How to get 800 on SAT II Chemistry?

1. TEAR OUT THE PERIODIC TABLE. Yes, you read correctly, tear that thing out straight away, it’ll save you up to 5 precious minutes of time and reduce the possibility of confusion. There is always a 1-2 minute delay between when the supervisor tells you to turn the page to the beginning of the exam and when you actually start the test (this is so that everyone has gotten to the right page; if you’ve taken collegeboard tests before you should be aware of this). During that time period *BEGIN* (don’t do it completely or else you’ll see the next page==if you’re caught then you might be wrongly accused of cheating) tearing out the table.

Note:The periodic table is on the back of the instruction page, in case you didn’t know.

2. Before beginning the test, draw on your table those “arrows” that you learned in chemistry. Draw the arrows showing trends such as electronegativity, molecule size, ionization energy etc. and remember to note that the noble gases are usually exceptions to these trends.

3. In the exam you always have like 3-5 questions and an answer bank of 5-7 (around that number) of solutions. USUALLY you will not use an answer choice more than once, so if you find yourself choosing the same answer for two questions double check that you’re 100% certain. If you’re not so sure about one of the two questions then there is a good chance that it is incorrect.

Note: This is a theory of mine an not necessarily true in all cases, but has stopped me from making mistakes many times. Also, this is true most often when you have 3 questions and works less often when there are 5 questions.

4. If you get to a question where there are two possible answers, choose the less controversial answer (the ‘best answer’). For example:
Which of the following is found in nature as an element? Answer choices: Au, Fe…etc.)

There are two possibilities were iron and gold. But, which one is the better answer? Fe is more reactive and is usually found in compounds so Au was the right answer. On such questions go with your gut feeling and don’t double question yourself. Your instinct is usually right.

5. Aim to get all the questions right. Chem’s curve is not really generous and if you start telling yourself subconsciously that you can get a couple wrong and still get 800 then you will probably make more mistakes. Remember, only those that miss between 0-4 (sometimes 3) RAW marks or 0-3 questions (sometimes 2) get 800s. Thats not a lot of leeway if you ask me, especially if you compare it to physics (-11 questions=800).


True/False section

If you know one of the statements is definitely true but you have no clue about the other statement there are a few ways to increase your chances of getting it right.

1. If you think KNOW that if the second statement, if true, will justify the first statement (T,T CE), then it is most likely that the answer is T T CE. However, if you know the second statement if true, will NOT justify the first statement (T T) then it is more likely that the second statement is false (T F). This works really well on the hard questions which you have no clue about.

2. If you cannot apply tip 1 to the question, there is still some hope. Statistically, if you only know the first statement is definitely true but you have absolutely no clue about the second statement validity and/or you don’t even understand what its stating (it happens sometimes ) then you’ll have a greater chance of getting the answer correct if you choose (T,F).

There is a simple explanation:

So if first one is definitely true then probability of (T,F) is 50%, (T,T) is 25% and (T,T CE) is 25%.

3. You’ll usually have at least 2 (T,T CE) answers in any given test. If you have 0 or 5 then something is most likely wrong.


Somethings you should learn that you might not have already learned in your chemistry class.

1. Water pressure must be subtracted when measuring pressure of a gas collected over water. (Water has a specific pressure per cm^3, look it up!)

2. Learn how to use millimeters of mercury and torr to measure pressure. Just knowing “atmospheres” (e.g. 1 atm) is not enough.

3. Memorize absolute zero (-273 C)

4. Learn solubility product

5. MEMORIZE tests for different chemicals. Very important to know these

6. Memorize the list of strong acids and strong bases. Also, learn about acids with multiple H+ ions (e.g. di protic). Nomenclature of acids is sometimes a question so learn the prefixes and suffixes (e.g. hypo-, -ous, -ic etc.).

7. Learn how to balance redox reactions. This is much more difficult than simple stoichiometry. Its a good idea to memorize the balanced redox reactions which include molecules of Cr and Mn because they’re used very often on the tests.

8. Memorize the nomenclature of the relevant organic chemistry (e.g. ethers, propan-1-ol, etc.)