Last year, we shared Andrew’s experience of how homeschooling was helping him to balance education and family commitments.

We caught up with Andrew to find out more about his experience of studying IGCSE Chemistry with NEC and to hear how he got on with his exams.

Andrew tells us specifically about his experiences of studying Chemistry, but they relate well to all NEC courses. He talks about how mastery of course concepts is an important aspect to studying. All of our courses are designed by subject experts to support students to gain the core knowledge and master blocks of knowledge before they move onto the next topic in their course. 

Over to Andrew to tell us more.



My experiences as a homeschool / internationally based student and getting a Grade 9 in my IGCSE Chemistry

“In this blog post, I will share some of my experiences of my IGCSE Chemistry study with NEC, and how I used NEC’s course materials and online resources to help me with my study. I hope my experiences are helpful to you. 

I should start by telling you that I took my IGCSE Chemistry exam in November 2023, and proudly got a Grade 9! I hope that my study experiences and revision techniques can help you to score a really good grade too.

Firstly, my advice if you are considering studying by online learning

1. Take your time to get a good grade

Even if you find studying a struggle initially that’s OK. Take your time, you can still get decent grades. Even though I was very slow at beginning my studying I still achieved a Grade 9.

2. Complete all your course assignments

Assignments are a chance for you to practise. Don’t feel bad if you get poor grades on assignments. Learn from your mistakes and this will help you to get a better grade in your exam.

3. Take a break from your studies if you need to 

I studied the first 8 sections of my IGCSE Chemistry course between November 2022 and April 2023 then took a long break of four months until September 2023 due to family commitments. When I came back to my studies I worked on the last 2 sections of the course – which I considered the most difficult – and decided to sit my exam in November 2023. 

My course materials – IGCSE Chemistry

NEC’s course materials are great. You do not need to buy any additional textbooks, your course materials cover everything required. 

I found the first and second sections of the course – Principles of Chemistry 1 and 2 – very complicated. The introductions to basic chemical concepts are decent in length but bear in mind that a lot of revision is required to remember these. But if you spend time doing this it will help you to get a good grade in your exams, since most of the exam questions require you to give definitions or processes of a chemical reaction, compound, bonding or experiment.

Get off to a good start with your study of sections 1 and 2 and it will help you to understand sections 3 to 5 on organic chemistry more easily.

There are lots of questions involving experimental process, reaction process – such as titration, making soluble/insoluble salts, electrolysis etc… and these can account for quite a few points in your exams!

Make sure that you understand the experiment process, and can describe what phenomenon is observed at each stage. Going through the ‘Core Practicals’ is extremely important – especially for a homeschooled pupil like me. 

If you do not have time to, or cannot, do the experiment, you should still make sure that you read through it. If you want a more detailed process of the experiment you can find them on YouTube. Pearson provides a playlist of videos of core practices that I found really helpful. You can find them here, or search for ‘Pearson Edexcel (9-1) GCSE Chemistry Core Practical’.

Preparing for exams

Use the textbooks provided with your course and consider NEC’s past papers service to prepare for your exams.

Going through the textbooks several times and doing some past papers before your exam will certainly help. Answering exam questions requires some techniques that differ from just understanding the knowledge from your course and textbooks. 

I would suggest that you buy a revision guide such as the CGP revision guide. I found these helpful, and if I found some parts of the revision guide difficult I could go back to the NEC materials for a more detailed review.

Sometimes I wanted to find out a bit more after going through my course materials and I would search the FREESCIENCE LESSONS videos by Dr. Shaun Donnelly. They are good quality and had questions that I could practise. 

NEC’s course tutors

The tutors at NEC are always helpful! I’m extremely thankful to my NEC tutors, especially Jane in Chemistry and Prof. Pearson in Physics. 

Jane was always helpful and replied to my enquiries quickly and with a lot of detail. She answered all of my questions – even the ones that I thought were a bit silly when I couldn’t understand some easy concepts.

If you have questions for your NEC tutors, always reach out to them. They are there to help you through your studies.


Thank you for reading this blog, I hope you have found my experience of studying IGCSE Chemistry interesting and helpful.”



Thank you to Andrew for telling us about his NEC study experience and congratulations from everyone at NEC for achieving a Grade 9 in your IGCSE Chemistry.

In Andrew’s previous blog he talked about the benefits of online learning when balancing family commitments with study. He concluded this second blog by saying:

“Taking care of family responsibilities is much more important than my studies. J.E. McCulloch said, ‘No other success can compensate for failure in the home’. Family is an important part of life and I give my family obligations the same priority as my studies. As I said right at the start of this blog, taking a break from your studies if you need to is absolutely fine! Distance learning allows students the freedom to study at a time and place that suits our individual needs.”


If you or your child are interested in homeschooling or studying a GCSE course, NEC has a choice of subjects available.

Find out how NEC supports students who are homeschooling.

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