How to score well in Chemistry
For most secondary schools, Chemistry (or at least combined Chemistry) is a compulsory subject for all students. Even in JC, a large portion of the student population continues to select Chemistry as a part of their subject combinations.
This is largely due to the fact that Chemistry is a prerequisite for most STEM courses, opening a door full of opportunities into prestigious careers such as engineering, medicine, etc. Hence, it is of critical importance that students know how to tackle the sciences subject in order to score the distinctions they want for their national examinations.
If you’re struggling to find the right studying techniques, or can’t seem to get into the groove of Chemistry for O-Level or A-Level, don’t fret! Here is some detailed advice on how you can start doing well with help from Chemistry tuition classes at Sophia Education that offers Group Tuition or 1-to-1:
Know your topics well
Chemistry topics can be largely divided into two types: Calculation topics (i.e. topics like Mole, Redox) and Content-heavy topics. These two types of topics require different demands and approaches when being studied for their exams, and a student needs good guidance to know how to approach the topics and maximise their learning.
In schools, teachers don’t always provide the best learning experience or go into the right specifics when teaching new topics. This is because the school curriculum is constantly packed with different subjects, events and extra-curriculars. With lessons that are too short, and teachers who are strapped for time, content and topics are often glossed over. This is to the detriment of many students who are unaware of what to expect and listen out for during lessons.
At Sophia Education, our students are well-informed by our centre’s tuition teachers on what exactly they need to understand, memorise, and practice for each Chemistry topic- rather than aimlessly listening to lessons. Our teachers have many years of experience and are well aware of the MOE syllabus as most of us here are MOE teachers. We provide a unique teaching style and know that it is far more effective to know what to look out for in the content so students are able to more effectively direct their focus when learning.
Use a memorisation technique that works for you
There’s a lot to memorise for Chemistry, so you need to devote a good amount of time doing so before your examinations. It would be wise to set aside specific times and sessions to memorise your chemistry content, long before your exam season. Memorising the content over a long period of time, as opposed to in short bursts days or hours before your exams, is way more effective in the long run as your brain is able to better retain the information that you learnt.
What memorisation technique works for you largely depends on the type of learner you are. If you’re a visual learner, making colourful and succinct cue cards might be helpful. For auditory, you might find trying to speak your content aloud more beneficial. Either way, you want to find ample time and the right memorising technique to overcome this huge hurdle in Chemistry.
At Sophia Education, an effective memorisation practice we have is the use of routine quizzes. For our JC Chemistry tuition and O Level Chemistry tuition classes, routine quizzes (at the end of lessons in which new topics are being taught) are conducted to ensure the new content is properly retained.
These practice quizzes are not just conducted once, but across the span of a few lessons to track their pitfalls and give students the opportunity to revisit forgotten concepts.
Practice, practice and practice again
While most students are often able to wrap their heads around the different concepts and topics after a certain point, it does not mean they are properly equipped to properly tackle Chemistry questions. Aside from having a good understanding of the subject, you also need to develop the right answering techniques to meet question demands.
You are able to do this by consistently completing past year practice papers or your Ten Years Series (TYS) books. These papers will give you a better understanding of the specific types of questions for each tested topic, hence better preparing you for what’s to come during the O or A Levels.
At our tuition centres, students are provided with a variety of schools’ prelim papers to practice with before their major examinations. This way, the students are well-versed and more confident to tackle any potential questions that may come out.
Keep track of your common mistakes in a notebook
It is important to keep track of the common misconceptions and mistakes you make throughout your learning journey. By noting down your past mistakes in a notebook, you are able to refer to certain concepts and learning points that you have the tendency to forget or stumble with.
If you notice repeated mistakes for a specific topic or question in your notebook, you are also able to identify your issues more easily. You are then able to effectively use your revision time and consultations to clarify the exact doubts you might have.
When students and Sophia Education complete practice prelim papers, they are required to record their mistakes in their mistake notebooks. This provides both the student and tutor with a clear guide on what they need to work on, and pushes the student to properly address their mistake instead of simply moving past it.
Although repeatedly identifying and immortalising your mistakes can be frustrating and embarrassing at times, proper learning can only be done once you face your mistakes head on and get the help you need from our tutors.
Start your revision early
Cramming before an exam is not nearly as effective as consistent revisions over an extended period of time. Starting your revisions too late might not give you sufficient time to solve every issue you have for each topic.
Here at Sophia Education, we aim to finish teaching the JC and Secondary school syllabuses by June or July. This is much earlier than local schools, thereby giving our students more revision time before they sit for their national examinations.
This is especially crucial for students like those in our H2 Chemistry tuition classes, as the Chemistry syllabus carries a far wider scope of content and demands than the O Levels. Starting early for a particularly tricky subject such as Chemistry is never a bad idea, and it is good to maximise your revision time as much as possible with classes at Sophia Education.