O Level Chemistry: SPA – Possible Practical Questions


Several parents and students alike have asked me on the possible practical questions that can come out for the SPA examinations.

I have this to say – SPA is in fact very very simialar to the GCE O Level Practical Examinations that we had last time.  There is not much difference between the chapters/topics that we have studied for the last 10 years. Basic Chemistry is essentially Basic Chemistry. The theories does not differ that much during the 10 – 20 years period. As such, all the practicals experiments will always revolves around the few main topics and you should be aware of it.

Check out the following Practical Guidelines that are shown in the SEAB website once again:

Scientific subjects are, by their nature, experimental. It is therefore important that the candidates carry out appropriate practical work to facilitate the learning of this subject. A list of suggested practical work is provided.

1. Separation techniques including filtration, simple paper chromatography and distillation
2. Measurements of temperature based on thermometers with 1°C graduation
3. Determination of melting point and boiling point
4. Experiments involving the preparation of salts
5. Experiments involving the solubility of salts
6. Titration involving the use of a pipette, burette and an indicator such as methyl orange or screened methyl orange; full instructions and other necessary information will be given for titration other than acid/alkali and the use of other indicators
7. Identification of ions and gases as specified in the syllabus
8. Experiments involving displacement reactions
9. Tests for oxidising and reducing agents as specified in the syllabus
10. Experiments involving speed of reactions
11. Experiments involving organic substances such as polymerisation and test for saturation

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Reference may be made to the techniques used in these experiments in the theory papers but no detailed description of the experimental procedures will be required.

So based on the above guidelines, you can somehow make up the list of experimental set-ups that they want you to conduct.

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9 Responses to O Level Chemistry: SPA – Possible Practical Questions
  1. Clara Tan
    August 3, 2008 | 5:06 pm

    Hey i’m wondering,
    What is the pH value of an amphoteric oxide ? And how do you find out the value of it ?

    Reply

  2. sean
    August 4, 2008 | 2:29 pm

    Hi Clara.

    Amphoteric Oxide acts on both acidic and alkaline solution. It normally has a range of pH value. Based on my industrial experience it seems to be more towards acidic pH range. In order to find out the pH of it, the best way is to get it from industrial data. Being a technical specialist in US MNC before, i would search for Chemical Manufactuer and it seems that Zinc Oxide for example has pH range between 5.0 to 8.0. Hope this information helps.

    This is not tested in GCE O Level Examinations, fyi. But for interest wise, will be interesting to know..

    Reply

  3. zara
    August 5, 2008 | 6:22 pm

    my practical exam is tomorrow, and i know its impossible to get the answer from here today, but its worth a try.
    i dont know how to classify which metals or non-metals are soluble or not in water. and i also dont know what the colour of certain substance like Copper(II) Oxide. is it black or dirty green??
    i’d really appreciate if you could answer this today.
    thank you.

    Reply

  4. sean
    August 5, 2008 | 11:55 pm

    Hi Zara,

    I am not sure which country you are from and which education system you follow.

    But in general if we say a metal is soluble in water, it means that the metal reacts with water to form a salt and hydrogen gas. As such, based on the reactivity series of metal, all metals will tend to dissolve in water except Copper, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Having said that, some metals react only with hot vapour (i.e. steam) and not cold water.

    On the colour of Copper(II) oxide, i always tell my student that only 5-10% of chemistry need to be memorised. The rest are concepts that once you know, it will be easy to answer exam questions. CuO is one that you need to memorise that it has a distinct black colour. If you have done experiment in the lab, you may have seen CuO before as Black colour.

    I hope this information helps you in your practical exams.

    Do drop me an email or comments here. I would love to hear from you..

    Cheer
    Sean
    Master Trainer
    SimpleChemConcepts.com

    Reply

  5. raihan
    September 2, 2008 | 6:02 pm

    Hey, i heard this year’s chemistry o level exam, most probably the practical test will be about the REDOX TITRATION. Can you tell me briefly the tips or some important point when doing the redox titration? and also can you tell me where can i get some example of redox titration video or examples? thanks =D

    Reply

  6. jean
    September 7, 2008 | 11:10 pm

    How do you do SPA Skill 3? Are there any possible spa questions asked?

    Reply

  7. cheryl
    September 14, 2008 | 4:11 pm

    hi!
    i am having my SPA next tuesday.
    but i am unsure about how we can find out basicity of acid used during titration?

    Reply

  8. Clara
    September 23, 2008 | 7:11 pm

    Hey !
    I was wondering why doesn’t Aluminium Carbonate exist ?
    And why is it that Aluminium Chloride, Al3Cl6 is a covalent compound ?

    Reply

  9. Kathleen
    April 28, 2012 | 11:13 pm

    Hey!
    What may come out for the topics on metals? Collection of gas maybe?

    Reply

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