Chemistry - Challenge between A and C

12th June 2009 at 01:00

Teachers and candidates in her school thought this year's Higher paper was fair and accessible, said Fiona Gallagher, principal teacher of chemistry at Bishopbriggs Academy in East Dunbartonshire.

As expected, the paper contained a few challenging questions to distinguish between the A and C students: the double electrolysis question looked unfamiliar but was based on one of the eight PPA (prescribed practical abilities) experiments pupils have to do in the course of the year; and the question on spectroscopy, although again unfamiliar, still gave candidates enough information to be able to answer it.

Mrs Gallagher liked the question on enthalpy combustion because it brought in the calculation element from their PPA work, but also tested candidates' knowledge on the bomb calorimeter.

The Advanced Higher multiple-choice paper contained more questions on aromatic chemistry than she expected, while the written paper contained a "strange" Born-Haber question - strange in the way it was laid out.

The two PPA-based questions contained a lot of single marks which would have helped candidates score well, she said.

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