'O' Levels Physics Self-Study Guide (6 weeks timeline)
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Physics is a science subject that can look deceivingly easy. It seems like all we have to do is to memorise a bunch of formulas & press the calculator for the answer.
Well, that’s not entirely untrue. If you are looking to just pass your physics, memorising formulas is a good start.
However, if you intend to ace your physics and score that A1/A2, you will need to dive much deeper to see how one concept can be applied to a variety of different scenarios & to be able to draw the link between different chapters.
In this study guide, I will dissect the ‘O’ physics syllabus and shed some light to students who are struggling with this subject. Here, you will find detailed instructions and a precise study plan you can follow easily.
If you are the kind that tends to procrastinate a lot or have no idea how to tackle your revision for physics, this study guide is for you!
Physics Study Guide
Number of chapters: 21 (excluding ‘Electromagnetic Induction’ for Y2020)
Access to all free chapter notes & materials: https://www.overmugged.com/physics
Extra material needed: Topical Ten Year Series (Pure Physics)
Bonus material: 'Physics Definition & Formula Sheet' (3rd Edition)
→ Find out how to get a free copy on our Telegram Channel!
Duration: 5-6 weeks timeline
Week 1: Mechanics
Thankfully, these topics have been taught since lower secondary and in the earlier half of secondary 3. The focus here would be to revise and get the rust off.
I would want to pay special attention to the formulas in these chapters. If you haven’t already gotten a free copy of our 'Physics Definition & Formula Sheet' (3rd Edition), do head over to our Telegram to find out how you can redeem a free copy!
Start off with these topics:
1 Measurements 2 Kinematics 3 Dynamics 4 Mass, Weight, Density 5 Moments 6 Pressure 7 Work, Energy, Power
The toughest topic would probably be Moments. Pay special attention to the different ways questions can be structured. Strongly suggest you refer to the notes ‘Chapter 5- Moments’ for the 2 most common variations of moments questions.
Attempt the Ten Year series and ensure you are able to apply most formulas & solve questions. Check the answer sheet after you do the questions.
The chapters are often interlinked so do not be fixated on just using 1 chapter’s knowledge to solve a single question.
For example, the question can start off with a velocity-time graph
find acceleration (gradient of velocity-time graph)
Find resultant force (F=ma)
Find work done (Force x Distance)
power (work done / Time)
Week 2: Thermal proof yourself
Good news is that thermal has the least amount of chapters & content to study. Bad news is that it can be rather daunting if you do not know your stuff and end up playing with fire (pun intended).
Topics for Week 2: 8. Kinetic Model of Matter 9. Transfer of thermal energy 10. Temperature 11. Thermal Properties
The key to thermal chapters is the use of keywords. This is especially so for chapters 8,9,10.
The only formulas you will need is for thermal properties. While students tend to struggle with this chapter more, it is not a difficult topic honestly. It is very important to see this link.
Increasing temperature - Heat capacity / specific heat capacity
Change in state - Latent heat of fusion (solid - liquid) / Latent heat of vaporisation (liquid - gas)
Week 3: Wave & Light
These 2 topics are tedious and require more practice.
Topics for Week 3:
12 General Wave Properties 13 Light
For ‘General Wave Properties’, ensure that you know the difference between a transverse wave & a longitudinal wave. Also, be familiar with the displacement-distance graph & the displacement-time graph.
Strongly recommend you refer to my notes “Chapter 12 - General Wave Properties”.
Light is a big chapter that contains reflection, refraction & lens. Ensure that you are proficient in drawing ray diagrams and calculating refractive index.
Pay special attention to total internal reflection as well as converging lens diagrams.
Week 4: EM waves, Sound & Static Electricity
Thankfully, these 3 topics are simple to understand. However, they are heavier in content and require slightly more time for revision.
Topics for Week 4:
14 EM waves 15 Sound 16 Static
For EM waves, ensure that you are familiar with the electromagnetic spectrum & their respective application.
Sound is a straightforward chapter. Be clear on pitch & amplitude as well as echo questions.
For static, ensure you know how to charge your insulators (friction) & your conductors. Be clear about electrostatic hazards & its application (photocopier, spray painting & precipitator).
Week 5: Electricity
These 3 topics are closely related and should be revised together.
Topics for Week 5:
17 Current Electricity 18 DC Circuits 19 Practical Electricity
Be familiar with your terminologies such as the difference between ‘charge’ & ‘current’ or between ‘emf’ & ‘potential difference’.