Parents/Students, have a tuition-related query? Consult our counselors FOC

Discussion in 'Looking for tutor (Primary/Secondary/JC) and any o' started by DOE, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. DOE

    DOE Member

    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts is pleased to announce the appointment of 3 councilors to address tuition-related queries.

    They are:
    1. Mr Eric Chng
    2. Mr Duncan Ang
    3. Dr Daniel Milton Oman

    (All three can be identified with the councilor badge on their separate profile listing pages)

    Please treat them with respect when posing your questions via the Ask An Expert Form. Verbal abuse/insults are prohibited. Bear in mind kindness goes both ways.
     
  2. DOE

    DOE Member

    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts is pleased to announce the appointment of 3 councilors to address tuition-related queries.

    They are:
    1. Mr Eric Chng
    2. Mr Duncan Ang
    3. Dr Daniel Milton Oman

    (All three can be identified with the councilor badge on their separate profile listing pages)

    Please treat them with respect when posing your questions via the Ask An Expert Form. Verbal abuse/insults are prohibited. Bear in mind kindness goes both ways.
     
  3. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student yesterday:

    So I received my A levels results last week, and I did quite badly. Had CCD/B for H2 chem, maths and physics and H1 history. I don't really want to consider SIM, and the courses I hope to enter for at NUS or NTU (life sciences) probably won't even give my grades a second glance. I have a decent but not outstanding CCA record.

    Does this mean I have to retake my A levels? I am currently serving NS, and I don't know if I really have the time and resources to restudy everything in the near future, much less scoring better grades. I also heard private candidates should attempt the A levels only with proper guidance, in other words, he should have tuition. What would you advise? I am really at a loss.

    16 March Sunday is my 19th birthday, and I am really in no mood to celebrate it. Life sucks. Sorry for ranting here. [​IMG]



    The full reply by our councilor Mr Eric Chng:


    Hi,


    It sounds like you already have a clearly defined goal in mind (life sciences course in a local uni), even though things didn’t turn out so well this time for the A levels. I personally think that that is a great start.


    If getting into a life sciences course is your dream, then I would strongly encourage you to pursue it by retaking the A levels next year. Don’t just “settle” for SIM and possibly end up with regrets later.

    I had a friend who flunked his A levels twice and didn’t give up; now he’s in NUS business and he’s more driven than ever. I’m not saying that going for SIM is necessarily a bad decision of course; you just have to make sure that it’s where you actually want to go, instead of just settling for it.


    Start by taking out and organizing your notes and tutorials; come up with a solid study plan and you should definitely see an improvement for your math and sciences over time. It definitely wouldn’t hurt if you looked for tuition if you have the resources; being in NS means your weekdays are pretty much burnt (unless you are in a stay-out vocation), so a tutor can offer that acceleration in learning which you might need.


    I hope this helps. All the best and hope you’ll make a decision only after careful consideration about your dreams and desires.


    I’m sure you’ll succeed if you truly find your direction in life and work hard towards it.


    Regards,

    Eric Chng

    AcadSuccess
    White Group Mathematics (senior consultant)

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts

    Little side note: Happy Birthday kiddo, you still deserve to have some serious fun at least for this week. Cheer up and all the best! [​IMG]
     
  4. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    I am sorry if this was asked b4, but I am really confused and distressed now. All my JC classmates have received offers from NUS, NTU, SMU or SUTD, yet I have been rejected by 3 of the above 4, one hasn't got back to me yet. Does this mean I have no choice but to study at a private uni? I think the school fees for pri unis are much more expensive than public ones, and I dun think my parents can afford to pay. Plz do advise. :(




    The full reply by our councilor Mr Duncan Ang:



    Hi,

    There are options for you to consider, depending on your conviction towards your personal education and financial background.



    Retake Your A-Levels

    If you truly sense that a particular faculty in a certain university is the right one for you, where you can both effectively benefit from and contribute towards it, you will find the quiet resilience to find sustaining solutions to overcome obstacles in the one year of re-revision to re-sit for the A-Levels exams.

    I took a young man and lady through their private A-Levels exams last year; one scored ‘B’ for Biology while the other emerged with ‘A’ grade. Both experienced the raw value of determination and resilience throughout the process, but perhaps the one who scored ‘B’ learnt some refined life lessons that many adults may never consider. Please see here for the student’s recent letter to me, on her struggles and reflections before, during, and after re-sitting for the A-Levels exams. See here for testimonials from both students and parents of one student.

    You can also see thoughts by my acquaintance, Eric Chng, on his personal thoughtful views to another male student struggling with re-taking A-Levels exams.




    Financial Support

    As far as possible, A Levels should be the last set of exams a student needs to be directly forking out of her pocket with regards to educational fees—her subsequent tertiary and post-graduate education and support should be sponsored based on excellent A Level grades. Respectable sponsors should be pounding on your door to offer scholarships, and not the other way round.

    But if you wish to immediately embark on a university program (e.g. in a private university), and need the financial support, banks do offer tuition fee loans to students. Some will only charge interest upon the student’s graduation. Do reasonably well during your tertiary studies to qualify for undergraduate bursaries and scholarships.





    Conclusion

    A successful person often has options. Sometimes, the greatest regret is the calculated risk that we did not take. You will do well to solemnly bear in mind your responsibility to others and self as you consider your options.

    I wish you good health ahead :)





    Duncan Ang (JC H2 Biology Tuition)
    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  5. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    To whoever it may concern,

    I am currently a J2 student offering 4H2s and H3 Pharmaceutical Chemistry. While I am cruising along pretty fine for my H2s, I can't say the same for my H3 subject. This is because I do not study Biology at all in JC, and some of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry content requires prior Biology knowledge, which really had me rather shaken to the core.

    I am set on studying medicine in university, so my question is this: I have been told H2 Biology is not a prerequisite for Medicine undergrads, but then again how much of a disadvantage will I suffer compared to my peers who have grounding in the subject? My experience thus far with Biology related material isn't all too pleasant to say the least.

    Thanx for reading, and please advise accordingly. :)





    The full reply by our councilor Mr Duncan Ang:


    Hi,

    It is heartening to hear that you are setting your sights on Medicine, a noble profession when practiced with the right intentions, as I'll briefly explain later after I help to address your queries.

    Though there are students who are admitted into Medicine without an 'A' level Biology background, they may find it an uphill task to even appreciate the much elaborated biological processes in the curriculum, some of which are expansions of the H2 Bio learning outcomes. For example, H2 Biology students learn about the various hierarchical compaction of chromosomes, but at the undergraduate level they may be evaluated on the more complex interaction of proteins and other molecules involved in the condensation process.

    Though Chemistry may be more frequently employed than Physics in your prospective course (unless you wish to specialize in bioengineering or prosthetics after your 4 years of service bond upon graduation), the Chemistry is closely taught in the context of biological processes, such as Biochemistry. You can try looking at the Krebs and Ornithine Cycles, and see honestly for yourself if that pathway (pun intended) is what you wish to involve yourself with in the 5 year Medicine course, and future career years to come.

    If you therefore describe that your "experience thus far with Bio related material isn't all too pleasant to say the least", it is hard to imagine how you can enjoy and excel in the Medicine curriculum, when there is generally much more interdisciplinary concepts built on Biology than Chemistry e.g. the Immunology module, which is compulsory across all Medicine curricula worldwide.

    Yes, a student in the Medicine curriculum without a H2 Biology background will certainly be highly disadvantaged compared to those with thorough knowledge of the said subject. Your H3 Chemistry in molecular analysis such as mass spectrometry, HPLC, and probably some proteomics may only give you a very slight edge over your counterparts should you be admitted into the research branch (which again, could happen years after your 4 years of service bond)

    But nevertheless, I salute people who are committed to practicing Medicine as their career. They are the ones who have to endure 100 hours work-weeks on top of remaining mentally alert over 24-hour work shifts on a periodical basis, not to forget suffering complaints and pressures from both patients and higher management levels (medical officers, where most graduates move into, are deemed lowest amongst the rungs). Their material remuneration may not be able to match their counterparts in many other industries considering the effort and talent invested.

    It is unfortunate that media and society has warped many students' minds in unrealistically romanticizing Medicine, and these unwitting participants only find out about the truth a tad too late.

    Conversely, staff who persevere for a long while in the Medicine career are thus driven because they are motivated by (1) helping people, (2) are highly physically and emotionally robust and resilient, (3) and can reconcile the medical establishment's practices with their own ethical principles.

    Having said all these, remember that the greatest regret can sometimes be the risk that we didn't dare to take; but we sincerely wish you would spend time to explore and learn more about your prospective courses in order to make a properly informed decision, which will affect not just your future but that of your family too.

    Take care of your health. Cheers.

    Duncan Ang (JC H2 Biology Tuition)
    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  6. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    I'm 16 & finished my O levels this year. During this year, I guessed I studied too hard & because of the immense amount of stress, I suffered 2 mental breakdowns. During one episode, I kept crying non-stop, and my mum had to bring in a psychiatrist.

    I really want to go to a JC next year, but I have heard from my seniors horror stories of how much worse life is in JC.
    I am unsure if I can endure 2 more years of hell given my current state. What if I score poorly for the A levels and cannot enter a local U? What should I do?:(





    The full reply by our councilor Dr Daniel Milton Oman:


    Hi,

    Given what you have described you may want to consider other options besides JC. Don’t pursue things in life just because it is “the in thing to do” from the perspective of the majority. Find something you enjoy doing that can lead to making a good living. Another path to University is the foundation year programs where you do one year and then apply to University rather than completing two in JC. If traveling overseas is an option for you, there are plenty of places to study that are not so JC focused with their admissions policies.



    Every year I see students in JC taking a certain subject just because the conventional wisdom says that is the best combination – not because they like those subjects or are any good at them. And there they struggle with something they will never do again in their lives. There are plenty of other pursuits in life that are more appropriate for many students. I know plenty of very successful and very happy people who are not academically inclined.


    Whatever path you choose for future education, do it because you have an interest in that area and like that area. Do it for the enjoyment of learning. Do the best you can on your tests, but don’t stress out over exams. Now is the time to explore your options and find something you are good at that can earn you a decent living and that you enjoy doing. At age 16 you may not yet have found what you are really good at. Allow yourself time to discover that. Don't be anxious, do the best you can when you try something; explore, and subsequently decide what's best for you.


    Best wishes,

    Daniel Milton Oman, Ph.D. (Science Tuition & Physics Tuition)
    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  7. DOE

    DOE Member

    We are pleased to announce English and GP specialist Mr Aaron Ng Yi Kai (who is also a senior expert tutor with us) has been appointed as the fourth councilor for Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts. Congratulations Aaron, and we look forward to you providing quality advice to our readers! :)

    Mr Aaron Ng Yi Kai

    PS: If you have a question burning within you, feel free to use our Ask An Expert form
     
  8. DOE

    DOE Member

    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts currently has 4 councilors to assist in addressing tuition-related queries.

    They are:
    1. Mr Eric Chng
    2. Mr Duncan Ang
    3. Dr Daniel Milton Oman
    4. Mr Aaron Ng

    (All four can be identified with the councilor badge on their separate profile listing pages)

    Please treat them with respect when posing your questions via the Ask An Expert Form. Verbal abuse/insults are prohibited. Bear in mind kindness goes both ways.
     
  9. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    Hello,

    I just received my O level results, and got 9 points for my L1R5. I aspire to pursue a Bachelors of Engineering in Aerospace at NTU in the future, however I am rather torn between going to a poly (in this case aeronautical engineering @SP) and a junior college.

    I believe the poly route would let me acquire ample hands on experience in the aviation field, but I am fearful I might not attain a GPA score good enough for entry into NTU. On the other hand, I know my chances of entering a local university are much higher statistically speaking if I pursue the JC route; then again I am not really interested in the regurgitation and rote learning style of A level subjects.

    What should I do? Feeling very lost right now.

    The full reply by our councilor Mr Eric Chng:

    Hi,


    Congratulations on your O level results.

    You have obviously given plenty of thought to the pros and cons of taking either the Poly or JC route, which is great. Let me give you another perspective that might help you in your decision making.

    Coming from the point of view of someone who has attended NTU, I would say that the JC route prepares you better for the academic rigour of a degree programme in Aerospace Engineering. I have seen many poly students struggle in university because of their weaker mathematical and physics fundamentals compared to JC students, and you can bet that the engineering curriculum in NTU (or any other university, for that matter) is pretty heavy on Math and Physics. With regards to industrial exposure, I don’t think JC students would lose out, as NTU provides plenty of opportunities for industrial experience via the industrial attachment programme. So my take is, go for the JC route.


    Hope the above helps. All the best!

    Regards,

    Eric Chng (AcadSuccess, senior maths consultant at White Group Mathematics)

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  10. DOE

    DOE Member

    In response to the inquiry made earlier by a student who is deliberating over whether to go to a JC or a polytechnic (he scored 9 points for his L1R5 in last year's 'O' Levels and wishes to pursue aerospace engineering in NTU down the road), another councilor Mr Aaron Ng offers his advice:



    Congratulations on your good showing in the O levels!


    I'm just going to address the point about hands-on experience of polytechnic education and what you call regurgitation and rote-learning style of an A-level education.


    Even if you choose the polytechnic route, there will still be a fair amount of regurgitation and rote-learning to do because there's simply no escaping the fact that there are certain pieces of fundamental knowledge and theories that you will have to master in any discipline at any level. Some level of regurgitation and rote learning is always necessary.


    The polytechnic route allows you to specialise at an earlier age. If you go to a JC, you are still studying general subjects, which isn't a bad thing because you have another two more years to think about what you would like to specialise in studying. After all, you are still very young and there're probably much more in the various academic fields that you probably don't know about yet. I personally would recommend giving yourself more time to do further research so that you can make a more informed decision.


    Of course, if you are absolutely sure that you want to start studying in the field of aeronautical engineering early, by all means, go ahead. If you are determined to work hard, you will get into university regardless of whether you choose polytechnic or JC.



    Aaron Ng (Teacher Aaron's Classroom)

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  11. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    Can I retake my 'A' Levels just to sit for H2 Maths and H2 Chemistry so that I can go to a university engineering course ,as I do not have H2 maths and H2 chemistry? Or should I withdraw from my JC and choose a polytechnic course instead? Also ,do local universities accept people who retake their 'A' Levels?



    The full reply by our councilor Mr Aaron Ng:


    To my understanding, local universities require you to sit for 3H2s in one sitting in order to consider the H2s for admission. You'll need to offer H2 Math, Chemistry and one other subject in order to be considered for local university admission. Retaking only two H2s will not help you. However, the admission criteria for foreign universities might be different, and I encourage you to check with their admissions office on this.


    If you want to go to a polytechnic, you have to ask yourself why you are doing so. I don't advise you to drop out just because you don't like what you are studying now. If you wish to drop out of JC because you strongly feel that polytechnic education is more relevant to your interests, then that's okay. Be sure to find out more about polytechnic education and whether it fits your interests.


    Re-taking the 'A' Level exams is not a problem. Local universities will take the latest sitting in which you offer at least 3H2s and GP/KI and combine H1 subjects such as Mother Tongue and Project Work that are taken at earlier sittings.


    Best,


    Aaron Ng (Teacher Aaron's Classroom)

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  12. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    I am a J3 student redoing my 'A' Levels in a mid-tier JC (don't feel comfortable disclosing which school sorry), and my recent block test results were really bad. Despite working so hard, I feel like I'm not making any progress, and I am so scared my 'A' Level results this time round will be also be equally horrible, and I can't get into university in the end. That will mean I have completely wasted 3 years of my life. Having so many sleepless nights, should I just call it quits now and transfer to a poly? Or hang on hoping things will turn out okay? :(


    The full reply by our councilor Mr Eric Chng:


    Hi,

    As you have already been through 2 years of JC, I would strongly advise you not to give up. This is especially true since you have proven yourself to be capable enough to get into a mid tier JC, so you are already ahead of many of the students in the lower tier JCs just based on your raw ability and aptitude. With your experience gained in the past 2 years plus your greater familiarity with the syllabus, you should actually be in a better position to do well.


    If you haven’t already spoken to your teachers to seek their advice on your specific weaknesses and how you can do better, now would be a great time to do so. Success in JC is not merely dependent on studying hard; you have to dive deep into the notes and make detailed annotations and remarks each time you make a mistake or face difficulties with a question. I.e. Do not just “mug” the materials but rather, take an active approach towards dissecting your mistakes and getting to the bottom of everything.


    Hope my simple advice has been useful.


    I sincerely wish you luck in your academic journey and hope that you’ll adjust your studying strategies in order to nail the A Levels.



    Regards,

    Eric Chng

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  13. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    Okay, my GP grades have been terrible for too long, always averaging an E grade so obviously I need to do something abt it. I want to try this by myself 1st without having any tuition (tuition is exp no offense), so I am wondering what guidebks u guys reommend? My frens told me KS Bull issues are very good, but I recently saw this book GP Power by Robert Wilks in Popular which I kinda like too. Quite undecided, pls help. Thx.




    The full reply by our councilor Mr Aaron Ng:


    Hi,


    GP is a complicated subject, or should I say, it's more than a subject.


    In the essay portion, you will need good English writing skills to demonstrate that you can respond to questions using reason, logic and facts. This means you need to read articles on current affairs, humanities and social sciences to get both knowledge about issues and topics, as well as to glean insights on what makes a good essay. Reading widely also helps you with the comprehension section because the more the number of difficult articles and essays you can understand from your own reading, the less likely you will be stumped by the essay in the comprehension section.


    Ultimately, I think to do well in GP, it is really a matter of attitude. From how you typed your query, I infer that you are generally very careless and sloppy in your writing. That one paragraph is replete with spelling and grammatical errors. It appears that you have formed some bad writing habits. You may argue that you will be more careful in a test or exam setting, but given the grades that you are receiving, there's some evidence that it isn't working. Each and every time you write or communicate is a opportunity to hone the correctness and accuracy of your writing. You need to start forming good writing habits right away.


    You also need to form good reading habits. This means that you need the discipline to spend at least an hour or two every day on reading. It's been a good 15 years since I took my GP exam, but up until now, I still spend an hour or two every day reading up on current affairs, humanities and social sciences from a variety of sources. The good thing now is that with the internet, it's very easy to get information. You can access quality journalism such as New York Times, Washington Post, Time, The Economist etc online, and without having to pay a single dime. There are news and reading apps on mobile stores that will collect these current affairs stories for you to read. You don't really need guide books. You just need to spend time to find and read these resources.


    GP is a little like life; there's no user guide or manual. If your mindset is to look for guidebooks that contain all the information to solve your problem, unfortunately, that's not going to work. You have mentioned that there are a couple of guidebooks available in bookstores, and they may be of some help, but you will run into trouble at the next level because there are no guidebooks for university and working life. I suggest that you start with regularly reading the sources I mentioned above, and search new ones on your own. Be extremely particular about how you express yourself in English, regardless of whether it is a Whatsapp message, an email, or your GP essay. If you have queries about what you've read, talk to your GP tutor. Don't just keep quiet. It's not easy to pick up such habits and attitudes, but if you do, you will excel in GP, and in life.


    Best,

    Aaron Ng (Teacher Aaron's Classroom)

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  14. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    Hello, I am a J2 student taking my 'A' Levels this year. However, I am feeling extremely exhausted even though the 'A's are still like 2 months away.

    Why? Because my JC is making us sit for 2 sets of prelims!!!! We had the first round in June, and the second round will happen in a couple of days. The teachers hold so many after school remedial lessons, and before I finish an assigned problem set, I am given yet another!!!

    I didn't do well in prelims round 1, and I am not confident of doing any much better in round 2. There's so much stuff to internalize, and everything feels like a mess right now.

    A senior told me to just focus on preparing for the As, and not care about whether I fail or pass for the upcoming prelims. It's too rushed and many students will also be struggling like mad, which is pointless.

    Should I listen to my senior and take a can't be bothered approach to prelims round 2? It will certainly make me feel less stressed. I will still be studying hard for the As in the meanwhile of course. Please help. Thanks :(




    The full reply by our councilor Dr Daniel Milton Oman:


    Hi,

    I agree with your senior. Concentrate on studying for the A'Levels and just do the best you can on the prelims. But once you get your prelim results, make sure you do go through the test and understand your mistakes. It will be helpful to do that as you prepare for the 'A' Levels.




    Number one priority in preparing for 'A' Levels is that you understand the problems in the ten year series and can do problems of a similar level of difficulty. Most schools are setting the prelims at a higher standard than the A'Level. This is good if you are already strong in the subject because you end up being over prepared.


    But if you are weak in the subject it is better to concentrate more on just the 'A' Level difficulty and not beyond because you may just get more confused with those very difficult problems.



    Also, many people stress out over prelims if it becomes an issue of memorizing a lot of past questions in order to score well. If you learn science by learning how to apply concepts to questions, then it becomes less stressful. Take the time from now till the 'A' Levels to build a methodical understanding of the subjects. If you can do so in a calm and organized way, that will be much better than simply panicking. Don't let all the craziness get to you. Just work steadily toward your goal and do the best you can.



    Best of Luck !

    Daniel Milton Oman, Ph.D. (Science Tuition & Physics Tuition)
    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  15. DOE

    DOE Member

    In response to the inquiry made earlier by a student who is extremely stressed over having to attempt two sets of prelim examinations and wonders if she could instead focus on the upcoming 'A' Levels, another councilor Mr Aaron Ng offers his advice:


    Certainly the 'A' levels is about the biggest academic hurdle that you are going to cross to date, and having two prelims to prepare for is certainly stressful.



    I would say that you should take preliminary exams with the right mindset. They are there to help you figure out where your weaknesses are. Use them as tools to provide clues as to where your weak areas are. Once you see them as tools and not some measure of your academic worth, the stress should gradually reduce.


    Of course, if the preliminary exam results are not to your expectation, there might certainly be a feeling of doom. However, even if you did well and let complacency set in, you might not do so well in the actual 'A' level examination.


    What is important is not to lose sight of the final goal, which is the 'A' level exam itself. That doesn't mean that you should ignore your preliminary exams, though. You should be making good use of this tool to troubleshoot your academic progress.


    Long story short: try your best for the second preliminary exam, but tell yourself that the results there are not the most important; what is important is to discover what your mistakes and issues are through the preliminary exam and correct those before the actual 'A' level examination.


    Best,




    Aaron Ng (Teacher Aaron's Classroom)

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  16. DOE

    DOE Member

    In response to the inquiry made earlier by a student who is extremely stressed over having to attempt two sets of prelim examinations and wonders if she could instead focus on the upcoming 'A' Levels, another councilor Mr Eric Chng offers his advice:


    From what you’ve described, you probably have a long way to go in terms of completing your revision. Given that that’s the case, if you were to try to cram all the topics now, you’d probably only be able to get a cursory grasp of all the topics at best (and I’m sure you know that will not be enough to do even decently in the prelims).

    My advice for you would thus be to select and focus on a few topics that you’d reasonably be able to prepare in depth in time for the prelims, while spending less time on the other topics. This way, you will be able to use the prelims as a gauge of whether your studying methods for those topics are sound, and whether you have really grasped the topics that you really spent time on. If you have done well for those questions that you really studied for, that would mean that you have successfully achieved the above for those selected topics, and can proceed to repeat your efforts while revising for the remaining topics for the A levels.


    With the above methodology and objective in mind, you will be able to use the prelims to achieve something useful, and be able to put your resulting prelims score (whether good or bad) into perspective.


    Hope that gives you some direction to follow.



    Regards,

    Eric Chng

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  17. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received an inquiry from a student:

    What options do I have if my A level exam results are bad? Just trying to plan ahead. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!




    The full reply by our councilor Mr Eric Chng:

    Hi,

    In my opinion, these are your options:

    - Enter a private university like SIM: you could do a part-time course and work a full-time job at the same time. That way, you gain both working experience and a degree at the same time.

    - Retake A levels: you could engage private tutors if you have the funds, or take preparatory courses at MDIS. However, you have to be very disciplined at this, otherwise you could end up wasting a year if you didn’t improve your grades. Unfortunately I do know of 1 person who had wasted 2 additional years retaking A levels as he didn’t do well enough both times. Of course, if you are disciplined enough and do well enough to enter the university course of your choice, that would be the ideal outcome.

    -Consider overseas universities that are less selective than the local ones, if you have the funds to do so. You can consider Australian universities as they are well-regarded and could be less selective.

    -Enter polytechnic, do well enough there to enter the university course of your choice. I have a friend who did this and although this is a very long route, he managed to graduate with a business degree from NUS and is doing reasonably well now, on his way to starting his own company.


    Hope the above advice helps.


    Regards,

    Eric Chng

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  18. DOE

    DOE Member

    In response to the inquiry made earlier by a student who asked about possible courses of action to take if he doesn't do well in his 'A' Level examinations, another councilor Duncan Ang offers his advice:


    Hi,


    You need to bear in mind that the ultimate grade you receive for your 'A' Levels via MOE, has been "moderated" by SEAB and MOE before their official release. The process is so opaquely clandestine that not even school HODs and principals know exactly what "criteria" are used in the "moderation".
    Therefore, the grade a student receives may not be very reflective of the score that Cambridge gave him or her during the actual marking. I'm sorry that I can't comment further on this issue beyond here.


    There is more than one way to explore entering university via other 'A' Level exam formats, e.g. 'A' Level ( Edexcel, OCR). Such international 'A' Level exams are definitely much more recognized globally compared to Singapore's H1/H2 system. Some of my students have taken such alternative routes, and have done remarkably well in them.


    The following may serve as a guide for us in deciding on the type of 'A' Level course codes to subscribe for, in an University application: Search Function, to broadly learn the Types of ‘A’ Levels recognized by different universities Search Recognitions | CIE Search RecognitionsTypes of ‘A’ Levels recognized by NUS: NUS - Office of Admissions : International Applicants Remember, the grades (just like one's appointment in the working life) that they give you do not define you :)





    Duncan Ang (JC H2 Biology Tuition)
    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     
  19. DOE

    DOE Member

    We received a query from a student's concerned sibling:

    Hi, my sister is currently studying in Nanyang Girls' High sec 4, and is struggling quite a bit in her IM2 maths (A maths equivalent). Her final exam is happening early next month. She needs a minimum overall B3 grade (including quizzes taken throughout the year amongst other things) to be able to offer H2 maths in Hwa Chong next year, currently she is only able to manage a C5. If she fails to meet the requirement, she will need to sit for a retest in December this year. She is pretty stressed out right now needless to say, she thinks she will mess up her her final exam, and probably also her retest. In the worst case scenario, would HCI really disallow her to take up H2 maths eventually when understandably almost every of her peers would? She is trying very hard in her studies, in fact crying at times and I can only tell her not to worry too much. :(



    Please do advise me how I can help my sister. Sorry for the wall of text. Thanks.






    The full reply by our councilor Mr Eric Chng:

    Hi,

    Sorry to hear of your sister’s troubles with math. I do have students from NYGH, and I’m aware of the intense competition in there that can often leave some students disillusioned.



    To my knowledge, even if your sister does not meet the requirement to take H2 Math, she should still be able to appeal to take the subject; however, a C5 grade does hint of a poor understanding of the concepts and perhaps ineffective approach to math in general, which may result in her struggling even further in H2 Math in JC unless she takes some corrective measures (being in NYGH, it’s safe to say that she definitely has some latent ability in math that is perhaps not fully demonstrated).
    It is a little late now (1 month to the finals), but I would definitely recommend that she seek help in the form of 1-to-1 tuition as soon as possible; with the right guidance and intensive lessons, she may still be able to scrape through with a borderline B3; even a B4 would boost her chances of an appeal.



    In the meantime, as a math tutor myself, my immediate advice would be for her to quickly do a stock-take of the topics/concepts she doesn’t fully understand. Then, re-read and try to understand the parts of the notes which explain the concepts. A good tutor should be able to help to accelerate this process, and quickly point out the gaps in her understanding.



    Contrary to popular belief, endless hours of mindless practice isn’t going to be very effective; what’s needed is a systematic approach to attacking her weakest spots and to seek a firm understanding of the concepts rather than memorizing approaches and solutions to questions (as some students tend to do).

    Please feel free to contact me for a consultation if you wish, or any of the other trusted tutors on this website. Else, at the very least, she might consider taking up some of my advice above. Hope this helps.



    Regards,

    Eric Chng

    Councilor
    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts
     

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