Top 10 tips to Score A in O Level Physics
1. Pay attention in Physics class! Stay focused during the class and do not chat with your friends. When the tutor presents the lesson topic, highlight the parts of the lesson note which the tutor emphasized or which you think you need special attention. It will save you time and effort when you try to recap and understand what the class had went through days ago.
2. Understand the key Physics concepts in every lesson! Ask questions if you are unsure of something. You will be helping your classmates too. If you are shy or unwilling to ask during class with many students, write the questions down. After the class, ask the teacher while the questions are still fresh in your mind.
3. Revise lesson notes and practice questions consistently every week. Avoid last minute exam cram. It is not effective and may damage your health in long term.
4. Do not get distracted! Refrain yourself from checking your mobile phone, going to watch television or play games while you are studying.
5. Have rest times. If you try to cramp a lot of content within a short time or continuous period of time, it is not going to be productive for your revision. Some research has shown that some breaks or rest times will improve the effectiveness and productivity of your revision.
6. Try to understand the concept surrounding a formula. You should never blindly memorise formulas. For example, F = m x a. The force, F, does not represent thrust or tension; it represents solely the resultant force and no other force. Another example, the formula for moment is M = F x d. The distance, d, does not represent the vertical or horizontal distance; it represents the perpendicular distance from the line of action of the force and the pivot. What is the distance perpendicular to? It is not the distance perpendicular to the pivot; it is the distance perpendicular to the force!
7. Try to simplify Physics questions as much as possible. The Physics question you are reading may seem difficult to solve at first, but it is important to remain calm. Read it again and break it down to parts. First of all, highlight the important keywords found in the scenario given. Secondly, highlight what the sub question is trying to ask. Is there a keyword in the sub question that can help you identify what pieces of information you might require from the scenario? Learn how to answer Physics questions on Forces from our question guide examples.
8. Know the Units. For example, unit for mass is kg and not in N. Forces cannot be in Joules but in Newton. Always remember to convert the units in a question to the units required by the equation! For example, convert km, cm into m, for the equation M = F x d, as the SI unit for moment is Nm. If you forget to convert, your answer will be off by potentially several orders of magnitude. Similarly, if the required answer should be in certain unit and your calculated answer is in another unit, please remember to convert your answer to the expected unit too. For example, if the volume you calculated is in cm3, but the answer required is in m3, you will need to convert cm3 to m3 as your final answer.
9. Always answer the question! Sometimes your answer may be just re-arranging the question. Try to read your answer to see if your answer contains only keywords already found in the question. Learn and understand the O Level Physics syllabus will help you to some extend as well.
10. Do not be careless! Too fast may cause careless mistakes. Slow does not mean it will be correct either. Train yourself to work carefully within the time limit and do not throw that precious 2 marks away by forgetting a 0 or a decimal point. Also, remember to present your answer in 2 or 3 significant figures; no answer should be presented in 1, 4 or more significant figures. Finally, do not forget the units in your answers.
Finally, if you are still unable to score and still have many questions in your head especially by mid of Sec 3, you should start looking for a good Physics Tuition. This is because the questions may unknowingly build up, which will make you feel confused and helpless. Be sure to get help early.
Learning For Keeps provides O Level Physics tuition classes for Sec 3 and Sec 4 students as well as IP Physics tuition classes for IP Year 3 and Year 4 students.