Archive : April 2018

Advice for private A level candidates

Mr Khemistry

Private Candidates

Hi there, are you a private candidate looking to re-take the A levels?  If so, have you thought about the reason why you didn’t do well last year or the year before?

Whenever i see a private candidate re-taking the A levels, i would ask them if they’re aware that the odds are stacked against them doing better than when they were in college.

Firstly, you are no longer in an environment of learning. For the guys, most of them are serving NS, girls are working part-time. It’s an understatement to say you are NOT among
people in the same life-stage as you are. Meaning peer discussions and sharing studying tips are out.

Secondly, the structured learning that a school environment offers is no longer there. Instead, what you have are probably people who couldn’t care less whether you studied or not.
Without the discipline to complete assignments, the weekly practise of doing lab work and waking up early to study, the odds are that you will be lulled into inactivity most of the time.

Thirdly, resources are very thin for A level subjects outside of school. I’ve had a look at popular’s selection of A level assessment books and i do think sometimes that even Carousel might
have more useful resources. You need LOTS of practise.

What can you do?

Tuition is an option but it is probably not enough. What is crucial is that you get a complete set of materials, including revision packages, from your ex-JC. And then work out a schedule together with some friends to set a timetable for revising the syllabus. It is advisable if your finances permit, to hire an experience tutor to guide/mark your work together with a few other private candidates. If you are taking sciences, please consider registering at a private school such as BMC to practise doing lab work.

Be resourceful and change the way you approach the exam. Re-doing what you did the last time will probably yield the same or worse results.

Good Luck!

Return to Home to find out more about A Level Chem tuition with Mr Khemistry.

Group vs Private Tuition

Mr Khemistry

Group vs Private Tuition

No matter whether you’re a student or parent looking for tuition for your child, this question undoubtedly popped into your mind.

So what are the pros and cons of each and which is more suitable for you? Read on to find out…


  • Follows a set topic schedule.
  • Limited interaction during lessons.
  • Timings are fixed, lessons usually cannot be rescheduled.
  • Cheaper compared to private 1-on-1.
  • Group dynamics allows for student discussions and learning.
  • Likely to have customized notes.


  • Flexible timing according to mutual availability. Lessons can be rescheduled.
  • Flexible topics according to student’s needs.
  • 100{8445fa0408f68c331c03e03f10d6a7bff33fb7168cc52e9b2191ddf5ec3671a6} attention from tutor.
  • Only 1 student so no peer learning or discussion.
  • Usually no customized notes.
  • More expensive compared to  group.

If the student is really struggling badly, scoring less than 30{8445fa0408f68c331c03e03f10d6a7bff33fb7168cc52e9b2191ddf5ec3671a6} in tests and major exams, the course of action is to go for private lessons if finances allows. 

In the event that the student is not doing too badly, > 40{8445fa0408f68c331c03e03f10d6a7bff33fb7168cc52e9b2191ddf5ec3671a6} in tests and major exams, group tuition might work. It is generally not recommended if the student is not motivated to study on his/her own. 

Do call/whatsapp us at 98537960 to let us know if you’re not sure which to go for. 

Return to Home to find out more about group Chemistry Tuition at Bukit Timah with Mr Khemistry.

Organic Chemistry – Isomerism

Mr Khemistry


Isomerism – What is the difference between a meso compound and a racemic mixture?

A closer look at the terms would already give you a hint. 

A racemic mixture is not chemically bonded together hence we are able to separate the two equal portion (50/50) enantiomers. If we then pass plane-polarized light through just one of the enantiomers, there will be a optical activity.

A meso compound is one that has at least two chiral carbons and a internal plane of symmetry.

meso compound

Hence the meso compound does NOT have enantiomers. Its mirror images are actually identical molecules. So while each chiral carbon will cause a rotation of plane-polarized light, the other chiral carbon will rotate it back, thus resulting in no net optical activity.

eg. in the tartaric molecule above, the top chiral center may rotate the light 5 degrees clockwise and the bottom chiral center may rotate it 5 degrees anticlockwise.

ps: Adding this on to emphasis that the term “meso compound” is actually quite misleading, as it is in fact one stereoISOMER of a compound. Which means the molecule itself might have other stereoisomers (see D-tartaric and L-tartaric acid below) that are optically active!

In conclusion, meso compound and racemic mixture both do not rotate plane-polarized light but for different reasons. Don’t let isomerism confuse you anymore! Come join our classes at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre to hear the detailed explanation!

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