Physics is often seen as a challenging subject for Form 4 and Form 5 students, and can cause great anxiety when SPM is approaching. If you are facing difficulties with this subject, it would be best to start investing more time and effort in mastering it as soon as possible. Physics is not a subject that you can score well in by simply cramming in formulas and practice papers at the last minute.
To be confident (but not too confident) on your SPM examination day, start implementing the following study tips as soon as you can:
1.Master the concepts
Having a firm understanding of all the concepts introduced in your SPM Physics syllabus is crucial. Despite the abstract nature of the subject, the topics you learn are actually part and parcel of your everyday life, e.g. forces and motion, forces and pressure, heat, light, waves, electricity, electromagnetism, radioactivity, etc. Your goal is to be able to apply the scientific understanding of these natural phenomena to your everyday life experiences (and in the setting of your exam questions).
Besides reading through the textbook and your reference books, pay close attention to the experiments you conduct in the laboratory to solidify your conceptual understanding. Try and use what you learnt to answer questions about the physical world around you: what happens to a car’s speed when it accelerates or decelerates? How much force is needed for a rocket to launch into space? How does your hot cup of tea cool down? Observe how gravity, light, and electricity function in the world around as you go about your daily routine.
2.Practice makes perfect
You should test the extent to which you understand these concepts by applying them to as many new problems and situations as possible. Do many past year SPM papers to get a clear sense of how your knowledge will be tested. If you really want to challenge yourself, try taking on problems from the IGCSE ‘O’ Level Physics syllabus as well.
Memorising formulas on their own are insufficient if you do not have a firm understanding of the concepts they represent. When you have a clear sense of the relationship between each part of the formula, however, you will find it easier to remember them since the logic they contain is clear to you. When SPM is fast approaching, you can prepare a list of the formulas you have learned to firmly root them in your memory.
Finally, do not forget that you will have to demonstrate your knowledge under a particular time frame. Paper 1 consists of 50 multiple choice questions that you need to answer in 75 minutes, Paper 2 contains 12 questions that need to be completed in 2.5 hours, while Paper 3 contains 4 questions that have to be finished within 1.5 hours. Be sure to time all your practice papers so that these time constraints become very familiar to you.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to do well in Physics Form 4 and Form 5 – provided that you put in the necessary effort and time. If you face unusual difficulties in understanding a particular topic, our experienced home tutors will be happy to help!