Over the years, I have found out some small yet helpful tips that I am currently still using to track the improvement of my Chemistry students. These can also be adopted by students for self-monitoring purposes as well. It not only helps them to plan their revision schedule, but also helps with their revision work tremendously.
(1) Chemistry Notebook
I always hand out a portable notebook for all of my Chemistry students before I start off my first tuition lesson with them. The purpose of this notebook is to act as a summarised version of their own handwritten notes, comprising of Chemistry definitions and formulae learnt over the course of their studies as well some common examples of questions that use a set pattern of problem solving methodologies to answer. These will prove to be helpful for students when they do self-revision as the notes act as a convenient reference when they attempt their homework or Chemistry practice papers.
(2) Taking down study notes in Chemistry Notebook
I will also have students allocate sufficient pages towards the end of the notebook to jot down the Chemistry topics or practice papers to be learnt during the Chemistry tuition session as well as the homework assignments that I give out to students at the end of every lesson. I feel that this helps to prevent students from losing the assignment questions written on a random foolscap paper which they may conveniently chug away and claim to have lost it over the week as they bury them under other school or tuition materials. It also helps them to pick up some good housekeeping habit which will be useful in later life.
(3) Constant update of progress during Chemistry tuition to parents
I always update parents either via text messaging or giving them a phone call monthly to let them know the progress of the Chemistry tuition lessons with their child. This will help parents have a sense of what is going on and they can also help facilitate the doing of my Chemistry tuition assignments once a common understanding is reached through such update sessions.
(4) Chemistry surprise test
I will introduce simple pop quizzes or brain teasers in the lessons so that students can have a quick break from learning about Chemistry but also helps to test their knowledge of the subject. These also alleviates the boredom that may set in for some of the “dryer” topics.
(5) Work on Chemistry practice exam papers
When it is close to the school exam period, I will provide students with Chemistry practice papers from other schools which will be marked and assessed. I will also impose the same time constraint as what they experience during the actual exams to give them some healthy pressure. This not only allows them to refresh their knowledge of the subject, but also let them find out where they currently stand. It can be a motivating or inspiring experience for students to want to outperform themselves regardless of their current understanding of Chemistry.