The Difference Between Learning Hard And Learning Smart

In Singapore’s competitive education system, parents naturally want the best for their children to help them score above their peers. One of the simplest yet most effective ways pertains to how students approach learning. Read on to see the difference between learning hard and learning smart, as well as how an experienced A Level Biology or Chemistry Tuition in Singapore helps students to embrace the concept of learning smart.

[DNA molecule on a white board]

Why Learning Hard Isn’t Enough

It has been instilled into us from young that studying hard would be enough to ace our exams. Indeed, learning hard is always a prerequisite for building up students’ foundations, particularly in their younger years. It also builds up good habits of diligence and focus, which serve students well as they encounter more challenging subjects. 

That said, solely learning hard has some drawbacks, particularly when it comes to the A Levels syllabus. JC students taking science subjects only have 2 to 3 years to internalise and understand a wide range of topics that are both broad and in-depth. As their academic workload grows, many students resort to taking A Level tuition for subjects such as Biology and Chemistry, which merely serve a supplementary role for additional practice, rather than building up critical thinking and conceptual learning.

One example is the topic of Organic Chemistry in Singapore’s A Level Chemistry syllabus. Organic Chemistry is considered one of the most challenging topics due to its numerous reaction pathways, modes of synthesis, and resultant molecules. In addition, exam questions require students to utilise principles to imagine how a particular molecule would react, making traditional techniques of memory work and rote learning fall short. This can lead to students becoming unmotivated due to the lack of result for their effort, leading to reduced confidence and poorer academic performance.

The Modern Approach Of Learning Smart

The modern approach of learning smart goes against the traditional grain of thinking. For one, a student who learns smart often spends less time actually studying than one who just learns hard. The student first seeks to comprehend and master the underlying concepts of what he or she learns, before applying that same concept to novel situations.

Back to the example of A Level Chemistry in Singapore, tuition teachers adopting the ‘learning smart’ approach would first spend time helping students understand the underlying principles and addressing their doubts. For example, they would focus on concepts such as how molecular structures affect bond formation, and how electron densities affect the charges of molecules.

Learning smart also constantly and actively reviews previous topics while covering existing ones. This helps students tie together what they learnt in past semesters and chapters into their current one, granting them a greater understanding which they can apply with greater confidence. Finally, learning smart also utilises various tools such as interactive visuals and media, to help students visualise difficult concepts that may not be intuitive to them.

[display of organic molecules on a tablet screen]

Skilled A Level tuition teachers in Singapore are able to pace each student’s own academic journey, be it in biology, chemistry, or mathematics. They understand that some students require more repetition while others focus on a big-picture approach. By first teaching techniques of learning smart, committed teachers are able to help students build their fundamentals to complement their hard work – with the grades to show.

Looking for A Level Chemistry tuition in Singapore? Drop us a message today and help your child embrace academic excellence.


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Chemistry (‘O’ & ‘A’ Levels)

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Mathematics (‘O’ & ‘A’ Levels)

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