HOW MS YAP TEACHES

1. Lesson Structure

Each topic will begin with a lecture and close with a tutorial.

High-yield challenging questions, as well as foundation questions, are both provided to students.

When Ms Yap teaches each lesson, students are able to immediately thereafter practice the topical questions and relate. Ms Yap finds this consistent approach works better than giving students the entire question paper only nearing examinations. This is because dividing up the question papers topically (so that students can practice the questions directly after learning), helps students to immediately identify where their weaknesses are.  This reinforces their learning, compared to the less-effective method of doing the entire syllabus of questions only at the eleventh hour right before examinations.

1.1. Materials provided

Quality materials comprising :

  • Ms Yap’s own lecture notes consisting of in-depth lecture notes (referenced from a selection of top JCs and essential information not directly listed in the learning outcomes but which are still tested), for every topic
  • Ms Yap’s own notes detailing students’ common mistakes, with the (more challenging) concepts examiners love to test students on, for every topic
  • Tutorials from top JCs comprising A level 10-year –series questions, for every topic, with answer key
  • Summary Notes
  • Assignments including (but not limited to :

Actual JC past year common tests/ block tests

-Actual JC mid-year examination questions

-Actual JC promotional examination question

-Actual JC preliminary examination questions 

Ms Yap supplements her lessons with her customized lecture notes, referencing from actual JC lecture notes from the top-tier JCs (Hwa Chong Institution, Raffles Institution, Victoria Junior College).  Furthermore, she adds in extra information that is not evident in the JC lecture notes, yet which students are expected to make their own inferences from. This is how she gives the extra edge to her students, because it is exactly these facts that “are not very obvious at first glance”- that the more difficult examination application questions are being set.

Contrary to other tuition centres where only summary notes are given, Ms Yap prefers to cover all possible ground, so her lecture notes provided are lengthy and in-depth. (However, Ms Yap also provides concise summary notes upon request.)

By using materials including past year papers from top schools, Ms Yap ensures students who undertake her classes are able to match up to students from top schools.

(We guarantee our material will be BETTER than your school notes.)

“My school notes are sometimes quite disorganised and not very good for memorization.   Ms Yap’s notes really benefit me because she makes sure to condense them into very concise and precise language, and she highlights and underlines the keywords such that I’m better able to spot them and to memorise them easily. So basically, she has done a lot of the thinking for me already, and basically what I have to do is to mostly just memorize.  “- Lydia Ng, Hwa Chong Institution  [click to view actual student testimonial]

“Ms Yap’s way of teaching is better, and Ms Yap’s materials are very good; because Ms Yap’s notes are consolidated and will save you a lot of time.  “- Srikar, ACJC [click to view actual student testimonial]

“Ms Yap provides all the different notes such as common mistakes and her own summary which makes my learning process easier.  Compared to my school’s notes, her notes are much more detailed. ” Reiko Lim, Yishun Junior College [click to view actual student testimonial]

1.2. Practice, practice and more practice

There will be more than enough practice questions for students to work on.  The question difficulty ranges from challenging questions to the easy foundation questions.

Moreover, more exposure to more questions = less guesswork during examinations (Don’t we all love the feeling of “hitting the jackpot” when you spot the exact question you previously practised in your paper?)

Students’ work will be personally marked by Ms Yap.

Many students who joined us on our intensive programme  (and were exposed to the rigour of many practice questions) saw their grades jump from a “fail” to an “A” grade!

“Previously, I had been getting a U in my school examinations.  However, upon joining Ms Yap’s classes, I have finally been able to get my A.  I feel that what has helped me, is the great amount of questions that she has provided during classes.” – Davian Milevaganam, EJC [click to view actual student testimonial]

HEAR from students who have hit the jackpot (when they sat from their A level paper), because EXACT questions from Ms Yap’s EXTREMELY detailed notes were replicated in the  A-levels!

” By the way, I have just sat for my A level Biology paper today, and the questions from Ms Yap’s consolidated notes did come out in my examination paper!” – Lydia Ng, HCI  [click to view actual student testimonial]

 

1.2.1. Ms Yap’s detailed marking

Ms Yap personally marks all of her students’ work. Apart from providing the correct answers, she even annotates her students’ answers, with explanations why their answers can be improved, and corrects their conceptual mistakes.

Ms Yap is extremely meticulous and detailed in her marking.  It is this very attention to detail that enables her students to pinpoint exactly where their answers are lacking, empowering them with knowledge and allowing her students to score in their examinations.

As the Chinese proverb goes,  “先苦后甜” ( which means to toil first and enjoy the fruits of your labour later), Ms Yap’s detailed style of marking allows her students to see where their conceptual mistakes are, so that they do not repeat their errors, enabling Ms Yap’s students to gain an upper hand compared with their peers who have not been exposed to the same type of questions.

2008 MYCT STQ2 from a top JC

2012 MYCT STQ2 from a top JC

Actual A-level TYS question

 

2. Teaching style

Ms Yap has a good understanding of examination techniques and key concepts that are usually tested in the syllabus, and she tries to help students understand what is required of them to achieve the necessary marks. She will guide the students step-by-step on the logic of achieving the answers. She is very patient with the explanation process to make sure they have a firm foundation in the core principles of the subject matter and she is very generous with her effort and time.

She is patient, understanding, and gets along well with her students. She also tries to build rapport with the students so she can communicate with them better to identify and help with their problem areas. She goes through challenging conceptual questions with them, and ensures the student understands them.

2.1. Linking concepts across the topics

Ms Yap helps students to link topics together and apply related concepts across the A-level lectures. From experience, she finds that when students are able to relate and cross-link the lectures together, they are better able to understand the content. She guides students on the logic of achieving the answers.

For example when teaching biology, she teaches students that certain questions are strucured around the same probability application and concept. The questions include, inter alia, (i) the number of different polypeptides consisting of r amino acids, that can be formed from n number of different amino acids (TOPIC in protein lecture), (ii) the number of amino acids that can be coded for, if each codon coding for one amino acid  contains x number of bases and if there are y types of nitrogenous bases (TOPIC in DNA lecture), and (iii) the number of possible combinations of chromosomes in gametes that can be formed due to independent assortment, for n number of pairs of homologous chromosomes  (TOPIC in meiosis lecture).

2.2. Highlighting common mistakes

Ms Yap is aware of the common mistakes that students make.  For instance, she teaches students that look-alike words may not have the same meaning- such as cisternae is not the same as cristae.  Cisternae refers to the lumen of the rER and Golgi Apparatus, while cristae are infoldings of the inner mitochondria membrane.

2.3. Learning through visualising (or other strategies)

 

For instance, H2 Biology requires students to be able to visualize biological phenomena (eg. transcription/ translation, etc.) and biomolecules.  As these are not visible to the naked eye, these are abstract concepts which students have to be able to picture in their mind.  More often than not, these 3-dimensional biochemistry molecules are printed on a two-dimensional piece of paper.  Ms Yap goes the extra mile to let 2D objects come to life in 3D form, so that students can understand.

Alpha helix model

Alpha helix model

For purposes of discussion on this website, a relatively simple biology structure shall be illustrated here. For instance, when teaching the alpha helix (an example of a secondary structure of proteins), Ms Yap made her own alpha helix model (see picture), to illustrate that that the (i) R groups (pictured in white tabs) project perpendicularly outside the helix to avoid steric interference, (ii) intra-chain hydrogen bonding occurs between the 1st and 5th amino acid, i.e. between N-H group in a amino acid  (the green tabs) and C=O group of another amino acid  (the orange tabs) four residues away in the linear sequence (iii) the main axis of the alpha helix.

When students are able to picture these abstract concepts, they will be able to apply them with confidence in their answers in the examinations.

All my students have seen at least two grades improvement in their final examinations. 

(Click to view: 2015 A-level results of Ms Yap’s students)

Although the new Biology syllabus focuses on application skills as well, it is nonetheless still a content-heavy subject (compared to Physics or Chemistry) that requires memory work ( a lot of keywords, memorising of facts and concepts). Thus, it is highly recommended that students start revision in JC1.

 

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