04 Jul What Makes a Good Chemistry Students-In Singapore
What Makes a Good Chemistry Students-In Singapore
Chemistry – Studying ‘Matter’:
In simple terms – Chemistry studies ‘matter’ – to find out what it consists of, the properties it bears, the changes that it undergoes, and the natural laws that explain those changes. Chemistry provides a foundation for understanding both basic and applied scientific disciplines at a fundamental level.
The solid foundation in chemistry is needed virtually in every other branch of scientific approaches – the features of plant chemistry (botany), the formation of igneous rocks (geology), the creation of atmospheric ozone and degradation of environmental pollutants (ecology), finding out characteristics of soil found on the moon (astrophysics), the chemical composition of medications (pharmacology), etc. all are dependent in one way or another on basic chemistry.
That’s why the importance of proper chemistry education cannot be overstated. So, it is a must that every country’s educational formation should put adequate emphasis on the appropriate knowledge of chemistry for its students.
Chemistry Education in Singapore – The Structure:
In Singapore, the Ministry of Education has been taken a ‘spiral’ approach to formulating a chemistry curriculum in different levels in the education sector. Learning chemistry begins at the primary levels where it is a part of the Integrated Science Curriculum, and it starts as early as in Primary level 3. But the term ‘chemistry’ is not used until much later.
As the pupils carry on studying, the scope for learning chemistry increases gradually. In the Lower Secondary level (Secondary 1 & 2), children study general science, of which 30% of the course consists of chemistry. In the next level, in Secondary level 3 & 4, chemistry is available as an elective subject. After completion of the secondary level, students take part in GCE ‘O,’ and after overcoming this hurdle, the preparation for GCE ‘A’ level in Junior Colleges begins.
For the students who complete the ‘O’ level, an option to choose one of the four polytechnics is available. In the pre-university level, which is essentially the Junior College, chemistry is available as a main subject and also as a constituent of the ‘A’ level Physical Science subject. Tertiary-level chemistry education is provided by the NUS, NIE, the four local polytechnics, and a few other private technical institutes.
Booming Tuition Industry – The Helper That Helps:
A few factors have worked in favor of Singapore’s booming tuition industry. The school curriculum in Singapore is unusually tight. Besides, for being the members of a meritocratic society, modern parents try everything in their power to ensure the best education possible. Moreover, there is the traditional ‘Kiasu’ – the fear of lagging – the driving force for every Singaporean to achieve excellence in whatever they engage themselves in.
All of these have made studying exceedingly competitive in Singapore. And they also have paved the way for snowballing the tuition industry. Today, there are about 850 registered tuition centers in Singapore.
Among that outrageous number of tuition centers in ‘the little red dot,’ the Chemistry Café is the name that their students acknowledge with gratitude, and the parents refer to it with conviction. They provide the best tuitions for the following levels:
But What Makes You A Good Chemistry Student:
The world-class educational structure or the availability of efficient tuitions – won’t make you a good chemistry student. The structure and the teachings are there to help, but the actual work is all yours. You have to dig deep; you need to be in the trenches, you must endure the grueling sessions and force yourself again to get back up, in this case, get started all over again. To be a good chemistry student, only hard work is not enough – you need to work hard smartly. Let me help you jumpstart in your quest to be a ‘Chemistry’ high with the following tips:
• First thing first – you need an insane amount of practice – to be able to enjoy the ‘fun’ element in learning chemistry. And there are no ‘two ways’ around it. Learning chemistry warrants obstinacy, attention to detail, self-governess, and forbearance.
• Be clear and conscious about what you are going to learn. You will discover any of the following branches of chemistry or a combination of 2 or more disciplines:
1. Inorganic Chemistry
2. Organic Chemistry
3. Physical or Theoretical Chemistry
4. Analytical Chemistry
5. Biochemistry or Physiological Chemistry
Then find out how the teacher usually conducts the coursework. It is essential because every instructor has their unique way of teaching – some heavily dependent on library usage, a few prefer notes given in lectures, others are an austere follower of the specified texts from the institute – whichever your teacher is going to be, lean on to that methodology. It will immensely benefit you to get the most out of the actual class-works.
• It shouldn’t be any hardship for you to become a master in the following bare basics:
1. Name & Symbol of 40 mostly-used elements.
2. Measurement Calculation – length, mass, volume.
3. Temperatures – Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin.
4. Basic Algebra with significant and exponential numbers and a solid understanding of the logarithms.
5. Factorial Method or Dimensional Analysis.
6. Know the names and symbols with formulas of frequently used simple & polyatomic ions by heart.
7. Chemical formulas of ionic and molecular substances.
Chemistry isn’t unlike any other concepts to grasp – that’s why when you grab the building blocks, chemistry won’t be a mystery anymore.
• Like most other natural science disciplines, chemistry moves forward from dealing with simple topics to handling complex issues. In other words, it moves ahead, stepping on previous ideas – or more like the existing knowledge will propel you forward. That’s why it is of utmost importance that you never stop the continuation of learning. Clear comprehension of new chapters is only possible when you know the previous concepts by heart.
• Deal with the terminology and symbols early on
1. Make notes about all the definitions with relevant examples in your own words. If needed, just cram them straightaway.
2. Make flashcards for the symbols and make them appear everywhere before your eyes. Review, recite, memorize, cram – do whatever works to make them second nature.
• Make the Periodic Table, your best friend for the rest of your academic career and make yourselves inseparable. You can thank me later.
• Emphasize problem-solving – every single of your chemistry study session must incorporate problem-solving. My suggestion would be something like this – work out ten new problems per study and revise five from the course before.
• Make studying chemistry is an everyday affair, or if it seems not viable, go for five days. The more you spend time on chemistry, the better you will become in putting everything together.
• Organize a study group with like-minded peers and share insights, exchange ideas, explain difficult concepts to one another, and compare notes. Make sure you follow the followings when creating a study circle:
a. Keep the members between 3 to 6 people.
b. Members must attend with full preparation in every session.
c. The length shouldn’t be more than 2-3 hours long.
d. Arrange the course at the same time in the same place.
e. And finally, treat the meetings as studying sessions; don’t make it another social gathering.
• This is one of my most favorite – have at least two different textbooks at your disposal. Very often, you will find different interpretations of the same thin enlightening.
• Make sure you take meticulous lecture notes. Study shows that successful students tend to capture about 70% of what is said by the teachers during class.
• Silly as it may seem, many students don’t know how to use scientific calculators. Learn to use different functions of a scientific calculator – you will find it profoundly handy.
• Manipulating mathematics in physical chemistry is frustrating. Most students act foolhardy if they are confident in basic math. It is one thing to be proficient at complex equations written with only X or Y or Z. Still, it is quite literally another proposition when you deal with calculations relating components of accompanying orders of magnitude. Another tricky bit is sequencing calculations of mole concepts – like when to convert to moles or to convert back. You can only be good at handling them if you keep your ego out of the equation and engage yourself in old-fashioned diligent labor.
• Learn to visualize. You don’t need to be a visionary, but the conception of visualizing chemistry in real life is something you should look forward to being successful at. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you can ‘see’ the density of high or low electrons moving about? How about you can notice ‘gas-pressure’ and ‘collision theory’ like you watch the live feed of your favorite games on TV.
• Know the recurring mistakes you are committing, try to comprehend them from another viewpoint, and work on them regularly – this is the only way to avoid the errors in the exam.
• A minuscule step in being able to grasp a more significant idea as a whole is to learn distinctions and correlations between related terms. Try to be fluid in facts, concepts, and generalizations and relate them with the bigger picture with your sound knowledge about similar topics.
• This idea is said many times over by the teachers, and I believe it is worth repeating as many times as one thinks it needs to. You need to study the chapter before the teacher teaches it in the class.
The above list is in no way conclusive or exhaustive. And they were also not given following any particular order.
I sincerely believe following them will have a significant impact on making you a good chemistry student.