Mr Koh’s latest TYS is out! Available at Popular bookstores. Online orders available too
Reflections before Econs Paper
A Level Math P2 was hard. A number of students turned up for today’s Econs revision class feeling dejected and in need of motivation.
Given the weight of expectations these students carry, it was not useful telling them to move on and to start preparing for the next paper.
Examinations offer a much-needed glimpse into our innermost feelings. They offer a valuable opportunity for self-discovery (some students take a gap year to travel around the world to understand themselves better).
Sugar-coating the message by telling students that things will work out fine would overlook this important window for them to understand themselves better.
We tried to reframe the whole experience in class.
As humans, we are compromised with certain flaws. Some weaknesses are more significant than others which lie latent, awaiting detection. Linking these five flaws to a student’s exam/post-exam emotions can help them look beyond the negative experience and see how to tackle the root of the problem.
This will boost their character strength and resiliency in future.
Our flaws, exam weaknesses and future pitfalls
– Student does not think of the cut-off for an A grade, and persists in wanting to score maximum marks for each paper. While this is a good motivation, a good sportsperson does not seek to win or participate in every game. They take breaks to recuperate and to excel in a sustainable way.
– Student practise past year papers relentlessly and accumulates a lot of notes.
– During the exam, Student writes copiously to demonstrate breadth and depth of knowledge and often runs out of time to complete the paper. Focus on spamming answers lead to off-focus answers. Often, handwriting becomes illegible, resulting in a shock when punitive grades are given.
– If unaddressed, can lead to burn-outs at an early age. Worse, Student caves in to temptations that feed their greed (e.g. academic results/financial gains/lust/food) which render them vulnerable to exploitation by others with ill intent.
– Student blames the teacher, family members, the neighbour having a kitchen makeover, and examiners for a negative exam experience. Reddit thread on 2022 Math Paper 2 demonstrates this feeling of resentment quite amply.
– Directing the anger outwards helps Student to mask the inner disappointment and sense of vulnerability. Consequently, his/her call for help and assurance is often missed out.
– If unaddressed, Student may grow increasingly negative and hardened, thus becoming an unsavoury individual in group settings.
– Student assumes ceteris paribus holds in the real world. Effort should translate into results because this was how it worked out for their PSLE / O Levels. This ignores the state of change and unpredictability that we live in.
– After a bad exam experience, Student takes things extremely hard and closes himself/herself in, constantly querying why things have turned out like this.
– Self-blame and attachment to past performances without allowing change and resets to take place can cause severe mental strains.
– Student links good grades to a marker of capability and quality. Recognising his/her inherent flaws leads to avoidance instead of engagement. E.g. Student strong in writing but weak in analysis avoids taking Science modules, while Student strong in analytics avoids writing modules.
– Student may still emerge with good grades given such a strategy. However, the purpose of education is lost when such a young individual picks his/her battles and does not allow setbacks to occur.
– Self-improvement comes to a halt at an early age. Student indulges in boasting, criticising other people deemed better or even aggressive behaviour to cover up own inadequacies.
– Student wonders if the exam script was stapled properly and if a page had slipped out, or spends hours browsing online forums and talking to tutors to “double-confirm” their answers.
– Interestingly, Student is looking for evidence of mistakes made (seeking bad news instead of good ones) to validate the fear and insecure feelings they have. Once a lapse has been found, they extrapolate into catastrophic outcomes e.g. failing the exams, ruined future.
– It is hard for these students to move on because they can always find something to worry about.
– Prolonged episodes of anxiety can inhibit future performance and cause a nervous breakdown as they grow older (when mind and body become weaker.
These flaws do not exist in isolation, and very often, I see a blend of all five in my daily behaviour.
Recognising and acknowledging the problem is the first step to healing and finding a solution. It is not just the Math paper but our inner conditioning that is causing us unease.
When the unease causes sufficient distress, it provides the activation energy for us to seek change.
It has been an immensely challenging year for students, and we congratulate everyone for seeing through the A levels while exhibiting resiliency and adaptability.
Results have improved again (2021: 88% A/B; 6 in 10 scoring As), which indicates that online tuition can deliver for JC students. A number of students who joined in J2 managed to secure an A despite a later start. These students were observed to be more driven (presumably due to the lack of lead-time before the A levels), and were proactive in asking Mr Koh for past video recordings to catch up on their revision. More importantly, with their backs driven closer against the wall, they were prepared to put conviction in Mr Koh’s teaching techniques and immediately apply them to their school assessments. It is often a struggle when students are used to a process of rote learning, and while they are attentive in lessons, they appear reluctant to put Mr Koh’s writing frameworks to paper during examinations.
Remember, to discover new lands, you must be prepared to lose sight of the shore. Put your trust in Mr Koh and you will get the results you deserve 🙂
Results and Reflection
2020 was a challenging year which forced students and educators to adopt changes to cope. The latest results (83% A/B; 6 in 10 scoring As) not only point to the strength of the students’ characters, but also to the potential that online tuition holds.
Mr Koh’s message to students
To all graduates, I’ve received many celebratory messages and I feel your happiness as well. At the same time, I know some of you are disappointed at not having met your goals. If you belong to the 2nd category, I just want you to know that incidents like this that chip away at your achievements now are not a sign of failure, but building blocks that give rise to a more resilient you. The Covid episode has shown us that there is no career that brings guaranteed success or red-carpet prestige.
As you still have a long road ahead of you, I hope you can be easier on yourself and allow yourself to stumble and falter. Sometimes, taking one step back from your aspirations is a step forward. It’s like planting rice. The farmer starts from the position furthest away (as far as his/her hand can reach) and inserts the stalks inwards one stalk at a time. It looks like you’re retracting but you’re filling in the gaps one step at a time. Every step is a learning process so make the best out of it. Even a less than impressive result can be spun into a good story (e.g. challenges u faced + how you fought back and made good over time) to showcase your strengths during the interview process. In short, you are young and you are endowed with a good foundation. You can go very far as long as you don’t let setbacks get you down. Hold your head high and continue to work hard. I am very proud of every one of you and I hope you will feel the same about yourself.
Since switching to online sessions in Mar 2020, we have not gone back to physical classes. Instead, we have two sessions every week (i.e. converting travelling time saved into extra sessions) and face-to-face consultation sessions on an individual or small-group basis. This arrangement has produced encouraging results. Feedback from the graduating batch highlighted the following:
- “I have attended both physical and online classes with Mr Koh, and to be honest, I have found the online zoom lessons to be more helpful in my learning. On zoom, I felt I had greater liberty to ask any questions on my mind and could participate more in classes also, which helped to reinforce the concepts, and correct any misconceptions I may have had. Since zoom has a private message function, I felt that i could ask him questions without feeling embarrassed. Furthermore, I am able to rewatch many of the recordings of the lessons to simply refresh my memory or reinforce certain concepts.” – Faith (HCI – A in Econs)
- “I started online lessons close towards the second half of my J2 year and immediately found classes extremely helpful with Mr Koh immediately sending previous lesson videos on topics I had most trouble in. With lessons being online, my learning for each week was not confined to the lesson agenda for the week as I could easily request videos about other topics or answering techniques previously discussed. With lessons being recorded, it made learning much more efficient as I could rewatch the lesson on my own time when I am less tired and more focused, and change the speed of the video to my liking.” – Natashmin (RI – A in Econs)
- “I appreciate your live online lessons so much (they’re convenient, engaging, and comfortable). Your YouTube videos also greatly help students who joined at any time to catch up with whatever they’ve missed out on. I regularly viewed your recorded videos from previous lessons to keep in touch with Econs, allowing me to review and recall what I’ve learnt.” – Li Xin (HCI – A in Econs)
- “Online classes were conducted very smoothly and it allowed me to save on the travelling time. I enjoyed the classes as we could ask questions easily without feeling so scared or shy.” – Andrea (HCI – A in Econs)
- “After shifting to online lessons, he allowed us to attend J1 classes to recap our J1 content and even provided double the lessons weekly nearer to A Levels without charging extra fees so that we were able to get more revision. Fearing that online lessons may affect our learning, he took the effort to open up consultation lessons for us to ask questions or review our work before giving us individualised comments and areas to work on.” – Jianhao (NJC – A in Econs)
Given the encouraging results our online classes have produced, we will be continuing with online classes for all students. The switch to online classes is also a good chance for students to hone their working-from-home ability as it is likely to be a key part of their work routine in future.
Something new is coming your way in 2021
We switched to online tuition classes in 2020 in view of the Covid-19 disruptions. Results were highly encouraging. Students gave positive feedback on learning through our online platforms. Many found video recordings useful and were able to review recordings at their own pace. Students who were previously less vocal during physical classes were also observed to ask Mr Koh more questions through Zoom’s chat function or via WhatsApp during and after the session. This allowed their doubts to be promptly addressed.
More importantly, with time saved commuting to our centre for lessons, students were willing and able to commit to additional classes to prepare them for upcoming assessments. This allowed us more time to run through students’ queries and to drill and fine-tune answering techniques to help students stay ahead. We are of the view that these benefits remain tangible and significant even in a post-Covid environment. Hence, making additional weekly lessons (at no extra charge) a key feature of Mr Koh’s Economics tuition classes, we are offering pure online lessons in 2021. Click on the image above to find out more.
A new look but packed with more content and application techniques!
Mr Koh’s main H1/H2 Economics Guidebook is now published by Shing Lee. A brand new collaboration and a refreshed look! Visit https://sl-education.myshopify.com/ for details.
Economics tuition classes at TET Education have entered COVID-mode aka Classes-On-VIDeo-mode!
Weekly classes continue through live lesson screenings and pre-recorded sessions. Fees have been cut to help everyone tide through this difficult period but quality of teaching is still ups! Free trials, online and physical consultation can be arranged. Visit www.thateconstutor.com or contact Mr Koh at 9070-6248 for details.
Concept-specific tutorial videos, concept tests through flashcards (online and mobile app version) and our smart essay writing software are also available FOC to all students. Check out www.thateconsplanner.com for details.
Feb 2020: 2019 A Level Results (by cohort size)
HCI: 70% A; 27% B
RI: 69% A; 26% B
NJC: 75% A; 25% B
Other JCs: 50% A; 28% B
Congratulations to all students for completing another milestone! The road ahead is long, so true success is defined by your work ethics, integrity and perseverance. Hold your heads high and give your best!
Mr Koh’s latest Ten Year Series (7th year running) is out!
Final session with the J2s. All the best for As! (scroll to view)
2019 Prelim Revision Class for my J2s!
My latest article in Economics & Society on Nudging and Policy Intervention in Singapore – an annual publication by the Economic Society of Singapore. Glad to be part of the Editorial Team behind this ESS publication too! Click on image to read article or this link to view the full issue.
Feb 2019: A Level results are out! Congratulations to students who have done well. For students who have performed below expectations in their overall results, it is important to realise that things may not always go smoothly in life. Acceptance and moving ahead (thus demonstrating resiliency) is important. More importantly, have no doubt that the doors have not closed on you. Life is a long journey and you won’t truly know who will stay ahead until at least a few decades from now!
Overall – 92% A/B (>60% A)
Feb 2019: Mr Koh’s 2019 Economics TYS is available at Popular and school bookstores!
Oct 2018: Mr Koh’s presentation at the 2018 Singapore Writers Festival!
Oct 2018: All the best to the graduating classes of 2018 (click scroll buttons to see more)! See you back for our Financial Literacy Class!
Sep 2018: Mr Koh will be speaking at the upcoming Singapore Writers Festival and will present his latest children’s book (by Epigram) to an audience much younger than the one he usually faces. No demand and supply curves here but we promise lots of fun!
Feb 2018: A Level results are out! Congratulations to students who have done well. For students who have performed below expectations in their overall results, it is important to realise that things may not always go smoothly in life. Acceptance and moving ahead (thus demonstrating Resiliency) is important. More importantly, have no doubt that the doors have not closed on you. I (Mr Koh) am available to offer support or assistance in anyway I can.
RI/HCI – 72% A; 90% A/B
NJC – 87% A/B
Other JCs – 77% A/B
Jan 2018: Mr Koh’s latest Economics Ten Year Series (published by Shing Lee) is out! Available at all Popular bookstores/school bookshops.
Oct 2017: Mr Koh’s Economics Revision mobile apps are out! Containing key concept flashcards, note-taking functions and key videos of Mr Koh’s Parachute Concept Approaches, students should make use of them in the revision for major exams. Simply click on the Android or IoS (Apple) icons at the bottom of the page to access the download links.
Sep 2017: Intensive revision class with the J2s!
Aug 2017: My second article published in the Economics Society of Singapore bulletin
Jul 2017: Another successful book sale with my most able assistant – more than 300 copies sold!
Jun 2017: My first successful collaboration with two ex-students! Our first children’s book by Epigram.
Apr 2017: New book released – Masterclass in Economics! Look out for this in all major bookstores.
Apr 2017: 2nd edition of Mr Koh’s bestselling Economics Guidebook is out in Popular and school bookstores!
Mar 2017: Topical flashcards are up! Visit www.thateconsplanner.com to access this tool to accelerate your content revision.