H2 Chemistry Syllabus 9729

Syllabus Document & Data Booklet

Curriculum Framework

First-year junior college students reading Higher 2 Chemistry in 2016 will follow the new Syllabus 9729.

There were some changes to the specific learning objectives and the amount of content covered as compared to its predecessor Syllabus 9647, but these were to be expected. The most radical change observed came in the the manner in which content was organised in the new Syllabus 9729.

Before Syllabus 9729 came into being, the content for A Level Chemistry was broadly classified under traditional branches of Chemistry, namely, Physical chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.

Classification of H2 Chemistry Topics in the Previous Syllabus 9647

In the new Syllabus 9729, a completely different framework has been adopted. Content is now organised as two levels, with core ideas (foundational topics) forming the bedrock on which ‘further learning and understanding of chemical phenomena and reactions’, i.e. the extension topics, are built.

Classification of H2 Chemistry Topics in the New Syllabus 9729

I think this new framework is a more appropriate framework for how Chemistry should be taught and studied for the following reasons:
  • It clarifies how foundational concepts in the core ideas of Matter, Structure & Properties andTransformation interconnect, and how they are applied to different chemical systems covered under the extension topics.
  • It is a better reflection of how H2 Chemistry has been assessed in recent years, which saw a trend towards questions which integrate concepts across topics and questions which require candidates to apply concepts to novel situations.
Overarching the core ideas and extension topics are the Practices of Science and Learning Experiences (see detailed descriptions on pages 2 to 4 of the Syllabus 9729 document) that teachers will incorporate into their lessons to inculcate in students, attitudes relevant to the study of natural sciences, i.e. ‘inquisitiveness, concern for accuracy and precision, objectivity, integrity and perseverance’, and ‘an appropriate approach to ethical issues’.

The new curriculum framework is definitely a change in the right direction, and I sincerely hope that it can be effectively executed given the time and resource constraints faced by many teachers.

Scheme of Assessment

All candidates are required to enter for Papers 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Paper Type of Paper Duration Weighting Marks
1 Multiple Choice Questions 1 h 15 % 30
2 Structured Questions 2 h 30 % 75
3 Free Response Questions 2 h 35 % 80
4 Practical 2 h 30 min 20 % 55

Paper 1 (1 h, 30 marks)
This paper consists of 30 compulsory multiple choice questions. Five to eight items will be of the multiple completion type while the rest will be direct multiple choice questions. All questions will include 4 options.

The following is an example of a direct multiple choice question.
The following examples I and II are multiple completion type questions.
Paper 2 (2 h, 75 marks)
This paper consists of a variable number of structured questions including data-based questions. All questions are compulsory and answered on the question paper. The data-based question(s) constitute(s) 20–25 marks for this paper.

The data-based questions are meant to test higher order thinking skills such as handling, applying, and evaluating information. Some questions will also require candidates to integrate knowledge and understanding from different areas and topics of the chemistry syllabus.

Paper 3 (2 h, 80 marks)
This paper consists of two sections:
  • Section A (60 marks) consists of 3 to 4 free response questions, all of which are compulsory. Each question constitutes 15–25 marks.
  • Section B (20 marks) consists 2 questions, each of 20 marks. Candidates are to answer any one question.
These questions will require candidates to integrate knowledge and understanding from different areas and topics of the chemistry syllabus.

Paper 4 (2 h 30 min, 55 marks)
This paper will assess appropriate aspects of objectives C1 to C5 (see page 6 of Syllabus 9729 document) in the following skill areas:
  • Planning (P)
  • Manipulation Measurement and observation (MMO)
  • Presentation of data and observations (PDO)
  • Analysis, conclusions and evaluation (ACE)
The assessment of Planning (P) will have a total weighting of 5% in the scheme of assessment, while the assessment of skill areas MMO, PDO and ACE will have a combined weighting of 15%.

The scope of the practical paper is detailed in the Practical Assessment section of the Syllabus 9729 document (see page 31). The assessment of PDO and ACE may also include questions on data-analysis which do not require practical equipment and apparatus.

Candidates will not be permitted to refer to books and laboratory notebooks during the practical assessment.