A tutor’s tips to master Year 12 Physics

10 May 2022

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By Evan Jones 4 min read

We take a deep dive into the world of Year 12 Physics. With the help of Accel iQ tutor Nav Phokela, we look at the trickiest topics in the curriculum, the areas that exams always include, and how best to study for Physics exams.

Year 12 Physics is one of the most challenging subjects in the HSC, so it pays to have a strategy. With the help of Accel iQ tutor Nav Phokela, we’re breaking down the best path to Physics success.

Having a strong grasp of Physics can be very useful when weighing up future STEM careers. Engineering, medical science, astronomy and even public policy are just some of many possible careers for Physics students. Even for those looking to other branches of STEM to forge a career path, it always pays to have a good understanding of Physics concepts.

Though it can seem like a tough subject to master, it doesn’t have to be. With his years of Physics and Maths tuition experience, Nav Phokela has some key tips to Year 12 Physics success.

If you’ve had bad exam marks or failures during Year 11, don’t consider it the be all and end all, try and learn from those opportunities and do your best. Don’t feel like a failure. Failure is part of the learning process."
Nav Phokela, Accel iQ Tutor

How to crack the toughest topics

In Nav’s experience of HSC tuition, he says students find the topic of Lenz’s law to be the most difficult in the Year 12 Physics curriculum. “Lenz’s Law is playing with your mind a little bit because you need to work out what opposes the original change in flux, and that is a little bit of a confusing concept.

To master Lenz’s law, Nav recommends first looking to a related concept. “Get a very good understanding of how Faraday’s law works. Understand what the difference is between a static flux and a change in flux – so understanding delta phi [ΔΦ].”

Len's-Law

To do so, Nav recommends creating a mental picture of the problem at hand. “Try and build a mental diagram of a set-up which involves electromagnets and a galvanometer. Think of the needle. If you’ve got the magnets coming in, the needle’s going to flick in a certain direction. If you’ve got the magnetic field pulling out, it’s going to flick in the opposite direction. What is Lenz’s Law doing here? It’s trying to oppose the original flux. Think of it in terms of a set-up and it will help you understand better.”

The areas that always come up in exams

When studying for exams, of course, it’s ideal to have every topic well-covered. However, Nav notes that some topics tend to feature more heavily than others. “There is an increased focus on the mathematical questions.”

These types of questions tend to be phrased as “take the concept, apply it to a problem, solve it mathematically, come to an answer, and possibly offer an explanation of the mathematics as well,” says Nav. ”This involves some high order thinking, a good understanding of the concept and applying it to an equation. These kinds of concepts keep coming because they really test your high order thinking skills.”

The best ways to study for exams

It’s definitely important to have good study techniques when facing exams. According to Nav, the best way to approach exam study is to start as early as possible. “Have a good understanding of practice exam questions well in advance of the exams. As you are studying the topics, try and pull out questions from books like Success Physics early and practise them early so you have a very good appreciation of what you’re getting yourself into in the HSC well before.”

Even for full practice exam papers, starting early can be a real help. “Don’t do trial papers last minute, like a month or two before. You’ve got the whole year to prepare, so do it from the beginning.”

Nav’s other tips are to rely on the people around you for advice, consider HSC tuition – such as the Physics and Maths tuition Nav provides – and for students to stick together to share the study. “Ask a lot of questions to your tutors and school, you need to get the maximum output from people that can help you. Form study groups as well with your fellow students and work together.”

Nav’s top exam study tips:

  • Start studying as early in the year as possible
  • Use past exams from resources like Success One HSC Physics
  • Start a study group and share the load

Successfully transitioning from Year 11 to Year 12

Students that are planning on taking Year 12 Physics should try and master the Year 11 Physics curriculum because there are a lot of concepts that transfer across. “Try and map out what you can use from year 11, at least conceptually. Increase your focus on the HSC, because that’s the real thing. Year 11, use it as a learning ground, use it as a practice ground to see where your strengths and weaknesses are, which you can figure out based on test marks and weaknesses that you’ve found during Year 11.”

Nav also stresses that, even if Year 11 Physics has been tough, a positive mindset can really help moving forward. “If you’ve had bad exam marks or failures during Year 11, don’t consider it the be all and end all, try and learn from those opportunities and do your best. Don’t feel like a failure. Failure is part of the learning process.”

Get better prepared for Year 12 Physics with HSC tuition

Even with the best study techniques and preparation, Year 12 Physics can be tough. Nav runs regular Physics and Maths tuition sessions and has seen firsthand the advantage to students when they regularly work with a tutor.

“Get a tutor if you can, a support network is very important,” Nav says. “Being consistent with your tutoring cycles is very important as well. Weekly to bi-weekly is important.”

HSC tuition can be a great way to boost morale, conquer tricky topics and study for exams. For STEM subjects leading into university, Chemistry, Physics and Maths tuition can make the transition to tertiary study easier, as well as ensuring that students achieve required marks in prerequisite subjects.

Want to learn more about our Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition programs? Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how HSC tuition can help set students up for exam success.