Many SPM candidates have been troubled by the changes made to the exams: from the delay of exam dates to the new SPM format, it's no wonder that students are stressing out over their studies. If you're a current SPM candidate, we're sure you must be feeling overwhelmed, too.

Since SPM 2021 exams are ongoing, we thought it would be timely to talk about one subject that has gone through several changes in its exam format - chemistry. Let's see what the Chemistry SPM 2022 exam is all about.

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How long is the SPM Chemistry paper?

The SPM Chemistry exam is made up of three separate papers, which will be explained in further detail below with examples. How about we take a look at an overview of the papers?

Keep in mind that Chemistry Paper 1 and Paper 2 are written examinations, whereas Chemistry Paper 3 is a practical examination. This means that while you'll have to sit in the exam hall for Paper 1 and Paper 2, just like the rest of the SPM 2022 papers, Paper 3 will be an exam you will carry out in your school's science laboratory.

Separate from the written exam dates, Chemistry Paper 3 will be conducted during one of your regular school days - as if you're carrying out one of your usual science experiments. It is also compulsory that you conduct two experiments that have been assigned to you in the paper.

Furthermore, you'll have to be careful when you answer your SPM Chemistry questions. Some papers will require you to answer all the questions, whereas some will ask you to select the questions you'd like to answer. In Chemistry Paper 1, you should answer all 40 questions. In Chemistry Paper 2, answer all questions in Section A and Section C, but respond to only 1 question in Section B.

Here's a summary of the Chemistry SPM exam:

DetailsChemistry Paper 1 (4541/1)Chemistry Paper 2 (4541/2)Chemistry Paper 3 (4541/3)
Format of paperWritten examWritten examPractical work
Content of paperMultiple-choice questionsSubjective questions (structured/open/closed response)Guided & non-guided questions
Number of questions or assignments40 questionsSection A: 8 questions
Section B: 2 questions
Section C: 1 question
2 practical assignments
Marks assigned40 marks100 marks30 marks
Constructs assessedMemorisation, comprehension, application & analysisMemorisation, comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation & fabricationScientific process skills & manipulative skills
Duration of paper1 hour 15 minutes2 hours 30 minutes1 hour 45 minutes

You probably know that you'll have to read up on both Chemistry Form 4 and 5 in order to successfully answer the SPM Chemistry exam. But do you know the questions that will come out in the SPM Chemistry 2022 papers?

Chemistry SPM Paper 1
You will be presented with 40 multiple-choice questions in SPM Chemistry Paper 1. Select only one answer. Source: pmc.sg

What is Chemistry SPM Paper 1?

As a paper that assesses candidates' knowledge through multiple-choice questions, Chemistry SPM Paper 1 is pretty straightforward. You will have either have to select one out of three choices (A to C) or one out of four choices (A to D) for your answer.

To tackle Paper 1, you will need to do more than just understand what is in your SPM Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5 textbooks. It will help to know what constructs are being tested in the paper. For instance, only 15 out of the 40 questions in Paper 1 test your memory on chemistry knowledge! Question 2 from the Selangor SPM Trial Paper 2021 asks:

What is the meaning of the Avogadro constant? 

Questions like this one assess how well you've memorised the basic concepts in chemistry (the answer, by the way, is the number of particles in one mole of a substance). There are also 15 questions in the paper that will test your comprehension skills in chemistry, such as your understanding of the process of coagulation of latex.

Another 8 questions in your Chemistry Paper 1 will test your ability to apply the knowledge you've learnt from Chemistry. In the same Selangor trial paper, this was Question 1:

A student carries out an experiment to determine the rate of dissolving salt at different sizes. Which of the following apparatus is essential from the experiment? 

If you've successfully applied the knowledge you've gained from Chemistry Form 4 and 5, then you'll know the answer to the question is: B) a stopwatch! The remaining two questions in Chemistry Paper 1 will assess your ability to analyse challenging questions.

How well do you know the format of SPM Chemistry 2022?

Paper 2 SPM Chemistry
There are three sections of questions you will have to answer in SPM Chemistry Paper 2. Source: boardedu.org
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What to write in Chemistry SPM Paper 2?

One of the important study tips to remember for Paper 2 is that all the questions will require you to have both a good memory and an understanding of chemical concepts. This is like saying you cannot identify argon as element T if you don't even know which group T is in when you look at the periodic table of elements. Check out the Johor SPM Trial Paper 2021 to see what we mean.

Other than memorising and understanding chemical concepts, a lot of the questions in Chemistry SPM Paper 2 will assess, once again, your ability to apply your knowledge in chemistry. This is true for Questions 3 to 8 in the paper. As an example, Question 5 in the Johor paper asks candidates to calculate the heat change for the reaction between sodium hydrogen carbonate and hydrochloric acid.

If you already know the formula for calculating heat change, then that's great! But make sure you also know how to apply the equation. When you make it to Section B (or Questions 9 and 10), be sure to answer only one question. The two questions in this section are usually from different chapters in SPM Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5.

Therefore, students sitting for Chemistry SPM sometimes focus their ability to write long answers by practising with either only Form 4 or Form 5 Chemistry. This may be smart if you only have to answer Section B, but remember that you also have Section C to answer - it comprises one compulsory essay question.

This essay question may be either a topic from Chemistry Form 4 or Form 5. The Johor paper, for example, tested candidates on redox reactions. Candidates were asked to define the meaning of a redox reaction, identify the negative and positive terminals of a provided cell, and compare the products formed at each anode.

You will really need to put on your thinking cap for this one: the last sub-question in Question 11 asked students to suggest a way to solve their friend's rusty doorknob by applying the concept of electrolysis. Remember that Chemistry SPM Paper 2 also assesses students' ability to make evaluations and fabricate products from chemical components.

At the back of Paper 2, you will find a page that displays the periodic table of elements. Would you also like to know the marking for SPM Chemistry 2022?

Paper 3 for SPM Chemistry
You get to carry out experiments for Paper 3, such as the rusting of iron nails. Source: berryberryeasy.com

How to answer Chemistry SPM Paper 3?

SPM Chemistry Paper 3 is something that you can look forward to, especially if you enjoy conducting experiments that challenge your ability to handle and manipulate chemicals (safely, of course!). As mentioned earlier, Paper 3 will not be carried out in the exam hall, but in the comfort of your science lab. Your teachers or other academic staff from your school are usually the invigilators for this paper.

You will be given 15 minutes beforehand to check if you have all your materials and apparatus. A list will be provided to you that shows you the materials and apparatus you'll need for the two experiments in the paper. If you find that there are missing materials or apparatus, feel free to reach out to the laboratory assistant!

Answer one guided experiment. A guided experiment in Chemistry SPM Paper 3 means an experiment in which the instructions have been laid out for you. In the Melaka SPM Trial Paper 2021, candidates were asked to study the movement of substances across a Visking tubing. The experimental procedure was written in detail for candidates to follow.

Answer one non-guided experiment. Unlike the guided experiment, you will have to carry this one out without any proper instructions. In the same Melaka paper, candidates had to investigate the relationship between the length of a constantan wire and the current in a circuit. Although candidates were given the details for the materials and apparatus, there was no experimental procedure given.

This means that for the non-guided experiment, students will have to draw upon their previous knowledge of learnt experiments from their Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5 classes, in order to know the kind of experiment that needs to be carried out.

How about a guide to tackle SPM Chemistry 2022?

Can I improve my SPM Chemistry Form 4 and 5?

Apart from practising with trial papers, it is important to take breaks from studying and make time for adequate rest. You can't answer your exam questions if your mind and body are not up to the challenge!

For some study support, you can also head on over to the Superprof Private Tutors page. There are over 300 tutors offering lessons in Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5 if you'd like to refresh your knowledge before sitting for SPM 2022. You can also join classes that focus solely on how to answer the chemistry papers.

Maybe you really need extra support for understanding difficult chemical concepts. That's quite all right - Superprof is also providing one-on-one lessons if you'd like your tutor to focus on teaching you instead of taking lessons with a larger group of students. You can sign up with Superprof for free to let your tutor know what you are looking for in your lessons.

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Ayleah

One part counsellor-to-be, one part food lover - Ayleah simplifies even the most complex ideas to make all things learning accessible to everyone. Read about interesting topics in Malaysia from a psychology student's perspective!