Additional Math, no sure if this subject requires talent or not, but a lot of practices does help. I have pretty bad score with Additional Math during my Form 4, where I score an average of 50 for tests and exams. Though I can’t really recall, but perhaps this is the only subject whom I had failed in my entire life. Additional Math is a very special subject, where some basic understanding of the formula and intelligent would not help you solve the more challenging questions. You can understand the formula and examples given, while stare blankly at the questions and still not able to come out with the answer. You would feel so lost and helpless. When I am in Form 5, I know I need help, a lot of them in fact. Thus, I start taking tuition class. The tuition teacher is very talkative and good in explaining the solutions, and gave us a lot of examples and homeworks. Practice makes perfect is so true for this subject. Experience and practices are very much needed for you to solve complex mathematical questions. The more I do, the better I am. Besides, they can be only so many varieties of Additional Math questions for Form 5 standard, and you could easily spot the similarity and solve the problem based on your past experience. Though I am not the best in class, but I am good at it and manage to score me an A just in time for SPM.
Subjects like Chemistry, Biology, Physics and History does not require tuition. All it takes is a lot of hard work to study the reference books, make notes, memorise the fact and practice on past year questions. Chemistry involves some simple understanding and formula calculation. Biology is all about memorization. Physics require logic and understanding, and basic mathematical skills as well. History is about memorization as well.
Mathematic is pretty simple, as it only involves some logical understanding and some practices. Morale is a tricky subject, where you require guidance from an experience teacher who knows the marking scheme of the subject inside out. You need to know and understand how to score points. I think this subject is absolutely useless, pointless and does more harm than good. Do you actually think you can teach moral with a Moral subject? Someone is bluffing themselves and I curse the stupid person who comes up with this proposal.
Then we have the language subject, such as Chinese, English and Bahasa Malaysia. Language subjects are the most difficult, as it require a long time to master it and a strong foundation is much needed. I have talked about how I was good at Chinese in the beginning, faced with a slump at a later stage and manage to pick it up again at a much later stage. Everything is possible, given time, some planning, hard work and some help from the right people. For me, I have a quite alright English foundation since I was young (not the best in town certainly, my writings prove it all). My mom is an English teacher, thus she force me to sit for an hour of Ladybird study on every weekday after school. I hated her for doing that at that time, as it brings me much pain (I should be sleeping or playing, haha). But now I have her to thank for giving me such a wonderful gift which help me through my life. SPM English standard isn’t that high, thus I could score an A easily. I think I have a C in my 1119 English paper, thus I am really not up to standard in the elite crowd. Bahasa Malaysia (BM) is a language which a lot of good Chinese student fears, as failing BM would means failing SPM all together. It isn’t a difficult language to be mastered (English and Chinese are more difficult), as long as you know the tricks. I specialized in Fact Telling for BM essay, and only that. I am a very logical person, thus can come up with facts and reasoning pretty easily. My BM teacher is the district SPM examiner for BM paper, thus she gave us a few tips and tricks to counter the paper. For Fact Telling, you would need 5 main points (fact & reasoning) to get the optimum score. Thus, make sure you spent time thinking of the 5 main points before you start writing. Then, you elaborate those points into 5 paragraphs, each paragraph for one point. Also, you have to prove that you are good at BM, thus you need to learn a few bombastic words (I can’t remember them any more) or modern Malay word (English term translated into Malay) to be used in your essay. This strategy manage to get me an A most of the time, and of course for SPM as well.
I didn’t take Accounting for SPM, but I learned it from tuition class in Form 4 (I am in Science Stream and Accounting is not part of the subjects offered). I plan to take 11 subjects in SPM (in 1997, most people took only 10 subjects, and 11 subjects is quite an impressive undertaking, and now you could take 16 subjects!), but I gave up after 1 year. I don’t quite like accounting, though I can do the work. Accounting requires a lot of practices to gain experience as well.
Here is my two cents about tuition classes. We have only so much time in a week, thus we CAN’T go for tuition for every subject. Thus, we need to select wisely which subjects could benefit from tuition classes. I had selected Additional Math, Accounting, English Language, Chinese Language and Bahasa Malaysia. Though I am already getting A’s for English Language, but I guess my mom hope that I could raise my standard further (guessed I didn’t, hehe). Bahasa Malaysia tuition is more like for Insurance purpose, as failing it is absolutely devastating. Actually I only require tuition for Additional Math and Chinese Language. Don’t sent your kids to all the tuition classes which you could find, as doing that will take up all his time and stunt he social and emotional growth. Kids need to have fun and take on other hobbies in order to grow up. Focusing too much on academic excellence would make him or her handicapped in the future. Besides, parents need to play a role as well to help their children grow and learn. Don’t push all these responsibilities to the teacher only. Take this advice from someone who score 10 A’s for SPM in 1997 with minimal tuition classes and still grow up pretty alright. Though I am not the best role modal you could find, but do consider to give some space for them to grow. This is more in life than academic excellence.