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The Secrets are in their Genes

Did the cream automatically float to the schools that repeatedly churned out good examination results or did these schools transform academically mediocre students into academic stars? I rather believe it was the former.
Dr. Lee Wei Ling (The Sunday Times November 15, 2009 - Schooled for Success, On My Own Terms)

The GP teacher could see me doing non-GP work under her nose. I am grateful she pretended not to notice my disobedience.
Dr. Lee Wei Ling (The Sunday Times June 13, 2010 - 'A' for Uncle Earnest)
Raffles Institution 1970-1971; President's Scholar 1972

Too often, I was caught not paying attention in class, scribbling notes to fellow students or mimicking some teacher's strange mannerisms. In the case of a rather ponderous Indian science teacher, I was caught in the laboratory drawing the back of his head with its bald patch.
Minister Mentor Mr. Lee Kuan Yew (The Singapore Story)
Raffles Institution 1936-1940; Top Student in Singapore 1940; Cambridge 1st Class Honours in Law 1949

Integrated Programmes (I.P. / Through-Train)

Thank goodness for integrated programmes, students of top schools who (like Minister Mentor and daughter) tend to be much brighter than their teachers, no longer need to be bored to death in school.

Many such students are thus able to accelerate their learning with a tutor much more befitting of their own stature - Sunday Times "SUPERTUTOR"* / Shin Min Daily "TUTOR KING"* (新明日报“补习天王”) Mr. Phang Yu Hon.

Mr. Phang is greatly honoured to be the preferred brand for students whose secrets are in their genes.

MediaCorp Channel 8 Frontline 前线追踪 Programme Oct 8, 2010


Mr. Phang explains Accelerated Tuition: "some sec 1 students come to learn sec 3 stuff"

 

 

MediaCorp Channel 8 Frontline 前线追踪 Programme Oct 8, 2010


Ryan Chen explains that he attended Mr. Phang's A-level physics tuition while he was in Sec 4 because physics was his favourite subject

 

 

MediaCorp Channel 5 National Science Challenge Finals Oct 9, 2008


Ryan Chen (extreme right) supporting the RI team at the 2008 National Science Challenge Finals

 

 

MediaCorp Channel 5 National Science Challenge Finals Oct 9, 2008

Kang Zi Yang - National Science Challenge 2008 Champion / International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) 2011 Champion Team Representing Singapore cum Highest Individual Score

* The Sunday Times "Super Tutors", Shin Min Daily "Tutor King" and MediaCorp programmes above are real news and not the same as those print ads / TV commercials used by other tutors to create "news" about themselves.

The best way to verify the truth is to Google Mr. Phang's and his students' names.

Is the I.P. syllabus different or similar to the mainstream syllabus that Mr. Phang is teaching?

Students whose parents think that they are different will not be suitable for Mr. Phang's classes.

Since students' learning attitudes are deeply influenced by their parents' own (see example at the top of this page), Mr. Phang's tuition is suitable only for the two following types of I.P. students:

1. Those whose parents are of the view that "physics concepts are the same in all syllabuses".

2. Those whose parents are of the view that "secondary school physics concepts are the same as 'A' level concepts, so my sec 3 kid shall start learning 'A' level physics now".

When you go high enough up the sky, you will be able to see the forest for the trees.
Like these secondary school students in Mr. Phang's A-level H3 physics tuition class.

Many students in Mr. Phang's A-level H3 physics tuition class were still in secondary school.
Front row (from left to right): Wang Fan Ming RI (NMO Team Champion 2010), Matthew Shi RI (SJPO Gold 2014/15), Xavier Lim RI (SJPO Gold 2013), Teddy Ong NUSH (SJPO Gold 2013/14/15)
Back row: Theodore Yoong HCI (SJPO Gold 2012)


 

The Singapore Physics Olympiad (SPhO) is open to all Year 4 and 5 students in Singapore.
Teddy Ong and Matthew Shi were Year 4 students who took part in both the SPhO as well as the Singapore Junior Physics Olympiad (SJPO).

Mr. Phang's tuition centre Physics.com.sg is the Preferred Meeting Place of VVIP students - just like Shangri-La Hotel is for VVIPs - as well as a popular tuition and wedding venue, respectively, for its standard of excellence.

 

 

Child Progidies

While most I.P. Sec 3 and 4 students still attend Mr. Phang's Sec 3 and 4 physics tuition classes respectively, more Sec 1/2/3/4 I.P. students are now attending Mr.  Phang's Sec 3/4 and JC1/2 tuition classes.

What types of students are able to handle 'accelerated' higher level physics classes? After doing a survey amongst his students of their PSLE scores, Mr. Phang observed that these I.P. students fall into the following categories:

PSLE Score Recommended Acceleration
Above 275
or any score if aiming for a medal in the Singapore Junior Physics Olympiad (SJPO)
+3 levels, e.g. Sec1 Sec4;  Sec3 JC2 H2 & H3 physics (optional)
Between 265 and 275
or any score for G.E.P / All NUS High students/ Students aiming for Raffles Academy (Physics R.A.) & Hwa Chong Science & Math Talent Programme (SMTP)
+2 levels, e.g. Sec1 Sec3; Sec4 JC2 H2 & H3 physics (optional)
Between 250 and 265
(with A* in Maths and Science)
+1 level, e.g. Sec2 Sec3, JC1 JC2 H2 & H3 physics (optional)

This could be seen from the examples below.

A Family with Four Children

Mr. Phang had a valued client with four very brilliant children. The two elder daughters studied at NUS High while the two younger sons RI.

In 2005, the eldest daughter was in Sec 3 when she attended Mr. Phang's JC1 tuition class. Despite being two years younger, she could solve physics problems ahead of other students in the tuition class except her classmate from NUS High, who also happened to the top physics student in Singapore in her cohort (Straits Times - NUS High Tops Physics Contest).

In 2006, the second daughter was also in Sec 3 when she attended Mr. Phang's JC1 tuition class, together with some of her school mates.

In 2006, the third child was in Sec 2 when he attended Mr. Phang's Sec 3 class (Photos). Despite being one year younger, he could solve physics problems ahead of all other students in the tuition class except his junior from RI, who also happened to be the top physics student in Singapore in his cohort (Channel News Asia - Singapore Ranked First At International Physics Olympiad).

In 2008, the youngest son was in Sec 2 when he started with Mr. Phang's Sec 3 class. Despite being one year younger, he could solve physics problems ahead of all other students in the tuition class except the younger brother of Hongjie (2010 LKY Maths & Science Award Winner).

 

The Secrets are in their Genes

The younger brother of Hongjie was a 'giant' in his own right - Olympiad Gold Medalist 2011.

What could be the secret behind an elder brother receiving one of ten LKY Awards (Pre-University) 2010 while the younger brother one of twenty Olympiad Gold Medals 2011?

Unlikely to be NJC's IP training since they both joined NJC after their "O" levels. Unlikely to be Mr. Phang's "super-tutoring", although Mr. Phang would very much like to believe so.

What distinguishes branded schools like NJC and branded tutors like Mr. Phang, from the hoi polloi, is always their esteemed students (past, present and future) rather than anything within the brands themselves.

Mr. Phang is greatly honoured to be the preferred brand for students whose secrets are in their genes.

 

'Acceleration 1.5'

'Acceleration 1.5' refers to a Sec 4 student from HCI who found Mr. Phang's JC1 tuition class easy to follow but the JC2 tuition class a little too tough to manage, after trying out classes at both levels.

In the end, he decided to stick with the JC1 tuition class.

The wonderful thing about the I.P. is that students do not need to take the 'O' levels so they can choose to learn at any pace they are comfortable with.

 

The 'Hot Knife'

Mr. Phang had another valued client who sent her two very brilliant children to his physics tuition classes.

The elder daughter attended Mr. Phang's Sec 4 tuition class in 2004. She was in the last batch of RGS students who took their G.C.E. 'O' levels, and graduated amongst the top of her cohort, appearing in the front page of the Straits Times. So did her younger brother for being the PSLE "first runner-up" in 2005 (that was before Singapore finally also succumbed to the tall poppy syndrome and implemented a media blackout on academic achievements).

Coincidentally, Mr. Phang was reading the front page of the Straits Times and thinking that the name of this boy looked familiar, when the phone rang.

He was entering RI in 2006 and his mother called to enquire about Mr. Phang's physics tuition class. Knowing the calibre of his elder sister, Mr. Phang suggested that he attend the Sec 3 physics tuition class.

Initially, both his mother and Mr. Phang were concerned whether a Sec 1 student who had just completed PSLE could cope with Sec 3 level knowledge. However, such concerns quickly proved unfounded as he regularly finished solving physics problems well ahead of the rest of the class, despite being two years younger.

When he was in Sec 4, he could cut through, like a hot knife through butter, top junior college questions, 'A' level special paper and even H3 physics (equivalent to university first year) questions. His team later made history as the first Singaporean champions at the International Physics Olympiad (Channel News Asia).

 

The 'Chainsaw'

Mr. Phang had a Sec 4 student from NUS High who attended his JC2 tuition class in 2006.

Whenever Mr. Phang asked the class a question which the JC students could not answer, she would readily provide the answer. She also had a photographic memory and could remember verbatim everything Mr. Phang had said, including the number of times Mr. Phang had repeated the same concept.

Despite being only in Sec 4, she could cut through 'A' level special paper and top junior college questions like a chainsaw through butter.

This student later went on to make history in Singapore's traditionally male-dominated physics competition landscape (Straits Times - NUS High Tops Physics Contest).

 

Quintuple Jump and Concurrent Acceleration

In 2013, four Sec 2 students (one from NUS High and three from RI) attended Mr. Phang's JC2 H3 class. That was a 5-level jump considering that H3 is equivalent to university first year physics!

In 2014 & 2015, two Sec 2 RI and one Sec 3 RGS student attended Mr. Phang's Sec 4 and JC1 classes concurrently; while a Sec 4 NJC and Sec 4 HCI student attended Mr. Phang's JC1 & JC2 classes concurrently.

But the pièce de résistance was still a Nanyang Primary student who attended Mr. Phang's Sec 3 & 4 classes concurrently so that he could join Mr. Phang's JC1 physics tuition class when he entered RI in 2015 after his PSLE.

Mr. Phang's A-Level class students seem to be getting younger and younger!

 

The Raffles Family 'Royal Flush'

In January 2015, Mr. Phang's JC1 (H2) Sunday 4.30 pm physics tuition class experienced a phenomenon so unique that Raffles Institution itself probably had not seen anything like this since its foundation in 1823 : all six levels of students in the same academic class!

Enrolment in JC1 (H2) Sunday January 2015

Number

RI Sec 1 student
(that Nanyang Primary student mentioned above who had just completed his PSLE)

1

RI Sec 2 student

3

RI Sec 3 student

1

RGS Sec 3 student

1

RI Sec 4 student

1

RGS Sec 4 student

1

RI JC1 student

7

RI JC2 student (JC1 Refresher Course)

2

Non-Raffles Students

20


All tutors like to showcase their Raffles students, especially those who couldn't even get into R.I. themselves while they were still students.

In contrast, Mr. Phang has already reached the second generation of an illustrious Rafflesian Family with an uncle who was R.I.'s top student in 1955 and father R.I.'s top maths student in 1956.

Hence no tutor has anything even close to Mr. Phang's extensive range of Rafflesians.

Because some parents find it unacceptable for their children to go to a first-class school, only to end up getting taught by some second-class tutors of very dubious origins.

 

NUS High School 'Four Aces'

Slightly less spectacular than the Raffles 'Royal Flush' is the NUS High School 'Four Aces' in Mr. Phang's JC2 (H2) Sunday 2.30 pm physics tuition class.

Enrolment in JC2 (H2) Sunday January 2015

Number

NUS High Year 2 student

1

NUS High Year 3 student

1

NUS High Year 4 student

4

NUS High Year 5 student 1

Non-NUS High Students

21


Compared to most tutors (just check their websites) who haven't come across a single one of these extremely 'elusive' students, Mr. Phang's NUS High School 'Four Aces' is rarer than a tau-neutrino!

The reason for the latter's rarity, to quote Fermilab in 'The Elusive Neutrino', is that "to observe tau-neutrino appearance, you need to run at higher energy, above the tau production threshold."2

Similarly, only a SUNDAY TIMES SUPERTUTOR1 like Mr. Phang will have sufficiently high energy to observe NUH-trinos in his classroom.

 

Samples of these Prodigies' Real-Time Class Assignments which They Solved On Their Own

1The Sunday Times Jun 15, 2008 "SUPER TUTORS - Tong Yee, Celine Loi, Phang Yu Hon, Laura Oh, Anthony Fok".

2"The Elusive Neutrino" by Kurt Riesselmann, Head, Office of Public Information, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

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