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Overcoming the A Level Chemistry Exams
Mr Kelvin

Mr Kelvin

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A Helpful Guide To Overcoming The A Level Chemistry Exams

Part 1: Encountering A Level Chemistry

Chemistry is arguably one of the most challenging subjects that many JC students in Singapore will encounter. With the A Levels compressing numerous in-depth topics into the space of approximately 1.5 years, while having to balance out other subjects’ workload as well as CCA and external commitments, it is certainly a challenging affair for many students that often requires support from chemistry tuitions in Singapore.

Students enrolled in the IP stream may find themselves unaccustomed to the rigour and continued self-discipline and initiative needed to study for the A Levels, having skipped the need for O Level exams to enter JC. As for O-level students, they may find themselves pressured to ‘keep up’ with their peers in the IP stream, which can lead to poorer motivation and morale to study. Others may not have fared as well in their O Level exams, and dread the looming difficulty and intensity of A Level chemistry as well as the self-directed learning that JC education entails.

Stressed student on A Level Chemistry

This is where A Level chemistry tuitions in Singapore such as The Chemistry Practice come into play. Chemistry tuitions provide numerous benefits, such as supplementing the content that students learn in schools, having the ability to arrange for 24/7 flexible consults with tutors to address concerns and understand essential concepts, as well as effective tips, notes, and practice papers to help students maximise their exam scores.

Particularly in the current COVID pandemic, a balance of both physical and online classes taught by chemistry tutors in Singapore is key to helping students learn effectively through constant revision and concise study notes, while also allowing them to collaborate and revise with their peers. In addition, committed tutors go beyond just covering prescribed syllabus content, acting as mentors who are dedicated to the success of their students in the A Level exams and beyond.

Helming The Chemistry Practice as its principal tutor, Mr Kelvin has over 10 years of experience teaching H2 chemistry in Singapore both at tuition centres and in junior colleges. He graduated with 1st Class Honours in Pure Chemistry at NUS, and has gone on to attain an established track record of academic excellence. He also attained the Post Graduate Diploma in Education at NIE and the Cambridge International Examinations A Level Chemistry Marking Course certification, reflecting his expertise with the A Level chemistry examinations and teaching students effectively.

As a pioneer online chemistry tutor, Mr Kelvin is constantly exploring novel ways to apply new technologies to engage students and create meaningful lessons. He is also a firm believer in providing affordable chemistry tuition in Singapore, always willing to offer a helping hand to students who require financial assistance. As one of the best chemistry tuitions in Singapore, The Chemistry Practice is ready to gear your child for chemistry excellence.

Mr Kelvin Chemistry Online Tutor

Read on to learn about an overview of A Level chemistry, some common challenges that students face, as well as the benefits of chemistry tuition in Singapore and some helpful tips for students to ace their exams.

Part 2: The Challenges Of A Level Chemistry

A Level chemistry has its own challenges that sets it apart from O Level chemistry. Learn more about what students will cover as well as some common challenges students will face.

2.1 An Overview Of A Level Chemistry

A Level chemistry is separated into both H1 and H2 Chemistry, with H3 being an additional option for precocious students to learn beyond the scope of A Level chemistry and be exposed to novel principles that they will potentially apply in university. But for the most part, the majority of students either enroll in H1 or H2 Chemistry. Students who are considering H3 Chemistry should ensure that they will not be compromising their studies for their H2 Chemistry and other subjects before applying for it at the end of the J1 school year.

Students learning Chemistry in School

H1 and H2 Chemistry differ in terms of the scope of topics as well as assessment methods. H1 Chemistry consists of Papers 1 and 2, with Paper 1 comprising 30 MCQs with 33% weightage and Paper 2 being a mix of structured and free response questions for the remaining 67%. H2 Chemistry consists of 4 papers, with Paper 1 featuring 30 MCQs for 15% weightage, Paper 2 having structured questions for 30%, Paper 3 having free response questions for 35%, and Paper 4 being a practical paper for the remaining 20%.

In addition, H1 and H2 Chemistry utilise different syllabi in their scope. The H1 Chemistry Syllabus covers topics such as Chemical Bonding, Stoichiochemistry, the Periodic Table, Reaction Kinetics, and Chemical Equilibria. H1 Chemistry’s main assessment objectives are more geared towards having students understand content and apply and evaluate them effectively, and offers a lower difficulty for students who are concerned about their overall academics or plan to pursue non-science careers upon graduation.

In contrast, the H2 Chemistry Syllabus builds upon these topics with additional subjects, chiefly amongst which is Organic Chemistry as well as Electrochemistry. It also includes a Practical Paper element to inculcate experimental skills and investigations in students, in addition to the same objects that H1 Chemistry has. Importantly, H2 Chemistry is a prerequisite for many local university science majors, such as Science, Engineering, Pharmercy, Medicine and Dentistry, amongst others. 

Medical Students in a Hospital

One of the most complex overarching topics of H2 Chemistry is Organic Chemistry, which consists of the formation and reaction pathways of various types of organic molecules. Students are expected to understand numerous classes of organic compounds, the various reaction pathways required to derive them, as well as recognising different functional groups and drawing resultant products based on starting materials. With numerous application questions and the daunting scope of Organic Chemistry, students frequently struggle with it due to trying to memorise the standard paths of molecule formation, instead of spending time to first understand the fundamental concepts behind them. 

Another element of H2 Chemistry is the Practical Paper, which tests students’ skills when it comes to topics such as Qualitative Analysis, Thermochemistry, Stoichiometry, and Equilibria, amongst others. Students are required to understand various reagents and their reactions, as well as draw out experiment designs and how to derive reaction rates and rate equations. While not having as high a weightage compared to the other H2 papers, many students tend to neglect it and consequently score lower in it or are unable to fully complete it in time.

Student in a chemistry lab

Chemistry tuitions in Singapore, such as The Chemistry Practice, focus on building up students’ foundations and supplement them with questions derived from previous exam papers as well as constant support, helping students grow in confidence and score well.

2.2 Challenges Faced By Students

The transition from secondary school to JC is a challenging one for O Level and IP students alike. Not only is the content much more in-depth, the duration of time that students have is drastically shortened as compared to the 4 years in secondary school. Students will have to get used to studying regularly across their entire time in JC, rather than resort to cramming just mere weeks before an exam. Chemistry tuitions in Singapore play a key role in supplementing students’ studies throughout their time in JC.

One of the most notable challenges is the transition from regular classroom-based learning to the lecture and tutorial style of learning. Similar to universities, this has students covering new content in a lecture setting with hundreds of other students, before following up with tutorials with a smaller class size, where tutors provide coursework to be discussed in class or to be submitted for a grade.

 JC Students in a lecture hall

This independent form of learning can cause students to slack off in their studies, choosing to skip lectures or not submit their assignments on time; figuring that the only grades that matter are their J1 final exams or their A Level scores. This can set in motion a dangerous habit right as students step into JC, which will almost certainly lead to poor results in the lead up to the A Levels and the impossibility of trying to cram years of content into a few weeks.

Secondly, a large portion of the content covered in H2 Chemistry is not necessarily intuitive to students, compared to topics covered in other subjects such as Economics and Biology. Students frequently struggle with conceptualising abstract concepts in Organic Chemistry as well as Electrochemistry, and for students who scored lower in their O Level Chemistry or Math, it can seem hugely daunting. In addition, compared to O Level questions, A Level questions are much more application-driven, requiring students used to rote memory to change their learning style to understand and apply concepts, leading to greater stress. Fortunately, online chemistry tutors help to alleviate these concerns through support and guidance.

Thirdly, many students struggle to balance out academics and other commitments, such as CCA training, leadership commitments, as well as external activities such as volunteering or interest groups. JC students are at a point in their lives where they can explore their passions, but often do so at the cost of their academic progress. Other students may have been used to scoring well in secondary school, only to lose motivation and fail at various subjects in their first year of JC. This can lead to a downward spiral of loss of motivation which often results in them retaining an additional year due to failing their year-end exams.

With these challenges in mind, chemistry tuitions in Singapore seek to help students overcome these issues through consistent learning over their time in JC, building up their academic foundations over time and helping them pace themselves properly to avoid burnout or stress. Do read some of the testimonials from The Chemistry Practice’s satisfied students to see how they have greatly benefited from learning with us.

Part 3: Acing A Level Chemistry

While A Level chemistry is challenging, chemistry tuitions in Singapore empower students to score well for their exams. Here are some benefits that tuition provides, as well as helpful tips for students to learn effectively and score well.

Chemistry Tutor drawing on a whiteboard

3.1 The Benefits Of Chemistry Tuition

Much more than just helping students score better in their chemistry exams, A Level chemistry tuition in Singapore brings about numerous benefits. Here are some of them. 

1. They deliver effective teaching.

With the complexities of the H2 Chemistry syllabus, the traditional lecture and tutorial style of learning is often inadequate for students to fully grasp the content being taught. H2 Chemistry tuition adopts a more focused approach that incorporates visual aids and interactive learning to help students visualise concepts better, such as isomerism and chirality in Organic Chemistry. This allows students to internalise content better than mere memorisation, allowing them to apply their knowledge effectively to score better.

In addition, online A level chemistry tutors often link content that students study to real-world applications, such as in various careers and industries that students may eventually consider. This brings about more meaningful learning whereby students can see a deeper purpose to their studies, improving their motivation in the long run to stay committed to constant revision.

Students having Online Chemistry tuition

2. They provide greater attention.

With the self-directed nature of learning in JCs, it can be difficult for students who are either less assertive or juggling other commitments to find adequate time to seek tutors to clarify their academic concerns. The rise of home-based learning has further exacerbated the difficulty of arranging consultation sessions with their school teachers, which can lead to difficulty answering questions in their practice papers or assignments.

JC chemistry tuitions have a smaller size compared to regular JC classes, ensuring that each individual student receives increased attention from tutors and is also able to participate more in class discussions. It also reduces the pressure and anxiety of students to be judged by their peers for the questions they ask, allowing them to clarify doubts without hesitation in a timely manner.

3. They provide timely academic assistance.

With the demand on students to stay on top of their studies, they face constant pressure to clear their doubts to prevent them from building up across multiple subjects they study. Online chemistry tuition provides numerous advantages, such as doing away with the time needed to travel down to a physical classroom. This allows students who are juggling multiple demands to still learn effectively, be it while having practice in school or doing a long study session at home.

Beyond official tuition class hours, committed H2 chemistry tutors such as Mr Kelvin are available for students to contact via WhatsApp to clarify some doubts they may have as they practice chemistry questions. Having access to constant support goes a long way to alleviating student’s concerns and helps them learn effectively.

4. They build up students’ confidence.

With access to carefully compiled questions from past year papers, detailed ‘cheat sheet’ summaries of various topics, as well as the guidance that online chemistry tutors provide, it becomes second nature for students to apply chemistry concepts accurately and quickly. This builds up students’ confidence not just for chemistry but for the overall scope of their A Level exams as well. 

 Students in Chemistry Tutor Class

Not sure what to expect about our online chemistry tuition classes? Visit this link for some FAQs regarding sign-ups and lessons at The Chemistry Practice.

3.2 Helpful Study Tips

Here are some helpful study tips for students to overcome the arduous A Levels and enroll in the university and major of their choice, with help from JC chemistry tuition.

1. Plan out ample study time.

As mentioned earlier, studying in JC requires constant discipline to stay abreast of one’s assignments and deadlines, while still balancing out other commitments. Students are highly recommended to start their assignments, revision, and homework from H2 chemistry tuition with ample time to spare. Not only does this avoid unnecessary stress and enables students to prepare for last-minute changes in schedule which can disrupt their study routine, but it also improves the quality of rest and relaxation, knowing that they have time to spare and can fully enjoy themselves in the moment.

2. Set a manageable pace.

Burnout is a very common issue affecting many A Levels students, particularly with the pressure of scoring perfect As to apply to prestigious universities or competitive majors. Unlike the O Levels where students are frequently able to score despite last-minute cramming, the A Levels is a sustained marathon that requires proper pacing and setting small, achievable goals across the years of study. Some tips for students include utilising a study planner to set daily goals, such as completing past year papers or writing a few pages of revision notes; as well as utilising the SMART concept of goal-setting to do so.

H2 Chemistry tuition helps Singaporean students to manage their pace by tracking their overall progress and performance across time with a properly planned syllabus. Nearing the prelim exams, tutors will gradually build up students’ ability to answer papers effectively under pressure. In addition, supportive chemistry tutors also look out for students’ holistic wellbeing, sharing their input and thoughts about students’ individual demands and capacity to balance them.

3. Be proactive in learning.

Many students take the easier route of passive learning when studying, simply listening to lectures rather than taking down notes to supplement their learning or in areas they are less confident in. As the A level chemistry exams test students not only on recalling concepts but applying them to novel scenarios such as explaining a hypothetical molecule using specific organic reaction pathways, students who adopt a passive learning approach may find themselves being unable to apply concepts and score poorly.

Students doing Chemistry notes

Students are encouraged to engage in active note-taking, as well as regularly arrange for consults with both school tutors and online chemistry tutors. Online tuition usually includes a chat function, allowing students to ask questions without disrupting the flow of teaching. A useful tip for students is to write down a list of questions they have in mind before the session to make full use of the limited time they have during consultations.

4. Understand one’s learning style.

Each student has their own learning style that works best for them in terms of recalling concepts and applying them effectively. Some students may prefer detailed handwritten notes and constantly drilling past year papers, while others may prefer a more visual approach with mind maps and diagrams of various molecules. Chemistry tutors in Singapore help students to identify their strengths and help them achieve their learning objectives through providing a tailored teaching style to coach each student.

5. Regularly revisit previous topics.

With content-heavy topics such as Organic Chemistry dominating the later half of students’ chemistry syllabus in JC, it is easy for students to neglect previous concepts they may have learnt such as stoichiometry and reaction kinetics. This can lead to unnecessary loss of marks in the exams. A Level chemistry tuitions constantly revise previous topics, refreshing students’ memories and reinforcing their conceptual understanding to help them grow in confidence and to score better in their exams. 

6. Set aside time for leisure.

While consistent studying is important, students are still in the prime of their youth, and should balance out their studying with sufficient time for leisure activities and spending time with their friends. Studies have shown that leisure improves both physical and mental wellbeing of students, while also enhancing self-esteem and confidence, which is particularly important during this challenging phase of students’ lives and in light of the COVID pandemic. It also helps to reset students’ pace and helps them return to their studies refreshed and reinvigorated.

Students hanging out over a meal

Part 4: Conclusion

building up one’s chemistry foundations goes a long way not only to scoring well, but to enjoying a fulfilling learning experience and a meaningful career in the future. A committedH2 chemistry tutor such as Mr Kelvin goes a long way to helping your child build up their knowledge and confidence to excel in their exams.

Looking to enroll your child in one of the best chemistry tuitions in Singapore? Contact us to learn more about our rates and classes, and sign your child up for our free trial class today.