Most important 10 tricks to prepare well for the Indian Chemistry Olympiad (INChO)
The Indian Chemistry Olympiad (INChO) is one of India's most prestigious and challenging chemistry competitions. It is designed for students studying classes 11 and 12 in schools and colleges across the country. There are two stages to the Indian national Chemistry Olympiad. The first stage is a school-level selection examination. Up to 60 thousand students appear for this exam. Students selected at this stage can appear for the INChO.
The National Science Olympiad is a competitive examination that begins at the school level and culminates with national-level events. The national-level exams assess students' conceptual understanding, logical reasoning, laboratory skills, and ability to apply problem-solving skills to novel situations. These stages do not necessarily require any specialized coaching outside the regular school system.
1. Read as much chemistry as possible.
The first step to preparing for the IChO is reading as many books and articles on chemistry as possible. It may sound obvious, but the more you read about a subject in general, the easier it will be for you to understand what your teacher is teaching in class, and the better prepared you'll be for exams like this one.
Try to read outside your syllabus, too—that way, when someone asks "what do I need to know?" in class, they won't have trouble thinking of an answer! They might even get points off (and therefore lower their score) if they don't come up with anything!
You can find lots of chemistry books written by people who have taken the test before you, and they will tell you what they did to prepare for it.
2. Start with class 11 and 12 NCERT books.
It would help if you started by reading the NCERT book carefully. Ask your teacher if you do not understand anything. Also, read the previous year's NCERT books for one full year, and then read this year's NCERT books for another full year. Then look at next year's book and, lastly, see if there is any pattern or trend in how they are structured and what kind of concepts they contain.
For example: Let us say that this year your country has adopted biology as its main subject in class 12; so most probably they would have included some material related to biochemistry or something like that in their syllabus as well because these two subjects are related (biochemistry). So it makes sense that next year when you come across something related to biochemistry or biochemistry or whatever term is used by them, it will be straightforward for you because there is already some familiarity with these topics, which are familiar from school days. Itself!
So go ahead and look at the syllabus for this year, then read those chapters of NCERT books that have been included in their syllabus. If you do all these things, you will have a good idea about what to expect from your teacher when they ask questions on topics that were not covered during school days and will not be too surprised.
3. Then try to read some reference books.
The next thing to do is to read some reference books.
Here are some recommended books to be read: Olympiad Books - Olympiads (tifr.res.in)
There are many good chemistry books available on the market. Reference books are a good source of practice problems and questions, which you can use for solving problems on O level chemistry syllabus. They can also be used to understand concepts better.
Reference books can also be used for solving problems on O level chemistry syllabus. They will help you to get familiar with different types of issues and will give you an idea about how to solve them. It's better to start reading a reference book as soon as possible to have enough time before exams.
4. Know what topics to expect in the Olympiad.
You should know what topics are likely to appear in the Olympiad. The exam questions will be based on topics that might not be covered in your school curriculum, or you may not have time to learn them before the examination. You can prepare for them by reading books like Chemistry Olympiad for Class XI and XII (Rajpal & Sons) that provide comprehensive coverage of all essential topics.
5. Prepare a study plan carefully.
It would help to choose a study plan that suits your learning style. If you are an auditory learner, you will benefit from listening to audio lectures or reading textbooks, while visual learners will enjoy watching videos and looking at diagrams.
Do not try to study too many topics at once. Focus on one topic per day by dividing it into small chunks that are easy to digest and remember, such as one chapter or section of a chapter per day. This way, you can master each topic without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information in front of you.
Limit yourself to 2 hours per day of studying time and do not exceed 5 hours per week (i.e., no more than 35 hours total). You must take breaks between study sessions so your brain can process what it has learned before moving forward with new information and ideas; otherwise, retention rates may suffer due to fatigue or boredom caused by overexertion!
6. Choose a textbook or book which is good for learning chemistry and not just passing tests.
A good textbook should be written in simple, easy-to-understand language. It should also have many examples, exercises, and questions so that you can practice all the concepts learned in class.
To prepare for Olympiad Chemistry, choose a textbook that helps you learn about all aspects of chemistry, like organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry, etc., instead of choosing one that only focuses on theoretical knowledge.
7. Solve plenty of practice problems.
Solving plenty of practice problems is one of the best ways for you to prepare for the Olympiad. Practice problems help you learn concepts, build confidence, and solve speedily and accurately. All these are extremely important for solving the actual question paper in a competition like this. Make sure that you solve all types of questions that appear in your chapter and topic-wise practice books at least once before attempting them on actual papers so that you get the hang of those questions and their solutions quickly when it comes to solving them on an examination day!
8. Learn good problem-solving techniques.
Are you good at solving problems? If not, do not worry.
Learning new problem-solving techniques that can help you break down complex problems into smaller parts to solve them one by one is always beneficial. Getting stuck on a single question or issue for hours is straightforward. Solving multiple questions in an exam requires time management skills and the ability to prioritize tasks effectively.
The best way to prepare for this is by practicing with past papers where the format of questions is similar to those asked in olympiads, but try not to practice too much because it will become boring after some time. Instead, focus on improving your speed and accuracy while answering questions within a limited period (usually 30 minutes).
9. Do not spend too much time on a single question.
It's important to know that you can't always solve a question in one go. Sometimes, you'll get stuck on a problem for hours and still be unable to come up with a solution. When this happens, don't worry about it! Make sure that the time limit isn't too close; if so, give up on the question and move on to the next one. A common mistake that many students make is over-thinking. When you're stuck on a problem, there's no need to spend hours trying to solve it. Just move on to the next question and come back to it later.
The key here is not spending too much time on any single problem—if your goal is to pass this exam as quickly as possible (and it should be!), then it's in your best interest to move through as many questions as possible within an hour or two of solving problems. This will help you avoid stress if something goes wrong during the testing day—and remember: anything could happen!
10. Try to solve previous INChOs problems.
You can download the previous question papers from here: Past papers/Sample questions - Olympiads (tifr.res.in)
As preparing for the Olympiad is not a one-day affair, you must be ready from the beginning. This means you should start solving at least one ICYO problem daily.
You can also try to solve previous ICYOs problems as they help you understand the different questions asked in this exam.
Some students are good at solving JEE level problems, so they can also practice and solve other chemistry questions, which will help boost their performance in Olympiad exams.
You can also try IIT JEE level problems in Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Inorganic Chemistry.
IIT JEE level problems in Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Inorganic Chemistry benefit students preparing for Olympiads. They help them to improve their problem-solving skills and understand complex concepts of the subject. You should consider solving these problems if you are serious about clearing your chemistry Olympiad exam.
With practice, you can crack it! You must prepare for the exam and after that, keep practicing. This is one way of breaking the Chemistry Olympiad.
Keep on practicing until you get it right. Don't give up! Be patient with yourself, and don't panic if you make mistakes in the process of preparation or during an exam. When we learn something new, we are bound to make mistakes, but with practice, these mistakes will be few and far between.
Practice makes permanent. Practice makes progress. So practice as much as possible so that everything will be second nature to you by the time you go for your exam. If you are not sure about anything, ask for help. Don't hesitate to ask your teacher or fellow students if something needs to be clarified. You may even find out that someone else has the same problem as yours, so you can work together on it.
The Indian Chemistry Olympiad is an opportunity for all students to showcase their talent and intelligence in the field of chemistry. It is a great way to discover your potential as a future scientist or improve your chances of making it big in your professional life. So, if you want extra motivation to study chemistry, this competition could be proper for you!