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How To Prepare For Your Physics Exam?

Physics is an important subject that combines math and science to explain how the world works.

Here are some tips that will help you succeed and send you into that exam ready to win!

 

Don’t Wait Until Exam Time..

To do well on a physics test, you can’t wait until exam time to begin preparing. Physics requires constant effort. World-class physicists didn’t master the laws of harmonic motion, Bernoulli’s equation and Lenz’s law in a night, nor should you try.

To succeed in physics—and reduce your stress levels—you need to be reading, writing and thinking physics on a daily basis. A general rule is that every hour of class time requires two to three hours of out-of-class effort. This guideline certainly holds true for physics. After each lecture, rewrite your notes in your own words. Every time you read the book, take notes and solve practice problems. And be sure to review frequently.

recommend physics tuition centrephysics cafe in Singposttuition centre in bishan

 

 

How do I study? ..

It’s not that easy to score an A.  Understanding is still the core business here.

A student who simply memorizes the system and follows step 1 to 5 will not improve significantly. Yes, he should be able to pass . But this will not help improve his cognitive and analytical ability.

An ‘A’ grade student behaves differently. He looks at your system, understands the principle behind the system, tests the system on different questions, and fine-tunes the system to cover a wider scope of questions. He will first accept and then improve. How do you know when you are ready? When your own notes are more precious than any other notes or textbook, that’s when you know you are ready.” Mr Dave Sim, founder of The Physics Cafe explains.

 

Simplify..

Try to simplify the situation as much as possible. The Physics problem you are reading may seem difficult to solve at first but take another look and begin to analyze it and you will realize that is easier than you first thought. It is important to remain calm and try to bring the problem to a situation which you are familiar with by simplifying it in your mind.

 

Here in The Physics Cafe, we will test you! With each physics or maths  class, you will have a 30 minutes short test after every 3 to 4 topics. You will soon realize that for all the hard work you and your teachers put in, you have only 30 minutes to perform. You will learn how to perform under stress and under exam conditions. Most importantly, We will make sure you improve. When we give the test review, we will highlight the concepts. You will discover your weakness and improve. Eventually, you will realize that every problem we have given you is extremely simple. Conceptually, they were not so simple. But from a math point of view, they are trivial. We may make it sound easy, but when you really attempt it, it’s going to be difficult. However, you are not alone. The initial phase is always difficult, but the path will get smoother gradually, sooner than you can realize.


Five Mistakes to Avoid:

1. The Calculator Trap: Calculators crunch numbers; they don’t solve problems. You need to understand the principles underlying a problem in order to know what equations and numbers to use. If you think your calculator will get you through the exam, think again.

2. Procrastination: Falling behind, even just a little, can be disastrous in a physics class. Every lesson builds on what came before. Slacking off in week three can turn the next 12 weeks into exercises in futility.

3. Memorization: You will need to memorize, but realize that memorization doesn’t lead to success in physics. Put most of your effort into understanding the underlying principles that govern a problem—only then will the equations you memorize make sense.

4. Passivity: Passively reading examples in the book and watching your professor solve problems on the board have limited value. You need to do the problems yourself, as you will do on the exam, to learn the material.

5. Isolation: Physics is hard, so don’t make the mistake of going it alone. You’ll learn far more by working with classmates and seeking help when necessary.

 

The Physics Cafe – Reputable and Leading Tuition Centre in Singapore!

Staying in the Central area and looking for Physics tuition? Math tuition? 

(Paya Lebar, Novena, Bukit Timah)

Premium Education Center in Singapore with 1000 new students enrolled every year. 
Specializes in JC Physics, IP Physics and Secondary Physics Tuition.
Founded by popular RJC Physics Lecturer, Mr Dave Sim

 

 

The Physics Cafe

Founded by Mr Dave Sim who have taught in Raffles Junior College for 6 years. We have a team of highly sought after tutors who are chauffeured by the school driver between the centre to ensure consisent high standard of our lessons. The stellar academic results produced by the students and the number of students we attracted prove that this is a winning formula. 80% of the students consistently scored “A” in their GCE A-level examination and 90% of the IP/Sec students consistently scored “A” in their final IP Exam and GCE O-level examination This doubles the steady national average of 40 percent A and is higher than the percentage A of the top IP schools in Singapore. The Physics Café remains highly sought after by students from reputable schools.

Visit Physics Cafe now!

 

The Maths Cafe

At The Maths Café, it goes beyond handing out random questions and instructing you to solve them. When you get the chance, come on down to the tuition centre and see it for yourself – you’ll never spot anyone frittering away their time solving repetitive equations.

That’s not the way The Maths Café roll.

Au contraire, you’ll dive deep into the top trending questions often set in your school tests and exams. Categorised by the degree of difficulty, these questions are designed to expand your mind and raise your confidence. Think of them as a vitamin pill. It nourishes your self-assurance and cultivates your growth mindset in a math-learning environment.

You work your way up.

Visit Maths Cafe now!

 

How do I know if PMC is the right one?

The Physics and Maths Cafe is a one stop station. Our tutors have spent more than 10 years as students studying and scoring in exams, another 10 as lecturers teaching and setting questions to differentiate the students. Having gone through the rigour of education in Singapore, we have learned how to play the game well. You can leave it to us to prepare you for the paper. You will just have to enjoy the process.

What happens in the classroom is confidential and therefore we cannot reveal much. We will teach the students how to be smart, how to think smart, how to show the examiner that they are smart. We make everything look simple in class, so students will have the confidence to answer questions even if they may seem tedious at first. Our intention is to make you feel smart in class and keep this feeling with you for the rest of your life. You will never believe something so difficult can be so simple.

 

Where are the Branches?

The Physics Cafe Central – Goldhill Centre-(Novena MRT)

3 minutes sheltered walk from Novena MRT
187B Thomson Road, Goldhill Centre Singapore 307630
The Physics Cafe (Novena) is located next to the exit of the underpass from Novena MRT, above Mary Chia Salon and Supercut Salon.

Step 1: Take the Novena MRT Exit to United Square (Exit B).
Step 2: Exit underpass and make an immediate U-turn and walk past the GoldHill Centre brick wall on your left.
Step 3: Walk to the back of the building to go to the staircase. You will be walking pass SuperCut Salon.
Step 4: You will see “The Physics Café” directory on 2nd staircase on your left side. Walk up staircase to third level.

The Physics Cafe East Flagship – Singpost Centre (Paya Lebar MRT)

1 minute sheltered walk from Paya Lebar MRT
10 Eunos Road 8, Singapore Post Centre #01-207 Singapore 408600
The Physics Cafe (Paya Lebar) is located in the retail mall level 1 of Singapore Post Centre.

Step 1: Walk towards Enrichment Zone at Level 1.
Step 2: We are near FunToast, and we are right at the entrance of the Enrichment Zone.

The Physics Cafe West – Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (Beauty World MRT)

1 minute walk from Beauty World MRT
170 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #18-01 Singapore 588179

Step 1: Take exit A of Beauty World MRT station.
Step 2: Walk past Beauty World Centre and UOB Centre. You will see The Physics Cafe huge signboard at the side door of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. Take the entrance beside OCBC Bank.
Step 3: You will see a wooden door that leads to lift lobby. Find us at #18-01.

 

There are two other ways to find out more!

First, read the students’ testimonials and you may be able to learn more. The testimonials in the website are genuine as they are linked to the Facebook account of the students. Check out more here: https://thephysicscafe.com/reviews/

Secondly, our fees are not cheap. But we have the largest intake of Physics and Math IP and JC students in Singapore. We occupy the entire level of a premium building which is bigger than half a football field. Our tuition center even has our own library, cafe, and shuttle bus.

Sign up now at http://www.pmc.sg

 

Sec 3 Physics and Maths MYE Revision 2018

Sec 3 Physics and Maths MYE Revision 2018

Attention PMC S3 PHYSICS & MATHS students!

What to expect in the next 4 weeks?

You must be aware that the Sec 3 Mid Year Exams is only 4-5 weeks away! So we thought it’s about time we gave you a little sneak peek on what is going on in class…

And in case you were wondering, here’s an overview of essential lesson materials that our students will receive this week:

Term 2 Week 2 – Week 3 (26 March – 8 April)

  1. You will receive a revision DIY package for Measurement and Kinematics. Please complete the questions at home as a timed test. Shade your answers on the OMR answer sheet which you will be given in class to mimic actual examination condition. Mark your answer against the solutions given at the back of the booklet. The worked solutions will be uploaded to your student portal on the following week.
  2. In class, the tutor will go through the Kinematics and Dynamics (structured questions) and you can complete the MCQ questions at home with the OMR answer sheet. The worked solutions will be uploaded to your student portal.

Term 2 Week 4 – Week 5 (8 – 15 April)

  1. There will be a 30 minutes The Physics Cafe MYE Mock Exam in week 4 (16 – 22 April). All students must prepare for the test. Your answer sheet will be collected by the tutor for marking and your score will be published and converted to points (which is cash). The details will be explained in class.
  2. Students who did not do reasonably well for the test will see the tutor for consultation. Parents will receive an update of your results via email. Don’t say we didn’t warn you 😛

Are you attending both Physics and Maths classes in the café?

 Sec 3 Maths revision will commence next week. There will be a Term Test in week 4 – 5. For existing students who are keen to sign up for Physics or Maths classes, do register your interest in the student portal. Registration fee will be waived.

For Parents:

Your child will be receiving a lot of materials coupled with complete worked solutions during this period. Kindly assist to encourage them to complete the home assignments. They can approach the tutor before or after their weekly lessons if they need help.

Tutor Comments:

Finally, everyone seems to be finally aware that the mid year exam is near. (If you aren’t, that’s worrying isn’t it?) School life isn’t all fun and games -a bit of stress now is definitely good to pace the student in the sec 3 academic year. Many will soon realise that while they can easily score well in small tests especially after covering a particular topic, it’s not easy to score well in big exams that integrate more than one topic. The question banks in the booklets aim to prepare students for their exams, and we believe that solving questions is as important, if not more than merely going through notes. The mock paper before the actual exam is important and is usually provides good feedback on whether the student has invested enough time in the MYE preparation. As always, the results you get in the exams should not be a surprise to you. It’s usually an accurate measure of what you understand and what you remember at that point of time. With that, we wish you all the best in your preparation and examinations!

The Physics Cafe Movie Marathon 2018

Reserve a Seat for the Movie Marathon www.pmc.sg/movie

This annual event is organised to help students get ready for the first JC2 common test (usually after the march holiday). Existing students and non-existing students are welcome to attend.

You will be watching a video recording of 2017 Live lesson. This is a special, unique digital experience where you can see the tutor, the projector screen, the white board, the students in the classroom and even hear the interaction between them. You will be solving lots of questions together with your peers attending the movie marathon. At the end of the video, you will know everything you need to know for the topic. It will be the most efficient way to get ready for the common test.

What are the movie available for booking?

  • Thermal Physics Crash Course Lesson 1 (2 hours) on 6 Mar 7-9pm (Term 1 Week 10, Tue)
  • Thermal Physics Crash Course Lesson 2 (3 hours) on 9 Mar 6-9pm (Term 1 Week 10, Fri)
  • Electric Field Crash Course (3 hours) on 12 Mar 3-6pm (March Holiday, Mon)

 

Where will the movie marathon be held?

The movie will be held at The Physics Cafe flagship store @ Singpost Centre beside Paya Lebar MRT.

 

How much do I have to pay to watch the movie marathon?

There will be a $10 admin fee per video. We will waive off the regular fee of $50 for this movie marathon. Regular fee of $50 will still be applicable for all other digital lessons.

 

What if I cannot make it for the scheduled movie marathon?

You may register separately to watch the digital lesson at your preferred timing and outlet at https://pmc.sg/digital/.  Regular fee of $50 will be applicable.

 

What are the seats available?

Auditorium Seating Plan

How do I buy a ticket for the movie marathon?


You can buy your ticket here at www.pmc.sg/movie! There is an admin fee of $10. The fee for the digital lesson is waived for this movie marathon only.

 

  • Choose your movie.
  • Choose your seat.
  • Pay $10 admin fee to reserve your seat.

5 reasons students flock to The Physics Cafe

by The Straits Times

  1. The tutors are stars 

 

Forget social media influencers and music chart-toppers. Follow stellar tutors to clinch A grades on your examination scripts.

Mr Dave Sim, the founder of The Physics Cafe and The Maths Cafe, taught physics for six years at a top junior colleague before going into private tuition in 2010.

He and his dedicated team of tutors conduct O- and A- level mathematics and physics tuition classes.

Last year, more than 80 per cent of students scored A grades at the physics and/or mathematics A level examinations. Nine out of ten students clinched distinctions in the physics and/or mathematics O level examinations.

 

  1. Convenient locations

Classes are currently conducted at Orange Tee Building near Toa Payoh MRT station and Bukit Timah Shopping Centre near Beauty World MRT station.

Two more branches will be opening soon — SingPost Centre mall near Paya Lebar MRT station and Goldhill Centre near Novena MRT station. 

 

  1. Develop academic mastery like never before

Students are typically pressed for time with busy schedules — Mr Sim and his team help students learn in a ruthlessly effective manner.

The team works well with comprehensive notes, excellent lesson delivery, timed practices during classes and recorded lessons for students to revisit at their own time.

 

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Mr Sim helps students learn in a ruthlessly effective manner.

 

  1. The premises lives up to its name

Why is a tuition centre named a café? The branches have interiors mimicking a café where students perk themselves up with beverages from the free-for-all pantry.

Take a break and challenge your study buddies to a game of foosball.

Other than a well-stocked pantry cum in-house café, each branch has its own lecture theatre, study rooms, vending machine and digital library.

 

  1. Thrills and frills

Need someone to attend to your administrative queries? Onsite student councillors, who are The Physics Cafe’s ex-students, will help you get what you need.

Get home easily with the shuttle bus services. All branches have shuttle buses ferrying students to the MRT stations of Botanic Gardens, Jurong East, Serangoon and Paya Lebar.

 

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Fact : About a thousand students enrol in The Physics Cafe and The Maths Cafe yearly.

There will soon be two new branches at SingPost Centre mall near Paya Lebar MRT station and Goldhill Centre near Novena MRT station. 

Interview with The Smart Local

4 Ways Tuition Is Done Differently at The Physics Cafe

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For secondary school and JC students, mugging the examination syllabus can sometimes feel like an uphill battle; it may be tough, but it’s definitely not impossible. Subjects like Physics and Mathematics tend to get super convoluted and classroom lessons can only do so much to help students make it less so.

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That’s where a premium tuition centre like The Physics Cafe comes in. Not your run-of-the-mill centre, it’s got a yearly enrolment of 1,000 students, plenty of student services and a unique learning approach that’s helped at least 8 out 10 of their students achieve their ‘A’ grades. Here’s how they do it:

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Here’s how they do it:

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1. Lessons are dynamic and you can watch them online like a uni student

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We’ve all experienced the occasional “which page is the teacher on?” moment during school time. At The Physics Cafe, you’ll find that this never happens as the lessons are engaging throughout – student participation plays a big part here.

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Better yet, all of the lessons are recorded and made available online via a digital library for students’ personal revision. Students can easily book the digital lesson that they want to watch through the website, in preparation before major exams.

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The catalogue in their digital library is extensive – you can access all of the lessons that you’ve been through, for revision.

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The best part about this “digital cafe” is that the lessons are open to non-students too. You’ll have to come down to the tuition centre’s study area to stream the lessons, but for only half the price of a live lesson and complimentary access to the cafe’s pantry, it’s well worth the trip.

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All you have to do is book a timeslot here.

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2. To be a tutor here, you need to go through a Ninja Warrior-like process

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The Physics Cafe tutors are endearingly termed “chefs” but they may as well be regarded as Masterchefs of Physics. For every 30 to 40 applicants interviewed, only one is hired. And the process doesn’t just stop there – even if they’re experienced, they’ll have to go through a year’s worth of training conducting mock lessons before officially teaching a class.

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The centre’s founder Mr. Dave Sim can attest to this rigorous process – having taught at Raffles Junior College (now Raffles Institution) for six years, he understands the importance of being committed to his students and making Physics as accessible as possible. A quick look through their whopping list of testimonials – categorised by school – will show the tutors’ impact on their students.

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Mr. Dave Sim and his fellow tutors maintain a close relationship with their students, beyond the classroom.

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Don’t expect a spammage of notes or photocopies of Popular-bought assessment books here either – like an actual school syllabus, the tutors spend time putting together booklets of notes that are easier to understand than school textbooks. They’re highly sought after by non-students too!

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Top-secret notes!

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 3. Lessons are not a repetition of what you’ve learnt in school

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If you’re hesitant about tuition classes, it’s probably because you’re worried about spending an extra 2 hours of school, after school. But at The Physics Cafe, you won’t learn the same thing twice.

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“Simple harmonic motion” may not sound so simple during an 8am lecture, but when you sit in here, you’ll get it so much quicker. Lessons – often 2 hours – consist of two concise parts: understanding concepts, where concepts are broken down and explained, and problem-solving, where you get to apply the concept on real problems.

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Bonus: If that still doesn’t help, sometime the tutors will carry out live demonstrations!

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Their June holiday crash courses are popular among students for being major confidence boosters. These super comprehensive 4-hour lessons – with pizza breaks in between! – recap only the things that you need to know before a major exam. No longer will you have to rely on luck by spotting questions and learning more than you actually have to.

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Pizza during breaks? Yes, please! 

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4. The tuition centre is a legit cafe that provides free food AND free travel

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The pantry is constantly stocked. There’s even a free-flow vending machine!

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The name “The Physics Cafe” isn’t a marketing gimmick. It’s really akin to a hipster cafe – with a foosball table and a free-for-all pantry that rivals even that of TSL’s. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s a tuition centre, we could have featured it in this month’s listicle of new cafes to try.

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Students can indicate on the map the destination they wish to go to

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And  the perks don’t just end at F&B – the cafe provides free shuttle rides to Botanic Gardens, Jurong East, Serangoon and Paya Lebar MRT. And if you’re one of those staying back late for revision, they’ll even book a Grab or Uber ride to send you home – free of charge!

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The Physics Cafe – A different kind of tuition centre

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Most people brag about results, but only the students here get to brag about results and how cool their tuition centre is. With ergonomic chairs for every student, high-tech equipment and a space that’s half the size of a football field, tuition here definitely feels like less of a bore.

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And the results speak for themselves too with the​ centre’s impressive track record​:

  • In 2016, at least 80% of their students scored A in Physics and/or Maths in the ‘A’ level examinations, double that of the national average
  • 9 out of 10 of their students scored a distinction in the Physics and/or Maths in the O-level exam
  • Check out this list of students who scored distinctions. You may even recognise some of your seniors!

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The Physics Cafe is already one of the most established tuition centres around – with over 1000 yearly student enrolment – and in the coming year, more students will be able to benefit from their lessons. In addition to their Toa Payoh and Beauty World branches, two new centres are expected to be opened in Novena and Marine Parade in early 2018.

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Spots are high in demand so registration is online-only.

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Bonus: Look out for their ambassador programme, officially launching in late 2017. It’s an initiative that provides students with partial and full scholarship to attend their tuition classes!

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Sign up with The Physics Cafe now​!

 

This post was brought to you by The Physics Cafe.

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Read more at TheSmartLocal website: http://thesmartlocal.com/read/the-physics-cafe

 

10 Things About The Physics Cafe

What comes to mind when people mention The Physics Cafe? Effective? Helpful? Perhaps reliable may even be considered to be an understatement. For years we have grown in size and in strength to become a premium tuition centre in Singapore, specialising in Physics and Maths education for Secondary and JC students. Below are 10 facts and achievements that we have accumulated over the years, we hope you have a good read!

1. Only 1 tutor is shortlisted out of 30 interviewed.

Each tutor is paid on average $350 per hour. That’s up to 3 times the pay of the average tutor in Singapore. What’s more, our tutors undergo months of training before they are allowed to lead classes, so you can be assured that our tutors are top-notch and top-quality 🙂

2. Our branch near Beauty World MRT is the 2nd branch open to the public.

As of May 2017, our new branch is opening at the penthouse level of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. Good news for the westies!

3. Our main school next to Toa Payoh MRT is half a football field big, with our very own:

(1) lecture theatre,
(2) in-house cafe, and
(3) shuttle bus service

4.  We hire ex students as student councillors to assist in students matter. 

If you are keen on joining us, you’re welcome to drop us an email 🙂

5. Registration for our classes are done strictly online.

This is to facilitate the registration process, and to make it more convenient for you.

6.  Our Founder Principal Tutor, Mr Dave Sim, is the renowned physics super tutor in Singapore, with a teaching experience of 6 years at RI.

We’ll let Mr Sim speak for himself here:

“I am the director and the head of academic. This switch (from RI to The Physics Cafe) means I can control exactly what and how you learn. I can test you my way. I can then let the results speak for themselves. It does not matter who you are or where you are from. I know that if I cannot help you, no one can. But of course, it’s up to you to prove me wrong. Try to get a “C” or a “D” for your final paper!”

7. 70% of our students are from IP schools

Some of you may wonder if our lessons are suitable for students from the IP stream. Fear not! Our lessons here are catered to both IP and non-IP students as the syllabus is the same. In fact, we have a good mix of students from both IP and non-IP streams and no one gets left behind.

8. At least 80% of our students scored A in Physics and/or Maths in the A levels – doubling the national average!!!

We are very very proud of our students who have done well in the A levels and would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the graduated batch of 2016. You have worked hard and gotten the grades you truly deserved. Good Job! Do visit our hall of fame to find out more.

9. 9 out of 10 students scored a distinction in the Physics and/or Maths in the O-level exam

Need we say more?

10. We have a 1000 student yearly enrollment!

Most of our students here are recommended by friends/family and we are very heartened by the support shown to us over the years. Read the reviews given to us by our ex-students and parents here.

Interview with The Straits Times

By Michelle Chin The Straits Times

Expect nothing less than focused and effective lessons when you attend the highly sought-after secondary and JC physics and mathematics lessons at The Physics Cafe.

Founder Dave Sim, 37, taught physics at one of Singapore’s top junior colleges for six years before setting up the learning centre in 2010. Mr Sim is now so sought after that the physics classes he teaches have a total enrolment of about 500 students spread out across eight classes this year. The learning centre specializes in Physics and Mathematics in the newly expanded premise next to Toa Payoh MRT. It has its own café, library and even shuttle buses to ferry students home.

Offering high-quality lessons consistently over the years has earned Mr Sim great popularity and countless positive reviews. The Physics Café website and facebook page have a total of more than 500 testimonials from students and ex-students who benefited from his guidance. Those on the webpage are categorised by schools the students come from.

Miss Pang Shi Hui, 18, who will be taking her A-level examinations this year said: “I remember being blown away after my first lesson at The Physics Cafe. Mr Sim answered every possible lingering question we might have. From then on, I started gaining confidence and interest in the subject.”

Igniting students’ love for physics

She recalled the anxiety of needing to improve her grades after scoring around 35 out of 100 marks for her physics test papers six months before her GCE A-level examinations. Two years ago, undergraduate Kelly Chong, 20, went from failing the subject to scoring an A for her GCE A levels in 2014.

She was then a second-year junior college student struggling in physics until a schoolmate recommended The Physics Cafe’s June holiday crash course.

Miss Chong continued attending the lessons after the crash course ended. Six months later, she went from failing the subject to scoring an A for her GCE A levels in 2014.

Now pursuing National University of Singapore’s double degree programme in accountancy and communications, she credits The Physics Cafe’s teaching methodologies that honed her ability to grasp physics concepts better and tackle questions with greater confidence.

Miss Chong said: “Mr Sim’s lessons saved me a lot of time as I could understand the subject more quickly compared to self-study without tuition. His notes and mindmaps were well-designed and aided my understanding of principles.

“Frequent timed practices that mimicked examination conditions trained me to work swiftly and accurately when answering questions. I discovered my weaknesses and learnt better when Mr Sim explained the solutions.”

On top of the game

Mr Sim said that he has come across parents questioning why students attend tuition even if they are doing well academically.

He explained that this current trend may differ from that in the past when most students who attend tuition are struggling in the subject. These days, students who may not be academically weak attend tuition classes not to pass examinations, but to save time as learning can be more effective under the guidance of a good tutor.

Mr Sim said: “Students attending tuition lessons in today’s context have a certain attitude in life that brings them to where they are today. They constantly seek to better themselves and this is the attitude that motivates them to attend tuition classes. Tuition will not replace school lessons, but ensures every minute spent on learning is effective and targeted compared to self-study.

“Tuition is not for students to pass examinations, but to get excellent grades in a more effective way. Without tuition, they may achieve an A too on their own, but perhaps with more effort and time.”

Interview with Asiaone and Vulcan Post.

On The Golden Girls, there’s a scene where a teacher speaks fondly about her favourite student: “He gets this look in his eyes when he’s listening. You don’t see that very often. I think that look is the whole reason that teachers teach.”

Dave Sim is familiar with that look.

Having taught physics at RJC (now known as RI) for six years, he knows how life defining a career in education can be. For every teacher committed in their craft, nothing beats the triumph of knowing they’ve made an impact on a student’s life.

Dave is a legendary figure in his students’ eyes. Thanks to his engaging and concise techniques on the perplexing subject, many of his students evolve from being a mediocre Physics student to an exceptional one.

An Education Emporium

Dave is also unlike any other teacher.

For one thing, he wears a mic headphone while teaching. For another, he runs The Physics Cafe, a massive tuition centre where he serves as the director and head of academic.

Not only is his education centre half the size of a football field, but it also has its own cafe, digital library, scholarship programme, and shuttle bus service. The Physics Cafe is dubbed as a premium school — one look at the tutors’ tailor-made uniforms reflect that.

When Dave launched The Physics Cafe, he started small by enrolling only JC students. A big group of these students came from well-known schools like Hwa Chong Junior College and Anglo Chinese Junior College. At that time, there were about 200 of them.

Three years later, he decided to take the plunge by offering physics and maths tuition to both JC and secondary school students.

Dave shares he was mulling over opening the classes earlier, but he chose not to in the end. He had high standards and was determined to stand by it. Plus, he didn’t think the early launch would justify the amount of work he had put in.

The amount of work for the launch was colossal.

Dave and his team spent not a week, not a month, but a year to put together their lesson materials. Fortunately, their Herculean task paid off. Right now, The Physics Cafe has close to a thousand students.

Judging by the statistics alone, it’s clear having tuition as a kid is a norm in today’s world; yet for Dave’s schooling years, it was the exact opposite.

Never had tuition as a kid

Growing up, Dave was a studious kid. He had the habit of writing down his own set of notes, a practice that reaped the benefit in his career as an educator. “When I first started teaching, I was surprised how my ten-year-old JC notes helped my students understand the key concepts in physics,” he says.

A visual learner, Dave shares he finds it easier to study his own notes with his handwriting than pouring through his lecturer’s typewritten ones.

“I don’t like memorising individual equations and definitions. Instead, I remember the visual image of every page of my notes.”

Since he couldn’t afford tuition, Dave consistently kept his nose to the grindstone. He reminisces his life as a student and how he’d used to spend hours solving just one question.

Nevertheless, Dave’s school life wasn’t too shabby; with determination and hard work, he managed to sail through his exams.

“Now I’m happy to help my students to save [the] time, leaving [them] more time for other things.”

Making tutoring easier for his students

Not only did his techniques got his students out of a tight spot, but The Physics Cafe’s ambassador programme — an initiative that covers partial and full scholarship — has also lightened their load.

How does one qualify for the role of an honourable ambassador?

“The ambassador of the school should be a role model for these students. He or she will be responsible for collating the exam results from the students so that we can see how the student fare relatively, compared to their peers,” Dave shares.

Expanding the tuition centre was also a natural decision. The number of students were growing and the space couldn’t accommodate their needs. Currently, the school is nestled in Toa Payoh.

On top of that, The Physics Cafe is also taking a beat from MOOCs by offering video lessons for students who are unable to afford the tuition fees.

With this approach, students pay half the usual fee to attend the same lesson, with the same tutor, and the same materials in the comfort of The Physics Cafe’s very own digital library.

Different expectations

Dave also shares several insights about today’s tuition market. “We have to accept that the trend today is very different. Students who go for tuition are not weak academically or ‘kiasu’ in nature,” he adds.

“Most students in Singapore attend tuition classes to “stretch time”, so learning will be more effective.”

Back on 2014, The Straits Times reported that Singaporean families have spent $1.1 billion on tuition alone ; so much that even tutors are earning higher salaries now. Many cite competitive edge as one of the reasons. However, judging by what Dave has shared, it appears there’s more than it looks.

Smart learning is a trend and it’s sticking for good.