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Importance of Secondary School Physics Tuition
Physics is a subject that requires a combination of Mathematical skills, as well as the use of Scientific reasoning. Unlike other sciences, it involves plenty of formulas, theories, laws, on top of the standard conceptual knowledge. Since there are many other aspects to Physics besides simply conceptual understanding, Secondary School Physics tuitions can aid students in becoming experts across all aspects. This ensures that they fully ingest the contents of each chapter, enabling them to be sufficiently prepared for examinations.
In Lower Secondary, physics is often implemented as part of a joint curriculum of Science. Therefore, it is naturally more introductory in nature, and the content covered for each chapter will be of less depth. For example, chapters from Physics include “Effects of Heat and Transmission” and “Light”. In these chapters, students are introduced to definitions of Conduction, Convection and Radiation (for Heat), as well as the definitions of Reflections and Refractions (for Light).
In lower secondary, students are largely introduced to these new terms and do not dwell further deeper into the topic. However, in Upper Secondary, students are now made to calculate heat loss using formulas, and explain the heat transfer in Physical terms with the use of calculations and formulae to aid their explanations. In Light, students are required to calculate refraction indexes, calculate angles of reflection, and more. Most students struggle with Upper Secondary physics as they are not able to cope with the huge jump in depth.
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General problems faced when studying Secondary School Physics
Differentiating Between Various Domains of Physics
In Upper Secondary, Physics is divided into various “big ideas”, namely – Measurement, Newtonian Mechanics, Thermal Physics, Waves and Electricity. Each theme goes through entirely different concepts, and therefore, requires separate modes of learning. For example, Newtonian Mechanics involves Kinematics, Dynamics and Forces. These chapters require an immaculate visualisation, as often, the concepts learnt from these chapters are further aided by imagination, or by drawing out directions of forces and vectors.
In addition, Newton’s laws are also essential and are frequently used in answers as explanations to further supplement a student’s answers. Comparing this big idea of Newtonian Mechanics to Electricity, chapters like Current and DC Circuits require the application of formula and familiarity. Many formulas are used to calculate voltage, current, etc. Students are also to be familiar with the set-up of a circuit. As such, both big themes require completely different skill sets.
Therefore, students struggle to grasp the true requirements of each big idea and try to learn all with one similar style. This leads to ineffective learning and understanding, leading to gaps in knowledge which can be especially damaging for a subject like Physics.
Scoring for Exams
Students also may often find themselves struggling to score for examinations, although they feel like they have prepared more than adequately for the subject. This is because Physics is a subject that requires plenty of application. Students often may have a thorough understanding of the subject and its contents, but may not have sufficient experience applying the contents to various types of questions.
What to look for in a Secondary School Physics Tutor
Provides Learning Tips
Physics tutors must be able to provide learning tips that enable students to think faster during examinations. This is pivotal as time is required for students to write out paragraphs of explanations. Therefore, the time that can be used for writing has to be maximised, and this can be done so by enabling fast thinking.
One of the many tips a private Physics tutor can provide is the Right Hand rule for the chapter of Electromagnetic Induction in Secondary 4. This can enable students to identify the direction of current as quickly as possible. However, Physics home tutors must be aware to make sure that students are proficient in such tips by allowing them to frequently practise using these tips. This will ensure that these tips are instilled in them such that it becomes muscle memory during examinations.
Able to Link Concepts between Chapters
The study of Physics in secondary school largely revolves under a few main ideas. Under each main idea, comes individual chapters. A good private Physics tutor will not just teach an individual chapter as it is, but rather connect one chapter from a big idea with another chapter of that same big idea.
This is crucial as it deepens a student’s understanding and he is able to think of bigger pictures instead of simply learning individual chapters. This can be relevant in chapters like Forces and Work, Energy and Power. Questions may include concepts from both chapters, so students must be able to immediately pull out formulae from each chapter quickly and apply them aptly. Therefore, having a thorough inter-connected knowledge can be especially helpful during examinations.
Uses condensed notes
A good Physics tutor would be able to provide his own summarised notes. This enables a student to identify what the key requirements of each chapter are. Students do not need to read the textbook repeatedly as it can be lengthy. Textbooks also contain plenty of additional information that are there purely for informational purposes. An inexperienced student may not be able to distinguish what is necessary for examinations from what is necessary for understanding. Therefore, Physics tuition can help by helping a student highlight what exactly is important and are “must-know”.
Benefits of Physics Tuition
Secondary School Physics tuition enables students to deepen their understanding of Physics concepts, which is the first and most important step to scoring in Physics. As a consequence, students are naturally trained to be better at Physics Paper 1 (Multiple Choice Questions) as well. Physics Paper 1 tests thoroughly on conceptual understanding. It is tough as it requires a student to have a flawless understanding, with most options often being extremely close to one another. As such, by strengthening their concepts through Physics tuition, students naturally train for their Paper 1 and are not required to prepare for them externally outside of tuition.
This term has been repeated many times throughout this article for a reason as it is the main reason why students struggle to score to their expectations. In a typical question paper for Physics, each question is extremely new and consists of a background context. Often, students may not have seen that same question before.
While a student’s understanding can ensure that he gets the straightforward questions correct, the understanding alone is not sufficient to answer higher order questions. These questions involve the tailoring of understanding and concepts to fit the context of the question – a technique that is developed through rigorous practice. Physics tuition can help develop these techniques as Physics tutors have the necessary experience and additional materials to ensure that students are thoroughly prepared for such questions during exams.
Physics tuition greatly improves exam-readiness as students are taught tips and strategies to maximise their learning. Physics also involves a fair bit of memorisation, especially in the theme of Newtonian Mechanics which heavily test on Newton’s Laws and definitions. Physics tutors can find out what each individual student’s strengths are and administer tips, mnemonics and strategies to ensure that the memorisation aspect of Physics is perfected. This improves confidence and exam-readiness as this aspect of Physics is the easiest to score from.
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