Science assessment questions can be generically categorised as the following:
- Regurgitation of science concepts using key words or essential terms
- Explanation of experimental findings or observations using key scientific concepts/terms
- Mathematical calculation or analysis
- Analysis of data and information
Keywords and Essential Terms
In the coaching of students on biology tuition, teachers will be sharing ways on how to better memorise certain facts. It can be using a simple acronym or some phrases. Whatever it is, if you are unable to remember the key scientific terms, you would not be able to answer such question as you cannot write Newton’s laws in normal English words without the use of terms like “action and reaction force”.
Explanations Using Words
Teachers during chemistry tuition would have to emphasise on the key words that were used to explain certain observations. For example, metal has a higher melting point than non-metals because of the strong electrostatic forces of attractions between the cations and the mobile delocalised electrons present in the giant metallic lattice structure, while non-metals are simple covalent molecules held by weak intermolecular forces. Any omitted keywords may mean the denial of a point in the assessment. So, it is significantly more about understanding the marking scheme and what the examiner is looking for.
Math goes hand in glove with science. A math tuition student who performs well in a math assessment is likely to perform well in the science tuition and assessment. In some of the questions we do with the students on physics tuition, the hardest mathematical question involved the solving of quadratic questions, and manipulating big expressions with numerous variables.
Data Analysis Question
This type of questions is very commonly given to A level tuition students. Science tuition students would be challenged with data and information presented possibly up to 2 full A4 sized pages before hitting them with a string of questions.
Data analysis questions for students on PSLE tuition tends to be in the form of tabulated data, pie charts, graphs, pictures representing the ecosystem etc. We vividly remembered one question that was only modified slightly from the GCE O level biology question in one of the primary 6 assessment papers, and another PSLE question that demands the use of principle of moments which is only taught in secondary school.
That explains why parents start the students with primary tuition from young.