- Practical examination– For students taking H1 chemistry, they do not need to take practical examination which is required of H2 chemistry.
- Content– H1 chemistry has much lesser content as compared to H2 chemistry. Topics such as Energetics, Kinetics, Alkane, Allene and many other topics are much lighter in content for the H1 syllabus
- Additional topics– H1 Chemistry syllabus has additional topics such as Polymer Chemistry and Nanomaterials which are not found in H2 syllabus
- Entry requirements for university courses– For students taking H1 Chemistry, they need to note that they will not be able to enrol for many science related courses which require H2 Chemistry.
In the tuition industry, tutors need to teach and market themselves well to stand out from the competition. To outdo each other, one common phrase that frequently appears in advertisements is to include a phrase on “Best xx Tutor” or something to that effect which xx stands for the particular subject the tutor is teaching.
The word “best” has a wide range of interpretation and will share the following thoughts in the subsequent paragraphs.
- Defining the word “best” – How does one define he or she is the best? Grades achieved? Teaching approach? Going the extra mile to help students? Who can solve the questions fastest? Who can engage and motivate the students to learn? Clearly, the word “best” can be interpreted differently by different individuals.
- Claiming to be “best” in terms of grades achieved – Tutors will claim to be the best by showing the percentage of students who obtained A’s and B’s as their final grades under their tutelage. Nothing wrong with that claim but if the students were already scoring well or are academically inclined, scoring good grades wouldn’t be that challenging for such students. On the other hand, parents and students can look at “best” in terms of grades achieved from the value-added perspective. What this means is when looking at grades, it is taking into the initial difference from the initial grade upon enrolment to the final grade. Surely, more credit should be given to the tutor who helps a student who improves from U to A as compared to another tutor who helps the student maintain an A grade.
- Suggesting to be “best” because of the large classes taught – Some tutors that teach large classes (20 or more) will say that they are the best because they are able to communicate effectively to large audiences without compromising the quality due to effective delivery. There is no doubt in that precise and clear delivery helps students understand the concepts and content. There are also some subjects that may be more suitable to be taught for large classes. However, there is no denying of the fact that many students require the individualised attention of the tutors when they face difficulties while practising the questions. Individualised attention to answer specific questions is impossible in a large class setting no matter how clear the lesson delivery is. Hence, private tuition and small group tuition will be defined as best in the eyes of these students in those instances. Both arguments make sense and it is a matter of different perspectives.
The point to be made in this post is that “best” doesn’t exist. All teachers who are able to make a difference and add value to the students are good and effective teachers. So when you read the headline “best xx tutor”, think again! Let’s agree to disagree.
Attending tuition (like Ms Sim’s A Level Chemistry tuition) is an investment of time and money. Hence, students should make the best use of the tuition lessons to help them in their learning. Here are four things students should do to derive the greatest value from tuition classes:
1. Be committed to attending classes
One may think that turning up for tuition lessons is an easy thing to do but you will be surprised to find out that some students aren’t able to do it. Students need to commit and make it a habit to attend tuition classes. When students do not turn up for lessons regularly, the momentum is lost and in the long run, they will lose the discipline altogether in attending the classes. Attending weekly tuition classes is a crucial first step towards helping students achieve good results.
2. Complete the homework
Questions are often assigned to students to help them gain more practice to be better in the subject. However, many students often do not do the homework at all or did very little before coming for the class. Hence, they end up going through the motion during tuition classes as they have nothing to clarify because they have not completed the work.
3. Be proactive in asking questions
In order to ask questions, students need to complete the homework. After the completion of the homework, students need to take the opportunity to clarify with the tutor on questions that they encounter difficulties in. Remember, do not feel awkward in asking questions and don’t self-censor the questions that you want to ask! Tuition is meant to help students clarify their queries and no one should judge the questions that are asked!
4. Adopt a learning stance
At times, especially in group tuition, some students will think that they know very well the content of a topic that is covered and do not want to pay attention when tutors are going through the content. Actually, students will be surprised that even when it is content that they think they know well, students who adopt a learning stance and not have a “I know it all” attitude will often find that they gained new insights even if they are not hearing the content for the first time. Research has shown that learning is effective after rounds of repetition.
Attitude towards learning will be the single most important factor that will help students maximise the value they derive from tuition. Just like most tutors who work hard to prepare for the lessons, students must be prepared to work equally hard to maximise learning. To all the students out there, you need to own and be responsible for your learning!
Having met cohorts of students from our A Level chemistry tuition, we get a lot of opportunities to speak with parents and one of the more common topics is about the choice the family had to make in deciding on post-secondary education.
Here are 3 things you should know to help your child decide the pathway for post-secondary education.
There are now more pathways for students to choose from after they complete their secondary education. Students can choose to further their education through different pathways that lead to one of the following qualifications:
- International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme
- GCE A Level Certificate
- Diploma from one of the polytechnics
Each pathway has its own set of merits and it really depends on the strength of the student and what he likes to get out of post-secondary education. Here are three things parents need to know:
1. Type of post-secondary education experience wanted by your child
If your child is looking for a more practical experience in his education, studying in a polytechnic would be a good option for him as polytechnic education will provide students with industry exposure through job attachments. If your child is looking for learning that focuses on critical thinking, pursuing a JC or IB education would be the right choice. IB education is more suited for students who like to be assessed throughout the year through tests and research projects that they work on while JC education is more suited for students who like to be assessed through one major examination which is the A Levels.
2. Strengths of the child
Every child is gifted and has his own unique talents. Some are more academically inclined and they will be more suited for a JC or IB education whereas others are good at hands on stuff which will suit them well for a polytechnic education.
3. Life after completion of post-secondary education
If your child would like to step into the workforce after his post-secondary education, pursuing a polytechnic education will give your child better career prospects and a more attractive pay. If your child intends to continue to pursue his studies after completion of his post-secondary education, a JC or IB education would be a better choice.
All pathways are good and the assumptions of having a JC or IB education as better than the polytechnic education are not valid. The important thing is to maximise the potential of your child based on his gifts!
Career Options for University Graduates in Chemistry
The employment world for chemistry graduates in Singapore can be divided into three main areas of application: Research & Development, Analysis and Higher Education. Each area of application offers a wide range of career options and here are some possible careers that are worth exploring for the different areas of application:
1. Research & Development
Graduates with a Chemistry degree can pursue a career as a Chemist by doing applied research in different industries such as agrochemical, pharmaceutical and personal care. Jobs as chemists require them to apply what they learnt in school to real world issues and develop products that meet a specific need which considers the needs of the business and industry.
In the specialised areas of analytical science and forensic science, graduates can pursue a career as a Scientific Officer or Laboratory Officer if they decide to apply what they know to perform analysis and conduct investigative work.
3. Higher Education
Graduates who are interested to teach the future generations can pursue a career in Higher Education can consider teaching Chemistry in Junior Colleges or pursue an academic career in universities.
Decide which area of application interests you in the field of Chemistry and pursue a career that speaks to your interest! If you are already enrolled in Ms Sim’s JC Chemistry tuition classes, feel free to consult her on your options as well.
5 things students need to know about the NEW A Level Chemistry examination format (from 2017 onwards)
Ms Sim’s deep experience providing JC Chemistry tuition means that she is also plugged in to the most recent changes in curriculum and examination format. With effect from 2017, the A Level Chemistry examination format has changed. The new format is as follows:
|Paper||Type of Paper||Duration||Marks||Weightage|
|1||Multiple Choice||1 hr||30||15%|
|2||Structured Questions (with data-based question)||2 hr||75||30%|
|3||Free Response Questions|
Section A- Compulsory
Section B- Choose 1 out of 2 questions
|4||Practical||2 hr 30 mins||55||20%|
Here are the 5 significant differences between the current format and the previous format (from 2010-2016) that students should pay attention to:
1. More weightage on Paper 2 and less weightage on Paper 1
Weightage for Paper 2 is now 30% as compared to 25% in the past and weightage for Paper 1 has been reduced from 20% to 15%.
2. Fewer multiple choice questions for Paper 1
MCQs for Paper 1 have been reduced from 40 to 30. Hence, students now can spend more time (an average of 2 mins per question) as compared to the past (average of 1.5 min per question).
3. Change in format for Paper 3
In the past, students can choose 4 out of 5 questions for the free response questions. The current format has two sections: Section A which is compulsory and Section B which allows students to choose 1 out of 2 questions.
4. Inclusion of planning component for Paper 4
Under the new format, the planning component which used to be included in Paper 2 is now included in the Practical paper.
5. Paper 4 is now more demanding
In the past, Paper 4 or SPA (Science Practical Assessment) allows teachers to focus on a particular topic that will be tested during SPA and teachers typically drill their students on that particular topic. The current format for Paper 4 or Practical Paper is more demanding as it can test students on titration, planning and qualitative analysis that come from a range of different topics.
It is important that students take note of the changes of the current examination format as compared to the previous format so that they can plan and strategize accordingly. Pick up more tips and guidance from Ms Sim during her A Level Chemistry tuition classes. Get in touch with us now!
Have you ever wonder how transition lens work?
These photochromic lenses darken when exposed to bright light and will gradually return to their clear state in the absence of radiation when one walks indoors. They are good substitutes of sunglasses as they can reduce up to 80% of the transmitted light. The change in colour in response to light can be explained by redox reactions.
During the manufacturing process, silver chloride (AgCl) and copper(I) chloride (CuCl) crystrals are added to the molten glass in its molten state and these crystals are evenly distributed in the glass.
Silver chloride is susceptible to undergo redox reaction in the presence of light as described below:
Cl– ———–> Cl + e–
Ag+ + e– ———> Ag
The chloride ions are oxidized to produce chlorine atoms and an electron. The electron is then transferred to silver ions to produce silver atoms. These atoms cluster together and block the transmittance of light, causing the lenses to darken. This process is reversible which allows the lenses to become transparent again.
The presence of copper (I) chloride reverses the darkening process. When the lenses are removed from the light, the following reactions occur:
Cl + Cu+ ——> Cu2++ Cl–
The chlorine atoms formed by the exposure to light are reduced by the copper ions, preventing their escape as gaseous atoms. The copper (+1) ion is oxidized to produce copper (+2) ions, which then reacts with the silver atoms:
Cu2+ + Ag ——> Cu++ Ag+
The effect of these reactions is that the lenses become transparent again because the silver and chloride atoms are converted to their original oxidized and reduced states.
This is just one example of Chemistry in our daily life. Find out more about how Chemistry applies to everyday occurrences in Ms Sim’s A Level Chemistry tuition class.
As parents who want the best for our children and recognising the leap in standards between O level Chemistry and A level Chemistry, parents need to decide whether or not their child needs Chemistry tuition in JC. Here are three considerations that will help parents make an informed decision on whether or not to send your child for Chemistry tuition!
1) Pure Chemistry Or Combined Science At O Levels
If your child has taken Combined Science at O Levels, it could be tough for your child to cope with A Level Chemistry due to the gulf in standards on the content was covered in Combined Science as compared to A Level Chemistry. Hence if your child has taken Combined Science, it is very likely that your child would need additional help in A Level Chemistry.
2) Grade Attained For O Level Pure Chemistry
Due to the huge leap in difficulty between O and A Level Chemistry, if your child has scored an A2 or below for O Levels, parents are strongly advised to send their child for Chemistry tuition.
3) Looking At Percentile Rather Than Grade
Parents often look at grades to determine how good or bad their child is doing. The truth is that it is the percentile, and not the grade, that predicts how well a student will perform in the A Level examinations. For example, if a particular junior college has on average 50% of its students scoring A’s in their A Level Chemistry, and if your child has scored B (but is ranked at the 55th percentile), it is likely that he/she will score an A in Chemistry as he/she is above the 50th percentile. On the contrary, if your child scored an A but is in the 35th percentile, it is unlikely that he/she will score an A in the A Level Chemistry examination as he/she is below the 50th percentile. To sum, a student’s final grade is relative to the cohort performance. Hence it is the percentile score that matters!
Click on the button below to enrol for Ms Sim’s A Level Chemistry tuition.