5 Golden Rules for your Application Question (AQ)

5 Golden Rules for your Application Question (AQ)

JC General Paper, Studying Tips

How do you handle the application question (AQ) effectively? Here’s 5 golden nuggets for you to remember.

  1. Work on your timing! Always complete your AQ under timed conditions! You should allocate a maximum of 30 minutes to complete it. The biggest trap to avoid is messing your timing and spending too much time on the low-mark questions, leaving you short of time on the questions that carry much higher marks.
  2. Highlight key arguments that you wish to pick up and argue upon. Where can you find these arguments? As a general rule of thumb, arguments can be found in either the first or the last sentence of each paragraph! Of course, there will be arguments embedded in the middle of the paragraph or even within examples themselves. You should know how to seive these arguments out by now!!!
  3. Build up your responses. Analysis is clearly expected. An argument can be sufficiently developed through the use of connectives, such as: ‘this leads to’; ‘which could then result in’; ‘which may then cause this’; ‘which would then mean’. These connectives show that you are building up a developed chain, which is exactly what the examiners are looking for.
  4. Link to the question. Your argument has to be in context. Generic lines of argument that could relate to anything are not going to reach the level for ‘good’ analysis. Your argument must focus on the precise question type and be relevant to the question.
  5. Evaluate effectively. Examiners are looking for a clear and supported final jugement that answers the question. Therefore, get off the fence and make sure you actually answer the question. The weighing of arguments for and against should have formed part of your analysis, but the key aspect is that you go one way and support it. Look to use words and phrases such as: ‘in my opinion, I believe’; ‘clearly the best option would be’. These show the decisiveness that examiners are looking for in the final paragragh and judgement.

Still clueless on how to write AQ? Wondering how we teach AQ in our classes? We are offering a paid lesson (at 50% off our regular lessons) for just the first 10 students. Give us a call today to find out more if you are still struggling.

 

100 days more…

100 days more…

JC Chemistry, JC General Paper, JC Mathematics, JC Physics, Studying Tips

So the Midyear results are all out and Prelims are known to be in 4-5 weeks’ time. Many students are frantically searching for help and attempting to salvage their results. We are sorry to say that we aren’t able to take any more private students due to time constraints, and only the group classes are available. Our classes are all held in Newton Apple Jurong East.

Advice for JC1 students

Advice for JC1 students

JC General Paper, Studying Tips

Dear JC1 students,

This post is reaching out to all of you to encourage you to study well and to prepare for your upcoming promotional examinations. I’m sure by now most of you would have received your mid year results back, and should have a clearer picture on whether you are going to get promoted or are you at the brink of being retained.

The A levels is a very challenging and demanding examination, in fact it could easily be the most stressful examination that you will take in your life. I’m sure you are aware of how competitive the university admissions are. Prestigious courses across all 3 universities such as medicine, law, business administration require nearly straight As to enter. In fact, if you do not even manage a straight Bs, I’m not even sure what kind of courses will be left for you to enter. As such, reality better hits now and you are preparing not just for your promotional examinations but A levels too. A good foundation for year 1 will go a long way in helping you for your second year.

Seek help early from your school teachers or your tutors! Please do not wait till the last minute to book consultations. Nobody owes you a living and if you are so last minute, do not expect your teachers or tutors to accede to your requests!

How to get an A for General Paper

How to get an A for General Paper

JC General Paper, Studying Tips

Many students have always wondered how to score an A for General Paper especially leading up to their examinations.  Besides knowing your basic content for the essay question that you are attempting, it is also critical for students to have some basic examination skills. The aim of this post is to highlight some important examination and revision skills that you should have to prepare you for the A levels.

Some tips to take note of:

  1. Practice past year papers under exam conditions. You should always strive to complete the papers under timed conditions like how you would face in the exam hall. Not completing them on time would have lulled you into a false sense of security and made you think that your practice grades were better than they were. At this point in time, you shouldn’t be facing time management issues such as not being able to complete your AQ on time.
  2. It is also vital that you plan effectively before writing a response. Planning enables you to organize your arguments and the key arguments that you need to bring into your answers. This also means that you have a clear directon for your answers.
  3. Remember that “less is more”. By looking at examiner reports, I found that a common mistake that students make is to try and bring in a whole range of issues and only mention them superficially. Examiners expect “Good” students to take a smaller number of issues and develop these into a sustained line of argument. Far better to have 3 arguments developed well than 5 or 6 arguments that are only touched on.
  4. Finally, the skill of evaluation is key to getting an A. Examiner reports say that you need to make a clear and distinct judgement that is justified in relation to the exact question set. Consistently focusing on the question and using it as the central aspect of planning would mean that you did not drift away and lose focus. This will enable you to make “Good” judgements rather than “reasonable” ones. The ability to qualify and justify your views is an extremely useful skill in the university as well.

P.S Drop us a comment if you think you have other tips for students going for the General Paper exams! Alternatively, if you are interested to find out more about how we teach evaluation and analytical skills during our lessons, please drop us a call. Our numbers are on our profile page and we promise we won’t bite!

Advice for J2 students who are still failing at this stage

Advice for J2 students who are still failing at this stage

JC General Paper, Studying Tips

Dear J2 students,

This coming week should be when your examination results are being released to you. After a month of intensive studying in June, how do you think you will fare?

Based on my years of tutoring, I can safely say that if you are aspiring for straight As for the A levels, you should be getting an average of C for your school papers. (this is across all schools, based on the assumption that you should be making a modest 1 grade jump for every exam).

But what if you are nowhere near this Cs? Or even worst, you are currently failing everything? If that is the case, its really time for you to wake up, unless you intend to repeat your A levels again or take it private. You are just a short 4 months away from the A levels!!! What can you do in these short 4 months considering you have one more chance at an internal examination before being sent to the actual As?

  1. Find out what when wrong in your papers? Was it due to insufficient practice? Insufficient revision? Weak in your concepts? Time management?
  2. Well, the good news is that if you are weak in your concepts, you can always approach your friendly tutors in school to help you. Seek consultations from your teacher or tutor early. Please do not sit around and wait any longer. Failing 4 months before the A levels is an emergency! If you have time management issues, then maybe you should go for paid timed practices (there are some places offering such services with stimulated exam conditions and students).
  3. You should start to plan your time wisely and divide how much time you would need to study for your subjects. As a rule of thumb, you should study 8-10hrs each on weekends to catch up with your peers. When I say study, it means revising your concepts and committing your content to memory, and practicing questions on your own. This does not include the time for doing your own school homework.
  4. The most effective study method is to rotate among your subjects equally (3h2+ 1h1+GP). You should touch base with all 5 subjects everyday so that you do not FORGET your content so easily. If you are tight for time, it could just be a simple 30-45 mins everyday to read on GP examples/ articles on theculture or even your own reading package. Of course, it could also just mean a simple recap for your other topics. Studying should always be done is small blocks of 2hrs each so that you have maximum absorption before going for a short break.

Be careful not to get burn out as well, you do not wish to have peak performance during your prelims and then later not perform for your A levels. Take a break when you need to 🙂 If you do need further advice on how to prep for the A levels, don’t hesitate to give me a call (I can be contacted on my personal number on my profile page) or to drop me a comment. I promise I won’t bite 🙂

Importance of June Holidays

Importance of June Holidays

JC Chemistry, JC General Paper, JC Mathematics, JC Physics, Studying Tips

June holidays are coming and JC2 students should really grab this last opportunity that you have to study. This is effectively your time you have a full month to study for your upcoming A’levels.

Credits: Calvin and Hobbes by William Boyd “Bill” Watterson II
Credits: Calvin and Hobbes by William Boyd “Bill” Watterson II

Through the years, we see many students who have their efforts paid off for working hard during June Holidays. So make sure you plan out your June Holiday well to study and catch up as much work as you can. Doing well in Mid-Years is a good start and also confidence boosting to your A’levels preparation. Some advice…

Self-discipline goes a long way. Not just in studies.

Start waking up early. Get your brains tuned to functioning in the mornings. Students who claim to be only functioning/ thinking only at night, should realise that your exams are mostly in the MORNINGS. And since we know that the exams are in the morning, maybe you want to start making your brain work in the morning.

Give yourself timed practice to train your time management and speed. This is very crucial in Mathematics. Putting yourself under time constraints is the best. And if its a 3 hours paper, sit there and do for 3 hours. Its amazing how students get restless after 2 hours of studying. How can one take a 3 hours paper when you can barely study for 2 hours. You can always find a friend and do the practice paper together. Peer studies are really helpful.

Try not lead a sedentary lifestyle. Time and time, we see some students burning out from studying. Do some sports. C’mon, you still have PROM to attend and its right after A’levels (first week of December, maybe?). You don’t want to be buying a new uniform too. And if you don’t like to exercise, then slot in 30 minutes of TV, YouTube (Just don’t get carried away.) every 3-4 hours of studying. Our brain needs some rest too. Be sure to sleep. Sleeping reinforces your memory and sharpens your thinking.

Seek help soon. Really, your teachers need a life too. So settle consultation hours with them early. Don’t flood them in the last week of June. They don’t owe you a living. Be considerate.

List of Great and Helpful Math Articles

List of Great and Helpful Math Articles

JC Mathematics, Studying Tips

Here is a compilation of all the Math articles/ opinions KS has done. Students should read them when they are free to improve their mathematics skills. They will come in handy! 🙂 For ease of navigation, some bigger topics sorted according to topics.

  1. Trigonometry
  2. Integrations
  3. Permutations & Combinations (Combinatorics)
  4. Vectors
  5. Complex Numbers
  6. APGP, Sequences & Series
  7. Statistics
  8. Importance of Prelims
  9. A-levels vs IB Mathematics
  10. How I encourage Students to study Mathematics in JC.
  11. Helping Students with Math Course
  12. Common Pitfalls in A’levels Math #1
  13. Common Pitfalls in A’levels Math #2
  14. Common Pitfalls in A’levels Math #3
  15. Why is anything to the power of 0 always 1?
  16. Classical Mathematical Fallacies #1
  17. Classical Mathematical Fallacies #2
  18. Classical Mathematical Fallacies #3
  19. Confusion on when to put ± sign
  20. Difference between H1 and H2 Math
  21. Partial Fractions made easy
  22. The Modulus Sign #1
  23. The Modulus Sign #2
  24. The Modulus Sign #3
  25. The Modulus Sign #4
  26. An easier approach to remembering discriminant
  27. Finding the Coefficient of Terms
  28. Help to start Maclaurin’s Questions
  29. Understanding A-level differentiation questions
  30. A different perspective to transformation
  31. Solving roots of higher order
  32. Proving a function is symmetrical about y-axis
  33. All tangents are straight lines
  34. Prime Numbers and their uses.
  35. My Favourite Pure Mathematics Topic
  36. Python
  37. Tricks to squaring numbers
  38. Why we need to be close to zero for an approximation to be good?
  39. Learning Math or Learning to do Math
  40. H3 Mathematics
  41. Why study Mathematics?
  42. Importance of Mathematics in Finance
  43. Some things that JC students should know
  44. Review of Basic Probability (Undergraduate)
List of Great and Helpful GP Articles

List of Great and Helpful GP Articles

JC General Paper, Studying Tips

Here is a compilation of great articles by Ms. Chen.

Credits: www.lifehack.org
Credits: www.lifehack.org
  1. Interpreting GP essay Questions
  2. How to write a good essay Introduction?
  3. How to craft a good essay body paragraph?
  4. How to write a good essay conclusion?
  5. How to write an essay that will get you an A?
  6. How to tackle GP Summary (1)
  7. How to tackle GP Summary (2)
  8. Top 10 Pitfalls for Essay Writing
  9. Type of Science and Technology Questions
  10. Analytical Question on Philosophy
  11. Problem of over-generalisation in General Paper
  12. Fun Facts about Women
  13. Science vs. Arts – Which is better?
  14. Value of Arts