Is your child one of those who breezed through Sec 1 and Sec 2 science? Do you think that Sec 3 is just ‘any other year’ in secondary school, because after all, the hard part is in Sec 4 when O Levels come?
Well, that’s not entirely true.
Sec 3 is actually a crucial time in a secondary student’s life, as it is the first year they enter into their new subject combination – the combination they will be taking for O Levels. Even though some subjects carry the same name, there is a noticeable difference in difficulty level, which is one reason why we see many students requesting for Sec 3 Physics Tuition! This is especially true for the sciences, which are very content-heavy and conceptual subjects!
If you want to understand why your child may begin to struggle with the sciences in Sec 3, let’s diver deeper into what makes upper sec science so different.
Differences between lower sec science and upper sec science
There are 3 sciences instead of ‘one’
In Sec 1 and 2, students take Combined Science or Integrated Science (depending on what their school calls it). It counts as one subject in the calculation of their mean subject grade, but in actuality, contains topics that span across Physics, Chemistry and Biology. At this level, the content is quite simple and forms the foundation of their knowledge for more in-depth teaching in upper sec.
In Sec 3 and 4, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology become regarded as separate subjects – or students can combine two sciences as one, but more on that in the next point.