For many students, doing well in their IGCSE Physics may seem daunting. Compared to other subjects, some may have to put in more work to get the grades they are aiming for, and there are little to no shortcuts toward an excellent final grade. If you are one such student looking to ace your IGCSE Physics, here are a few guidelines that will help make your studies more enjoyable and get you on the fast track to subject mastery.
1. Apply your studies in the real world
Learning about topics such as electricity, forces, energy, or worse—particle models—in the classroom often seems to be just discussing abstract things far removed from your everyday interactions in the outside world. But, of course, that is not the truth. Every conceptual knowledge you absorb is fundamental to every mechanical and digital creation today. From cars to the mobile phone in your pocket, most of the things we see daily were made by those who took their first steps in understanding the world of physics at a young age, similar to what you are doing now.
Therefore, a great way to solidify your understanding of these concepts is by explaining the natural phenomena you encounter daily. For instance, when drinking a hot cup of coffee or tea, you could review the cycle of heat energy in your cup—its beginnings as solar energy converted into fossils, turned into heat in power plants to generate electricity, and back into heat once more to heat your kettle for your beverage. Similarly, you could touch on electricity flowing through wires and power lines, particularly the movement of electrons inside them, and revise your knowledge of current and resistivity.
The point is to get you excited and more curious by connecting what you learn in class to a real-world context. The scenarios described above are a big help in answering a couple of typical exam questions in IGCSE physics. It is far easier and more enjoyable to do and see than simply memorising information from a coursebook.
2. Create a revision and formula sheet
If you are interested in cutting time off your exam revisions and improving your overall study process, you should make a revision and formula sheet. First, taking notes serves as an excellent learning opportunity. Writing out material allows you to focus more on what is unclear, confusing, or new to you. This lets you clarify topics and parts of the syllabus that you have yet to understand by essentially teaching yourself entirely. You can take any measures to help you better understand the problems, be it adding diagrams or visualising things with small drawings.
When it comes to physics, the critical aspect is writing out formulas and ensuring you know how to use them. A suitable method would be to write them in big letters and represent what each of their variables means through colourful arrows alongside the units to be used.
A three-letter equation, like Newton’s second law F=ma, could be expanded into a paragraph of text and drawings depending on what works best for you. This is the goal you should have in mind. Developing short formulas helps you better understand the meaning of the letters in each equation and apply them during exams. Lastly, be mindful of the quality of your notes. Scribbled notes offer little value, and you may find them unusable for formal learning. Thus, use clear handwriting, structure your revision sheet, and add relevant titles.
3. Refrain from cutting corners
Cramming before a big test, skipping homework, and copying from classmates will undoubtedly free up more personal time, but they will not do you any favours in getting a good grade. Furthermore, the danger of cutting corners goes beyond that of a bad grade or a letter to your parents.
A lack of consistency in one’s studies ultimately leads to failure. While getting good grades on some tests, even with cramming, is possible, there is no way to achieve the same feat for the final exam. New topics in physics are built upon the foundation of the past concepts, so if you have not fully mastered the previous lecture, you will not have the same base understanding as your classmates. This makes doing homework and paying attention in class far more challenging than it has to be.
Consistency is the key to success in IGCSE Physics. As such, reserve a few hours per week for independent work. Being consistent goes a long way, and you would be surprised at the long-term results of committing a few hours per week to stay on top of your physics studies.
4. Get extra help
When you struggle with specific topics, do not hesitate to get extra help from those more knowledgeable than you, such as your physics teacher. Similar to the first step, the goal here is to associate what you have learned with real-world topics and implications that you are interested in, but now with input from another person. Conversing with your teacher makes better connections with your physics class, the real world, and the things you are passionate about, which is essential for recalling information better for exams.
If your teacher is too busy or not the talkative type, you can always get an IGCSE tutor to help you with your study efforts. Since they can give more attention to their students, they will be happier to engage in conversation regarding related topics.
And that concludes our top tips for boosting your performance in IGCSE Physics and getting an excellent final grade! If you need extra help on your IGCSE Physics revision, IGCSE Maths revision, or any other subject in the curriculum, Tutopiya is always ready to lend a hand. At Tutopiya, we specialise in providing personalised online education for various curriculums, from IGCSE to IB and more. Experience the difference with our 1 to 1 maths tuition in Singapore and other subjects, which also come with customised study plans for your specific needs. Get in touch with us today to sign up or learn more details!