. Practicals are not that hard so try to score most here, the best solution to this is to try as many practicals as many possible.
  • Don't perform unnecessary titrations, if you did two and got results close to each other then there's no need for a third one.
  • Always draw a triangle on the graph to find the gradient, if you are asked to find it.
  • Latest salt analysis sections contain a trick with aluminium and lead (II) ions because they have the same results with ammonia and sodium hydroxide. The test that distinguished them is addition of HCL, it will form a precipitate with lead (II) ions but not with aluminum ions. (Lead (II) ions can be distinguished from aluminium ions by the insolubility of lead (II) chloride.)
  • Always read carefully the names of the solutions before working with them, 1 small mistake and you might have to start from the beginning.
  • Always heat solutions in a boiling tube and not the test tube.
  • Make sure the burette is closed before adding solutions to it.
  • If you're quick at experiments then I recommend washing the apparatus with distill water before using. (But only if you're sure you can complete the experiment in time.)
  • Don't spend more than 45 mins on Salt Analysis.
  • When you write the observation for some gas that is released, always include a confirmatory test. You should actually never perform these confirmatory tests (to save time) just use your knowledge of chemistry to find which gas is released but always include the test in the observations. E.g. when a carbonate is reacted with an acid, you should write the observation; "Colorless gas released which turns lime water milky."
  • Remember some gases are hard to see when released in a test tube, so where you expect some gases to be released, look carefully for the observation. A good idea is to use the white tile or if you're not provided with it then use your paper as the background when looking at the test tube.
  • Try to memorize the smell of ammonia. I know it’s very disturbing to smell it but you need to identify it from others when they ask you so just smell it enough that you can distinguish it from other gases.
  • In the paper you want both speed and accuracy, so do the easy parts fast like pouring solutions and stuff and use the time saved on important parts like observing changes and stuff.
  • In the exam if you think some solution has some impurity or you put something into it by mistake then just ask them to replace it, don't use it.
  • Remember to not to use the same dropper for two different solutions.
  • If some solution involves heating and then heating strongly then you really need to heat it strongly so don't write no change too fast.
  • Always wash the thermometer before using, and make sure it’s working before using, when not dipped into any solution, it should give a constant reading of 25-30 °C.
  • Some solutions need shaking to mix them and sometime you will need to shake it really hard to work it out. Just wash your hands and close the top of the test-tube with your thumb and shake.
  • Be careful with the amount of solutions you use, you need to finish all the experiments in the amount of solutions provided don't think that you can get more if you're empty because some examiners might be strict.
  • Try to work in a clean and objective-oriented environment, what I mean is when you're working with 1 part of the paper then just keep the solutions needed for that part to yourself and keep the others away. This helps a lot.
  • Always draw tables (similar to how they give you in the questions) to represent results and observations, don't just write them down in lines.
  • One last thing and this is really important; understand the question before doing it, if you can't then try drawing diagrams on a paper to help you visualize what you are going to do and if you still don't get it then skip that part you can do it in the end unless it is related to any other part, if so then just try to copy whatever is instructed in the question.

If you have anything else to add feel free to do so.

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