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Encouragement

Mr Khemistry

Encouragement

Recently had a parent WhatsApp a thank you message to me, it was an unexpected surprise for me as the student was usually very quiet in class.

Such a simple message but it had a profound impact on me.  In this period where everyone is feeling a little drained from working/studying from home, a positive message gives great encouragement. I hope everyone will try to spread a little positivity like the #Steadylah campaign by some celebrities. It really does spread cheer and lift up the spirits of a world crippled by Covid lockdowns.

If you would like to receive such messages, why not start to send a few of these out yourself? If you like to reap an apple, first you got to plant the apple seed! 🙂

Share with me how you spread joy to the people around  you! Tag me on Facebook or Instagram, i will ping you back!

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Reflection and awareness

Mr Khemistry

Reflection and awareness

In this fast paced society, it is imperative that we take time for reflection at the end of the day.

To be aware of what is happening around us and how we are living our lives.

I once heard from Bob Procter, ” If all the good of the universe is pour over us, it wouldn’t make the slightest different UNTIL, we become AWARE of it“. Think about it, until a child becomes aware what money is and what it can buy, they wouldn’t actually be happy even if you write them a cheque for a million dollars.

Our awareness, or consciousness, of opportunities around us…needs to be awaken. Through mentors who have done it before, through reading books, through reflections.

Thinking back when i was younger, reflection isn’t a part of my routines and i didn’t really grow in awareness.

Sometimes when i look at students, there are those who reflect upon what they’ve learnt and grew in knowledge. And then there are those who keep repeating the same mistakes no matter how many times they do the same kind of questions.

Parents are understandably worried when they do not see improvements after a few months of tuition, but we would need to see how the student revise their work and if they do any form of reflection.

Reflecting on what they have done and their thought process, then seeing the answers and the thought process required. How to bridge that gap? There’s a few ways students can bridge this gap.

  1. Hard core repetition. Keep on doing prelim and tys questions. Try to remember all the different types of questions and the answers. Rote learning.
  2. Doing a few questions, analyse and try a few more questions to see if you understand the concepts.

There are countless ways which cambridge can  phrase the questions, using the rote learning method might land you a decent grade but most likely not a distinction. There are around 25-30% of questions which are novel, which means you need to think on the spot. If you can’t think using the concepts that you’ve learnt, probably wouldn’t do exceptionally well for Advanced level exams.

To see how we train students in our weekly classes, drop us an message at mrkhemistry.com!

Look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Déjà vu

Mr Khemistry

Déjà vu

We are transiting to Home-based Learning again. I told my wife that i have a feeling schools and tuition centres are going to be shut down…imminently.

As it turns out, i was right. The rise in unlinked community cases is ominous. This is a very good time to think about the trade-offs we have to take as a nation.

Some friends around me are very pissed that Government did not handle the situation well and imposing lock-down again because they made the mistake of not restricting foreigners from high risk countries (from South Asia).

Thinking a bit deeper, i find that Government is stuck in between a hard place and a rock.

Restricting workers from South Asia will lead to a crunch in the construction sector….which will impact existing work and work that has been delayed due to the previous lockdown. Read article here. It is not as simple as just continuing to work with the existing workers as some of them return home when their passes expires. Without new workers, construction activities will come to a halt and delays lead to job losses…which impacts locals holding related jobs too.

In any case, even if the government shuts down borders quickly and we managed to avoid the rise in community cases…we’d still have to eventually open up to the same countries as we need the workers. Locals are not likely to take up construction jobs overnight. The whole situation will only improve if global cases starts to drop, otherwise, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to isolate Singapore totally.

Covid has caused an uneven economic situation where certain industries are impacted much harder while some others do relatively well. This will most likely exacerbate the economic inequality and cause tensions within the society. Many people think that they are smarter and able to make better decisions than the government. In my humble opinion, not many truly appreciate the constrains we have. Trickle down effects of a hard closure of borders will only be felt after a few weeks.

I urge everyone to stand united and support each other through these trying times!

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Photography

Mr Khemistry

Photography

Recently, had a friend do a corporate photoshoot for me. Wasn’t expecting too much as the previous photoshoots sessions i had were un-inspiring.

But i was pleasantly surprised. He brought along the lighting gear and the prime lenses…also had an assistant to help with the set-up.

Very different from the photoshoots i had previously. Not that the previous photographers wasn’t professional, it was just a spirit of excellence that Ken (my photographer friend) put into the shoot.

He captured the class in session without disrupting the lesson, knew exactly which is the better side to take my profile picture, generally gives people the feeling of a true professional. Now i know why he’s so sought after. Below are some of the pictures he took for me that day.

I guess in life, you kind of have to go through those who are amateurs, those who just do the bare minimum, the professional and then you have the ones at the top of their game. Ken belongs to the last group, his passion for photography is matched only by his expertise in utilizing those high tech gears and lenses. The end result is an art form which elevates the mundane to the extraordinary. Thank you bro, for your outstanding service!

Here at Mr Khemistry, we aim to provide the best tuition service for JC H2 Chemistry, coupled with a passion to help students achieve their fullest potential. Our tools are pen and paper, but our real weapon is Teaching with Heart. Come join us if you still struggle with Chemistry concepts, we will show you how easy it is to learn Chemistry! 🙂

By the way, for those who are interested in engaging Ken’s service, please google “Blackbox Photography” or Ken Photography.

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Your Frame of Mind

Mr Khemistry

Your Frame of Mind

Was just re-watching a Youtube video by Simon Sinek regarding frame of mind, you may listen to it here:

In the video, Simon talks about how elite athletes interpret their body signals due to the adrenaline. For the same symptoms, they’ve learnt to see that as excitement, which makes them look FORWARD to the competition, rather than nervousness, which makes them shrink back from the challenge.

In the same way, much of life’s events in and of themselves does not have any negative connotations, rather, it’s our thinking that makes it so.

When we have tests and exams, how do we look at it? Most students think of it as a drag, they hate getting back their tests and seeing a bad grade. They dread mugging and studying intensively.

I remember that was a time i look forward to taking Math exams and tests because it’s so simple (i was in primary 3) and i’d always score full marks. I remember the anticipation and watching for my math teacher to come up the stairs towards my classroom to return our scripts. I realised it’s because i’ve framed the event in my mind as proud moments where i stand head and shoulders above all the other students.

After that, i wasn’t always so outstanding, scoring close to full marks and the feeling of anticipation and excitement died off.

What if we could frame our interpretation of tests and exams as something that we excelled in? Imagining that we are so good at the subject that we score full marks, always looking forward to the release of our results. This feelings will cause us to enjoy studying a lot more and understand concepts better, scoring better grades and it becomes a virtuous cycle.

Be careful that you don’t just imagine yourself doing exceptionally well and do nothing about it. That is called wishful thinking.

Do you want to do better for JC H2 Chemistry? Come join us at our weekly lesson and experience first hand how to Frame your Mind!

Cheers!

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Procrastination

Mr Khemistry

Procrastination.

It’s the one silent killer that kills all our best intentions. Why do we always wait until it’s too late? Prevention is better than Cure, but nobody believes it. It’s the same with health, studies, career, relationships, income/sex inequalities, even global warming.

We wait until the symptoms can no longer be ignored. A stroke, heart attack, diabetes, high cholesterol. Failing grades, retrenchment, divorce, societal unrest/revolt, rising sea levels, crazy weather storms.

What do all these things have in common?

Their decline is unnoticeable, minute. A slow boiling of the frog. And our adaptability works against us here.

Mel Ribbons gives a great interview here with Tom Bilyeu about how we can stop procrastination.

One of the best habits i have which helps me mightily in the fight against procrastination is a daily to-do list.

Obeying and checking off the to-do list gives me a sense of progress, which is sooooooo important to get us moving off our butts. I know that when i fail to come up with a to-do list by Sunday night, most of the time, i’m going to be lounging around the house getting nothing much done for the whole week. But when i have a list, it reminds me, no it whips me mentally to look at it and get off my butt.

Although a to-do list is a good idea, do make sure that the things that you list helps your progress towards one of your long term goals that you care deeply about. How to know what goals you care deeply about? That’s a post for another day 🙂

So what is your weapon against procrastination? Do you even know what are the areas in your life you need to stop procrastinating?

Take action today, now! Like Mel says, use the 5 seconds rule to just do it, don’t let your brain have the time to talk you out of it.

All the best! 🙂

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Clarity

Mr Khemistry

Clarity

You might have heard the advice, “Work harder, practise more, listen attentively to lecture….” What i’m going to share is mindblowing.

All those advice is good but diligence without clarity is nuts!

I’m going to give a sports analogy. Soccer – Most teams will have the manager or coach give them a strategy briefing on how to play the game against the opposing team before the actual match. Why? Isn’t more practise and training enough? Strikers know how to score, defenders know how to defend, midfielders know how to tackle and get possession. Goalkeeper just keep the ball out of the net.

Of course not, soccer is a team game. The players need to know the objective so that they know how they should play. For example, if the opposing team is playing on their home ground, they have the advantage. Also does the team just need a draw rather than a win? Knowing the objective informs the strategy on how to play the game.

For students studying for O or A level Chemistry, or any other subjects, there is a clear objective laid out before every topic. But it seems like no student ever reads those.

Without clarity on what they will be tested on, how will they know the strategy to employ?

Students like to complain that their notes is so thick, so much information that they don’t know what are the important parts. But they failed to recognise that schools MUST give the context for the concepts that they study, otherwise there’s no head no tail. In the same vein, teachers in school need to teach the whole lecture notes because they must give the context. This is good and necessary.

On the student’s part, they will need to filter out the important information that they need to memorise and structure their answers properly with keywords. Without reading through the learning objectives, most students are lost and overwhelmed by the flood of information.

Thus, tuition comes in. What we try to do is to zoom in on the most important and most tested concepts. Then repeatedly tell the students. Why repeatedly? Because i’ve tried telling them once or twice, even three times. They end up forgetting. Repeating the same concepts in different ways/methods helps students to remember.

This post is on clarity and that is what i hope to impart to my students, clarity on what is important and what is not. With clarity, they can then learn to organise the important knowledge, classify them and easily pull them out from their mental cabinets when required.

Are you clear? 🙂

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Sleep and memory retention

Mr Khemistry

Learning and memory retention

BENEFITS OF SLEEPING 8 HRS A DAY. A good sleep is very important for your… | by amberasad | Medium

During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it can‘t perform its duties as well. You may also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things.” – healthline.com

Guys who go to gym knows the importance of rest days, our physical body needs to rest in order to build up new muscles. If you keep gyming 7 days a week non-stop, pumping iron, without giving your body time to rest, it’s actually detrimental to your body.

In the same way, when you keep studying non-stop, deep into the night, getting less than 6 hours (JC students probably can’t get 9 hrs as recommended!) of sleep daily, this can have a negative effect on your learning and memory retention!

Always have a balance between learning, leisure and rest.

Check out our other blog posts for more tips!

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Organized Learning

Mr Khemistry

Recently i had a chat with one of my top students, she said something which surprised me.

Chemistry is really simple. Especially Organic. Just need to remember the reagents and conditions, or the standard long explanations.”

I was intrigued.

Every couple of years, i get one of these students who actually enjoys studying chemistry specifically.

Probing deeper, i asked, “Why Chemistry? How about Math? Or Bio?”

“Math is not as straightforward as before, Bio is a LOT of memory work. Chemistry is more straightforward, i enjoy doing organic chem questions”

“When did you start to like studying Chemistry?”

“I used to fail Chemistry, until i attended Jeremy’s tuition lessons. (Jeremy’s my partner for O level Chemistry) He taught me how to organize the concepts and since then, i never had problems once i know how to organise my knowledge.”

So desu ne.

This is one way to make it easier to retain information. And there’s a lot of information to remember at A levels.

But make no mistake, this is not a secret hack to do well for A levels. My top student works very hard for her As, she pays 100% attention in class and does her homework diligently. She frequently engages in discussions with her friends regarding chemistry questions and challenges assumptions. She really reminds me of how i used to study chemistry, especially organic chemistry. Only difference between us is she writes it on her arm, i write them on cue cards LOL.

 

I would also like to share another secret to success, called incremental improvements. The top achievers in every field knows that to be the best and stay the best, you need to improve yourself a little every day. For example, you start to organise your concepts for Chemistry. This improves your retention rate by 2%. Then you discuss and teach your friends concepts which you know but they don’t. Reinforcing your own knowledge, improves your understanding by 2%. You pay 100% attention in class and lectures, this allows you to catch an extra 2% knowledge. You practise challenging questions and reflect on your mistakes, taking note how the questions are phrased. This improves your scoring by 2%.

Even though by themselves, each one seems insignificant. Together, all these improvements adds up to improve your grades significantly. This is really a very important strategy, using it daily and honing it to become a habit will put you in a great position to improve your studies/work or anything you wish to achieve.

Remember, it’s often the small things that adds up!

Have fun and good luck!

Student portal

Mr Khemistry Student Portal

Hi all,

this CB period has been a trying time for all of us, but with more time spent at home, we need to put it to good use.

I have set-up a student portal to help students learn and access H2 Chemistry materials at their own pace.

Inside the portal, there are notes, summaries, practice questions, challenging topical revision papers, video explanations, tys video explanation etc

If you are a J2 student, do sign up to get free access to the TYS MCQ video explanation! Offer is valid from now until end of June 2020.

If you are a J1 student, do sign up to get free access to Moles and Redox course! Offer is valid from now until end of June 2020.

CB may have thrown a spanner into our daily routines but we are adaptable humans.

Let’s make the best use of the time we have!

Cheers,

Mr Khemistry

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