What Should I Revise From Year 11 Chemistry?

Knowing everything is beneficial, but not essential

    Your chemistry teacher may have told you that everything in Year 11 Chemistry is important for HSC Chemistry. 

    Unfortunately, that's not true. In this HSC Science blog post, you will find out why and more importantly, what specific topics you should revise before Year 12 commences. 

    What should I revise?

    Module 1 – Properties and Structure of Matter

    The first module of the new HSC Chemistry syllabus contains a lot of fundamental and important concepts - most of which are actually pre-requisite knowledge for Year 12 Chemistry.

    Figure: brief overview of the four different types of chemical bonding and interactions explored in Year 11 HSC Chemistry course. Image credit: Encyclopedia Britannica

    Key concepts:

    • Naming nomenclature of inorganic substances using IUPAC conventions. This includes understanding the use of valency in naming ionic compounds.
    • Basic structure of the Periodic Table and being able to interpret valuable information from it including atomic number, mass number, electronegativity, ionisation energy and atomic/ionic radii. 
    • Different types of chemical bonds, intermolecular forces, compounds and their physical properties. You will need to have a strong understanding of this topic in HSC Chemistry. 

    Module 2 – Introduction to Quantitative Chemistry

    In our opinion, this is the most important module in Year 11 as quantitative chemistry makes up 30-40% of the HSC Chemistry syllabus. 

    In Module 5: Equilibrium and Acid Reactions, calculations can make up 50%. 

    If you have struggled with calculations in Year 11, we highly recommend you spending some time strengthening your understanding of quantitative chemistry.

    Key concepts:

    • Calculation of mass, molar mass, moles, concentration, volume of chemical species in solid, liquid and/or aqueous states. Formulae include:
    `n = m/M`
    `n = c \times V`
    • Calculation of mole, volume, pressure and temperature of gases. Ideal gas equation:

    `PV = nRT`

    Module 3 – Reactive Chemistry

    In this module, students learn about different types of reactions, most of which will be taught in more detail in HSC Chemistry. Therefore, it is important to revise these reactions.

    Combustion of methane

    Figure: complete combustion of methane to form carbon dioxide and water.

    Key concepts:

    • Writing balanced chemical equations. This is perhaps one of the most important skills you will need in HSC Chemistry. 


    • Different types of reactions including but not limited to: 
      • combustion
      • acid-base reactions
      • precipitation

    You should be able to recognise and construct balanced equations for these reactions.


    • Concepts regarding catalysts, reaction rate, activation energy and most importantly: collision theory.
    You will be applying the collision theory in Module 5: Equilibrium and Acid Reactions.

    Module 4 – Drivers of Reactions

    This module is often neglected and sometimes even skipped all together by teachers due to the lack of time in Year 11. 

    Unfortunately, there are several key concepts in this module you will need to understand in order to excel in HSC Chemistry. 

    Key concepts:

    • Concept of enthalpy and its relation to endothermic and exothermic reactions. 

    This is quite an important and broad topic you need to absolutely revise before Module 5: Equilibrium and Acid Reactions. You should revise the following sub-topics:

      • Bond formation and breaking
      • Enthalpy of combustion reactions
      • Enthalpy of dissociation of ionic substances in aqueous solution

    Energy Profile

    Figure: energy profile of an exothermic reaction.

    • Energy profile diagrams of reactions.
    • Concept of entropy and its difference from enthalpy.
    • Concept of Gibbs free energy and its relation to enthalpy, entropy and more important the spontaneity of a chemical reaction and the equation:
    `DeltaG=DeltaH - TDeltaS`


      You can find out what topics are less important in the Preliminary HSC Chemistry syllabus here.

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