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Charles Letts & Co
Not Known
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

The chemistry suite of programs is designed to test knowledge of basic facts, and to improve understanding of the underlying principles. The programs cover the following areas: atomic structure and bonding; periodic tables; formulae; chemical deductions; electrolysis; apparatus; acids; bases and salts; and organic chemistry. Several of the programs require the student to complete passages displayed on the screen as in the literature programs, and once again these are offered at 5 levels of difficulty and have a 'cheat' facility. The easier levels do little to test factual knowledge as the words omitted have nothing to do with chemistry, but I suppose the idea is to work up through all the levels so that the information becomes imprinted on the mind.

The Periodic Table program covers this area relatively well, but the next program Formulae and Equations is rather awkward to use, as the entry of correct formulae requires the use of both upper and lower case letters as well as subscript numbers which are located on the graphic keys. Deduce tests the user's overall knowledge of chemistry by supplying clues about a randomly selected substance, while Elect covers electrolysis and ionic equations. Apparatus is an interesting way of giving practice in the selection and assembly of the most usual apparatus for the laboratory preparation of each of 13 gases, with the student finally being required to complete balanced equations. Acids, Bases and Salts comes in three parts: in the first, a descriptive passage has to be completed; part two asks for comments on the proposed reactions, and the third part shows how pH levels change during the acid-base titrations. The final two programs on organic chemistry, contain four descriptive passages for completion at various levels of difficulty, and require the identification of isomers, homologues and compounds.

The chemistry specialist who looked at this suite of programs for me felt sure that it would be reasonably helpful if used with other study methods, but commented that the content at times was rather lightweight and sketchy.

CONTROL KEYS: Apart from the problems in the Chemistry suite, the control keys are clearly explained and are easy to use.
KEYBOARD PLAY: Very responsive
USE of COLOUR: Simple but clear.
GRAPHICS: Used to good effect


General Rating: Revision programs like these are, generally speaking, only as good as the student using them. Used sensibly in conjunction with other study methods, they do have a useful role to play, but it has to be understood that, on their own, these packages will not miraculously ensure A grade passes!

Not Rated