IB in general has been a tough transition for me. When considering my last HL subject, it was a toss up between the two sciences: Chemistry or Physics. When debating between the two, I figured that Chemistry would be a better choice since I wasn’t really good with numbers and Physics was more on numbers, so I opted for Chemistry.
After the first few weeks of class, I was somewhat struggling with Chemistry. First, I didn’t have any background knowledge of Chemistry, and I was taking it as an HL subjects, so obviously I would have to learn quickly in order to cope with the pace of Chem HL. At the end of it all, I guess I was able to pull through the first semester because I got a 5 in the sem test. However, when looking back at the test, I knew I could have done more to prepare better and properly learn all the concepts in out 1st sem topics.
In this new semester, I will improve my performance in Chemistry by reading in advance the topics we are about to tackle. This would be a first for me since I learned that I really need to advance read all the lessons so that I can understand the discussion easily and better. In the first sem, I would read the book after discussion and I feel that this isn’t the way IB designed us to learn, so I guess I would have to make the big adjustment. The other thing I can do is to learn how each lesson connects with each other. After the sem test, I learned that each lesson is interconnected with each other and it’s not like the regular Science wherein you can forget the lesson after you have had the test. I feel if I do these two things properly and effectively, I will able to improve my performance this semester.
Some strategies that worked for me is asking help from my other classmates. This actually helped me understand the basics of each lesson, and once I got the basic ideas I could understand the more deep concepts of the lesson. What didn’t work for me was the fact that I would just rely on the discussion given by the teacher. I figured out that the teacher will tell you the facts, but it’s up to us to connect the dots in between the majority of the lessons and apply them during the tests.
The most difficult topic for me is the MOLE topic since I couldn’t really get the whole concept of the lessons, while the most comfortable I encountered would be the Bonding Part 1.
As a teacher, I don’t think there’s so much that you could help us in learning. The exercises and resources are there, but I guess you could guide us by finding the connections in between the lessons. I don’t know if it’s just me who feels this, but I really could use help in finding connections and if I could find the these, I think I would be able to do better in the unit tests. As you said, Chem HL is not going to be easy, but at the same time it’s not totally super difficult; I feel that Chem HL is manageable and with help from the teacher and classmates, I hope I’m able to improve further.