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Mr Chen's anecdotes.


Updated: Mar 31, 2022

Physics is one of the most popular subject taken by students in the Singapore education system. It is usually taken in tandem with another science, Chemistry. In Singapore, most students are trained to take science since young and few are afraid of it due to the constant exposure to science and it’s applications to real life. In fact, more than 80% of every cohort enroll in the science stream for the N levels, O levels and A levels.

However, despite physics’ appeal, many students still struggle to understand and are unable to tackle questions during exams. The excruciating process of having to self-learn has led to many to seek physics tuition.

Every subject requires a different set of skills and hence, more niche skills are required in a physics tutor on top of the usual soft-skills that most tutors would possess. In this article, we will recommend and discuss the 4 qualities you should look for in physics tutors.

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Keen eye for details

If you have sat through any physics paper, there must have been times where you find yourself scratching your head due to the limited information given by the question. You can’t help but wonder, "is this question set correctly?"

In physics, a lot of information are inferred from terse phrases of questions. For example, when a question mentions constant velocity, it is to imply that there is no resultant force due to Newton’s 1st Law. Hence, it is incredibly important for a student to be equipped with keen eyes for detail, even more so for a tutor.

Newton's 1st, 2nd and 3rd Law

In addition to being able to spot crucial clues for himself when solving a question together with his student, a physics tutor also needs to identify the precise moment the student’s answer went awry. The physics tutor needs to be able to pinpoint and highlight where the student’s thought process went off track as the student presents his ideas to him. The said student is then fully aware of his mistake and the likelihood of a relapse of mistake is diminished significantly.

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Effective communication

The ability to communicate is essential in every tutor, even more so for a physics tutor. Firstly, a tutor is to be able to covey subject expertise in a lucid comprehensive form to his students. Effective and good communication includes speech, clarity use of appreciation and gestures etc.

No, don't kiss your tutor.

However, in the context of a physics tutor, it is imperative his communication is beyond just verbal and gestures. Physics is a subject that involves visualization. Many students struggle to understand physics due to their inability to translate content from the textbook into applications.

Physics tutors are often required to either illustrate the concept via diagrams or even demonstrating through experiments. Personally, we at VANTAGE TUTOR, share interesting anecdotes that concerns the concept at hand and bounce ideas off my students. A student would be truly convinced only when he sees the real life application of said concept around him.

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How I look when my student tries to "smoke" me.

Good physics tutors have more patience than tutors of other subjects. Very often, physics concepts can be very abstract. The same reason why most students struggle and decide to engage a private tutor. Verbal communication and written words are insufficient in explaining physics. Occasionally, even diagrams and experiments fail to convince a student.

Effective physics tutors understand that and would go to lengths to explain said concept. He will try to explain using different angles of perspective instead of demanding a student to accept the idea blatantly.

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Physics is a very flexible subject which is also a cause for confusion in some students. There are always multiple ways to solve a question. Some tutors make the mistake of telling a student what to do. This limits a student's potential and restricts his freedom to explore possible alternatives.

Personally, we at VANTAGE TUTOR, always ask for a student's thoughts and explore the idea together before arriving at a conclusion together. A student’s perspective of a question could differ from that of his tutor. Indeed, some methods of solving a question could be more time efficient than others but a commendable physics tutor would always welcome discussions.

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Every successful tutor possess some of the qualities above...

Many qualities listed above are not desirable traits that are only applicable to physics tutors. Some of them may be found in math tutors, chem tutors and the likes. However, traits such as a keen eye for detail and open-mindedness is definitely more relevant to the role of a tutor in physics than others.

If you require help in physics and is looking to engage an effective tutor, look no further! We, at VANTAGE TUTOR have a proven track record of helping students achieve their desired grades and improvements in various subjects from secondary school through to junior college.

Proven track record.

You may find out more about our team here.

Or, if you would like to purchase our physics revision package which is a compilation of questions in topical formats from a wide range of schools over the years, contact us here.

We will be more than happy to help.

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