An earlier post I mentioned a recent student of mine is struggling very badly in one of the top JCs. All along I feel that she has the potential to do well, just that she needs someone to guide her and bring out that potential.

I am very happy when she sent me a message through whatsapp saying she got a B for her Promos. It shows that my initial judgement was right and I am glad I am able to help her over the past 3 months to improve significantly (she failed all her tests prior to Promos).

I hope this message will let other students out there be aware that if you are willing to try, if you are fortunate to find someone suitable to guide you, there is still a chance to improve.

Effort is important but effort alone is not sufficient, you may be spending hours drilling papers but to no significant improvement.

If you need help, feel free to contact me at 81502027 or 94385929.

As part of promoting my tuition service, I will be conducting FREE JC Math revision lessons during the November / December holidays. Help “Like” my facebook page to be eligible for the free lessons.

JC 2 will be a tough year, with plenty of tests and every school will be in a rush to finish syllabus by mid-July. That is of course assuming that you have mastered JC 1 topics.

With the holidays, probably the students will forget the JC 1 content and then they will struggle in JC 2 because on one hand he/she has to recap JC 1 content while on the other hand, JC 2 content is taught in a bullet-train speed.

Don’t take the risk, come revise JC 1 content and get ready for JC 2!

Lesson venue / structure / schedule:

Venue 1: Woodlands Street 13 Blk 111 (near Woodlands MRT)

For the year 2s (or year 3s for MI), prelims will commence at end of August and continue on the second week of Sept. Similarly, the promos for year 1 (year 1 & 2 for MI) will commence on the 4th week of September.

So there is approximately 7 to 8 weeks to Prelims, 9 to 10 weeks for Promos. It may seem long but if you are having tuition once a week, that means you have 7 to 8 or 9 to 10 lessons remaining to push up your grades.

The next question is: How to prepare?

According to my own experience, students tend to forget about the topics taught earlier, especially those that were not tested at the mid-year exams. Hence I would recommend that you start by topical practice rather than heading straight for exam papers (unless you are already capable of mathematics).

You may want to allocate minimum 2 sessions of 2 to 3 hour sessions for H2 Math, 1 sessions for H1 Math. For each session you may want to study a few related topics together and do some topical practice. Remember: Reading alone is not enough, Math is about practicing and applying what “theory” you have learnt.

A suggestion would be to study the following topics by “clusters”:

(A) Graphing, Functions, Inequalities and System of Linear Equations

(B) Sigma Notation (including Method of Difference) , AP & GP and Induction*

(C) Differentiation and Integration (including Maclaurin’s, Differential Equations)

(E) Vectors and Complex Numbers

(F) P&C, Probability, Binomial, Poisson* and Normal Distributions

(G) Sampling Methods, Hypothesis Test and Correlation & Linear Regression.

* Denotes some topics that are in the old syllabus

2. That will probably take 3 to 4 weeks of topical revision and recap. The next 3 to 4 weeks or so is to practice on examination questions. Here you need to set aside 2 sessions of 3 hours each. 1 session for Paper 1 and 1 session for Paper 2. Attempt the questions at 1 shot of 3 hours (to train yourself mentally) and do self marking and checking later.

Of course if you have a private tutor or attending a tuition class, you may use this chance to ask your tutor the questions you are unable to solve.

Today I met a new student from VJC year 1 having difficulty in many topics taught in school. My initial “diagnosis” of her problems is:

1) VJC uses the spiral approach, as in they do not cover a topic in full, teaching half of it and coming back to the 2nd half a few chapters later. My student don’t feel comfortable jumping topics here and there as this wasn’t the approach in secondary school.

2) Interestingly, VJC taught functions and inequalities before graphing techniques. They gave the students a glimpse of how to use the GC but the formal introduction comes only in graphing technique. This is not that good in my opinion as graphing is useful in functions and inequalities. Hence it should be taught at the beginning and let students master the usage of GC right at the start. Hence my student is clueless on how to use the GC.

3) The student, being pretty lost in the topics could not do the tutorial questions and ended up just copying in class since the tutor merely showed the solutions. There is no learning taking place in school and she is lagging really behind the class. When I was a former teacher, when students have not complete the tutorials I won’t go through in full pace, rather give them some time to finish a few questions.

Completing 2 to 3 questions on their own allows students to learn more than copying solutions to 10 questions and chucking them aside.

Conclusion: Being a student in the top JC doesn’t mean they will cope well as the school assumes all the kids are capable but in reality there will be a minority group that will struggle.

Is your child facing the same problem? Find help…FAST.

Many parents are not aware that different JCs teach various topics in different order. Unlike secondary schools where a standardised textbook is used, JCs uses their own in-house notes and tutorial.

A typical tuition class for JC math is one whereby all the students will follow a fixed syllabus set by the tuition centre, regardless whether it is the same as the school. While one may say that this allows students to learn new topics in advance and be ahead of their peers, the reality is that it only benefits students who are academically capable (they don’t need tuition in the 1st place). However for a struggling student, he or she may end up studying 2 topics in 1 week which will make things worse.

So some tuition centres have a different strategy of opening classes specifically for a particular school. This is more effective for students from the chosen school but students from other schools may not benefit from it.

Hence what a minority of tutors adopt is the “ad-hoc” based tuition. Each student gets to decide every week what topics he or she want to revise and the tutor will prepare the materials accordingly. This is the most effective small group teaching as this “ad-hoc” style of tuition suits the students’ needs rather than students follow the tuition centre.

Downside? The tutor has to prepare many materials every week. However the effort is worth it.

To find out more about ad-hoc small group tuition for A level math, do not hesitate to contact me @ 81502027.

It is the time of the year again to report my students’ improvements. It’s been a hard and long journey for us,but you all did not give up and hence I was able to boost your grades significantly.

I humbly present my “progress report” for the year 2015.

Many years ago when I was studying in one of Singapore’s top JC in Singapore, Further Mathematics used to be my problem subject and I remember having to attend remedial lessons in school.

Unfortunately, I benefited little from remedial lessons there. With so many students per session, the teacher had little time to coach each of us individually and I always left the class as clueless as before. I had to rely on myself, finding out new learning methods and I managed to ace during my A levels exam. Surprisingly my peers who had done better than me in school exams ended up with a B grade instead.

I have taught in the “famous” tuition centres whereby they can form a class up to 20 people per session, while I have setup my own small group tuition of up to 6 students.

Interestingly, even though my group of 6 students were academically weaker to begin with, they showed more improvement than the class of 20. This group of students stayed with me till A levels, while the class of 20 students have seen students leaving and new students joining along the way.

Fast forward to the present and I guess small-group tuition continues to be the key strategy to have a good balance between tuition cost and effectiveness in teaching.

Then there is another issue in attending a tuition class. A class will have students from different schools and each school may have their own teaching syllabus, especially at the junior college level. This means that if a student is already struggling with Chapter A in school, he or she will not be able to clarify her doubts during tuition session immediately as the tuition class may be going through Chapter B. Furthermore, having to learn 2 chapters simultaneously may lead to more confusion.

How qualified am I as a tutor?

My small group tuition is taught solely by myself, instead of hiring part time tutors who lack experience or expertise in coaching. Here’s a summary of myself:

Former JC Math Lecturer who taught H1, H2 and H3 Mathematics

Subject coordinator of H3 Mathematics

Former MOE teaching award recipient

More than 6 years of experience

Current Math Lecturer at higher learning institute (mainly in A level equivalent and University Year 1 Math)

First class honours in Mathematics (NUS)

Dean’s list recipient

Master in Science (Math & Statistics) (NUS)

Post graduate diploma in education (in Mathematics) (NIE)

Why is small group tuition a good alternative to 1 to 1 tuition?

Many think that one-on-one home tuition is much better for their child than group tuition because of high teacher to student ratio. While this may be true to a certain extent, it may not be true for EVERY INDIVIDUAL student. Sometimes, a not – so – qualified home tutor merely help students to complete their homework, which in the long run, will not help or encourage students learn independently. Also, students who get tuition at home may be subject to other forms of distraction, e.g. family members being around, etc.

Truth be told, generally in Singapore, good tuition teachers do not give one-to-one tuition only, their superb teaching skills is also applicable to small group tuition. Finding a good 1 to 1 tutor can be very ineffective in terms of cost for parents to slowly try out individual teachers before deciding on a suitable one.

For my small group, we conduct tuition for one to six students at a time and offer a more structured approach that aims to not only help the student score well in a subject but also train the students to be independent learners. So I focus on strategies in planning out the blueprint to solve math problems rather than formulas; understanding of topics rather than memorisation, smart ways to “attack” the examination questions.

My classroom provides a conducive environment for learning and sharing of resources – there’s always a lot of positive peer influence.

What can students and parents expect?

Being an experienced school teacher myself, we are able to share the flow and expectations of the current school curriculum. For example, if a student is studying in school A, I may be able to share the “culture” of that school, what is the level of difficulty the student should expect.

A summary of my lessons’ style is:

1) The student will discuss with the tutor on the content to revise before each lesson, any upcoming tests, etc.

2) The tutor will design a worksheet based on individual students’ needs and request. This solves the issue of the tuition class not able to follow the school’s syllabus.

3) Students may bring their school work to class and clarify their doubts so that they are ready for their school lessons.

4) For Math, I believe alot in practising in applying concepts learnt to solve problems. I will usually do a quick summary of a topic and the remaining time will be spent on problem solving rather than to sit through another 2 hour lecture.

I always assess individual student’s needs and situations, e.g. whether a particular kid is already overwhelmed by schoolwork or can still afford time to do more worksheets. Unlike certain commercialised tuition centres, which utilise the same worksheets over the years, I prepare updated materials catered to individual students.

Since we recognise the importance of the parent-tutor partnership in a student’s education success, I am willing to update parents about their child’s progress, whether verbally, by SMS or a written progress report upon request.

Who are the students attending Future Academy?

Students from variant schools, no matter whether they are taking H1 or H2 Mathematics, in JC 1 or JC 2. This is because my lesson is designed such that I will coach students on a 1 to 1 manner, just that several students are at the same venue.

Coincidentally, a lot of them actually used to attend other commercialised tuition centres but finally decided to transfer to my small group as they recognise that I offer good quality tuition.

I am seeing more students joining me through word-of-mouth recommendation from their friends or other parents.

What are some of your students’ achievements?

Here is a snapshot of what many of my students have achieved:

Failed in Math in JC 1 up to JC 2 prelims, scoring no more than 20 marks. However in a short span of 8 lessons through my crash course programme, the student managed to obtain a C for A levels.

Retained in JC 1 for failing all subjects. Subsequently scoring As and Bs in every school test.

Obtained an E for JC 2 common test 1, now scoring B for prelims, potential A for A level.

Scored D for JC 2 common test 2, now a B for prelims and potential A for A levels.

Scored D for prelims, and now scored A for A levels.

and many more.

To find out more about my tuition services, you may click on the following link: