Things started well for Joshua when he attained an L1R4 score of 13 for his GCE ‘O’ Levels and could enter Innova Junior college. However, he realised that JC was not his cup of tea. “I quit JC because I realised that I’m not suited for the JC system,” he said. Instead, he took up Biomedical Sciences in RP as he was keen on the topics covered.
But he was in for quite a surprise – when he found out that life in RP was just as if not more hectic than in JC. “Second year was the most intense and unhealthy year for me as I didn’t get to have sufficient rest. I felt constantly tired,” he said.
Joshua has maintained a 3.98 GPA. “I went for almost every class and was never late for lessons. Doing my own notes and doing my worksheet helped me a lot in class as I understood a lot more concepts while doing so,” said Joshua.
Maggie on the other hand, received a L1R4 of 19 for her ‘O’ Levels and placed RP as her first choice during the Joint Admission Exercise. Initially disheartened by comments from relatives about her score she soon proved them wrong with a scholarship and a GPA of 3.63. However, it was not a smooth sailing path for her either. “Twenty-four hours is never enough as I have to juggle my various IG, family, friends and my boyfriend!”
Time was not the only issue. She faced struggles subjects like Maths which resulted in a slight dip in her GPA, “I dropped from 3.7 to 3.6 because I was struggling with my math module but I managed to pull it up to 3.63 by making sure that I know my work well instead of just doing notes, and asking questions whenever in doubt.”
Top Scorers’ Tips:
#1: Get to the pre-readings and resources
Pre-readings are very useful to deepen knowledge. Find a more efficient way of getting through your pre-readings: Divide it up with classmates who are keen to form a group and take notes. Reading everything at one go can be unproductive. While picking and choosing the right materials to study would save you some time, asking for help from seniors did a great deal for Maggie. “I would ask my seniors for their notes, and at the same time do my own notes, then combine them,” she also emphasised on re-doing practice questions, especially for mathematics modules.
#2: Do the entire worksheet
It is important to complete the entire worksheet as a whole and not just do the parts that you are assigned to. “A lot of people will only do one or two questions each, so they don’t get the whole picture. Everything is tested as a whole and it’s not just one problem today and another tomorrow. It is one big topic under one course,” said Joshua.
#3: No copy pasting during exams
When it comes to acing of the examinations, both scorers adopt different ways and tactics. “I always warm up my brain with simple MCQs as they are considered as ‘easy’ marks,” said Joshua. Maggie uses her own notes and she memorises key points. “I do not “Control ‘C’ and paste from the 6P’s as the answers are not what the examiners are looking for. Phrasing them in your own words will show understanding and thus, help you score better.”
Time management is integral while doing your paper and both scorers have proved that managing your time well and understanding your notes will help you ace the exam. “I assign roughly one minute per mark and I will go through my notes first so that I know where to find everything, and yes I do control and paste from 6P’s but I rephrase them,” says Joshua.
“I will scroll through the entire exam paper to see how many questions are there to prepare myself and I prefer to do the paper systematically from MCQ to structured questions as I am afraid that I will miss out some questions,” said Maggie.
#4: Keep good friends
Both Joshua and Maggie jot down important dates on their personal planners and make sure to have “off-days” where they know they can relax. It is always important to strike a balance between school and having fun. “Surround yourself with people who motivate you to do better. And when I can help my friends, it makes me feel good too. Especially when they come back to tell me that it is because of my help that they managed to do well.”