Tips on acing secondary science questions

Any tips on acing secondary science questions? Are there any answering technique like primary sch?

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How are secondary school science questions different?

1️⃣The questions are more specific.

More specific questions are easier to answer. For example, instead of “Suggest why the electrical circuit is housed in a waterproof box” (for primary school) and having to guess an answer, in secondary school the questions are probably going to be more like “Explain what is a short-circuit and why it can be dangerous in the use of electrical appliances at home.”

2️⃣There is more content but the content is more defined.
While more content means students have more to understand, memorise and internalise, the structured and well-defined content means that it is easier to study and prepare for. For example, in primary school, students are expected to learn that spiny anteaters and platypus are exceptions to mammals that usually give birth, yet this is not in the textbooks – leading parents to worry and having to spend on science guide books. In secondary school, all the content is within the textbook or school materials, and students have only to understand and learn the given content.

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Generally, 1 mark is awarded for each point. Each point could be a keyword or a single step in a process. For calculation type questions, 1 mark is usually given for writing out the relevant equation, 1 mark for the working, and 1 mark for the answer.

There are various types of questions.
1️⃣Recall. These questions usually start with “name”, “list”, “what” or “give examples” and the answers are usually one word or one phrase. It simply requires recalling from memory.

2️⃣Calculation. Maths is tremendously important in secondary school science, especially in Physics. First, write down the relevant equation. Second, do all necessary working. Third, remember the units.

3️⃣Explain/ Describe. Many explanation questions are also testing recall. Understanding the concept is useful to help with internalising and recall but there are students who get by with just memorising.

4️⃣Analysis/ interpretation. Fewer questions involve using learned concepts applied to new situations, although there is more focus by MOE to have more of these types of questions. Answering these requires understanding the concepts and being able to read diagrams, charts and tables well.

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