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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SPM 2019 Tips: How to Study Chemistry, Biology & Physics?

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How to Study Biology, Chemistry & Physics for SPM?

by Fabian Yii (Email us your exam tips to share with 40,000 students like YOU)

BONJOUR guys! I am pretty sure that there are some of you out there who are facing much trouble or difficulties when it comes to preparing these three pure science subjects for the upcoming SPM. Just CHILLAX, dude! After all, you have come to the right place to seek help!

My very first tip to you would be:

UNDERSTAND The Core Concept Of The Topic

Now, this is extremely crucial if you wish to study smart. I mean, it’s definitely more time-saving if you first comprehend the core concept of the covered topic before proceeding on to the details. This happens because you know what the topic is talking about and you got a rough idea of the entire thing. Hence, IDENTIFYING the core concept is the first step you should always start off with. After that, you have to UNDERSTAND it CLEARLY by hook or by crook, and always ask yourself: What the general idea or the logic of the topic is?

In order to make this clear, I would like to give you an example of Physics chapter 4.1 (Understanding the Uses of the Cathode Ray Oscilloscope). The core concept (thermionic emission) is: Electrons will be emitted from the surface of a HEATED metal. After you understand this, then only you can proceed to the mechanism of the cathode ray oscilloscope. This is just a simple example so it is rather easy for you to understand the concept. Nevertheless, there are some other complicated topics such as radioactivity which you may find them hard. Don’t panic! Ask yourself the aforementioned reddened question. It’s generally related to quantum mechanics so you are advised to first understand the nature of an atom.

(Note: I make this as the preceding tip considering the implementation of the Higher Order Thinking Skill (HOTS) which requires more cognitive processing in order to answer this type of question. As long as you clearly understand the core concept of the covered topic, this should not be a big problem.)


Get Yourself Familiar With All Of The IMPORTANT Scientific Terminologies

You have to know all of the IMPORTANT scientific terminologies out there in the syllabus in order to answer essay questions particularly BIOLOGY. By the way, what are the IMPORTANT terminologies? Well, you need not to screw yourself up in this case— they are usually those highlighted NOUNS in the reference book. However, most students find it downrightly tedious and grueling to MEMORISE those terminologies.

Hey, my piece of advice is: Don’t Memorise Them INTENTIONALLY! In fact, PLAY with the terminologies. Regard them as your fellow friends; after all, you never forget your friends’ names, and you even MOCK at certain funny names, am I right? The same goes with these terminologies. For instance, xylem tissue— I can always remember xylem tissue transports water and mineral salts as its pronunciation sounds like shishishi which gives me the impression of FLOWING WATER, and MINERAL WATER comprises MINERAL SALTS. See, isn’t it fun to learn a new word in this way?


Utilise Your Imagination To Full Extent

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”

Well, Albert Einstein did tell us the importance of imagination. You might have encountered this before— getting tired of the wordiness of the reference book after an enduring time of study. Worse still, you start to lose interest in your study and get distracted easily. Why this happens? It’s because you are forcing a great deal of WORDS into your brain, and of course study gets dull after some time. Thus, don’t just read the lengthy words all the time; instead, you might as well create an image in your MIND in associating with what you are studying.

As a VERY, VERY simple illustration, imagine acid (e.g. hydrochloric acid) as a father while base (e.g. potassium hydroxide) as a mother; when they get married (reacted), a baby (product/salt) potassium chloride (notice that chloride is the surname, HAHAHAHA) is born (formed). The parents are very joyous, and they can’t manage to hold back their tears. (water is formed in the process) GUYS, look at how imagination makes the whole thing much more interesting than it was though this is just a very simple example; but it certainly gives you a rough idea on how this works!


Brush Up On Your Knowledge Frequently

“Good grief! Everyone knows this!”

I know this might be your response right now, but hold on; I am going to teach you a study hack, but the prerequisite is, you must have the knowledge fresh in your mind while doing this. NOW, come back to the topic, recall what you have studied REGARDLESS of when and where you are at the moment. It can be while you are waiting at the bus stop, strolling in a park or even when you are EATING! If you are muddled up right now, I apologise for my bad explanation; I will give you an example to make this clearer.

Let’s say you are now eating, what will be in your mind? Well, there are two possibilities— you are either thinking about how delicious your meal is, or, sad to be told, the opposite of it… HAHA!

OR, if you want to brush up on your knowledge, there is a third possibility! That is— I am chewing the rice now, so salivary amylase is helping to digest complex carbohydrate into maltose. When I swallow the chewed rice (which is now in a ball formation called bolus), it enters my stomach and so on…

YEAH, that’s how you can prevent your knowledge from getting rusty even though your REFERENCE BOOK is not with you at that moment! However, do this in an adequate manner, or else you may eventually get yourself into indigestion @.@


Be Observant

As a student who studies science, one MUST be observant.

I mean, scientific phenomena are all round us no matter you are conscious about them or not. For instance, gravitational pull is incessantly acting on every matter on the earth though you were not aware of it when you were small. Hence, be observant about the phenomena that are happening around us, and TRY to explicate the science behind them. Besides, try to explain how something (e.g. machinery etc) works based on what you have studied. To sum up this part of the article, I would just say, observe the scientific phenomena or things around us, and endeavour to explain them to yourself based on your knowledge. Through this, you will find it easy to deal with application question.

For example, ask yourself how does soap gets your oily hands clean when you are washing your hands using it.

All in all, if you want to get good grades in these 3 subjects, you have to UNDERSTAND the CONCEPTS completely. Bear in mind, it’s all about INVESTMENT— invest your time and energy WISELY and study SMARTLY!

Fabian Yii Photo
Fabian Yii, an SPM 2014 candidate, got A+ in all three pure science subjects. Science never fails to tickle his fancy since small and even to date. He hopes his tips would give you much help, or if not, at least boost up your confidence level. CHEERS! Visit Fabian's personal blog to connect with him!

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  1. Thank you for your useful tips!!!

  2. Hi. I always failed in addmath. What should i do? Spm trial just around the corner and i still didnt know how to get A+ or A or A- in actual spm. I hope you help me! Thanks xoxo

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. hello fab..im really weak addmaths..could u help me to get an A in addmaths for my spm..bcz spm is jzz around the corner

  3. Thank you. This helps me a lot as a SPM candidate.

  4. Ur handy tips really help me. I wish to get ur advice on how to get A in add math n english. I looking forward for ur reply. My email address is [email protected]. Thanks^^

    1. I'm really honoured to hear this from you . cheers! !

  5. Hi, I always fail biology and Chemistry....what should I do?

    1. Hi sorry for the late reply!
      well, my advice to u is CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!
      I have noticed one common thing in most people who are just like you. The problem is not that you cant do it. The ultimate culprit in fact is YOUR MIND. Have faith in yourself, and set yourself a goal, be positive and never stop motivating yourself!

  6. Hi! Do u have any more ideas to make study is fun?Caz I'm very hard to get understand of some topics, n I saw few examples from your post. Like the "born"of potassium chloride... Haha. Can u give some notes in biology?pls I really need it! Although I'm a form 4 students, but my final exam is around the corner. I must put my effort to study well. If u see this pls reply me as soon as possible. My email is [email protected]. Thanks for the sharing the way to study science subjects. One more must add... How to improve my English? I still confuse the using of tenses... T. T

    1. Hi could u pls get to me through email? I would be more than glad to help u out!

  7. Hi! Do u have any more ideas to make study is fun?Caz I'm very hard to get understand of some topics, n I saw few examples from your post. Like the "born"of potassium chloride... Haha. Can u give some notes in biology?pls I really need it! Although I'm a form 4 students, but my final exam is around the corner. I must put my effort to study well. If u see this pls reply me as soon as possible. My email is [email protected]. Thanks for the sharing the way to study science subjects. One more must add... How to improve my English? I still confuse the using of tenses... T. T

  8. Hi! Can I know how to score in paper 3? Do you have to memorise ALL of the experiments for every topics?

  9. All these tips are absolutely spot-on. I always tell people these when they ask me how to study the science subjects. Not that they'd listen, haha. But thanks for sharing!
    I would like to add a few tips of my own:

    1. Make notes
    Yes, I know, the SPM biology reference book is 600+ pages long. Making notes isn't something you should do a week before the exams; you should start early and do it consistently. Don't copy the textbook word-for-word: just jot down concepts in your own words. It makes last-minute cramming much, much easier. (Btw, don't skip out on drawing diagrams. In fact, make it a point to memorize the structures/processes while drawing diagrams.)

    2. Make good use of the internet
    There are a lot of online resources to help you grasp scientific concepts more clearly. I myself like Khan Academy and Crash Course (on Youtube) in particular. You can deepen your understanding on the topics you study, plus review your lectures at the same time! And last but not least, Google will always be there if you have any questions :D

    3. Group studying
    Find a few friends who are serious about their studies and start a study group. Not only will you be able to retain more information through question-answers, discussion can help in understanding physics, bio and chemistry concepts more thoroughly!

  10. How to score in Physics? Im always got C during exam. Help me!


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