Chemistry is one of those science subjects students tend to either love or hate.
For some students, chemistry is little more than a series of numbers and letters they have to memorise plus a whole heap of methods, formulae and jargon — compounds, resonance, derivative, synthesis, catalysis, NaHCO3, C6H12O6 ... enough already!
For other students, the excitement of exploration and investigation had them hooked from day one — or maybe it was when you first got to play with a bunsen burner in Year 7 ... or when your teacher in primary school, Mr Williams, accidentally mixed two random liquids together and made an explosion that set the fire alarm off ... whatever. You love chemistry.
Chances are, if you are in your final years of high school education and enrolled in VCE chemistry, you are in the latter group. You are possibly also interested in continuing on to university to pursue chemistry studies in some form.
However, a high level of interest and passion does not mean you are immune to struggling from time to time with certain concepts. If you start feeling like you're falling behind, or overwhelmed, at any stage, we recommend you seek help and support sooner rather than later. Private or small group tuition is a good way to go.
Even if you're travelling okay with your studies, you may find it useful to engage a tutor for a period of time. Tutoring can help you put theory into practice and consolidate the concepts you've been learning in your lessons.
For those of you who are not yet in Year 11 or Year 12 — whether you're still in Years 9 or 10, or even in primary school — you may be contemplating what subjects to do when you reach senior high school and have to choose your VCE subjects. Maybe you've enjoyed chemistry but are not sure if you'll cope with the VCE chemistry syllabus? Perhaps you still want to study chemistry even though you don't 'need' it, but you're concerned you may bomb out and lower your VCE and ATAR rankings in the process?
If you have questions about VCE chemistry or about whether or not you can access quality chemistry tutoring in Melbourne, Superprof has the answers you need to hear.
What is Covered in the VCE Chemistry Syllabus?
The aim of the VCE chemistry syllabus is to give students in Years 11 and 12 a solid grounding in chemical, biochemical and geophysical phenomena through the exploration of chemicals and chemical processes.
There is a heavy focus on inquiry learning, allowing students to develop specialist science skills and make links between theory, knowledge and practice. Inquiry methods include:
- laboratory experimentation
- site tours and fieldwork
- remote and global data-logging
- simulations and animations
- literature reviews.
The syllabus consists of four units over two years with each unit consisting of 50 hours of class-based lesson time. Assessment is via a combination of coursework, determined by each school, and an end-of-year exam comprising sixty per cent of the mark.
The four units focus on the following general themes:
- Unit 1 — How can the diversity of materials be explained?
- Unit 2 — What makes water such a unique chemical?
- Unit 3 — How can chemical processes be designed to optimise efficiency?
- Unit 4 — How are organic compounds categorised, analysed and used?
Unit content is determined by the Victorian Department of Education but is closely aligned to the Australian Curriculum.
How Should You Prepare for the VCE Chemistry Exam?
The total time allowed for the exam is 15 minutes of reading time, then 2 hours and 30 minutes of writing time.
With this in mind, your first focus when preparing should be on time management. Past student, Bryce Robinson went on to achieve a perfect score in the 2013 VCE chemistry exam. His best advice when it comes to time management is to figure out which exam strategies or methods work best for you, devise a time management plan well before the exam and, on exam day, stick to it.
Bryce shares three other great tips when it comes to preparing for your exam. (Note: These tips don't just apply to chemistry. They will work for maths, English, biology, physics or whatever other subjects you study.)
Tip #1: Practise
Do every practice exam you can find. There is no such thing as too much practice and experience if you want to achieve great results.
Tip #2: Experience the power of group study
Find a small group of students you work well with. Meet for a couple of hours each week and work through questions together, share strategies and methods for the best way to approach questions, quiz each other, recommend great study techniques and mnemonics — there's no end to what you can achieve together.
Tip #3: Variety is key
There are a zillion different study and learning methods out there and while not all of them will work for you, neither will sticking to only one or two of your favourite methods. Full exposure to the course content requires you to experience it via different methods — kinesthetic, auditory, spatial ... Changing your learning and study methods every now and then will kick your brain into gear and you may see concepts in a new light.
Following Bryce's tips will certainly see you in good stead during semester time and in the lead up to exams. However, if you need more extrinsic motivation, this is where hiring a chemistry tutor will bring definite advantages.
A great tutor with exceptional tutoring experience can not only help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge and achieve higher grades as you progress through your studies, but they also have extensive experience in exam and study methods and techniques. It's money and time well spent if you're looking to achieve your best possible score.
Where can I Find a Good Chemistry Tutor in Melbourne?
Whatever the reason you've decided to engage a chemistry tutor — whether it's to help you make it through your lessons, to fill a few knowledge gaps, for extension or further practical experience or in the immediate lead up to exams to get those final pointers — Melbourne (or anywhere in Vic if you have the capacity to use an online tutoring service) is a great place to find yourself in because you're spoilt for choice.
This private tutoring agency, with a branch in Melbourne, is ideal because its key focus is VCE subjects. The best thing about the tutors at Evolutionary Tutors is that they are all recent VCE graduates who achieved exceptional VCE results in their subject or subjects. So, not only are you getting a tutor who is a specialist in their field, but also a tutor who has recent exam experience, putting them in a better position to work with you on study methods and exam techniques.
Evolutionary Tutors offers private tutoring for Year 11 and Year 12 VCE students either online or in person. Apart from chemistry, they also have tutors for English, maths, biology, physics, business, PE and psychology.
For students looking for reliable, high quality and affordable tuition online in the comfort of their homes, face-to-face or in small group settings (either online or in-person), Superprof has a tutor for you. Currently, there are 43 specialist chemistry tutors on the Superprof platform who are based in or around Melbourne. With an average rate of $33 per hour, you can't do better than that.
Superprof tutors each have a profile where they list their credentials, experience and testimonials from recent students, so you can check them out thoroughly beforehand. Don't despair, though, if you are outside Melbourne, or if you find your ideal tutor, but she lives in Perth — almost all of Superprof's tutors work online as well as having an in-person option.
James Kennedy is a qualified teacher with extensive experience teaching in high school and university as well as tutoring. He is a specialist VCE chemistry and VCE physics tutor (and also tutors Years 9 and 10 science), who runs a chemistry study group on Saturdays and offers private, in-person tutoring at times that are negotiable.
As a qualified teacher, James' hourly rate is considerably higher, however, his fees include his travel time to your home, homework, access to all required materials and 24/7 chemistry support via email or phone. Oh — and the tuition. As an added bonus, students can access his website where he houses YouTube clips explaining different concepts and a study tools blog.
Of course, this article is only scratching the surface of the vast range of chemistry tutoring in Melbourne that is available not only for VCE students but for any students from primary school through high school and university, as well as adult learners.
To finish off:
I wanted to tell you a chemistry joke but all the good ones argon.