Chemistry - Bad reaction to PPAs

7th January 2011 at 00:00

Higher chemistry candidates' responses to practical test questions (or PPAs) were "very poorly done" last year, suggesting some of them had "no experience" of various experiments.

The assessors commented: "In some centres, the benefits of effective teaching and learning with respect to PPAs were clearly evident, with large numbers of candidates producing very sharply focused answers; in other centres, however, many answers still suggest that the candidates have absolutely no experience of the PPA."

Schools were also advised to do more to prepare Higher pupils for problem- solving questions and those which required more detailed explanations. Candidates could also improve their grade through "more attention to the rote-learning of the chemical knowledge on the course".

Intermediate 2 candidates also lost marks when tackling PPA questions by failing to provide sufficient detail: for example, in Question 5 (a) they should have answered that the catalyst was heated first, followed by the mineral wool.

Pupils were also reminded of the need to use their calculators correctly, especially if brackets were involved.

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