Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

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 and Daw Shyan possess over 20 years of experience teaching Chemistry, producing students who have aced examinations at a national and international level.

O Level Focus Chemistry students: more than 85% of students scoring A1 and A2

A Level Focus Chemistry students: more than 85% scoring grades A and B and more than half scoring A grade

IB Focus Chemistry students: more than 88% of students scoring grades 6 and 7, where more than half scored grade 7

Improvement in your child’s grades is guaranteed - with time and effort, your child is sure to improve. (Please refer to parents’ and students’ testimonials.)

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.

Firstly, the tutor will deliver Chemistry concepts and their applications, along with assignment solutions. Then, students will work out the solutions during class independently or on the whiteboard in the classroom, either individually or in groups. The students will present the topic content, usually in groups. Peer teaching is extremely effective as it forces students to understand the concepts before explaining it to their peers. When necessary, students will use atomic models to investigate and learn about the shapes of molecules and isomerisms as part of their hands-on learning to facilitate their understanding of more visual concepts.

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 and Daw Shyan use 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 and JC students will be taught practical Chemistry skills during lessons. O Level students at Focus Chemistry will be provided with data for all the questions from actual O Level exam papers starting from the year 2018, when the practical examination was re-introduced into the assessment scheme. Students will then be taught how to process the data and answer the papers. IB students who are in the midst of doing their IA and EE assessments will be able to consult the tutors about their regular practical sessions or practice IA at their school. Practical skills are only assessed in IAs and EEs for IB students.

If your child has missed a lesson in a group class, the recording of the lesson and the lesson notes will be emailed to your child.

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. Focus Chemistry has specially curated materials and question banks to help your child ace every exam.

Fees are collected at the beginning of every month.

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.

The referral fee will be paid out after the referred student is enrolled with Focus Chemistry for 2 months. The student referring must also still be enrolled in Focus Chemistry. Upon the payment of the referral fee, both the referrer and the referee must still be enrolled in Focus Chemistry. The payout of the referral fee will be after the 2nd month of enrollment.

The trial will be a paid trial and is charged as one lesson. After the trial, if the student continues, the student will be given one complimentary lesson after paying one month of fees. This promotion only applies to group lessons with Focus Chemistry.

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.

If there is an SL Chemistry class available, the student can attend the class. Alternatively, the SL Chemistry student can attend lessons with the HL students only when SL content is covered, paying only for the sessions attended. Both SL and HL students will be supported during their Internal Assessment (IAs). Both JC and IB skills will be taught experimental planning skills which are implemented in all levels to cater to practical examinations.

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.

The usual classes conducted for A level students fall under H2 Chemistry (which is taken by most students). H1 and H3 classes can be conducted if there is a minimum number of requests to start the classes.

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.