Motivation is ephemeral; it comes and goes. Your preparation for A levels starts the moment you enter JC, although most of us only realised that at the beginning of JC2.
Hi there, fellow aspiring leader! You have come to the right place to look for tips! I am Jenna, a current J1 student, and I would like to share some tips I have garnered for you future leaders. After being part of the Student’s Council, as well as the chairperson of my class during my Upper IP years, I hope to be able to help you along the way with these little bits of advice and hopefully make your life a tad bit easier!
As we all know, school is very demanding, and it by itself is energy draining and time consuming. However, some of us go above and beyond, and respond to the call for action by taking on an additional role of a student leader, and I am no different. Having had several leadership roles on top of the standard commitments of CCA and academics, it was needless to say that it was tortuous. Hence, I have consolidated some tips based on my personal experience thus far.
Firstly, know what the role entails. While this might seem obvious, I think many of us instinctively jump onto any role that is offered to us. This is a huge mistake, as knowing the job scope of your leadership role is important to estimate the amount of commitment required from you, from which you can mentally prepare yourself. Beyond the basic descriptions, it is also recommended you to inquire more about the role, be it through asking seniors, or asking the teachers directly, do not be shy. Through this, you are not only able to learn more about your role that you might not have known about like the personal ups and downs previous seniors have faced, you also demonstrate strong interest in the role, which can give a better impression to teachers.
Secondly, be aware of your crunch time and plan ahead. Some leadership roles have very specific crunch times, and during those periods, you may be required to dedicate large proportions of time to fulfilling your role. This unfortunately means less time for studying and having to juggle both the roles of a leader and a student. However, this does not mean that one has to be sacrificed over the other, but rather to perform a juggling act and try to balance both simultaneously. How so? Well, you can try to alleviate the stress from this crunch time by planning ahead and predicting when will be your busiest periods, doing preparatory work to reduce the workload beforehand. This could be studying ahead and attempting to do homework ahead of class, or if coinciding with an exam, doing revision ahead of time.
Lastly, learn to delegate. Some leadership roles require leaders to work closely together, like the Student’s Council, and these projects often require outstanding teamwork and communication. Although elected leaders are supposed to be role models and have responsibility, it is inevitable that there are a few black sheeps. When working with these other “leaders”, you must stand your ground and not do their work for them. Although this might be difficult, it is a necessary action that cannot be avoided, especially when everyone has decidedly committed to the role of a leader. One way to approach this is to remind them of their purpose, and the commitment they have agreed to, or discuss with them deadlines of their assigned task such that they are agreeable. You can also prompt them nearer to submission and consistently keep in check with them. This is to avoid letting others “freeride”, while you suffer alone doing the work of many others, your grades taking a toll.
The journey of a student leader is definitely not an easy one and is meant to challenge your limits. However, it is one that promises personal growth and a stronger self. Do not let the challenges discourage you, and enjoy the journey of growth and discovery! All the best!
Strengths, passion, and future endeavours.
These are the three things you should have at the back of your mind when choosing your subject combinations in JC.
First of all, your strengths and future endeavours may be related, meaning that you want to delve into tertiary education or a career pathway that requires a specific skill set or professional knowledge. Then I advise you to find out the pre-requisites of your desired course and choose the subject combination accordingly. However, if you have yet to have your mind set on anything, think about what you are good at. Realistically speaking, the grades on that piece of paper are going to determine your university options at the very minimum. You want to have options and not be one of the options. Although both Arts and Sciences fuel our understanding of the modern world, there is some difference in understanding and conceptualising them. Our brains all process information differently and you should be able to decipher which subjects you are better at instinctively by now from past experiences. This does not mean that you are able to get a perfect grade every time but instead, you find the subject easy to make sense of and are able to draw connections between pieces of information.
Secondly, passion. Think about what you would enjoy studying. The truth is that there is no easy subject in JC. Every single subject requires dedication and hard work and is going to be painful sometimes (or most of the time cries). Thus, if suffering is inevitable, at least suffer for something you love. Many of my friends wanted to “play it safe” and opted for the typical BCME or PCME combination as they deemed a hybrid or arts combination too risky. Yes, it may be true that a BCME or PCME combination can potentially open more doors but if you hate the subject you are studying, do you see yourself going into that profession later on in life?
Lastly, do not be afraid to take unconventional pathways. There is no fixed route to success as long as you are willing to put in the hard work. But of course, do your research beforehand and do not be afraid to ask, consult your teachers and seniors on what certain subjects encompass, read the syllabus document, and go for trial lessons if available.
With that, I wish you all the best for your JC life, remember that many are walking this journey together with you and help is always within reach.
By: Xun Shengdi
Shengdi is a fun loving student who would love to go skydiving or bungee jumping one day (with a companion of course). She has a sweet tooth and loves bubble tea and macarons (burnt caramel milk tea with sesame pearls at playmade is her go-to). She is also a chatterbox who cannot stand awkward silences so please act interested when she strikes up a conversation:> As a Kpop fan, she would sometimes randomly break into songs and dance so please jam with her:)
You often hear people say that A-levels was the worst time of their life, and for many, that became a reality for them. I mean we are expected to recall and remember the content from day 1 of JC and then apply it to our A-levels papers 2 years later, while simultaneously juggling CCAs, life, extracurriculars and for some, leadership commitments. Even though JC sounds impossible, it’s not and here are some tips
and advice to survive JC.
Managing emotions: JC students tend to be very stressed throughout their school days and methods to relieve stress like taking an off day or sleeping more can be difficult to do. What kept me going was friends. You don’t have to go out every week since it’s costly and you don’t have time for that. But what I mean is to talk to them.
Just simple things like going for recess break together or hanging out before class. Don’t close yourself off when you’re struggling. They are going through this tough period together with you so you might as well go through it with people you love and trust. Do the things you like to do, in moderation of course. If you enjoy watching Netflix, let yourself enjoy one episode after you’ve finished revision or studying for the day. If you enjoy doing sports, put some time aside. It is important to learn to manage your stress and occasionally cut yourself some slack to prevent burnout.
Tips on doing well for A Levels: Study smart. Struggling with a topic is normal.
Explore different resources to grasp the concept. Don’t try to read the same school notes over and over. Sometimes your school notes may not be very comprehensible or your teacher did not do a good job properly explaining a concept. This is where you should use google at your disposal. For me, Youtube videos were a big game changer in helping me understand concepts and theory. If you don’t understand something, no matter how stupid you think it is, ask your friends or set up a consultation with your teacher. Don’t just depend on yourself and hope that you get
it, always clarify with others and use the resources at your disposal. Time management. I don’t find timetables useful but if that’s your cup of tea, go for it.
When planning your time, ask yourself, what eats up most of your time. Try to limit that. It is important to not let yourself spend too much time doing leisure things before doing your work first. It is extremely crucial to be realistic in planning out the work you’re going to do. When each subject paper is about 3 hours, obviously you’re not going to be able to complete more than 3 papers a day, including marking it and
looking through the paper. So be realistic when planning and remember quantity does not determine your results. Pre-A level revision is going to be very hard, you need to plan out your time optimally so give yourself proper time to eat, sleep, rest
and study. Don’t burn the midnight oil to study.
Pitfalls to avoid: You will almost always never do well for blocks and mid-years and it is easy to get discouraged by it. We’re used to scoring well on tests in secondary school, but it’s different in JC. Think of it, not as a reflection of your lack of effort or aptitude, but that the exams are difficult and almost everyone will not do well. When you get back your results after every exam, reflect upon your studying methods and
think about what helped and what didn’t help you. If you start this good habit from the start, you can find a surefire way of studying that suits you the best that can aid you in A-levels.
By: May Phyu Thwe
May is a fan of alternative music that no one else listens to and loves to get hopelessly addicted to trashy tv shows. She spent most of her time studying as a student and was practically glued to her chair.
A fund-raising concert in partnership with Project Amica
Date: 29th May 2023 | Venue: ACS Barker | Time: 7pm-10pm
All proceeds raised from our concert will go straight towards the cause of helping the elderly in need of assistance.
What is Project Amica?
Project Amica is student-initiated project started by a group of passionate students seeking to give back to the community through service.
Together, the Amica Exco came up with the idea of a volunteer programme with the aim of providing youths an opportunity to serve their community through helping the elderly back in 2021.
The project has since expanded to include volunteers from many schools and institutions with the common goal of serving the elderly and those in need.
Why Concert Amigo
For the past year, Project Amica has been fully self-funded by the students. However, this is becoming increasingly unsustainable as their project expands. Hence, they are hoping Concert Amigo can help them raise the funds required for their operations and allow the elderly and those in need to benefit to a greater extent.
Who will this concert benefit?
All proceeds will go towards increasing the quality and scale of our operations, helping elderly in need of assistance in Touch Yishun, Touch Geylang Bahru and Yuhua Zone 5 RC.
Who will be performing?
24/7 | Yixi and Claudia | Ten Volt Tragedy | Mulan & Adriel | High Places | Chinatsu and Matthew | Malcolm Mullets | Offtherails | Singularity Raffles Street Dance | Evan | Antitode idote
Tickets on sale now:
A dummy's guide on choosing your subjects and how to survive A-levels
PART I: A BRAND NEW CHAPTER
Venturing into the unknown
Congratulations! You’ve survived O levels and made it into a new chapter in your Singapore study journey. Perhaps you are tingling with excitement, or maybe you’re feeling apprehensive and slightly confused.
It is always good to align your inner compass with various subjects. Match your personality and strengths with your subject combination as far as possible. Otherwise, it would be arduous to seek motivation to study. Define your goals, or think about what kind of university course or potential careers you see yourself in, which usually narrows down to a few subject combinations. As Stephen Covey put it aptly, begin with the end in mind.
Learn more about the different subjects and subject combinations offered by your school. You may want to consult your seniors, approach respective subject tutors for valuable guidance, or search online forums to get a better overview. Some subjects (like computing and further
maths) may require a qualifying test, so be sure to show up!
What if I don’t like it along the way? It is okay to change your mind, though it’s best to be quick and submit your appeal to change your combination in the early months of the year.
PART II: REVVING UP YOUR ENGINES
Trial by fire
So you will be taking your first examination shortly after your term break. You are unsure if you can keep up with the never-ending lectures and tutorials slapped on your desks right after the first few days of orientation. Not to mention how PW deadlines make it increasingly challenging for you to focus on getting back on the academic running track.
As your common tests, mid-years — and then promotional and preliminary exams — draw near, you realise that time does not seem to be on your side. You’re barely catching your breath as you scurry to and from lectures and tutorials. To make it through, remember to do these:
1. Arrange for consultations and attend extra classes
Your tutors are your best available resources. Take the first step. Try to ask questions as soon as possible. Don’t let your doubts snowball! If you were selected to attend remedial classes, try to turn up for them. Use it as an opportunity to brush up on your weaker topics.
2. Form a study plan that suits your learning style best
Are you comfortable following a structure, or do you work best when given the freedom and flexibility to do what your heart desires? You may want to research or take a quiz to understand your preferred learning style. I recommend taking the SkillsFuture quiz or looking at different learning models to see which best suits you.
3. Optimise your time
Perhaps you are scrambling to juggle school, work, and other commitments. Consequently, you may end up sleeping past 11 pm and waking up with a tired mind. It’s a struggle that afflicts the vast majority. Approach a supportive tutor to help formulate your study plan or to-do list.
Last but not least,
4. Rest and recharge
You must have nourishment for optimal learning and performance! Take regular breaks between studying by indulging in healthy hobbies such as exercise or painting. Ensure you have at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
A vast majority of students will start experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. No matter your current situation, believe that you’ll find hope at the end of the tunnel. We have faith in you!
By: Dora Tan
Dora identifies as an avid cat (and occasional dog) person and floral tea addict. She doesn’t mind sharing her experience repeating her JC1 year with a slightly different subject combination, on the condition that she gets to see your pet pics afterwards.
Sometimes, it is nearly impossible to feel as though JC life is not an endless time loop. From managing an entire swim team, studying to planning various school-wide events as part of ad-hoc committees, is without a doubt mentally exhausting and physically challenging. For me, my greatest struggle was inculcating the habit of constantly reminding myself of the need to establish that intricate balance between managing such tasks and still being able to put myself first.
Beyond anything, the first year of my JC journey has been a constant struggle and served as a learning process for me to find out who I am as an individual. The biggest takeaway if anything, is that results really do not define who you are as a person. Throughout all the challenging exam preparations and tests, I constantly stressed that I was not doing enough, that I was not studying enough, that I was not enough. Maturing into this year is realizing that I am indeed, actually enough. Beyond the grades I get, the leadership opportunities I am offered, that who I am as a person actually mattered to the people I loved. So, do not get carried away by the stresses of the academic rigor of JC, focus on the little blessings that you can find in your life.
Of course, anyone who said that JC was carefree would be lying. Personally, the myriad of worries went beyond just academic validation. From worrying about my future, the endless “what ifs”, they were all silenced in the split second when I chose the subject combination that I wanted to study. It doesn’t matter what others say. Sure, one can listen to their advice on the different combinations that are prospective choices. At the end of the day, as cliche as it is, what you are interested in studying, presides over all else. Play to your strengths and keep an open mind to others that may not have been encountered in secondary school, like Economics.
For me, the greatest pitfall that I took months to climb out of, was snowballing my assignments during peak periods. During competition season, as an athlete, you will naturally choose to prioritize the sport and focus wholeheartedly to prepare for the competition you are heading for.
Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The only thing wrong is, if you make the conscientious choice to neglect your studies in the pursuit of your holistic developments. Do not procrastinate and adopt a healthy consistent study schedule, even in your busiest hours. It will pay off.
Eleanor secretly believes that she was a fish in her last life. Saying that she dedicated several hours a week into swim training would be a severe understatement. With such heavy dedication comes the severe lack of sleep. With two eye bags as gray as the thunderclouds, it is no doubt that she walks around like a panda. But with adequate caffeine injected into her system, (we are talking about 2 shots of espresso here), she is no doubt a bubbly and cheerful figure to all. She adopted her life view from clowns, to laugh in the face of setbacks and smile through the most difficult times. If you wish to be like Eleanor, just read on for tips.
Hey juniors! Today I present you with: Study methods that helped me jump grades in JC2
Before we start, I’d like to reiterate that each of you probably have a different study method that suits you best. I am here to share the best study methods that worked for me, and others that did not work, over my 2 years in JC.
My story starts with me struggling in the first year of JC. I came in as a straight A student, without having to study much, and as such, I did not know how to really study when I entered JC. Immediately, H2 Economics and H2 Further Mathematics delivered the consequences of my earlier negligence, and I received an E and D respectively. It really shocked me, because I had really mugged so hard and it was the most that I had ever studied.
But here I’ll give you my first tip. Tip #1 Do not lose faith in yourself. It was easy to fall into the downward spiral and think that I just was not capable of doing well, especially since I received such poor results although I had already given my all) However, somehow I convinced myself that I was performing below my ability, and decided to solve the problem rationally.
I reflected that my poor grades was because I could not finish my Economics essays in time and could not solve Further Mathematics problems in examinations as they were too different from practices I did in the revision packages.
So here’s my Tip #2 Reflect on your past mistakes, like solving a puzzle and Tip #3 Learn from your classmates/ online sources. Regarding Tip #3, most of the study methods I will share below are either from Tiktoks I watched or from consulting my friends who were doing well in these subjects on their methods. So really, don’t struggle alone!
After I did all these and corrected my mistakes, I was able to pull both of my grades for these subjects up to Bs.
1. MY BIGGEST, BEST, MEGA TIP: NOTEBOOK FOR MISTAKES AND CORRECTIONS Grab a notebook, and every time you learn something new, write it down in the notebook! (such as after you look at the answer sheet and find out how to answer a question you made mistakes on, or a teacher said something that clarified your doubts during class) When a question
regarding a concept pops into your mind, write it down too, and remember to ask your teacher immediately the next day.
We all learn the most from our mistakes and doubts. For those of you who are wondering why you cannot score well even though you can do all the basic tutorial questions and know the notes very well, I would even say this is what bridges the gap between an A/B and every other grade.
But the thing is, we forget easily. After we had that moment of epiphany, by the time the next day comes, we have already forgotten what was the mistake and the correct answer. So I
believe we should write it down, and every time we open that notebook to write something new, we also revisit our past mistakes.
This will save you so much time when you are revising for examinations, so you don’t have to go back to your tutorials/ practices and search for all the epiphanies you had.
Here’s some pictures of what a page of mine looks like:
2. IMPORTANT, BASIC, BUT OFTEN NEGLECTED TIP: TIMED PRACTICE PAPERS AND SUGGESTED ANSWERS
Are you still revising by rereading your notes? Do you still only practice 1 out of the 3 economics essays at a time? Do you just keep doing the revision package your school gives for mathematics (not practice papers)? Do you always struggle to finish the papers in time?
JC examinations are hard, and they don’t give you the time you need. The best way to go into exams and be able to complete the paper is when you are already used to everything (the question types, their suggested answers, the time you are giving yourself for each question and even the layout of the paper). Every second is precious and you want to have it all planned out, and have your plan tested by doing timed practice papers. It also helps you to think faster on your feet, and master concepts more effectively than just reading notes.
And it’s just not the same as doing topical revision packages, or doing essay outlines, or giving yourself a whole afternoon to write one essay.
In the days leading up to the examinations (Around June-August in JC2), you should start to practice almost every paper of each subject at least once every 2-3 weeks, focusing on your weaker papers.
That’s all from me. Hope this helps:) All the best for JC exams!
By: Zhuo Lin
Zhuo Lin is an about-to-be university student who spends most of her time writing, reading, travelling, and watching sitcoms (but she truly spends 50% of her time studying computer science while thinking that she needs to touch grass) She enjoys sharing her knowledge of navigating the education system through writing, and also engages in writing poetry, prose, stories, and fanfiction.