Biology as the Building Blocks of a Pro-Science Nation
In essence, Biology is the study of life and lifeforms. In Singapore, the long-standing emphasis on the sciences has been vitally important in establishing and maintaining its status as a global science hub. To that end, Singapore has done well in international science assessments such as PISA and TIMSS.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) offers Biology at the upper secondary level as one of the three science specialisations. However, Biology is structured as a continuum, allowing for students to seamlessly progress from Primary School to Junior College (JC). Fundamental Biology topics are introduced in Primary School Science Syllabus with topics on life and systems like Living and Non-Living Things and Plant and Animal Cycles. In Secondary School, students learn about how life works at the physiological level. Finally, in JCs, students learn about how life works at the cellular and molecular levels while understanding the implications of these at the macro level. As such, it is paramount to have a good private Biology tutor who can explain content from a macro and micro point of view.
Biology offers a promising career in Biotechnology, Botany, Cell Biology, Conservation, Ecology, Pharmacology and Medicine. As such, parents are reliant on private Biology tuition and its proven effectiveness to ensure that their child realises their potential.
Dissecting the Difficulties of Biology
In order to do well for Biology, it is important to dissect the difficulties that students face. Biology is heavy on content and requires students to piece together a complex puzzle of organic beings, systems and processes. Here are some of the chief complexities of the subject:
Biology requires an encyclopaedic knowledge of various constituents and components of a complex ecosystem. Students have to embrace the fact that they cannot do well unless they start memorising early. Predictably, this makes students less inspired for the subject and, consequently, this apathy is reflected in their grades which are sub-optimal.
Biological processes may not always be apparent as the shedding of leaves during autumn. A lot of bodily and natural processes occur continuously and often invisible to the naked eye. Although Biology is a science subject, the study of these processes can seem abstract and vague. Students need a strong visualisation and ability to integrate various processes within an ecosystem. This is a challenging proposition to any student with poor visualisation or imagination. This can altogether dissuade them from studying hard and doing well.
Another difficulty that students face in the subject are the Latin names. Biology as a subject and field of study harkens back to ancient Greco-Roman world and Latin, as the scholarly language, was widely used to label and term organisms and processes. Latin today, of course, is not spoken but students have to deal with the legacy of this language in the subject. This can be a hurdle to students who have to memorise the exact spelling of various Biology-related nomenclature.
5 Benefits of Biology Tuition
These are some benefits that will have your children exclaiming Eureka! Here are some of the ABCs of doing well for the Biology:
- Additional Time and Attention
A typical class size in school is about 25 to 35 students. With limited hours dedicated to the various subjects, there simply is not much time or personal attention given to each student for every subject. As such, private Biology tuition provides students the opportunity to clarify the content that they are unfamiliar with.
- Active Revision
As the curriculum is designed to be a continuum, this means students should be in active revisions. Any misconceptions that are not corrected early on will perpetuate at higher levels of Biology. Their doubts and errors will snowball, resulting in poor results and a declining interest in the subject. Under the guidance of a Biology tutor, students will have structured and strategic revision schedules that will help improve grades.
- Brilliant Answering Techniques
Science questions can be notoriously difficult to answer. However, knowing the demands of the question is crucial. Paying attention to command words, such as suggest, infer, extrapolate, define, hypothesize, is crucial. The other half of the battle is supplying relevant content with the mandatory keywords that explain the content. With a good Biology tuition, students can sit for examinations confidently, knowing that they have the answering skills needed to excel.
- Creative and Customised Lessons
Biology requires creative visualisation in order to understand the interplay and interconnectedness of process and systems. A private Biology tutor would be able to illustrate and explain key syllabus content to your child. Biology tutors use their rich experience of teaching the subject to ensure that lessons are effective, improving your child’s grade substantially.
- Convenience and Cost Savings
Private Biology tuition can be scheduled at a convenient time for your child. Furthermore, classes take place in the comfort of your home. Your child saves on time and money commuting to and fro from tuition centres. This ensures that every minute is well-spent and dedicated to learning and subject mastery – as tuition should be!
Secondary School Biology
Biology is briefly introduced in the Lower Secondary Science Syllabus through chapters such as Human Digestive System and Interactions within Ecosystems. Biology is only formally offered as a subject at the upper secondary level, as one of the three science specialisations. There are two main Biology syllabus on offer – Pure Biology or Combined Science (Biology). The former is for more academically inclined students as the examination is usually more rigorous. The latter, is a lighter version of the Pure syllabus, taken together with another science specialisation, such as Chemistry or Physics. Combined Science is described as a balanced science course where students study two science disciplines as one subject.
The Pure Biology examination consists of 3 papers, with 2 theory-heavy components.
Source: GCE O-Level Pure Biology Syllabus 2020 (Page 4)
The subject content for Pure Biology includes (1) Principles of Biology, (2) Maintenance and Regulation of Life Processes, (3) Continuity of Life and (4) Man and His Environment. Developing core subject competencies is important because it is foundational for higher level Biology in Junior College. With private Biology tuition, students will be able to understand these core subject content areas with ease. A quality Biology tutor ensures that students get all their doubts and misconceptions out of their system!
The IGCSE is seen as an alternative to the GCE O-Level examination. The IGCSE examinations are equivalent academic qualifications offered by Cambridge University. As such, there is little difference between the two. IGCSE Biology requires candidates to sit for 3 papers – one MCQ paper, one theory paper and one practical paper. The subject content varies and there are two different syllabus types – Core and Extended. The former covers fundamental concepts while the latter is designed for the more academically able and for higher education or professional training. Students taking IGCSE Extended Biology will sit for 3 papers, with 2 theory-based papers accounting for 80% of the overall grade. As such, it is important to Biology tuition to ensure that students do not have any misconceptions that will adversely impact their grades.
Source: IGCSE Extended Biology Syllabus 2020 (Page 9)
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma is widely recognised and offered in schools like the School of The Arts (SoTA) and the Singapore Sports School. Students take Biology at either the Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL), the latter being catered to more academically able students. Students will sit for 3 papers and an internal assessment. The internal assessment allows for more flexibility and for students to develop an appreciation for the scientific endeavour.
Source: IB HL Biology Syllabus (2016) (Page 145)
The distribution of marks for IB Biology is evenly spread among its components. As such, students may pay equal attention to their theoretical and practical skills. In this regard, private Biology tuition can ensure that students perform well across all papers. IB Biology tuition is beneficial as it gives students much needed revision and practice, thereby familiarising themselves with content. A Biology tutor extends this knowledge, building their confidence in the subject.
Junior College Biology
In Junior College (JC), Biology is offered at three levels – H1, H2, H3. The JC Biology syllabus is developed as a seamless continuation from secondary school to JC, building upon the foundational knowledge for A-Level. It is imperative that Biology students have adequate knowledge and understanding of O-Level Biology, either as a single subject or as part of a balanced science course.
The A-Level H2 Biology paper consists of four papers, with three theory-based papers.
Source: GCE A-Level H2 Biology Syllabus (2020) (Page 9)
The syllabus encompasses four Core Ideas which include (1) The Cell and Biomolecules of Life, (2) Genetics and Inheritance, (3) Energy and Equilibrium, (4) Biological Evolution. It also includes Extension Topics such as (1) Infectious Diseases and (2) Impact of Climate Change on Animals and Plants. These topics require an advanced understanding and familiarity to do well. A-Level Biology tutors help students tremendously with meeting the demands of this challenging syllabus.
Nanyang Academics: Book your Biology Tutor with Us!
At Nanyang Academics, we want to raise your child to be a natural scholar at Biology. Our qualified and well-seasoned private Biology tutors ensure that your child is well primed for internal and national examinations. Whether your child needs help with O-Level, IGCSE, IB or A-Level Biology, we are the solution for your academic aspirations!
Don’t hesitate and book a biology tutor with us!