The Paramount Importance of Physics
Physics is perhaps the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, seeking to explain the smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. Singapore has long been a pragmatic country, deeply invested in developing a strong Science focus in the national curriculum. Today, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning pedagogy is commonplace in schools and science institutions. To this end, Singapore has ranked well in international science assessments such as PISA and TIMSS. Physics, in particularly, is a discipline in which Singaporean students have done well in. As published in The Straits Times, Singapore has also won the International Young Physicists Tournament seven years in a row since 2012.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) offers Physics at the upper secondary level. Prior to this, students may have had a brief introduction at the Lower Secondary level. Physics remains an important subject because it is the foundation for tertiary courses such as engineering and technology. As suh, quality Physics tuition is indispensable as parents want to give their child a competitive edge and brighter career prospects.
4 Reasons for the Paralyzing Fear for Physics
Albert Einstein once mused that “it should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.” Einstein’s belief is that Physics can be made simple enough for the lay person. For that to happen, Physics has to be taught in a way that is simple yet engaging. In most schools, rote learning of formulae and theorems have left students uninspired. Here are some reason why students fear and fail Physics:
- Weak Grasp of Concepts
Physics is a qualitative and conceptual subject. Students who do not understand the fundamentals will struggle when applying one or more concepts required by exam questions. Students who memorize excessively do not do much better as understanding is crucial.
- Poor Analytical and Answering Skills
Examination questions for Physics may not always be forthcoming and clear-cut. They may require an in-depth investigation of different concepts at play. As such, students who lack problem-solving and investigative skills are at a disadvantage. As a science subject, Physics requires high analytical abilities and the usage of proper key terms and phrases that explain concepts.
- Insufficient Time, Attention and Interest
Physics can be a demanding subject, requiring students to learn volumes of information in one revision sitting or tuition session. Students get easily distracted when Physics is taught in a top-down manner with little or no creative application during classes. Given the way that it is commonly taught, students become disinterested and are less willing to spend more hours on Physics revision.
- ‘Not a Science Person’
Not being a science person is often an excuse used by students who have a flair for other subjects. Science is wrongly perceived as an overly ‘rational’ subject, only requiring factual knowledge and cold calculation and concepts. Students fail to see the spirit of scientific discovery and the creativity behind elegant solutions and processes. As such, more creative students are turned off and lament revising for the subject.
Secondary School Physics: Scoring Better with Tuition
Physics is subtly introduced in the Lower Secondary Science Syllabus, found in topics such as forces, heat transmission and effects and sound energy transfer. Physics is offered at the upper secondary level, as one of the three science specializations. Upper secondary students can either take Pure Physics or together with another science specialisation, under Combined Science. The former is for more academically inclined students as the examination is usually more rigorous.
O Level Physics: Observable Improvement with Tuition
The Pure Physics O Level examination consists of 3 papers.
Source: GCE O-Level Physics Syllabus 2020 (Page 5)
The subject content includes 5 main themes such as (1) Measurement, (2) Newtonian Mechanics, (3) Thermal Physics, (4) Waves and (5) Electricity and Magnetism. With private Physics tuition, students will be able to understand these crucial themes and answer examination questions effectively. As Paper 2 carries half the overall percentage of the paper, it is important that students realise how to address the question and apply their knowledge in order to chalk up good marks. Private Physics are well-verse will the Physics syllabus and will provide ample practice and application of these themes in exam-questions. It is crucial for students to do well in Physics if they desire to take the subject at JC or to pursue an engineering or technology-related Polytechnic course.
An alternative to GCE O-Level is the IGCSE. These examinations are equivalent academic qualifications offered by Cambridge University. As such, there is little difference between the two. IGCSE Physics requires candidates to sit for 3 papers – one MCQ paper, one theory paper and one practical paper. The subject content varies and there are different two syllabus types – Core and Extended. The former covers fundamental concepts while the latter is designed for the more academically able and leads to higher education or professional training. The assessment objectives include: (1) Knowledge with Understanding (2) Handling Information and Problem Solving and (3) Experimental Skills and Investigation.
Source: IGCSE Physics Syllabus 2020 (Page 8)
To do well, students have to focus on gathering knowledge and being able to apply them in various questions and practical scenarios. With private IGCSE Physics tuition, students will be able to brush up with their familiarity and understanding of concepts, which is rigorously assessed in the examination.
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 Physics 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 Physics Syllabus (2016) (Page 132)
The distribution of marks for IB Physics is evenly spread among its components. As such, students may pay equal attention to their theoretical and practical skills. In this regard, private Physics tuition can ensure that students perform well across all papers. IB Physics tuition is beneficial as it gives students much needed revision and practice, thereby familiarising themselves with content. A physics tutor extends this knowledge, building their confidence in the subject.
Junior College Physics: Jumping to Better Grades With Tuition
At the Junior College level, students can choose from 3 Physics syllabus – H1, H2, H3. The subject content builds on the foundation from O-Level chapters and introduces quantum and nuclear physics which involves the study of photons and the effects of radiation.
Source: GCE A-Level Physics H2 Syllabus 2020 (Page 8)
The GCE A-Level Physics consists of 4 papers, with two structured question papers accounting for 65% of the overall grade. This means that students need to thoroughly revise content and to have all their misconceptions and doubts cleared before the paper. Under the guidance of a private Physics tutor, students will develop skills, competency and comprehension of concepts which are essential to doing well.
Finding the Passion for Physics!
In this video, Parth G, a Physics Masters student from Cambridge University shares his studying tips while sustaining a passion for the subject!
- Alternate between Topics
As recommended in the video, students can look at the syllabus and adopt a thematic approach to revision. Students can alternate between topics that they like and dislike, so as to sustain their interest in the long haul. This will help push their boundaries and help them improve as Physics students.
- Limit Time Devoted to Difficult Content
Some topics are more challenging than others, therefore requiring more time. The key is to know when to stop. Typically an hour dedicated to the revision of one topic in a theme should be sufficient. This will ensure that you eventually move on to other topics that require the same time and attention. For topics that students require more help with, they should mark it and return to it at another time.
- Consult a Tutor or Teacher
Students should utilise every resource they have available. This includes teachers, tutors, fellow students, parents, or the internet. In explaining their difficulties to others, students can see the problem in a new light and benefit from the explanation and learning perspective of others.
- Attempt a Variety of Questions from Different Sources
Knowledge has never been more available before. Today, students can consult their textbooks, lecture notes and other online resources. This will help compliment their learning and help impart Physics skills to unusual questions, in order to gain a better understanding of the topic.
Nanyang Academics: Pivot your Physics Results With Us!
Newton’s first law of inertia states that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion, with the same direction and speed.” At Nanyang Academics, we believe in maintaining momentum in order to deliver excellent results for Physics. We are your trusted Physics tuition provider, offering quality Physics tuition for secondary, IGCSE, IB and JC students. Our passionate and well-seasoned Physics tutors will inspire your child to reach new heights and to perform his personal best during examination.
Let us be the driving force in ensuring that your child achieves a Distinction in Physics! Request for a private Physics tutor today!