Study Smart: Three Steps to Get Distinctions in O-level Physics or IGCSE Physics
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
The school year is starting soon in January next year. Here I would like to share how to get your distinctions or A1s for O-Level Physics, or its equivalent, IGCSE Physics. Hope it is of help to all secondary school students!
Step 1: Get the fundamentals right and have great summary notes in hand
Physics is a fascinating subject! Fundamental physical laws are grouped into related chapters in the syllabus for easier teaching and learning. It is absolutely crucial that students get the fundamentals right. The term “fundamentals” means all key definitions, formulae, key diagrams etc.
One of the more efficient ways to study physics is to have your own summary notes for each chapter. For example, one page for each chapter would be terrific. The skills of forming your own summary notes are very valuable when you move on to college or graduate school. If you do not have time or do not know what are the important concepts compared to the less important ones, private physics tuition sessions will be very helpful for you as it provides concise summary notes.
The advantages of great notes and great teachings could not be over-emphasized. They clear your doubts and give you everything you need to know at your fingertips. If you are lost or get stuck, please seek help from teachers or tutors as early as possible. It is like toothache.
Step 2: Do sufficient exercises strategically and pace yourself for revisions
Okay, now you have your nice summary notes for each chapter and have a good understanding of the fundamentals. It is then the time to solve physics problems! I personally do not recommend you to do 10,000 questions repetitively as if you are “exam machine”. One strategy is to do sufficient exercises that covers all key concepts, FAQs and especially the counter-intuitive questions. There are some classical physics problems that tend to confuse a lot of students. Please get them cleared once and for all. Then when they reappear, “Aha”, you could tackle them with ease.
For exam preparations, it will be helpful to start early and pace yourself to cover all topics. Ideally, your revisions could be completed one month before your major exams so that there is sufficient buffer period for unexpected emergencies such as falling sick.
Step 3: Go to sit for the exam calmly and secure your distinctions or A1s!
After rounds of revisions are done for your major physics exams for O-levels or IGCSE, it is time for exams. You will have a peace of mind and be more relaxed knowing that you have done (almost) everything you could have done.
In the final days before the exams, make sure that you eat well and rest well. When the day comes, just go to the exam hall calmly and solve the questions as if you are doing similar exercises in your tuition sessions. Weeks later, you will receive your results. Hopefully it will be an A* or A1!
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