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How to Survive A-Level Physics - and come out unscathed!

Physics is referred to as “the complex study of physical actions/objects and their working.” The course itself combines the working of two core fields i.e. Math and Science in order to unravel the enigma of gravity, magnetism, and even electricity. Hence, with the knowledge provided in the above two fields, A-Level Physics encounters and educates about the inner workings of physical objects and explains “why things do what they do.” As a result, due to its vast and interesting nature, many Singaporean students studying in A-Levels opt for A-Level Physics as part of their selected combination. This article aims to provide an overview of the course itself as well as lay-out tips which will help you score a better grade, tips that are hand-picked and proven by the best home tutors for A-Level Physics in Singapore.

As a student moves from O-Levels to A-Levels, the intensity of the course increases. While O-Level courses such as Chemistry and Physics do well to explain the fundamentals of the subject, the intensity of the course rises when a student begins his A-Levels. The same situation is applied to A-Level Physics. While its prerequisite was simple and adamant of explaining only the basic foundations of the subject, A-Level Physics encounters complexity and calculations within its topics. This has proven to be quite difficult for students to understand as well as effectively grasp the concept of the topic being taught. Because of this, when students come across impossible questions in their JC examinations, it makes them overwhelmed and in search for extra help which they acquire via private A-Level Physics 1-to-1 home tuition in Singapore.

However, the question arises as to why? Why do students still opt for this course even when it is difficult and complex? It’s simple actually, since it is such an interesting subject which educates students about the physical working of objects and actions, it intrigues them. Furthermore, since the course makes use of mathematical calculations, it appeals to students who have a higher command over mathematics. Another intriguing aspect of the subject is that, unlike Chemistry and Biology, the course revolves around logical reasoning and calculations rather than memorization of the topics. It is evident that when deciding subject combinations, students need to be aware of future career options. Well luckily for students selecting A-Level Physics, the course opens up options varying from all criteria. Examples of the given careers are: Engineering, Mathematics, Biology, Robotics and many more. However, if a student still feels more inclined towards learning more about Physics, they can always study for being a physicist or an astronaut, or in particular, more like the characters in “Big Bang Theory” such as Sheldon and Leonard. On a side note, this subject like many others is also considered as a prerequisite for multiple courses in most well-known universities, so not only does the subject handpicks excellent career options, it also aids students in their higher studies.

1. Concentrate and Understand the Ins and Outs of Your Subject

Depending on their interest of the subject as well as their expertise in Math and Physics, students are given the options to take up the course at different levels; H1 or H2. There is also another level H3. The levels in general determine the depth in which the content is covered and discussed. When looking into the contents of each level, we can see that H1 is the basic coverage of the course, while H3 is more advanced. H2, however covers the same content as H1 but contains some additional topics not included in the first level. Furthermore, H3 is offered to students who have mastered the second level i.e. H2. On a side note, H1 excludes any form of practicality in the Physics paper, it is all theory-based.

As we have observed, H1 is a very basic and fundamental study of the course, so it is safe to assume that it eliminates many topics found in the other levels, sometimes even full sections. Even with its heavy refinement, the subject’s complexity and difficulty does not waver. The questions are still challenging and impossible to solve without the right concept. In addition, most junior colleges catering A-Level Physics students are given strict requirements for students taking on the subject. Such as required prerequisites for being eligible to select A-Level Physics after graduation. Therefore, students need to be mindful of the grades they acquire in the corresponding subjects in O-Levels such as Physics and Additional Mathematics. These grades further determine whether a student can select H2 A-Level Physics after their graduation of O-Levels. This is due to the fact that H2 level requires students to have good knowledge of both Additional Mathematics and Physics along with clear concept and good grades. However, if you feel as if you do not have the strongest hold over the given prerequisites, investing in private tutors from FamilyTutor agency can help get you on the right path. Private tutors analyze your weaknesses and grades and determine the possibility of you being able to select H2 A-Level Physics when the time comes.

The first and foremost tip offered by home tutors is to concentrate. Concentrate on the course, the lectures as well as any extra information passed around. Extra help is also a good initiative to keep guarded with the course and its contents i.e. hiring private tutors in Singapore. Private home tuitions can help to solve any misconceptions the student may have before the course progresses too far. Since the course is recognized as very difficult and challenging, keeping up with assignments and clearing concepts at an earlier stage is very critical. Out of which, possibly one of the most important requirements of the subject is knowledge of higher-level mathematics in order to effectively solve questions. Private tutors can ensure you understand both the scientific knowledge as well as the mathematics calculation involved for a particular topic. Hence, with their knowledge and expertise, Physics home tutors can help you acquire and practice both the theoretical concepts along with its appropriate and accurate calculations precisely.

2. Settle a Certain Amount of Time to Practice for Exams

Varying with levels H1, H2, and H3, the examination pattern changes; this pattern governs how your paper is marked and how adequate grades are assigned. Hence, one of the most encouraged tip private tutors give their students is to work and memories the pattern of the paper they are appearing for.

In reference to the examination patterns, there are three main Assessment Objectives (AO) in the A-Level Physics subject which are classified as follows:

  1. Knowledge and Understanding
  2. Handling, Applying and Evaluating Information
  3. Experimental Skills and Investigations (only applicable to H2)

The knowledge and understanding objectives are achieved when your concepts are solidified which means that the first object deals with the theoretical knowledge of the course. After a student has educated himself on the topic, memorized the formulas, he/she must know how and where to apply them. Handling information, applying the concept and formulas, and evaluating a proper solution is what the student needs to work on now. This is where private tutors come in, they teach the student about application and calculation as well as clearing any previous misconceptions that the student may have. The foremost responsibility of the home tutor is to guide the students, show them step by step procedures of where and how to apply a specific solution. The tutor follows this procedure until the student himself understands how to do it by himself. Furthermore, the tutors try to instill very basic but critical tips to their students. An example of this could be writing short and to-the-point answers or even remembering common formulas, so more time can be spent on questions and their evaluations. Another skill that tutors teach their students is highlighting main parts of the question given. It is no secret that sometimes the examiner tries to confuse students with giving extra information, filtering out unnecessary points and highlighting the critical ones is a skill on its own which is achieved by constant practice and concentration. Thus, your Physics tutor can guide you about important relative information in order to achieve a better grade, such as conversion techniques and using particular key words to achieve extra marks.

Much like Math, Physics involves calculations, that too precise and accurate ones. So, in order to fully grasp a topic, you need to consistently practice questions. From solving topical practice questions given by your tutor, you come to attain the full grasp of a certain topic. After you have acquired more command over the problems and calculation, students need to start solving past held papers, though which private tutors can analyze which topics the student still needs to work on. All these resources are in your private tutor’s possession and are given to students according to their confidence during the practice. Furthermore, home tutors advise students to solve papers under certain time limit in hopes to adapt their mindset to the timing given to them in the official paper.

3. Remain Calm and Think Logically and Practically

The essence of A-Level Physics is that it revolves around logical reasoning, the result of which can be obtained through practical’s and experiments. This is known as the last assessment objective in the course and hence has a complete paper related to its investigation, better known as paper 4 which is included in the H2 level of the course. The main objective of this paper is to encourage and test students of their theoretical knowledge and how effectively they perform experiments and derive conclusions according the situation provided. Thus, with the help of evaluating how a student performed a certain experiment, examiners can identify how concrete a student’s concepts are.

The practical paper examines and experiments from multiple topics varying from electricity, magnetism and heat and so familiarizing oneself with the appropriate apparatus is very necessary. The most common experiments proposed could be to measure temperature changes, checking the oscillating time of a pendulum or even calculating electrical changes. The first and foremost skill that students will be tested on is their ability to set up the apparatus as per instructions and safely. The main tip that tutors give to students is to remain calm and be careful. The invigilating staff roam the premises of the lab and observe students while they perform their experiment. Due to this reason, students are advised to remain calm while performing all tasks, whether it may be observing measurements or setting up the equipment. Furthermore, students are also advised to keep all their written work clean and precise when taking care of important units as well as ensuring that the data is in the proper format.

After the data has been collected and complied with the appropriate requirements and recorded in tables, the second most critical skill that students are required to have is plotting the recorded data in a graph. For this process, tutors train students how to accurately decide their appropriate axis and how to plot them as efficiently as possible. After this process, a student is tested on his best-fit-line drawn in the graph. This former skill is achieved by concentration and lots of practice which should be done prior to the exam. Most students get confused in this step since best-fit-lines need to be exactly perfect, and the slightest of change can alter the slope which in turn affects the end results and calculations. But this is where private tutors help the most. Since practice is key, private tutors design multiple practical’s and corresponding sets of data through which a student can practice how to efficiently draw a graph and the best-fit-line. Students can easily ace this section if they are both familiar and have had sufficient practice with drawing graphs.

The other critical part of the paper deals with planning. It is not only necessary that the student knows how to work through a given experiment but also his ability to design his own experiment according to the given requirements. The given experiment should be reliable and logical and should contain all appropriate design elements that are given below:

  1. Independent & Dependent variables
  2. Constant variable
  3. Draw the experiment setup and include clear labels of apparatus used
  4. Procedure and clear steps (e.g. how data is measured and processed)
  5. Safety considerations and precautions
  6. Improvements to the experiment to improve clarity and feasibility

With keeping all the above design elements in mind, the students are advised to design their experiment according to the given criteria. This will ensure that at least half of their question is done efficiently and according to the proposed question. However, students usually find this part complicated and difficult to master. But do not fret! Private tutors are there to help you with multiple practice questions and tips and tricks to recognize the best design plan for the experiment. It should also be noted that this component deals with future analysis and experimental work practiced in most Physics-related careers. The skill to accurately and precisely measure and store data, to design an experiment with the lowest amount of uncertainty and risk and lastly to estimate end results to the smallest degree, all of these are useful in both the paper and in future careers. But before a student can get to work on how to develop efficient experiments or how to create the best fit line, they first need to be thoroughly educated on their theoretical concepts.

4. Develop Personal Memorization Techniques

A very common and effective tip that most Physics tutors advise their students it to rely on their own notes or memorization techniques. It can be very hard to memorize large formulas and pieces of critical information. This is why, 1-to-1 home tutors encourage students to find the method most suitable to them. Finding and adapting to a strategy which best fits how a student learns is very important. A student is always advised to list down the main formulas and definitions for all topics included in the course, as these are a basic need and mostly reviewed questions in the paper. On this note, another effective method could be to draw out all important points for each topic and revise in the last two weeks the entire contents, this would count as revision as well as ensure that the student is able to remember everything in the official paper.

5. Engage in Expert Guidance from Experienced and Qualified Tutors

Sometimes words are confusing, concepts written down are harder to grasp and so you need more help. But 1-to-1 Physics home tutors have your back, they can recommend intriguing yet educational videos which clear your concept through the help of mathematical models. Sometimes visualizing a concept is more effective in cases which deal with “invisible elements” for example the multiple forces acting on a car. It is advised to get a strong command over the basic fundamentals and knowledge as soon as possible, so more time can be invested discussing problems and calculations with your tutor.

Private tuitions are beneficial to a student as they solve any misconceptions and doubts that students may have. Furthermore, colleges are restricted with time and can only teach one method to find a particular solution whereas private tutors can show you multiple ways to achieve the correct answer, all of which are right. The student can then choose which solution suits him best. It is to be noted that practice in A-Level Physics is critical and so students should never shy away from asking their tutors for resources. These resources are customized and detailed according to the student they are teaching, and so it helps the student to level out all of their weak topics. Furthermore, since private tutors teach one student at a time, their attention is targeted and concentrated to that particular student, this helps to effectively analyze each and every topic the student lags or excels in.

Conclusion

A-Level Physics is a highly intriguing and interesting course. It deals with complexities and concepts dealing with all physical objects and actions. When unraveling its mysteries, we are encouraged to see beyond what we normally perceive. The most important advice would be to start early! If one wishes to take on this particular subject, they should begin as earliest as they possibly can. There is no time to lose, no shortcuts and definitely nothing that can be missed. Engaging with a private home tutor in Singapore could solve a lot of your worries, do not delay and contact FamilyTutor home tutoring agency and get it touch with the best Physics 1-to-1 home tutors Singapore has to offer.

Zoe

Zoe

Zoe is an undergraduate student in Singapore who loves thinking deeply and translating them into writing. She hopes her reflective opinions and sound advice weaved into relevant articles will be useful for you in one way or another!

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