Science seems like an abstract area of study, if it is taught well by a good tutor, students will realise that it is not intimidating and there is nothing to fear.
So, what are the things a good tutor does which shapes his or her student into a Science ‘genius’?
When learning new topics, it may seem as though there are too many details and that everything is incomprehensible. This is mainly because during lessons in schools, it is impossible for teachers to take baby steps with students to go through every single detail. Teachers in school will go through the general overview of the topic and explain the more difficult sections which are comparatively challenging to comprehend. The rest are left to students for them to learn by themselves, which is often called “independent-learning”.
A good tutor would advise their students that one cannot master content using a single method or strategy, but rather its achievable through the conflation of many different strategies that helps you understand, remember and recall important information.
This is indeed a tough job for many students; one of the biggest hurdles indeed. There are several ways to go about memorising content and it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way; do whatever works for you!
(i) Rewriting notes helps some people to refresh their memory on what their science tutors went through with them during lessons. Customising the notes, crafting them in a way that that only you can comprehend is effective because every individual’s neural pathway is different and the way you store your information will be different from another person.
(ii) Watching content-related videos (this was briefly mentioned in the previously) is extremely helpful for visual learners. By watching animated videos that clearly show how these complicated processes occur, you would be able to easily remember each step, and will be able to confidently recall them during examinations.
(iii) Creating mind maps helps you look at the bigger picture, link concepts and simplify huge topics. This makes everything easy for understanding and absorption. This technique will especially come handy during your examinations when you have to figure out the concepts being tested by the question.
(iv) Teaching somebody is another way to test how well you know the content of a topic. When you are able to explain a concept to someone with all the details with much clarity, it then means that you have a good understanding of your content. If you find yourself getting stuck at any juncture while explaining a concept to someone, it then means that there are some learning gaps that you have to patch up immediately
#3: RETAINING INFORMATION
The very famous ‘forgetting curve’ shows how the knowledge we acquire does not permanently sit in our mind right from the point that we have memorised it. It is important to revise. To be more specific, for example, if you have studied a topic on Monday, revise it on Tuesday, and revise it again on Thursday and once again on Sunday. Give it a week break and test yourself again to see how much you remember and patch up your learning gaps like this every now and then.
#4: PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND PRACTICE
The idea is to not just beaver away by doing one practice paper after another mindlessly. Completing your assessment books and finishing all your practice papers does not necessarily guarantee success; there is much more to it. What is most important is to identify your learning gaps and always try to mould your weaknesses into strength to continue improving yourself.
#5: BE AT YOUR BEST IN EXAMS
Albeit studying with diligence during exams, if you are not exam smart or in the right frame of mind, lots can go wrong. Some things that you can do during exams to excel that paper are:
(A) DON’T MISS THE DETAILS
Students often make careless mistakes when they miss out important details in the question. Use your pencil during the exam and annotate to draw your attention to important pieces of information that will guide you in answering your questions. This will also help you write succinct answers.
(B) DON’T COMPLICATE THINGS
Many questions in science papers comes with a preamble, which consists of 4-5 lines of background information that guides students to answer the related questions. They can be overwhelming but simplifying them by drawing out symbols or writing out abbreviations will be of great help.
(C) DON’T PANIC
It is important for students to keep in mind that nothing is the be-all and end-all and that what is most important is to give their best at all times and never lose hope.
During exams, should you blank out, do not panic, and move on to the next question. Never let emotions overwhelm you; use logic over emotions and do what you can to the best of your ability because getting anxious does not improve the situation anyways.
Following the tips mentioned above will help you become a science genius for sure! Parenthetically, remember to never let success get to your head and never let failure pull you down. What is most important is to enjoy learning and always work hard to achieve what you have set out for!
Steffen Carter is a professional tutor, working for ChampionTutor which provides home tutors in Singapore. He enjoys working with students very much. He has a positive brashness and a passion to assist and motivate struggling learners.