Chemistry

Chemistry KS3 at Common Entrance at 13+ is required for most of the top British boarding schools. The topics covered by IST tutors during the Chem lessons are particularly challenging for Hong Kong students because they are not usually covered by schools studying under the local HKDSE system. Topics taught during the lessons shall include: states of matter; atoms and elements; compounds and chemical substances; separating mixtures; types of reactions; the periodic table; acids, bases and neutralisation; pH scale; metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites; fossil fuels and the rock cycle; and organic chemistry.

Our IGCSE students shall develop these topics further to expand the depth and breadth of their knowledge of chemical terminology and scientific thinking skills. IGCSE topics may comprise of: ionic and covalent bonding; macromolecules; metallic bonding; stoichiometry; concept of moles; electrical charges; energetics of reactions; energy transfer; physical and chemical changes; rate of reaction; reversible reactions; types of oxides; preparation of salts; identification of ions and gases; periodic trends; group properties; transition elements; noble gases; properties of metals; reactivity series; extraction of metals; nitrogen and fertilisers; carbon dioxide and methane; sulfur; carbonates; fuels; homologous series; alkanes; alkenes; alcohols; carboxylic acids; and natural and synthetic polymers.

These topics shall be developed further for IB, SAT Subject Test, AP, and IAL students. In addition, topics such as: stereoisomerism; spectroscopic identification of organic compounds; redox processes; fundamentals of organic chemistry; Lewis acids and bases; acid deposition; transition metals; and equilibria. These topics shall help form a solid foundational base for future chemists that may be applied to help reduce climate change, carbon footprints, greenhouse gases; and help pharmaceutical research.

Chemistry is one of the most important subjects as it is required by most of the top medical schools in the world.

Chemistry tutor

In June 2014, Dr Sam Szeto joined International Scholars Tuition as a Chemistry tutor. He earned both his Bachelor of Science Honours (with First Class standing) and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta (CAN). During his graduate training and academic career, Dr Szeto has been the recipient of awards for scholastic and research excellence at both the provincial and national level. These include a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship and an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Studentship.  

Prior to joining IST, Dr Szeto was at the University of Hong Kong conducting discovery driven research in the Department of Chemistry. In addition to his training as a scientist, he was actively involved in the mentoring and training of junior colleagues. At the University of Alberta, Dr Szeto took on the positions of Guest Lecturer, Tutor and Exam Grader in the Department of Biochemistry; he also taught biochemistry to dental students as a Sessional Instructor for the Department of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene. While at the A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology in Singapore, Dr Szeto took on the role of an Undergraduate Student Supervisor in addition to his research duties.  

Through his PhD level training, Dr Szeto possesses considerable academic research experience. This includes publishing numerous research articles in peer-reviewed  internationally recognized journals, with several of these research articles winning awards for scholastic excellence. He also has experience giving presentations at international scientific conferences. This experience and insight is particularly useful for those students carrying out self-directed research projects such as the IB Extended Essays, Internal Assessments, and A-level Extended Project Qualification investigations, as advice and critical analysis would be provided to the students to guide them through these challenging independent research assignments. Guidance has been provided to students from schools such as Kiangsu-Chekiang College, CDNIS, German Swiss International School, Renaissance College and Island School, to assist them during the planning and writing phases of their IA and EE documents.

Since joining IST, Dr Szeto has experience tutoring the diverse complement of topics comprising the Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry syllabus. Dr Szeto has taught experimental techniques to a student from St. Paul’s Convent School, while the concepts of electrolysis and chemistry in industry were revised with a student from Christ’s Hospital School. For students from West Island and Island Schools, the topics of states of matter and properties of particles were covered and the concepts of rates of reactions and atomic structure were reviewed with students from Harrow International School. Concepts involving the reactivity of metals and displacement reactions was revised with a Cheltenham Ladies’ College student, and for students from KGV School, concepts pertaining to periodicity and reaction stoichiometry were reviewed. Topics such as the synthesis of ethanol and synthetic polymers have also been covered with students from Diocesan Boys’ School and Kiangsu-Chekiang College.  

He has also tutored the fully array of CIE IGCSE Chemistry syllabus topics. For students from German Swiss International School and Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School, concepts such stoichiometry, equilibria and electrochemistry were taught, while topics such as acid and bases, thermodynamics, and rates of reactions were revised with students from Singapore International School. For a student from Shatin College, the concepts of atomic structure and organic chemistry were tutored. In addition, Dr Szeto has experience tutoring the topics that comprise the AQA GCSE Chemistry syllabus. For a student attending Concord College the focus was on revising various aspects of organic chemistry. Concepts relating to the electrolysis of molten and aqueous ionic compounds were reviewed with a Warwick School student, while topics including energy changes and rates of reactions were tutored to a student from Headington School. For a Kent College Canterbury student studying the OCR Gateway A syllabus, the concepts pertaining to the monitoring and controlling chemical reactions were discussed and revised. Topics such as ionic equations and thermochemistry have also been revised with HKIS and Milton Academy students enrolled in Honors Chemistry courses.

With respect to the higher level Chemistry courses, Dr Szeto has tutored a student  from Old Swinford Hospital School studying aspects of the AQA AS syllabus such as equilibria and redox chemistry. Concepts such as metal ion ligand complexes and Lewis acid properties were discussed with a Badminton School student revising for her AQA A2 exams. For a student from Oundle School studying the OCR A-level/A2 syllabus, topics such as amines, amino acids, and NMR spectroscopy were covered. Various topics including Hess’s Law and Born-Haber cycles from Edexcel AS syllabus were reviewed with students from Harrow International School and Broomsgrove School. From the Edexcel A2 syllabus, topics such as acid-base equilibria, buffer systems and titrations were revised with a Cheltenham Ladies’ College student. For a student studying the CIE Pre-U chemistry syllabus, various topics such as organic chemistry synthetic routes and mechanisms, and analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry were tutored and discussed. Concepts relating to all the aspects of atomic and molecular structure and bonding were taught to a Milton Academy student in preparation for the upcoming SAT II Chemistry Subject test. Dr Szeto has also tutored Phillips Exeter Academy and Phillips Academy Andover students on SAT Chemistry topics including the chemical and physical behaviours of elements and compounds and periodic trends. For AP Chemistry, concepts such as quantum atomic theory, solid state chemistry, nuclear chemistry and molecular orbital theory were tutored to International Christian School and HKIS students.  

In regards to the IB programme, Dr Szeto has tutored a full range of Chemistry topics at the MYP, Diploma Standard and Higher levels. For students from CDNIS and Chinese International school, the concepts relating to separation techniques and energy changes were reviewed. Chemical properties of acids and their roles in acid rain deposition was discussed with students from Victoria Shanghai Academy. Topics such as energetics and periodicity have been covered with a student studying at West Island School, while concepts of stoichiometric relationships and chemical bonding and structure were reviewed with a student from German-Swiss International School. Various concepts pertaining to the formation of buffering systems involving weak acids and bases, and pKa determination using titrimetric analysis was discussed with a Renaissance College student. For students studying at Kiangsu-Chekiang College, concepts such as thermochemistry and redox processes were reviewed in preparation for their upcoming final exams. In addition, concepts relating to the chemical properties of acids and bases and their equilibria were revised with a CDNIS student. Option topics including biochemistry, energy and medicinal chemistry have also been reviewed and discussed with students from various schools including Li Po Chun World College, Island School and Kiangsu-Chekiang College.  

He has also helped Hong Kong-based students preparing for entrance examination from overseas schools such as Cheltenham College, Dulwich College, Oxford International College, Oundle School and Charterhouse School. This preparation involved teaching and revising the relevant concepts from the Chemistry component of the 13+ Common Entrance Examination Science Key Stage 3 or GCSE curriculums. This included a wide range of topics such as states of matter, elements, compounds and mixtures, physical and chemical changes, properties of metals and acids and bases. In addition, important skills such as processing and interpreting data that are based on the principles of the scientific method are introduced and reinforced.

Chemistry tutor

Mr Daniel Chan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (Hons.) in Chemistry from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and a Bachelor of Science Degree (Advanced) from the University of Sydney, Australia, majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Daniel has three years of tutoring experience in Hong Kong and Australia, in addition to his one and a half years at International Scholars Tuition School. As a student, Daniel achieved a perfect score of 800 on his SAT Chemistry.

Daniel has tutored main group chemistry and rates of reaction to a CIE Chemistry Pre-U student from Winchester College, acids and bases to IB Diploma students from Island School, organic chemistry mechanisms to an undergraduate Chemistry student at Case Western Reserve University, USA, and intermolecular forces and structure and bonding to an OCR Chemistry A-Level student from Wycombe Abbey School.

Chemistry tutor

Yenga Yan (BA, MSci) studied Chemistry as part of the Natural Sciences Tripos at the University of Cambridge.The course covered topics such as molecular orbitals, NMR spectroscopy, bonding and VSEPR theory, electrochemistry, enthalpy and thermodynamics, organic and inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry, in addition to extensive laboratory work.

Since joining IST in November 2018, Yenga has been tutoring students mostly within the age range of 12- 18 in chemistry from top international schools in Hong Kong, such as German-Swiss International School, West Island School, King George V School, and British International School (Kellett). In addition, she has successfully guided students preparing for their 13+ Common Entrance and IGCSE Chemistry exams. Moreover, she has helped students from Diocesan Girls’ School (DGS) and St. Paul’s Co-educational College (SPCC) prepare for their A-level Chemistry and HKDSE examinations, respectively.

Her lessons for GCSE students covered topics stated in the syllabus such as atomic structure, the periodic table, reaction of metals, standard chemical tests, acids and alkali, and mole calculations. The topics she has experience tutoring at A-level are bonding and structure, equilibria and reaction rates, organic and inorganic chemistry. and practical skills. In addition to past papers and textbook exercises, Yenga uses a range of digital resources to help students build interest and confidence in the subject.

Yenga is available to tutor chemistry across a range of levels (13+ common entrance exams, IGCSE, A-level, and IB Diploma) with the aim of improving the student’s interest and understanding of chemistry and overall examination performance. Furthermore, she can advise Natural Sciences applicants on writing their personal statement and preparing for interviews.

Chemistry tutor

Mr Don Ho has tutored Chemistry at International Scholars Tuition School since 2005. Don’s chemistry students are mostly preparing for the 13+ Common Entrance Exams and IGCSE. Don has helped many Hong Kong students achieve excellent results and receive offers from some of the best schools in the UK. To a student from Hong Kong International School (HKIS), Don has tutored alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, carboxylic acids, isomers, and homologous series; to a student from St Swithun’s,fractional distillation crude oil and cracking of hydrocarbons; to a Singapore International School student, reacting acids with metals, oxides, hydroxides, non-metal oxides, carbonates, and ammonia; and to a Chinese International School (CIS) student, tests for positive and negative ions.

Don is also the Principal of International Scholars Tuition School and is happy to provide advice to students wishing to apply to boarding schools in the UK. As an additional service, IST can invigilate most subjects for the 13+ Common Entrance Exam.

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