Tips for SPM

IT may have been just two days away from the school holidays, but around 530 Form Four students were still all ears when it came to getting tips for the SPM Physics and Additional Mathematics papers they would be sitting for next year.

The first tip they got from workshop facilitator and The Star columnist Sunny Yee was to stop thinking that they still have one year left to prepare for the SPM exam.

“I’d advise that instead of looking at the year as having 365 days left (before your exam), look at the festivals.

“Next year, you have Chinese New Year, then Hari Raya and then Deepavali will be your exam time already,” he told the students.

“If you look at it that way, the three festivals actually pass very fast,” he said.

Yee, who has around 25 years of experience teaching both subjects, also told them that in order to score a distinction, they must build up both accuracy and speed in answering the exam questions.

“For example, in log or Archimedes’ Principle, it’s not just about knowing the formula, but which situation or question to apply it to,” he shared.

For the Additional Mathematics paper, Yee advised the students to practice on 10 past-year questions a day.

“Buy an exercise book to jot down all the topics that you always make mistakes in, so that you can do a quick revision of them before your exam,” he said.

He also went through a few questions from the topics of function, quadratic functions and differentiation with the students, showing them common mistakes made by students and offering tips on how to answer the questions.

For Physics, Yee pointed out that the exam questions generally test three areas: knowledge, understanding and application.

He shared that questions testing knowledge were those that only require memorisation to answer.

“I believe a lot of students are very good in this. They know the answer, but do they understand it?” he asked the participants.

In order to score well in the paper, students need to be able to tackle the questions testing their understanding and application of the subject, he said.

And according to Yee, this is best accomplished by doing past-year questions.

“For preparation, do at least the past 20 years of SPM Physics questions.

“If you are exposed to 20 years of past year questions, you will know the type of questions that will come out,” he said.

He also covered a few examples of SPM Physics questions involving the analysis and sketching of graphs, as well as the topic of force and motion.

Said student Low May Yee: “I’m glad I came to this workshop. Now I have a better idea of how to organise my revision schedule for Add Maths and Physics.

“I’m a little scared now that Mr Yee pointed out how fast the time will pass before our exam!”

Her friend Kavita Kaur agreed: “I’m going to try my best to do as many past-year questions as possible before the SPM. And I found his tips for answering the questions he gave us quite useful too.”

Many students were also seen crowding around the table selling Yee’s books on SPM Physics and Additional Mathematics after the workshop.

Said student Mohd Danial Mohd Jasin: “I found Mr Yee’s talk quite informative, and his way of explaining how to tackle the questions helpful.

“I hope his books will be able to help me improve in both subjects.”

by Tan Shiow Chin.

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