Tell me more about yourself

I graduated from National University of Singapore (Faculty of Engineering) with good Honours. Academic achievements include Top Student (‘O’ Level) and Dean’s List Recipient(Top 5%). I decided to switch from engineering to teaching as I am a strong advocator of building a strong foundation in education. I believe that education can make a difference and I want to make this positive difference to my students. I have been teaching Physics in Raffles Junior College (now Raffles Institution) in Singapore for about 6 years. In June 2010, I left RJC to devote my time to The Physics Cafe.
Principal Physics Tutor, Mr Dave Sim

What is your motivation behind teaching?

Teaching Physics is more challenging than studying the subject itself. It’s not easy to be a good Physics teacher. Physics is an abstract subject which requires understanding and application.

In my lesson, my goal is not so much as to cover a lot and to make the students chew on a lot of equations. But my goal is to uncover several basic things that they will remember for the rest of their life. Even if they never need physics anymore, I want them to see the beauty of physics. I want them to love physics.
Principal Physics Tutor, Mr Dave Sim

Have your students performed well in the past examinations?

I developed a new strategy of studying and scoring in college examinations that I did not know of when I was in college. In my lessons, I teach this strategy, the Logical Problem Solving Strategy, to my students. With this strategy, 8 out of 10 of my students scored a well deserving A for their examination. View performance of the students in The Physics Cafe here.
Principal Physics Tutor, Mr Dave Sim

Can you share your style of teaching
and how can you help the students?

Many students complained that their teachers were lousy, and that the lecture notes lacked details. Ironically, there were also others that complained about the notes being too comprehensive. There were many complaints about the exam papers being too difficult and others about it being too easy. Some students felt like they tried too hard to solve a simple question.

There are things in life you may not find delightful, but the least you could do is to accept them. Regarding teachers, it is true that some are better than others. That's the way life is. Regarding the notes, different students have different preferences as to what kind of notes they hope to receive. The solution to this is to customize and write your own notes.

There are two parts to my lesson – concepts explanation and problem solving. I prefer to first go over the physics concepts and give numerical examples to support the concepts -- in a way that illustrates how to solve the problem -- and I further support the concept with live demonstration, because seeing is believing. I try to make you see through the dumb equations and admittedly my methods are sometimes somewhat different from the other teachers. I try to inspire you and at times I try to make you wonder and think. And I want to keep it this way.

The second part of my lesson is problem solving. I think that concepts explanation and problem solving are complementary. The difference between the two is that I will take 80% of the responsibility to ensure that you understand the concepts, but you must take 80% of the responsibility to master problem solving. How do you do it? You must digest the extra questions that I will be giving you. It's very important that you make homework part of your culture, that you study the solutions. Believe me, they are truly excellent solutions, not cookie-cut and dry. They give you a lot of background. If you digest those solutions, then the concepts will sink in.

How do you know if you are improving? How do you know if you are on the right track? I will test you! You will have a 30 minutes short test after every 3 to 4 topics. You will soon realise that for all the hard work you and your teachers put in, you have only 30 minutes to perform. You will learn how to perform under stress, under exam conditions. Most importantly, I will make sure you improve. When I give my test review, I will highlight the concepts. You will discover your weakness and improve. Eventually you will realise that every problem I have given you is extremely simple. Conceptually, they were not so simple. But from a math point of view, they are trivial. I have made it sound so easy, but when you are trying to do it, it’s going to be crazy. However you are not alone. The initial phase is always difficult, but the path will get smoother gradually, sooner than you can realise.
Principal Physics Tutor, Mr Dave Sim

What is your motivation for setting up the Physics Café?

My main objective of setting up the Physics Cafe is to share a strategy which I have developed from my experience both as a student and as an educator. I have named this strategy the Logical Problem Solving Strategy or LPS in short.

Through this website, I will reveal the secret on how to solve questions the way they are set. In addition I will also share my strategy to adopt a logical approach to solving Physics questions. An overview of every chapter will be shared in this website.

I will consider myself successful if all my JC and tuition students score an A or a B in the final examination. I am confident that this is attainable if each and every one of them believes in the complement of tuition/college lessons and independent self-study. The rule of thumb is:

"For every 1 hour lesson he attends, he should spend 1 hour at home for self study."
I believe that this is reasonable since the teachers spend at least 6 hours to prepare for an hour of lecture.
Principal Physics Tutor, Mr Dave Sim

What are you waiting for ?

Register Online Now