"Technically, chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study of change."

If you're familiar with Walter White from the hit series Breaking Bad, then you'll know the lengths that humanity will go to in order to survive. While the drama centres on drugs and crime, it nonetheless gives us a glimpse into the power of chemistry: put two and two together and you get the perfect reaction.

When it comes to SPM Chemistry, everything you've learnt comes down to how well you perform in the examination. Although you cannot guarantee the perfect reaction, it is guaranteed that you can perform well if you know how to answer the exam questions. That being said, let's dive into the marking scheme for SPM Chemistry 2022, which will focus on how to answer Chemistry SPM Paper 2 and Paper 3.

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What is the grading system of Chemistry SPM 2022?

Do you know how your chemistry papers are marked? 

Knowing how your answers are marked is the first key to getting the correct answers. It is necessary that you construct your answers carefully because examiners are always looking for the essential keywords in your writing, and this is especially true for Chemistry SPM Paper 2 and Paper 3. Read the table below for a summary of the grading system for SPM 2022 Chemistry.

Details of paperPaper 1 (4541/1)Paper 2 (4541/2)Paper 3 (4541/3)
Type of assessmentObjective questionsStructured questions and essayPractical assessment
Allocated marks40 questions: 40 marksSection A: 60 marks
Section B: 20 marks
Section C: 20 marks
Question 1: 15 marks
Question 2: 15 marks
Total marks40 marks100 marks30 marks
Exam duration1 hour 15 minutes2 hours 30 minutes1 hour 45 minutes
Level of difficulty5:3:2
Low: Moderate: High

What if you could get a tutor to guide you through the chemical formulae equations? You don't have to look far because Superprof has a comprehensive list of qualified tutors from all around Malaysia! With over 300 tutors teaching SPM Chemistry, you can select a chemistry tutor of your choice.

Face-to-face or online - the choice is also yours. You can find chemistry tutors in your area or even those from around Malaysia if you're comfortable with online learning on Superprof. At the same time, you can learn with others who are sitting for SPM 2022, just like yourself. If you sign up with Superprof now, you can get your first class for free. What are you waiting for? 

You can even check out our complete guide to SPM Chemistry 2022.

Chemistry Form 4 and 5 tutor
Learn about SPM Chemistry with Superprof tutors in your area. There are over 300 chemistry tutors to choose from on Superprof. Source: a1hometuition.com

How to score in SPM Chemistry Paper 2?

Examiners often look for specific keywords in candidates' answers for Paper 2. If you've practised with SPM Trial Papers 2021 or reviewed mock questions with your chemistry teacher, then you're likely on the right path to answering the exam questions correctly.

Let's take a look at some examples. Question 2 of the Terengganu SPM Trial Paper 2021, for instance, shows part of the periodic table of elements. Question 2(d) states:

The atomic size of E is smaller than the atomic size of D. Explain.

This question is worth two marks, so it makes sense to write two sentences. According to the marking scheme, the correct answer is: "The number of protons of atom E is more than atom D. The attraction force of the nucleus towards the electrons of atom E is stronger."

Among the keywords in this answer are "number of protons" and "attraction force". Sometimes, different keywords can be used. For instance, the term "number of protons" can be exchanged with "positive charge of the nucleus". However, specific and non-exchangeable keywords like "attraction force" should be maintained, which you can obtain from your Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5 textbooks.

You can easily lose your marks if you miss these important keywords. As an example, you could lose one mark if you left out the word "number" and wrote, "The protons of atom E is more than atom D" instead. Be sure to give specific answers to the questions in Paper 2. There are also other tips for the SPM 2022 Chemistry examinations.

However, there are questions that will require you to provide just simple, straightforward answers. You wouldn't have to write a lengthy answer if the question starts with "State..." or "Write..." because these types of questions often just test your memory or understanding of basic chemical concepts. Question 2(c) of the Terengganu paper, which is worth one mark, says:

Write the basic electron arrangement for atom B. 

If you've looked at the periodic table of elements, then you'll know atom B represents oxygen. To answer this question correctly, all you have to do is state its basic electron arrangement, which is 2.6. It is not necessary that you write something like, "Atom B is oxygen. Hence, its basic electron arrangement...". Keep it short and sweet in your Chemistry SPM Paper 2.

Writing for SPM Chemistry exam
Use the correct keywords and terms in your SPM Chemistry Paper 2. This is important so that you can obtain marks according to the marking scheme. Source: eduspiral.com

What are the assessments in SPM Chemistry Paper 3?

Here's where things get a little trickier. Since SPM Chemistry Paper 3 is a practical assessment, everyone is bound to have different answers! Fear not - there is still a marking scheme you can adhere to even if your classmates produce different answers from yours during the experiments.

We can take the Negeri Sembilan MPSM SPM Trial Paper 2021 as a reference for Chemistry SPM Paper 3. Question 1 shows the apparatus set-up for an experiment to determine the voltage of a voltaic cell. When you flip to the next page, you'll see that you have to record the voltmeter readings in a table.

What else can you find in the past year papers for SPM Chemistry 2022?

Realistically, not everyone will have the same voltmeter readings for each pair of metals. However, the marking scheme mandates that candidates' answers must have one decimal point (e.g. 2.4 V). Although this is a basic concept taught in your Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5 syllabus, it is crucial to remember it if you want to keep your marks! Putting "2V" instead of "2.0V", for instance, will cost you one mark.

Very often, you will also come across questions in Paper 3 that ask you to state the variables for the experiment. These refer to the manipulated variable, responding variable, and fixed variable. Question 1(c) in the Negeri Sembilan MPSM paper asks candidates to state the variables for the voltaic cell experiment.

In the marking scheme, examiners are looking for either "different pairs of metals" or "pair of metals Zn/Cu, Mg/Cu, Fe/Cu" as the correct answer for the manipulated variable. So, if you chose to just state the names of the metals without mentioning them as "pairs", you may not be able to obtain that one point. Not to worry though - with the right study tips and lots of practice, you'll get it right.

Chemistry SPM teacher
You don't have to face chemical concepts on your own. Sometimes it helps to talk to your chemistry teacher about challenging topics in the subject. Source: studentfutures.org

Are there study tips for Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5?

Although there's a lot more to the marking scheme for Chemistry SPM than just chemical formulae equations, you can score well if you stick to these essential study tips for any student sitting for SPM 2022.

The new format for SPM Chemistry 2022 is also available.

Memorise, memorise, memorise

SPM Chemistry is a subject that requires a lot of memorisation. Definitions, meanings, formulas, concepts... you will have to plant these in your memory in order to ace the examination! However, this doesn't mean poring over your textbook over and over again - use mind maps, flashcards, or other helpful tools to exercise your brain. These will assist you in remembering important concepts better than if you were to read aloud each page of the textbook every day!

Master each chapter

All the chapters in Chemistry Form 4 and Form 5 are interconnected - to move onto new concepts, you will have to master old concepts first. A useful tip is to make sure you (really) understand each chapter before moving on to the next one: you cannot move on to the Redox Equilibrium chapter in Chemistry Form 5 if you haven't mastered Rate of Reaction in Form 4. Also, get some reference books to prepare for the practical assessments in Paper 3 as the experiments in the textbooks are limited.

Make use of technology

It is easy to get bored from reading your chemistry books or practising with past year papers. Grasp the era of creativity and innovation and seek out resources that will make learning chemistry more exciting! Check out YouTube channels like Sick Science! for chemistry experiments and Veritasium for a breakdown of everything chemistry. You can even download smartphone apps like Khan Academy to boost your memory of chemical concepts.

Meet your teacher

Finally, if you find it challenging to understand concepts in chemistry or need some support in general, reach out to your subject teacher. You can look for your chemistry teacher after each lesson or after schooling hours to ask them about the subject or talk about your progress. Although you can also ask your friends for help, sometimes it is wise to directly ask someone who is knowledgeable about the subject. You can make sure you are getting the correct information.

All the best for SPM Chemistry 2022!

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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!