Many tutors teach Chemistry simply in its context. However, at Focus Chemistry, students get to see how concepts are linked across topics in Chemistry, and sometimes, from Physics and Biology. In addition, the tutor always weaves in real-life examples and analogies to help the students remember concepts in an easier and more engaging way.
The other key point of differentiation is the post-assessment analysis of test/examination answer scripts of each student and prior feedbacks given by the tutor. Students are told to attribute all their wrong answers to 7 different categories of common causes and to identify which one is the main contributor to poor performance.
This is done in individual sessions, without the presence of other students. This practice is highly effective as students, once they rectify the biggest causes to their wrong answers, usually see improvement on the rest of their academic subjects, not just in Chemistry.
Dion has been teaching Chemistry since 1992. Over the years, he has produced students who have aced examinations at a national level:
For O levels – 100% of students scoring A1 and A2
For A levels – More than 85% of students scoring grades A and B (More than half of whom score an A grade)
For IB Chemistry – 100% of students scoring grade 7
Improvement in grades is definitely guaranteed. (Refer to parents’ and students’ testimonies)
The tutor has a deep network of professional connections teaching in MOE schools, and thus is constantly aligned with format and content changes, and the latest requirements for various national examinations.
A typical lesson includes the teaching of concepts, hands-on practice, reviewing assignments, and the occasional quiz. A mixture of teaching strategies are employed during the lesson. This includes
- The tutor delivering concepts and applications, as well as assignment solutions
- Students working out solutions on whiteboards in the classroom, either individually or in groups
- Students delivering topic content, usually in groups. This method of peer teaching is extremely effective as it drives students to understand the concepts before explaining them to their peers.
The tutor regularly seeks feedback from students about upcoming school tests and examinations and prepares them for those assessments.
Subsequently, the tutor also studies the students’ test/examination answer scripts and analyses it thoroughly with them. This is to attribute their wrong answers to 7 common “sins” in the examination. Once the students know which “sin/s” contribute to the most marks loss, advice would be given to reduce the likelihood of committing such “sin/s” in future assessments.
This method of analysis and feedback is one of the differentiating points of Focus Chemistry. It is highly individualised and extremely effective because when students identify which “sin” causes most of their mistakes, they can improve their academic performance across all subjects and not just in Chemistry.
Improvement of 10-20 marks in such a post-assessment analysis and feedback between tutor and student is commonly seen.
The students will be given a thorough concept revision for each chapter, supplemented with past-year preliminary papers from notable schools for practice.
The use of past-year preliminary examination papers is a relevant benchmark for topical practice after each topic has been taught in class. Dion uses past examination papers in preparation for upcoming O, A levels, IGCSE and IB examinations.
The tutor does conduct intensive revision for O and A levels, usually during the 2nd/3rd week of June. Collation of the most recent past-year preliminary examination papers will be used for topical revision after the concepts of each chapters are taught.
Secondary school students are taught practical skills during lessons. For JC and IB students, experimental planning skills are also taught. This is implemented in all levels to cater for practical examinations.
Lessons missed will not be charged as students pay fees based on lessons attended. If the student chooses to do a makeup lesson with another class, then the missed lesson will be charged accordingly. Makeup lessons can also be done on a one-to-one basis, but the duration per makeup lesson will be reduced.
For students who are either shy or are unable to ask questions during class, they are encouraged to ask any questions any time of the day, any day of the week.
Students are also encouraged to use WhatsApp to take pictures of notes or questions to send them to the tutor. The tutor will personally either answer through text messages or clarify doubts over the phone. Typical response time is less than an hour for text messages and within 2 hours for phone clarifications.
The student does not need to buy any guidebooks or 10-year series books as the tutor has notes that are more than sufficient to ace examinations. He also has soft copies of top schools’ examination papers, including O/A level and IB papers with solutions.
Fees for four lessons are pre-paid every first lesson of four. For one-on-one lessons, parents can choose to pre-pay for four lessons or pay after each lesson has been conducted.
The fees paid are inclusive of material fees. No registration fee is charged. These fees also include any softcopy of preliminary exams or O/A/IB exam papers required by the student.
Referral fee is one of the unique features in Focus Chemistry. The amount depends on the class enrolled in and is usually paid out after the 2nd month of enrolment of the referred student.
O Levels Questions
Group classes conducted for secondary school students are usually for those who study Secondary 3 and 4 pure Chemistry. For IP/IB students, due to similarity in content, they can join the O level Pure Chemistry classes.
However, there are some IP schools, such as NJC and ACS(I), where the fraction of the syllabi that are of A level/IB level are much greater than other IP schools. As such, the typical O level Pure Chemistry classes will not be a good fit. The tutor may customise the group class to accommodate students of 2 different tracks within the same class, or the student can opt for a more customised and personalised one-on-one lesson with the tutor.
A levels/IB Diploma Bridging classes for post-O level students are usually conducted from end-November to mid-January. During this 8-10 weeks’ course, students experience a sample of the variety of topics, as well as the nature of questions at these higher levels.
A Levels Questions
Planning of experiments is usually taught in the middle of JC2 after all the topics in the syllabus have been covered. Students need to have relevant content knowledge of all the chapters to be able to appreciate the rationale of experimental procedures for different topics.
IB DIPLOMA Questions
Based on the tutor’s many years of research experience mentoring upper Secondary and JC students in research projects for national level competitions (such as the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair, Singapore/Stockholm Junior Water Prize and Sembcorp Greenwave competitions), Dion has the proven experience to help IB students craft project scopes, guide students through experimental procedures, and vet project synopses as well as reports before submission.
It is often difficult to segregate content based on SL and HL Chemistry because certain chapters contain content meant for both levels. Thus, unless there is an ongoing SL Chemistry class, parents are usually advised to consult the tutor about individual and customised lessons instead.