The Difference Between H1 And H2 Chemistry

The Difference Between H1 And H2 Chemistry

JC chemistry students reading questions on a test

“Should I pursue chemistry in JC and do I select H1, H2 or H3 Chemistry?”

“How does H1 and H2 chemistry compare to what I am learning for ‘O’ Levels?”

“Does taking H2 or H3 Chemistry improve my chances of entering University?”

These are among the most frequently asked questions by prospective secondary school students. Intuitively we probably recognise that Junior College (JC) Chemistry will teach more advance concepts than what has been taught in secondary school.

Yet, there is so much more that students are unclear about. In this article, we take a look at the differences between H1 and H2 chemistry. This is not only done from a syllabus or assessment perspective, but also in terms of future prospects.

An Introduction to H1 & H2 Chemistry

For starters, in both H1 and H2 Chemistry, you can expect a wider range of topics and deeper exploration of content relative to ‘O’ Level Chemistry. Furthermore, the emphasis of the syllabus shifts, from factual material to application of scientific principles. As such, experimental work becomes a big component of its content.

To do well at either H1 or H2 levels, students will need to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge
  • Ability to apply science inquiry skills
chemistry teacher showing an experiment to students

Comparing H1 & H2 Chemistry Syllabus

H1 Chemistry covers significantly less content as compared to its H2 counterpart. This applies to both the range of topics as well as the individual depth of each. Examples of differences in syllabus are as follows:

  • In H2 Chemistry, you will learn about Solubility Equilibria, Electrochemistry and Transition Elements. However, H1 Chemistry skips these entirely.
  • Both H1 & H2 Chemistry teaches you about Chemical Energetics, Reaction Kinetics and Chemical Equilibria. However, the depth of content in H1 for these topics is noticeably less.

It should also be noted that there is no lab work and thus no SPA exam for H1 students. In contrast, H2 students have frequent practical sessions throughout their school calendar year.

Comparing H1 & H2 Assessment Format

As covered before, H2 Chemistry includes a practical exam while H1 Chemistry omits this assessment. In addition, the number of papers as well as the weightage of question types differs as well.

difference between h1 and h2 chemistry weightage

Comparing H1 & H2 Assessment Objectives

In addition to the differences in assessment formats, the purposes behind H1 and H2 Chemistry differ as well. This is reflected in the differences in assessment objectives.

difference between h1 and h2 chemistry assessment objectives

What about H3 Chemistry

two student chemists conducting a test

H3 Chemistry is only available to students who have scored good grades during their first year in JC. The purpose of the subject is to further develop the top 10-15% of students within the cohort. As such, it is not a subject that is pursued when you first enter JC.

Unlike H1 or H2 Chemistry, H3 Chemistry does not have a specified syllabus. Instead, students have a selection of different programmes to pick from. This includes either university undergrad modules or extended in-depth research. For more information on H3 Chemistry, we welcome you to consult us or to ask for advice from your respective JCs.

Transitioning from Combined Science to JC Chemistry

If you are taking Chemistry for ‘O’ Levels, then you will surely be aware of the differences between combined science and pure chemistry. A question that then arises is whether you should pursue H2 Chemistry or even H1 Chemistry, if you have only previously taken chemistry as part of combined science.

Factually, pure chemistry students do have a slight head start, having covered the basics of the following topics:

  • Electrolysis
  • Metallic bonding
  • Concepts from Kinetics and Structures of covalent compounds

Nonetheless, all other topics are largely new and thus everyone begins on equal footing. As such, we believe that your performance is still more so dependent on your consistency, effort, understanding and interest in Chemistry.

Prerequisites for Local University Courses (PCME Focus)

group of jc chemistry students studying together

Another huge factor that students consider before taking H1 or H2 Chemistry is its requirement for certain local university courses. Statistically, the most common combination of subjects taken at ‘A’ levels is the PCME combination. PCME refers to the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics.

Many students aspiring to work in chemistry or related fields of science or engineering do tend to choose this combination of subjects. As such, when looking at the prerequisites for H2 Chemistry, we will be doing so from the perspective of a PCME student.

NUS Faculty of Medicine (MBBS) and Faculty of Dentistry

Both medicine and dentistry require you to have a pass in H2 chemistry as well as a second H2 science subject. The second H2 science subject can either be biology or physics.

In addition, you should expect to undergo entrance interviews. Prospective doctors need to take an essay test while dentists have a dexterity test to complete.

NUS Faculty of Engineering

2 courses under the NUS Faculty of Engineering have H2 Chemistry as a pre-requisite. These are Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. In both cases, you must have a pass in H2 Chemistry, H2 Mathematics and at least a pass in H1 Physics.

NUS Faculty of Science

3 courses under the NUS Faculty of Science have H2 Chemistry as a pre-requisite. These are Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Food Science & Technology. In all 3 cases, you must have a pass in H2 Chemistry, H2 Biology and either Mathematics or Physics.

Other NUS Courses

Apart from the listed courses up to this point, H2 Chemistry is not a pre-requisite for any other course. Having said that, there are courses that require you to have passed 1 or 2 H2 science subjects at ‘A’ Levels. As such, H2 Chemistry would count towards fulfilling this requirement.

NTU Faculty of Engineering

1 course under the NTU Faculty of Engineering lists H2 Chemistry as a pre-requisite. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering requires that you have a pass in H2 Chemistry, Mathematics and at least a pass in ‘O’ Level physics.

NTU Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Science

1 course under the NTU Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Science lists H2 Chemistry as a pre-requisite. Chemistry and Biological Chemistry requires that you have a pass in H2 Chemistry as well as either Mathematics or Physics.

How TSA can help you ace JC Chemistry

Still unsure if you should take JC Chemistry and whether H1 or H2 is suitable for you? If so, speak to The Science Academy today! At TSA, we are more than happy to give you advice on both your education and career path.

Need help getting to your goals? Then choose us as your education partner on your journey to master Chemistry. TSA provides JC chemistry tuition, including H2 chemistry tuition to help you pass your exams with flying colours.

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