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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Tips for SPM Chemistry and Physics

For my SPM in year 2012, I got A+ for both Chemistry and Physics. Do you want to know how to score in SPM for these 2 subjects? Here, I am posting the complete tips for SPM Chemistry and Physics. These tips are intended for Form 4 and Form 5 students this year who are taking SPM 2017 or SPM 2018.

Tips for other SPM subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2013/06/complete-tips-for-spm-examination-first.html


SPM CHEMISTRY:

1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need a reference book because the textbook and practical book are not enough. I recommend you to use the Longman Essential Chemistry SPM reference book by Pearson Longman.
- When studying a chapter, read through all the explanations in the reference book sentence by sentence. Make sure that you truly understand each sentence before moving on to the next sentence. Certain topics may require understanding of earlier topics, so make sure you understand those topics. You should also try to relate them to what your teacher had taught in school.
- You should be actively involved in all experiments carried out in school because this can help improve your practical skills which are essential for Paper 3.
- You also need to read through all the experiments and activities in the reference book. You have to understand the Aim, Problem Statement, Hypothesis, Variables, List of Materials & Apparatus, Diagram of set-up apparatus, Procedure, Tabulation of Data and Conclusion for all experiments. This is essential for Paper 3 and Paper 2 Section C. For the Procedure, read through it step by step. Make sure that you truly understand each step before moving on to the next step. To help you understand, try to imagine that you are carrying out the experiment. Understanding the Procedure will make it very easy for you to remember the List of Materials & Apparatus.
- Then, you have to remember everything that you understood. You can memorise the sentences in the book, or you can also create your own sentences that have the same meaning and memorise them. If you create your own sentences, make sure that you do not change the original meaning, do not leave out any important points and do not change the important keywords and scientific terms. However, do not just memorise without understanding. Once you have understood, it will be quite easy to remember and you will be unlikely to forget any of the points.
- For certain facts, there may be no explanation for them so it is not possible to understand them. In that case, you have to remember and memorise those facts.
- For the calculations, you need to know how to apply what you have learnt to solve the questions. Go through all the example questions in the revision book. Make sure that you understand how every question is solved.
- You have to regularly revise every topics again and again. When revising, go through all the explanation, facts, experiments and examples for calculation questions in the book. Make sure that you do not forget anything that you have understood previously. Regular and repeated revision will help you to remember all the explanation and facts for a long time.
- Then, you have to do exercises. Buy exercise books from the bookshop. You can start by doing topical questions topic by topic. When you have understood all topics, proceed with doing SPM model test papers, past year SPM trial questions and past year actual SPM questions. They should be available from bookshops. After doing the exercises, refer to the suggested answer or mark scheme and do self marking.
- You should sometimes refer to the mark scheme of past year SPM trial papers to find out how every question is marked and which points need to be included in the answers for every question. Usually, the same types of questions will have similar mark scheme, so this can help you when answering exam questions.
- When doing revision before exam, you should first go through the subtopics and experiments that you think is more difficult or that you may have forgotten. Then, go through other topics as well if possible.

2. Paper 1
- Read the question and all the options carefully. Write any rough workings on the question paper if you need to. Cancel off the options that you consider as definitely wrong. Then, choose the most suitable answer among the 4 options.

3. Paper 2 Section A, B & C
- Section A consists of 6 structured questions where you must answer all questions while Section B and Section C consist of 2 essay questions each and you can choose any 1 for each section. You can answer extra questions in Section B and Section C if you have time. The examiner will mark all questions and choose the questions where you score the highest marks.
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on your knowledge and understanding on the relevant topic in Chemistry. Certain questions may test you on more than one topics. For some questions, you may have to apply what you have learnt in Chemistry in order to answer them. You have to think carefully and relate the question to what you have learnt. You may also be asked to give your own opinions.
- When writing your answer, you can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. If the question asks on something that is not in revision books (the question requires you to apply what you have learnt in Chemistry or give your own opinion), then you have to answer in your own sentences. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Chemistry terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Chemistry terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other non-Chemistry terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units for quantities or when writing working for calculation For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula, unless if the question asks you to write the chemical formula or if you are writing a chemical equation.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer. However, you are not advised to answer in point form. There is not penalty for answering in point form, but some inexperienced examiners may deduct your marks if you do so.
- When answering questions on calculation, you must show all workings. You should not skip any important steps, otherwise marks may be deducted. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. For a calculation question which requires you to use your answer from the previous question, even if your answer for the previous question is wrong and you use it for this question causing your answer for this question to be wrong, usually you will still get full marks for this question as long as your calculation for this question is correct. This is known as 'error carried forward'.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write any answers with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When answering questions on describing experiment, your answer should include the List of Materials & Apparatus, Diagram of set-up apparatus, Procedure, Tabulation of Data, Conclusion and other information as stated in the question. When writing the procedure, you must include all the steps to carry out the experiment, including the precautionary steps. You must state the amount and concentration of the substances used. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. When tabulating the data of experiment, you can leave blank for the results of the experiment.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis. Plot all points on the graph accurately. Then, draw the correct curve or straight line. When drawing the curve or straight line, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal. The graph should cover at least half of the graph paper.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.

4. Paper 3 (Old format for SPM 2017 and earlier)
a) For structured questions,
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given and know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on the experiment and its observations and results. You may need to apply your Chemistry experimental skills to answer some questions. Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Chemistry to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Chemistry and experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Chemistry and experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units for quantities or when writing working for calculation. For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula, unless if the question asks you to write the chemical formula or if you are writing a chemical equation.
- When answering parts of the question on calculation, you must show all workings. You should not skip any important steps, otherwise marks can be deducted. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- When answering parts of the question that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for each part of the question is always 3. The marks are given based on the quality of your answer, so it does not actually depend on the number of points in your answer. However, you should not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When answering parts of the question that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. You are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. For the Constant Variable, you only need to write one answer although there may be many.
- When recording numerical data from an instrument used in the experiment, the number of decimal places used should be equal to half of the smallest division of scale of the instrument, unless if there is special instruction in the question. (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the data to the nearest 0.05, which is 2 decimal places) Usually, the last decimal place of the recorded data can only be 0 or 5. Do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis. Plot all points on the graph accurately. Then, draw the correct curve or straight line. When drawing the curve or straight line, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal. The graph should cover at least half of the graph paper.
b) For essay questions (design experiment),
- When answering, read the question given carefully. You have to design a suitable experiment based on the question. Your answer must include all the necessary details stated in the question. When writing the Aim, Problem Statement, Hypothesis, Variables and List of Materials & Apparatus, give the answer based on the experiment. You need not answer in complete sentences.
- When writing the procedure, you must include all the steps to set up the apparatus, steps to handle the manipulated, responding & fixed variable and the precautionary steps. You must state the amount and concentration of the substances used. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. You do not need to draw the diagram of set-up apparatus.
- When tabulating the data of experiment, you should include all the manipulated variables and the header for both the manipulated & responding variable, and you can leave blank for the results of the experiment (responding variable).
- You can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. You are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. For the Constant Variable, you only need to write one answer, even though there may be many.
- You should use the correct experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer. For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula.

Note: The examination format for Chemistry Paper 3 will be changed starting from SPM 2018 onwards. In the new format, Paper 3 will be a practical test unlike the old format where it was a written practical test. I have written the tips for Paper 3 based on the new format. However, I currently do not know how the questions for the new format will be set, so the tips shown here are only provisional. I will update the tips when I have more information about the questions for the new format.

5. Paper 3 (New format from SPM 2018 onwards) (Provisional tips)
- During the test, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given. Certain parts of the question require you to record the readings from the experiment in a table. You should draw the tables before carrying out the experiment so that you can record your readings in the table straight away during the experiment. Then, carry out the experiment by following the steps given in the question exactly. You need to apply your Chemistry practical skills when carrying out the experiment.
- Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Chemistry to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- When recording readings from an measuring instrument, the number of decimal places used should be equal to half of the smallest division of scale of the instrument (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the reading to the nearest 0.05, which is 2 decimal places.) For digital instruments (except digital stopwatch), the number of decimal places used should be the same as that shown on the display. The reading should be recorded to the nearest 1s for stopwatch (both analogue and digital). In all cases, do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- For questions on titration, you should first perform a rough titration, then perform 2 accurate titrations. Record the initial burette reading and final burette reading for each titration, then calculate the titre. You should record everything in a table. All readings should be recorded to 2 decimal places. The titre for the 2 accurate titrations should not differ by more than 0.10cm3. Then, calculate the mean titre for the 2 accurate titrations. The mean should be given to 2 decimal places.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0 (unless otherwise stated by the question). The scales should be chosen such that the points plotted on graph cover at least half of the graph paper. Plot all points on the graph accurately. The points should be accurate to half a small square. For all the points, their diameter should not be larger than half a small square. Then, draw the correct straight line or curve. When drawing the straight line or curve, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal. When determining the gradient of a straight-line graph, choose 2 points on the line and draw a triangle. The distance between the 2 points chosen should be at least half the length of the line.
- For questions on qualitative analysis, for each chemical test, you should use about 1cm depth or 2cm3 of each solution unless otherwise stated by the question. You have to record the full observations. State if there is any colour change or if precipitate forms. For any colour change, indicate both the initial and final colour, as well as the stage in which the change occurs if more than one reagents are added. If precipitate forms, state the colour of precipitate and whether it is soluble in excess of the reagent added, and if it is soluble state the colour of the solution formed. If you see any bubbles formed, it means that gas is released, and the question may ask you to carry out a gas test to determine what the gas is. State that effervescence occurs and state the observations of the gas test and the type of gas released. When determining the type of an unknown chemical, it should be based on your observations of the chemical tests carried out.
- For any questions involving calculation, you should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. For a calculation question which requires you to use your answer from the previous question, even if your answer for the previous question is wrong and you use it for this question causing your answer for this question to be wrong, usually you will still get full marks for this question as long as your calculation for this question is correct. This is known as 'error carried forward'.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so, marks may not be given for the extra answers, and marks may be deducted if any of them is wrong. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write any answer with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are irrelevant but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.
- For all questions, you should use the correct experimental and Chemistry terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Chemistry and experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units for quantities or when writing working for calculation. For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula, unless if the question asks you to write the chemical formula or if you are writing a chemical equation.



SPM PHYSICS:

1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need a reference book because the textbook and practical book are not enough. I recommend you to use the Success Physics SPM reference book by Oxford Fajar.
- When studying a chapter, read through all the explanations in the reference book sentence by sentence. Make sure that you truly understand each sentence before moving on to the next sentence. You also need to know and understand all formulas. Certain topics may require understanding of earlier topics, so make sure you understand those topics. You should also try to relate them to what your teacher had taught in school.
- You should be actively involved in all experiments carried out in school because this can help improve your practical skills which are essential for Paper 3.
- You also need to read through all the experiments and activities in the reference book. You have to understand the Inference, Hypothesis, Aim, Variables, List of Materials & Apparatus, Diagram of set-up apparatus, Procedure, Tabulation of Data and Analysis of Data. This is essential for Paper 3. For the Procedure, read through it step by step. Make sure that you truly understand each step before moving on to the next step. To help you understand, try to imagine that you are carrying out the experiment. Understanding the Procedure will make it very easy for you to remember the List of Materials & Apparatus.
- Then, you have to remember everything that you understood. You can memorise the sentences in the book, or you can also create your own sentences that have the same meaning and memorise them. If you create your own sentences, make sure that you do not change the original meaning, do not leave out any important points and do not change the important keywords and scientific terms. However, do not just memorise without understanding. Once you have understood, it will be quite easy to remember and you will be unlikely to forget any of the points.
- For certain facts, there may be no explanation for them so it is not possible to understand them. In that case, you have to remember and memorise those facts.
- For the calculations, you need to know how to apply what you have learnt and use the correct formula to solve the questions. Go through all the example questions in the revision book. Make sure that you understand how every question is solved.
- You have to regularly revise every topics again and again. When revising, go through all the explanation, facts and examples for calculation questions in the book. Make sure that you do not forget anything that you have understood previously. Regular and repeated revision will help you to remember all the explanation and facts for a long time.
- Then, you have to do exercises. Buy exercise books from the bookshop. You can start by doing topical questions topic by topic. When you have understood all topics, proceed with doing SPM model test papers, past year SPM trial questions and past year actual SPM questions. They should be available from bookshops. After doing the exercises, refer to the suggested answer or mark scheme and do self marking.
- You should sometimes refer to the mark scheme of past year SPM trial papers to find out how every question is marked and which points need to be included in the answers for every question. Usually, the same types of questions will have similar mark scheme, so this can help you when answering exam questions.
- When doing revision before exam, you should first go through the subtopics that you think is more difficult or that you may have forgotten. Then, go through other topics as well if possible.

2. Paper 1
- Read the question and all the options carefully. Write any rough workings on the question paper if you need to. Cancel off the options that you consider as definitely wrong. Then, choose the most suitable answer among the 4 options.

3. Paper 2 Section A, B & C
- Section A consists of 8 structured questions where you must answer all questions while Section B and Section C consist of 2 essay questions each and you can choose any 1 for each section. You can answer extra questions in Section B and Section C if you have time. The examiner will mark all questions and choose the questions where you score the highest marks.
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on your knowledge and understanding on the relevant topic in Physics. Certain questions may test you on more than one topics. For some questions, you may have to apply what you have learnt in Physics in order to answer them. You have to think carefully and relate the question to what you have learnt. You may also be asked to give your own opinions.
- When writing your answer, you can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. If the question asks on something that is not in revision books (the question requires you to apply what you have learnt in Physics or give your own opinion), then you have to answer in your own sentences. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Physics terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Physics terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other non-Physics terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units of quantities or when writing workings for calculation.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer. However, you are not advised to answer in point form. There is not penalty for answering in point form, but some inexperienced examiners may deduct your marks if you do so.
- When answering questions on calculation, you must show all workings. You should not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer. You do not need to write down the formula used to solve the question. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. For a calculation question which requires you to use your answer from the previous question, even if your answer for the previous question is wrong and you use it for this question causing your answer for this question to be wrong, usually you will still get full marks for this question as long as your calculation for this question is correct. This is known as 'error carried forward'.
-  For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write any answer with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When answering questions on suggesting suitable characteristics or modifications, you are advised to answer in table form. Give all the characteristics/modifications and suitable explanation for each characteristic/modification. If you are asked to make a selection, select the most suitable one based on the characteristics. When writing the reason for your choice, just repeat all the characteristics.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis. Plot all points on the graph accurately. Then, draw the correct curve or straight line. When drawing the curve or straight line, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal. The graph should cover at least half of the graph paper.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.

4. Paper 3 (Old format for SPM 2017 and earlier)
a) For Section A
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given and know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on the experiment and its observations and results. You may need to apply your Physics experimental skills to answer some questions. Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Physics to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Physics and experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Physics and experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer.
- When answering parts of the question on calculation, you must show all workings. You should not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer. You do not need to write down the formula used to solve the question. The number of marks allocated for the part of question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- When answering parts of the question that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for each part of the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When answering parts of the question that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. You are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. For the Constant Variable, you only need to write one answer although there may be many.
- When recording numerical data from a measuring instrument used in the experiment, the number of decimal places used should be equal to the smallest division of scale of the instrument, unless if there is special instruction in the question. (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1 , you should record the data to the nearest 0.1, which is 1 decimal place.) Do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis. Plot all points on the graph accurately. Then, draw the correct curve or straight line. When drawing the curve or straight line, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal. The graph should cover at least half of the graph paper.
b) For Section B,
- Section B consists of 2 questions and you can choose any 1 of them. You can answer both questions in Section B if you have time. The examiner will mark both questions and choose the question where you score the higher marks.
- When answering, read the question and situation given carefully. Based on the situation given, you should come up with a suitable inference and hypothesis. Then, you have to design a suitable experiment to investigate your hypothesis. Your answer must include all the necessary details stated in the question.
- When writing the Inference, Hypothesis, Aim, Problem Statement, Variables and List of Materials & Apparatus, give the answer based on the experiment. You need not answer in complete sentences. When drawing the set-up apparatus, show all the apparatus and material used in the experiment and label them correctly.
- When writing the procedure, you must include the steps to change the manipulated variable and to measure the responding variable. You need not write the precautionary steps. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood.
- When tabulating the data of experiment, you should include all the manipulated variables and the header for the manipulated & responding variable, and you can leave blank for the results of the experiment (Responding Variable). For the analysis of data, you should show a graph of Responding Variable on the y-axis against Manipulated Variable on the x-axis. You only need to draw both axes but you need not sketch the graph.
- You can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. You are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. For the Constant Variable, you only need to write one answer, even though there may be many.
- You should use the correct experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer.

Note: The examination format for Physics Paper 3 will be changed starting from SPM 2018 onwards. In the new format, Paper 3 will be a practical test unlike the old format where it was a written practical test. I have written the tips for Paper 3 based on the new format. However, I currently do not know how the questions for the new format will be set, so the tips shown here are only provisional. I will update the tips when I have more information about the questions for the new format.

5. Paper 3 (New format from SPM 2018 onwards) (Provisional tips)
- During the test, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given. Certain parts of the question require you to record the readings from the experiment in a table. You should draw the tables before carrying out the experiment so that you can record your readings in the table straight away during the experiment. Then, carry out the experiment by following the steps given in the question exactly. You need to apply your Physics practical skills when carrying out the experiment.
- Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Physics to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- When recording readings from an measuring instrument (except metre rule, vernier calipers and micrometre screw gauge), the number of decimal places used should be equal to half of the smallest division of scale of the instrument (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the reading to the nearest 0.05, which is 2 decimal places.) For digital instruments (except digital stopwatch), the number of decimal places used should be the same as that shown on the display. The reading should be recorded to the nearest 0.1cm for metre rule, 0.01cm for vernier calipers, 0.01mm for micrometer screw gauge and 0.1s for stopwatch (both analogue and digital). In all cases, do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- In most cases, you should take each reading twice, then calculate and record the mean of the 2 readings. Ensure that you show in your answer both readings and the calculation of their mean. However, for questions which states that repeated readings are not required, you only need to take each reading once and record it straight away.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0. The scales should be chosen such that the points plotted on graph cover at least half of the graph paper. The markings on the scales should not be more than 3 large squares apart. Plot all points on the graph accurately. The points should be accurate to half a small square. For all the points, their diameter should not be larger than half a small square. Then, draw the correct straight line or curve. When drawing the straight line or curve, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal.
- When determining the gradient of the line of graph, choose 2 points on the line and draw a triangle. The distance between the 2 points chosen should be at least half the length of the line. When determining the y-intercept of the line of graph, if the x-axis starts from 0, you can read it off directly from the y-axis of graph, or if the x-axis does not start from 0, you should choose a point on the line, preferably one of the points that you used to calculate its gradient, and substitute its x and y values as well as the gradient into the equation y=mx+c to determine the value of c which is the y-intercept.
- For any questions involving calculation, you should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. For a calculation question which requires you to use your answer from the previous question, even if your answer for the previous question is wrong and you use it for this question causing your answer for this question to be wrong, usually you will still get full marks for this question as long as your calculation for this question is correct. This is known as 'error carried forward'.
- For all questions, you should use the correct experimental and Physics terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Physics and experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units for quantities or when writing working for calculation.


Tips for other SPM subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2013/06/complete-tips-for-spm-examination-first.html

49 comments:

  1. hye.. in chemistry section B n C.. could i write in point form but complete sentence.. i mean not in paragraph.. thanks

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    1. Actually, you can answer in point form, even if not in full sentence, as long as your answer is clear and complete. But if your paper is marked by some inexperienced examiner, they may deduct your marks because they are not sure what to do. So, to be safe, always answer in paragraph form. The same applies to Physics and Biology.

      But for Sejarah, you must answer in paragraph form, otherwise half of the marks you scored for the question will be deducted.

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    2. Results Spm akak mcm mana ? Sy ambil spm bulan 11 ni :/

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  2. Hi, for section B/C in SPM chemistry paper 2, if the question asking you to describe a laboratory experiment( labelled diagram, procedure, half equations ), is it alright to answer the procedure in point form ?

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  3. also, what is operational definition in chemistry paper 3? and in paper 3, when recording the readings such as temperature or volume of gas etc, how may decimal places is needed? as I got two reference books, one of the model paper answer is 1 decimal place, while another one is two decimal places

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    Replies
    1. When writing the procedure, you can use point form, in fact it is better to do so (this applies to both Paper 2 Section B/C and Paper 3 Design Experiment). But you must write the procedure in complete sentences. You should write the description of experiment similar to PEKA report. For all other sections, it is advisable to write in paragraph form, not point form. As for the readings in Paper 3, as I mentioned, the number of decimal places should be equal to half of the smallest scale division of the measuring instrument. For thermometer, the smallest division of scale is 1 C , so you should record the reading to the nearest 0.5 C , so 1 decimal place. For burette, the smallest division of scale is 0.1 cm3 , so you should record the reading to the nearest 0.05 cm3 , so 2 decimal places. The same applies to other instruments. Note that some reference books are wrong. As for the operational definition, it really depends on the question, but usually you have to relate it to the responding variable of experiment.

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  4. Okay thank you so much ! OOhhh, regarding the apparatus and materials in Chemistry Paper 3 experimental question, should I write them separately or combine them together ??

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    1. For the apparatus and materials, it is advisable to write them together and do not separate them. This is because if you separate them and you do not classify them correctly, marks can be deducted.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. for the physics' reference book, which is more better? Essential,longman or the oxford one?

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  7. for the physics' reference book, which is more better? Essential,longman or the oxford one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For physics, the best reference book is Success Physics SPM by Oxford Fajar.

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  8. I am weak at form 4 topics for chemistry. I try to read reference book but I still don't understand. I also dont have anyone to teach me for this weekend. How?

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    Replies
    1. try purchasing this book online by Mr Sai Mun at mrsaimun.blogspot.com. The book is like all question but it already has the answers in it.Maybe it can helps you to know how to solve a question.Mr Sai Mun also is the tutor for Astro tutor tv,if u susbscribe Astro you can watch it.

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  9. In conclusion,study hard.........bullshit.........waste my time to see "tips"

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  10. mr,daniel lim, how to study paper 3 physics and chemistry...we have to memorise it? i feel difficult to memorise? i'm actually spm candidate for next year 2015. format have changed..we need to conduct experiment ..hand's on experiment... u have any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to understand the experiments and not just memorise them. Once you have understood, it will be easy for you to remember. I have not heard of anything about the new format, can you give me more details about the new format?

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  11. hi mr daniel. for physics need to get at least A, paper 1 need how many correct? i got 40/50 and i think i screwed up paper 2 section A.

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  12. sir do uhave any ti;s for the chemistry paper 2

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  13. Chemistry is simply a killer :P

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  14. Do you happen to know what the minimum mark for an A+ is for both chemistry and physics? Is it confirmed to be at 90 each year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The minimum A+ mark for every SPM subject changes every year based on the graph of the candidates' performance. For Chemistry and Physics, the minimum A+ mark is usually around 75 to 85.

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  15. If i am resitting for my science papers do i have to go through the new paper 3 format?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the paper 3 that you are going to take will be based on the new format.

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  16. What would happen if I didn't write the unit for the calculation. Is there's no mark at all?

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    Replies
    1. You don't have to write the unit in the calculation, you only have to write it for the final answer. If you do not write the unit for the final answer, 1 mark will be deducted.

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  17. Hi! So, I'm a 2016 SPM candidate and experiments are compulsory for the 3 science subjects. Any tips on how I can conduct a good experiment? I've conducted about 4 experiments now but the end results were not as good as I thought. In 1 experiment in chemistry, the data that I obtained for the mass of oxygen is negative. I'm frustrated with these results and I'm worried if I can't get enough marks to make me get even an A. Any tips?

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  18. I found it difficult to understand those physics concept like Archimedes principle and so on.. Does do more exercises really help or there is more way? SPM gonna reach soon and Im super duper depressed. Hope that you can help! Thanks!

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  19. Hi paper 3 will be the old format for 2015?

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    Replies
    1. The Ministry of Education initially planned to use the new format for SPM 2015, but they later changed their mind and decided to postpone it to SPM 2016. So, SPM 2015 will be based on the old format.

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  20. hi,,, your tips are very useful thank u.
    i have an enquiry... in chemistry paper 3, how many marks will be deducted if an apparatus is wrongly used?
    for example... for the experiment : heat of neutralisation, where plastic cups must be used... if i used conical flask... is my whole experimental framework considered wrong?
    your reply is kindly awaited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you will be deducted 2 marks, 1 for Materials & Apparatus and 1 for Procedure.

      Delete
  21. Daniel, should we momorise the image formed by the concave mirror and convex mirror or not in spm physics form 4 chapter 5?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to know them, but you should not memorise them. If you understand how light travels when it passes through concave and convex mirror, you would be able to construct the image yourself.

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  22. May I ask a silly question? Do u revise based on those so- called tips? I mean like focus more on those spotted ones.

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    Replies
    1. No, I never trusted those tips because there is no way to know whether they are accurate or not. I always study everything to be on the safe side.

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  23. If my responding variable is wrong in section b , how many marks will be deducted ?

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  24. hello.. i wanna tell you my problems with CHEMISTRY.. last year 2015, i joined pantun's team. we trained everyday until i missed my chemistry's lesson. i learnt only form4 chptr 1-3. then i blurr.. can you help me ? give me some tips huhuhu.. thsi november 2016 i'm going to face my future(SPM) contact number-0168253545

    ReplyDelete
  25. hello.. i wanna tell you my problems with CHEMISTRY.. last year 2015, i joined pantun's team. we trained everyday until i missed my chemistry's lesson. i learnt only form4 chptr 1-3. then i blurr.. can you help me ? give me some tips huhuhu.. thsi november 2016 i'm going to face my future(SPM) contact number-0168253545

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  26. hello, thanks for the tips. but i want to ask you what if in physics ,the unit is wrong but the calculation is correct. are they going to deduce the marks by one or what?

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    Replies
    1. You will usually be deducted 1 mark for that.

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  27. hello. Is it necessary to add the volume and mol of a solution in describing test question or just straight away tell , put a solution into a test tube and test it with litmus paper and so on? what type of question when it is really necessary to add the volume and mol of a solution ?? thanks for the tips by the way

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    Replies
    1. When describing a chemical test or an experiment, you have to state the volume and concentration of every solution used.

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  28. Are you sure the decimal place for paper 3 is half of the smallest scale? I see pass year spm skema the decimal place for a normal thermometer(smallest scale 0.1celcius) is one decimal only. Based on what you say it should be 2 decimal. In my SPM Biology and Physics I did what you say. Am I going to get zero mark on there and the tabulation of data?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The correct number of decimal places for thermometer readings depends on the subject.
      For SPM Chemistry, it should be 2 decimal places. For SPM Physics, it should be 1 decimal place. I have mentioned this in the tips above. If you make a mistake in this for Chemistry or Physics, you will be deducted 1 mark. If you repeat the same mistake in the tabulation of data, you will not be deducted any more marks because there is 'error carried forward'.
      For SPM Biology, it does not really matter whether it is 1 or 2 decimal places. Either way is acceptable.

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  29. For chemistry paper 3 .part 2 . If they've given an example/diagram. They asked to plan an experiment. Must I follow the way they did in the example? Can I use another experiment?

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    1. It is recommended that your experiment should be based on the example given. I am not sure if you are allowed to use another experiment.

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  30. Hello I want to ask a question.. where did you hear the news about the paper 3 format change for 2018 onwards from? Is it confirmed? Cause im taking spm 2018 and I did not know there was a change in format?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Previously, the Ministry of Education announced that the format for Paper 3 would be changed in SPM 2015. Later, they delayed it to SPM 2016. Eventually, they delayed that once again, but without specifying the year. It is possible that the change may be implemented in SPM 2018, but we can't be sure about that now. This will be confirmed only in year 2018.

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