Post-Exam Thoughts: GCSE Chemistry C3 – 24 May 2012


I’ve never regarded Chemistry as one of my fortes, though I’ve been surprised to see how well I have done at it throughout the GCSE AQA Science course (I’ve dropped fewer marks in it that any other subject).

Almost exactly a year ago, after sitting the C2 module, I wrote “I managed my time well, left no question undone, and had confidence in the answers I gave”. After seeing how hard I found today’s paper, my reaction couldn’t be more different. I was sporadic in the way I went about tackling the paper, jumping between the overall questions in a bid to ensure I didn’t leave any of the easy ones out, before eventually starting on the harder ones.

ALL NOW REDUNDANT: The Chemistry books and past papers that littered my floor last night can now be tidied away. (IMG_3363)

It’s not that I hadn’t revised: as for all of my subjects, in recent weeks and months Chemistry has had a large amount of my time (and an equally large amount of my mum’s!) devoted to it. Yet by last night I was still unsure of titration calculations, tests for negative ions, and exact ideas behind the forming of the periodic table. Going over my notes over and over again certainly helped, but my lack of understanding let me down on a number of questions this morning.

“Question 5 – Name one new technology to identify elements.

“er… the ion identify-o-matic 3000.”

totally gunna pass chemistry”

— Pippa Robinson, Facebook post, 24 May 2012

At one point, having looked at my past results, I was seriously considering taking Chemistry at A-Level. I am glad that I decided not to: it’s a subject that seems to me (I appreciate the fact that I am wrong here) to have aspects that are just irrelevant to day-to-day life. Yes, the result of chemical research has saved many millions of lives (and indeed ended many others), but do we really need to know about a sugar refinery worker?

It’s nice to have finished my studies in the subject.

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.