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Suggested Strategy for Chemistry

Paper 1

Paper 1 of Chemistry has two major branches: Physical Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry. These two branches are simple as well as scoring. The syllabus does not clearly define Section A and Section B in Paper 1. However, in the main examination question paper Section A invariably contains three questions including compulsory from Physical Chemistry. There is usually one question from Inorganic Chemistry.

The first two topics, Atomic Structure and Chemical Bonding, are conceptual and should be prepared from standard sources. Even though these portions can give you direct questions as well, their importance will be felt in many other sections of the course.

In Solid State Chemistry, you need to prepare separately for numerical and theoretical problems. Gaseous State is a newly added section in Paper 1 and the best thing about this section is that it has a simple mathematical base. Prepare it adequately from a good book and it is bound to be rewarding.

In Thermodynamics, be careful to maintain an orientation of Chemistry. There is a common tendency among engineers to treat the questions too mathematically. But in Chemistry, you have to treat heat change along with chemical change. For a good score, your derivations must be standard, i.e. as covered in books like S Glasstone's. You can be somewhat selective in Thermodynamics section, based on past trends. Statistical Thermodynamics is a newly-added part, and it is quite scoring. The section on Phase Equilibria needs good writing practice besides command over numerical problems. The emphasis in electrochemistry should be on numerical problems, as they are relatively easy and make the paper scoring.

Chemical Kinetics and Photochemistry are, once again, predominantly numerical-based areas. So practice will be the key to handle these sections well. Photochemistry is especially important; it has been giving numerical problems of at least 30 marks every year.

Coordination chemistry is a large topic, covering nearly two full-length questions. Students are advised to cover this section thoroughly. The topic of Bio-Inorganic Chemistry requires some good material collection. Bob Buchanan's book on Plant Molecular Biology and Biochemistry will be a useful source.

Rest of the topics in Paper 1 should be covered selectively, provided you have covered the preceding parts well.

Paper 2

Paper 2 comprises completely of Organic Chemistry. In the new scheme of the syllabus, it's a highly scoring paper due to several factors: mathematical orientation, straight factual queries, objective nature of most of the question, no dearth of quality material and emphasis on reaction mechanisms.

The student, while preparing for Paper 2, is required to keep the following things in mind:
  • Your approach has to be simple, standard and to the point;
  • you require to practice the numerical problems rigorously and you must have a clear knowledge of reaction mechanisms, as the questions are increasingly being asked straight and factual.
  • In Pericyclic Reaction section, a greater emphasis has to be on diagrams rather than on theoretical explanation and practice name reactions thoroughly from standard sources.
  • The orientation of orbitals and molecular orbital diagrams are necessary.
  • In re-agent section also, your approach has to be completely factual.