Common Mistakes in IB Chemistry HL & SL Examination & How to avoid them?

Common Mistakes in IB Chemistry Examination. IB Elite Tutor has worked hard with its team of IB Chemistry Tutors to identify the common mistakes students can make while writing their IB Chemistry examination, whether HL or SL. You can read this post to reward the toil and also to know how you can avoid them.

Common mistakes while writing IB Chemistry HL and SL exams and How to avoid them

  • IB is an international educational program spread over a large part of the globe. For over 50 years, IB has provided a solid and flexible platform for all students globally.
  • IB has managed to continue its legacy even today without compromising its excellence.
  • Higher level(HL) and Standard level (SL) are two core branches of the IB Diploma. IB diploma is a two-year program catered for students aged 16-19 years old.
  • HL and SL exams are both intense exams that demand strenuous work. HL courses enable students to go deep into the concepts, thus providing more practical and realistic applications.
  • At the same time, SL is considered to be easier as it covers the primary curriculum. HL requires at least 240 hours of study, and SL indicates 150 hours.
  • There are three components in IB Chemistry HL and SL exams (Paper 1, 2, and 3). HL and SL carry 80% weightage, which is a considerable number. However, 20 % goes on Internal Assessment (IA)
  • IB Chemistry HL and SL exams are one such arduous task that shakes most students. Especially when it comes to IB chemistry HL and SL exams, it has been a challenging subject even for good learners.
  • This is the reason many students end up making minute mistakes.

Suggestions to Avoid common mistakes in IB Chemistry Examination 

Our IB Chemistry Tuitionproviders have worked hard to identify common mistakes in IB Chemistry Examination. Here we have mentioned a few of them. Students can read about them and avoid them.


  1. This is a common mistake in most students. As we know, chemistry is an experimental science and thus requires point wise explanation of each process.
  2. But here, students forget to write the working chemical reaction, or they miss out few steps. The chemical formula describes the chemical formation of an element or a compound.
  3. So, it is essential to show the working of chemical reactions as it also carries additional marks. To avoid such mistakes, Firstly, students can use the periodic table.
  4. Acquainting themselves with the periodic table gives a clear picture of chemical symbols. It will also help them to remember the tricky symbols.
  5. Secondly, they must emphasis more on patterns more. Just like grammatical rules, chemical formulae follow some rules and patterns. Understanding those patterns make it easy for students to remember.

Writing Improper Units is among the most Commmon Mistakes in IB Chemistry Examination

  • measuring properties of matter consists of numbers and units. Numbers denote “how many”, and units describe measurements. Consequently, it is necessary to include numbers and units to express quantity.
  • Unfortunately, many students tend to forget or write incorrect units during exams. This happens primarily due to a lack of concentration and time management.
  • In such situations, students must start mugging up all the units from the very beginning. It would be more appropriate if they practised such questions before the exam.
  • Hence, they will get familiar with units and numbers. Most importantly, students must manage time during exams, as we all make mistakes due to lack of time.


  • Many learners forget to show the lone pair of electrons, draw the molecule’s structure and not explain it.
  • These are one of the blunder mistakes a student commits during the exam. 
  • To tackle this issue, learners should focus on explaining each answer carefully. Each answer should provide complete Fledged information about the formation.
  • For this, daily practice is critical. Students must structure proper answers for each question.


  1. As we know that IUPAC nomenclature is a method of naming organic compounds. It mainly consists of word root, primary suffix, and prefix.
  2. Thus making it a little more complicated. Hence, many students make mistakes while using a suffix, for instance, the – al suffix instead of –ol. Sometimes, they also make errors in finding the alkyl group.
  3. These often occur due to a lack of practice. In this case, students must acquaint themselves with all three parts of IUPAC nomenclature.
  4. Students could achieve it only through consistent practice. Students must learn to write down confusing names and suffixes. 
  5. Most importantly, It would be rewarding if they tried to recognize the functional groups in a compound. Thus helping them to determine the suffix. 
  6. Counting carbon atoms in the chain, the numbers will assist in finding out the prefix.Last but not least, combining the elements of a name into a single word.


  1. learning chemical equations is a daunting task as it is a symbolic representation of chemical reactions that represents the reactants, products, ratios, and their states.
  2. Therefore, most students tend to make silly errors while writing equations. Thus paving the way to mark deduction.
  3. To achieve full marks on equations, students must ensure correct species as it is a proven method to memorize tricky equations. For example: Acid + base – salt + liquid.
  4. After that, learners must note the states of these species. Moreover, practising chemical equations daily is very important. 

Scientific diagrams have always been a tough row to hoe while drawing lab experiments. In this matter, a handful of students make lots of mistakes. Diagrams, charts, or graphs must be well labelled, neat and tidy. Most importantly, it is one of the easiest ways to score well during the exam. Every student should practice drawing diagrams before the final IB exam to avoid minute mistakes. It will be more advantageous if we underline or highlight labels. Make sure to draw and label with a pencil.

  • As mentioned above, chemistry is an experimental science and thus carries numerical questions.
  • One mark is assigned for writing formulas and numerical values during the exam.
  • Sadly, Students tend to make mistakes in these areas. It usually takes place due to confusion in formulae and time shortages.
  • In this case, students must memorize all the formulae in detail. Moreover, get acquainted with basic concepts and common ways to solve questions. Specifically, read and understand the questions correctly. 
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