Having recently completed Grade 12 Chemistry (or equivalent), you are aware of the concepts that you have learned. However, we are listing those topics below to help you refresh the concepts and follow a learning path.

This list of Big Ideas and Key Topics has been taken and summarized from the Ontario secondary school curriculum to ensure that you review all the topics.

In addition to the Basic Concepts listed below, your teachers will have also introduced to additional aspects of the course: 

  •       Conduct lab inquiries by using appropriate lab instruments
  •       Collect, organize, analyze and interpret data
  •       Communicate results in form of lab reports using appropriate scientific terminology
  •       Application and impact of science and technology in the society

As you refresh on the concepts below, we encourage you to go beyond and explore the additional aspects to ensure you have a strong foundation before you take your university science courses.

Review Guide

You are welcome to use any trusted source of information – like your school textbook or notes from your teacher. The review guide below directs you to four sources:

Khan Academy – for content and concept information

PhET Interactive Simulations – web and app based simulation for science and math

PBS Learning Media – for video and/or text lessons, labs and demonstrations

TED-Ed – for animated content videos

Organic Chemistry

Key Topics

  • Different classes of organic compounds, including: hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, esters, ethers, amines, and amides by describing the similarities and differences in names and structural formulae of the compounds within each class
  • Chemical changes that occur during various types of organic chemical reactions, including substitution, addition, elimination, oxidation, esterification, and hydrolysis
  • Addition reaction vs. condensation polymerization reaction
  • Concept of isomerism in organic compounds


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/organic-chemistry 

Video Animation: Classification of Organic Compounds https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/6ba064fa-6b75-45d5-9ec4-0d3abed3e79d/hydrocarbon-power-crash-course-chemistry-40/

Video Animation: Alkenes and Alkynes https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/eea15dd9-55e7-4784-810f-57f1ecf46fa1/alkenes-alkynes-crash-course-chemistry-41/

Video Animation: Hydrolysis https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/1c0507d7-f69e-453d-af2a-4040f8d3d335/teachable-moment-organic-chemistry/

Video: Ethanol Biofuelhttps://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/biot09.sci.engin.systems.ethanol/ethanol-biofuel/

Video Animation: Hydrocarbon Derivatives and Isomers https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/cf983b55-4794-4481-9676-d4923e37a719/hydrocarbon-derivatives-crash-course-chemistry-43/

Video Animation: Aromatics and Cyclic Compounds https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/55e30d5f-d7ff-49d9-a95d-e95690007645/aromatics-and-cyclic-compounds-crash-course-chemistry-42/

Animation: Polymers https://ed.ted.com/lessons/from-dna-to-silly-putty-the-diverse-world-of-polymers-jan-mattingly

Structure and Properties of Matter

Key Topics

  • Planetary model of the hydrogen atom
  • Electron configurations of a variety of elements in the periodic table, using the concept of energy levels in shells and subshells, as well as the Pauli exclusion principle, Hund’s rule, and the Aufbau principle
  • Characteristic properties of elements in each of the s, p, and d blocks of the periodic table, and explain the relationship between the position of an element in the periodic table, its properties, and its electron configuration
  • Physical properties of a solid or liquid (e.g., solubility, boiling point, melting point, melting point suppression, hardness, electrical conductivity, surface tension) as they depend on the particles present and the types of intermolecular and intramolecular forces (e.g., covalent bonding, ionic bonding, Van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonding, metallic bonding)


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry

Simulation: Models of the Hydrogen Atom https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/hydrogen-atom

Simulation: States of Matter Basics https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/states-of-matter-basics

Video Lesson: Physical Properties and Phase Change https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/6b5105da-d983-42cd-827b-d7ebd54ce2e8/unit-2-segment-c/

Energy Changes And Rates Of Reaction

Key Topics

  • Energy changes resulting from physical change (e.g., boiling water), chemical reactions (e.g., bleaching a stain), and nuclear reactions (e.g., fission, fusion), in terms of whether energy is released or absorbed
  • Energy change from a reaction in which bonds are formed to one in which bonds are broken, and explain these changes in terms of endothermic and exothermic reactions
  • How mass, heat capacity, and change in temperature of a substance determine the amount of heat gained or lost by the substance
  • Hess’s law
  • Collision theory and potential energy diagrams, and factors affecting rates of chemical reactions


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry

Simulation: Reactions and Rates: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/reactions-and-rates

Simulation: pH Scale https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/ph-scale-basics

Simulation: Acid-Base Solutions https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/acid-base-solutions

Video Lesson: Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/525946e6-8322-47fe-acbb-c17436aba43d/unit-8-segment-b/

Video Animation: Hess’s Law https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/07727a8a-3077-40ac-b140-48c8ebd3d99e/enthalpy-crash-course-chemistry-18/

Video Animation: Heat Transfer https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/thermal-energy-101-heat-transfer-animation/unc-tv-science/

Video Lesson: Heat Capacity https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/dc63ea3e-007c-4733-a046-3bf3c3f6645d/unit-12-segment-h/

Video: Energy in Chemical Reactions https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/b4b35ea4-ddde-407a-b557-b8b2b5100ee7/the-energy-in-chemical-reactions-chemistry-unit-7/ 

Chemical Systems and Equilibrium

Key Topics

  • Dynamic equilibrium (e.g., liquid–vapour equilibrium, weak electrolytes in solution, reversible chemical reactions)

  • Chemical equilibrium

  • Le Châtelier’s principle and how it applies to changes to a chemical reaction at equilibrium

  • Equilibrium constants, including Keq, Ksp, Kw, Ka, Kb, and Kp

  • Use the ionization constant of water (Kw) to calculate pH, pOH, [H3O+], and [OH–] for chemical reactions

  • Brønsted-Lowry theory of acids and bases

  • Properties of strong and weak acids, and strong and weak bases, using the concept of dynamic equilibrium

  • Chemical characteristics of buffer solutions


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry

Simulation: Reactions and Rates https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/reactions-and-rates

Simulation: pH Scale https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/ph-scale-basics

Simulation: Acid-Base Solutions https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/acid-base-solutions

Video Lesson: Chemical Equilibrium https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/06522d96-8663-4eaa-87b6-a0cad3569f1f/unit-10-segment-a/

Video Lesson: The Equilibrium Constant https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/6a0c0ade-3718-4218-bb72-344d9ac56347/unit-10-segment-b/

Video Lesson: Le Chatelier’s Principle https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/46582852-48ca-41c0-a975-01b396a9a5d8/unit-10-segment-d/#.X-LlxthKiUk

Animation: Strengths of Acids and Bases https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-strengths-and-weaknesses-of-acids-and-bases-george-zaidan-and-charles-morton


Key Topics

  • Redox reactions in terms of the loss and gain of electrons and the associated change in oxidation number
  • Galvanic cell – components, component functions in a redox reaction, cell potential
  • Use of Hydrogen half-cell to determine the voltages of another half-cell
  • Applications of electrochemistry including corrosion-inhibition


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry

Video Lesson: Intro to Electrochemistry https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/8300efe0-bd2a-4fae-b368-a4445f5baba3/electrochemistry-crash-course-chemistry-36/

Animation: How Batteries Work https://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-batteries-die-adam-jacobson

Curriculum Reference Source: Ontario secondary school science curriculum, pages 104-117