Chemistry is undoubtedly one of the most challenging subjects in the HSC, but that’s why we’re here to help you out with our top 5 HSC Chemistry study tips!

It can be very easy for students to be intimidated by the challenge that it poses, as it is considered one of the hardest of the three science subjects.

So the obvious question is, how do I succeed in HSC Chemistry?

This article aims to provide you with guidance on how to approach your Chemistry study with our HSC Chemistry study tips!

Let’s jump straight into it!

Tip #1: Write syllabus notes on every dot point
Tip #2: Revise notes on a regular basis
Tip #3: Ask plenty of questions
Tip #4: Write up a list of important chemical equations for each topic
Tip #5: Do past exam questions and worked solutions

Tip #1: Write syllabus notes on every dot point

The syllabus is your unofficial Bible.

The key to succeeding in science subjects is to follow the syllabus closely and make clear and concise notes on each dot point in the syllabus.

Doing so provides you a comprehensive summary of all the knowledge you’re required to know. Additionally, it also covers the range from which exam questions are written.

It’s recommended that you add in related images whenever you can. Labelled images allow to you visualise the content and saves you a lot of writing.

The above image is a perfect example of what I was saying. A thoroughly labelled diagram such as the one above highlights all the major aspects of a galvanic cell in an exemplary fashion.

Whenever you can, try to incorporate images into your syllabus notes. It’ll save you a lot of time and energy.

It’s as they say: a picture is worth a thousand words!

Another important thing to remember is to never skip ANY syllabus dot points!

HSC Together is a fantastic resource for revision with FREE videos explaining each HSC Chemistry syllabus dot point and its important concepts – check it out here!

Even the most obscure of dot points could find its’ way into your HSC exam, so don’t skip any!

Never make the mistake of summarising the textbook instead of following the syllabus. Contrary to common belief, the textbook doesn’t cover everything you need to know and often contains content you don’t even need to know.

I know this from personal experience. For the first term of my HSC year, I summarised the textbook instead of writing syllabus notes.

As you can probably guess, I got a question in my term 1 assessment task that I had absolutely no idea how to answer. When I flicked through the syllabus, there it was.

Writing syllabus notes with labelled diagrams will enable you to have a great understanding of all the content. It will also keep you in good stead come exam time.

Tip #2: Revise notes on a regular basis

Revising regularly is essential to retaining information and consolidating knowledge.

Make sure you stay organised and set yourself up to revise chemistry on a specific day or days each week.

For example, you set yourself up so that revision of Chemistry is on Tuesday and Friday from 4-530 PM.

Due to the content-heavy nature of chemistry, revising regularly is vital to staying on top of your work and succeeding in assessments and exams.

Tip #3: Ask plenty of questions

Clarifying any and every doubt that you have is extremely important.

The challenging nature of the course means that you’re almost guaranteed to not understand a topic or have a few questions. If and when you do, ensure you speak up and get them clarified.

The worst thing you can do is ignore your doubts only to have a question come up in the exam that you’re unsure about.

It’s easy to assume that the state-rankers are prodigies that cruised through the course with no questions or issues. That’s absolutely not true, they simply ensured that they had no lingering doubts. For that to happen, they definitely must have asked plenty of questions!

Tip #4: Write up a list of important chemical equations for each topic

As you know, there are lots of chemical equations that you have to remember in HSC Chemistry.

Unless you’re one of those people who have a terrific memory, remembering them is going to prove to be a real challenge.

Writing up a list of all the equations is going to help you big time. Separate the course into the 4 main topics and for each topic, compile a list of all the important equations.

For example, for the acids topic, write up all the equations that you need to remember in that section.

Ensure you do this because if you simply make a huge list of all the equations without specifying what topic it’s from, it’s very easy to get confused.

Tip #5: Do past exam questions and worked solutions

This is probably one of our HSC Chemistry study tips that people tend to overlook – completing past exams!

Sometimes you may feel as though you don’t have enough time to have written your study notes, completed them AND complete a past paper – but it’s the best way to practice!

Once you feel you have a significant knowledge base, it’s time to test yourself and jump into some practice questions.

Recommended tip: purchase the above book. It contains the last 15 years’ worth of HSC questions and exams.

Once you have a go completing HSC questions, it’s critical that you compare your answer with the actual solution.

Doing so will tell you how clear and concise the answers in the HSC are expected to be. Additionally, it also highlights how to construct your response within the allocated lines.

For example, you may think your answer for a two mark question is absolutely perfect.

However, if you find that you overcompensated and put in far too much detail, you’ve just wasted valuable time.

Getting a feel for answering HSC questions is critical and the earlier you can get started, the more it’s going to benefit you.

That’s a wrap!

So there you have it! That wraps up our top 5 HSC Chemistry study tips!

These are all the tips and tricks that I learnt and followed which enabled me to succeed in HSC Chemistry and achieve 95 in the HSC exam.

I’m confident that if you follow them too, it’ll go a long way to you achieving your Chemistry goals!

Looking for some extra help with your HSC studies?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today!

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook!


Aditya Krishnaswamy sometimes found writing in the HSC tiresome, but is very fond of it nonetheless. Completing the HSC in 2015, he found that his experiences studying HSC Advanced Maths and English, Physics, Chemistry and Ancient History were begging to be shared with keen school-goers with the hunger for success. About to study Advanced Engineering at the University of Sydney, Adi hopes his time tutoring in two organisations as well as his time studying in 3 different countries across 2 continents in his 19 years of life can help you get through the pressurised odyssey that is the HSC. A lifelong follower of numerous sports (namely cricket, American football and rugby league), he might even be able to educate the sporty side of you!