HSC Chemistry and Physics Syllabus Dot-Point Notes

The way the HSC is structured is in terms of syllabus dot-points that are easy to read and understand. This helps HSC students because as their HSC trials and final HSC exams approach, the syllabus itself can be a useful study tool.

Structure of the HSC syllabus

For HSC sciences like Chemistry and Physics, the syllabus is a very useful study tool that students should use in preparing for their exams. Exams for these subjects MUST only contain questions that test knowledge within the bounds of the syllabus – that’s how our NSW HSC works.

Each ‘dot-point’ is a requirement for HSC students to understand a certain point, concept or issue. Together, these dot-points form the content of the entire subject. However the beauty of the syllabus is the way it is broken down into separate points, allowing students to study them individually, making sure each dot-point is understood.

Cover ALL the dot-points

Because HSC exams (and school internal exams) must only test knowledge contained within the syllabus, studying all the dot-points is a pretty safe and comprehensive study strategy if done correctly.

It is a good idea for all students to make their own syllabus dot-point summary notes nearing the end of the year in preparation for their exams. This reinforces their knowledge of the dot-points, and highlights areas of weakness in their knowledge. Sometimes, only when you need to write about a certain concept do you realise you don’t quite fully understand the concept.

Understand the connections between dot-points

It is important to note that syllabus dot-points should not be looked at in isolation. Most dot-points are in some way connected to other dot-points. For example, they may be dealing with aspects of a larger concept, topic or issue, or they may describe a larger concept or issue together, therefore they should not be looked at in isolation.

A good example is shown here:

2. Chemical processes in industry require monitoring and management to maximise production

Students learn to:

  • Identify and describe the industrial uses of ammonia
  • Identify that ammonia can be synthesised from its component gases, nitrogen and hydrogen
  • Described that synthesis of ammonia occurs as a reversible reaction that will reach equilibrium
  • Identify the reaction of hydrogen with nitrogen as exothermic
  • Explain why the rate of reaction is increased by higher temperature

The first 5 dot-points of this second section found in Chemical Monitoring and Management all deal with describing ammonia, its basic structure and the chemical reactions that are associated with it. When studying, students need to check that they understand each dot-point individually, as well as the bigger picture these dot-points highlight, in terms of fully understanding the general properties of ammonia.

Experiment dot-points

The syllabus also requires students to conduct “first-hand investigations”, or “gather secondary information” to find out more about a particular topic. Where these dot-points relate to experiments / practicals conducted in your school lab during class, HSC exams can and often do ask questions concerning the major aspects of these experiments / practicals.

Therefore it is highly important to pay attention to what is going on during one of these experiments / practicals.

Of particular relevance to HSC exams, students should always note the following three things:

1. What was the basic procedure followed, including equipment used?
2. What were possible sources of error (if relevant)
3. What were the risks to safety, and what precautionary measures were taken? (e.g. the need for safety goggles, gloves, tongs etc)

For experiments / practicals that are a syllabus requirement, HSC exam questions often ask students to discuss one or more of the points listed above. For example, a common one may be ‘Outline the procedure you followed to demonstrate the production of an ester” or “Account for the use of a fractional distillation column in your procedure to produce an ester.”

Therefore in your study of the syllabus, it is important to not neglect the “first hand investigation” dot-points, as they may very likely come up as a question in your exams!

Prepare Yourself for the PMP Exam

If an athlete prepares himself for a race, he does running exercises for it. A singer practices his voice in order to have a perfect performance. A boxer does punch everyday so that during the match, he’ll achieve the championship. For example, Manny Pacquiao didn’t just wake up to be an instant boxing expert without any preparation for it.

And as a student studies his lessons as he makes himself ready for an exam, so as PMP students. They need to study in order to pass the PMP exam especially that this exam determines their profession and career path. But, how and what you should do in preparing yourself?

I have been with all those unexplainable feelings so I do understand how you feel. But nothing really happens if you just keep on worrying. We need to do something so that when the PMP exam came, we are ready. At least confidence will be found in us, being sure that we will surely pass.

Here are some of the tips in preparing for the PMP exam:

o Pray: To all those who believe in the power of prayer, you better pray! It will surely help you feel at ease and calm as you start studying without thinking too much about what will come out of the exam.

o Resources: With computer in front of you, you could easily search for PMP study guide books. But before picking anything, you should choose a guide book that you could easily understand, useful and is well-informed.

o Questions: There are lots of PMP questions scattered in the internet. Using those questions, test yourself of what you’ve learned about Project Management. Testing yourself is effective in internalizing the lessons you’ve learned. Besides, those lessons will be really useful as you start working as a Project Manager.

o Seminars and Trainings: Try to attend conferences and seminars. Learn from other great and expert Project Managers and their ways in learning Project Management. You many not know, their ideas fit you and will greatly help you in taking the Project Management Exam.

o My Tip: Always think of positive things. Think that you could pass the test. Think that you are able to take the certification that proves you are already a Project Manager. Believe in yourself that you can! Also, hope. Nothing is lost if you are going to hope for the best of yourself.

These tips are just my own experience and understanding. There are still lots of other ways in preparing for the PMP exam. And you can also make your own ways where you feel comfortable with. But whatever preparation we are going to make, we all know that the path to success is quite difficult. For me, you should have faith in God and never lose hope. Do your very best and you will surely see results from all your effort. And as you study, don’t forget to have fun! Being happy on what you are doing leads you to success. Happiness brings many great things and gives you long and peaceful life. Don’t make the exam an obstacle but a challenge. The greater the challenge, the greater the honor it will give you, especially if you have succeeded the challenge. So cheer up and good luck on the PMP exam!