Mastering The ‘A’ Level Examinations
In a short period of two academic years, every Singapore JC student at the age of 16 undergoes a rigorous ritual meant to prepare him or her for the demands of the ‘Advanced’ level examinations, the ‘A’ levels.
The student will likely take three subjects at the H2 level and a further one subject at H1 level inclusive of Mother Tongue, Project Work and General Paper. With so many topics to cover, papers to read, and practice exams to do, the demands of the Singapore ‘A’ levels can be quite unnerving at times — even for adult tutors like us!
Some parents cope by hiring a tutor. Tutored students get ahead of their peers because the tutor has the benefit of having gone through the subject matter so many times, it’s like a second nature to the tutor. Students don’t worry about falling behind as they rely on the tutor for help and advice when they’re stuck. Moreover, they are not constrained the the general pace of learning as their other classmates. The class syllabus in school moves along as fast as the slowest student in the class. And the teacher is left to attempt to answer the questions of thirty-odd students during the short lesson time. JC classes per se, while necessary, may now be insufficient to obtain a distinction.
The advantages of a home tutor are numerous. A home tutor allows students to focus on the task at hand — mastering the various subject matter — without having to devote an excessive amount of time on figuring out what to study, and how to study it. One of the greatest challenges faced by a majority of Singapore JC students is the lack of time to manage and organize their studies. A tutor helps students relieve some of the time constraints, leaving students with just a little more time to do their CCAs and relaxation activities.
The Purpose of ‘A’ level Tuition
Fundamentally, the goal of tuition is to guide students through complex questions and to the solutions. Because the tutor is well versed in the subject, the tutor is able to show the student how to handle a question in a shorter amount of time that it would take them to do on their own. We believe that the single most important factor to the success of the student is the quality and aptitude of the assigned tutor. That’s why we have one of the most stringent criterias for selecting tutor in Singapore.
Furthermore, we provide a systematic and an effective teaching syllabus (drafted by our own MOE teachers) for our tutors so they can coach students in a formal, coherent, and effective way. In addition, we have wide-ranging revision materials and practice examinations available to help students better prepare for tests and examinations.
Our lesson plans include extensive exam practices and test preparation techniques, including time-management skills and step-by-step guidance to answering questions. Our tutors administer tests at regular intervals, to better gauge the academic level of the student so they can revise their teaching plan. Students see real progress in the exam results and this builds their confidence and motivation in the months before the actual ‘A’ level examinations. We have found that being calm and confident is key in helping the students excel during the actual exam day.
Tutor+ has focused and specialized in teaching at the ‘A’ levels and IP for many years, and our tutors have developed a strong expertise in preparing our students for entry to the universities.
For the academic year of 2015, we have tutors conducting tuition classes for the following subjects (JC 1 & 2, IP Year 5 & 6, IB Year 5 & 6):
- General Paper
How is Tutor+ Different?
Our Tutors have to (1) follow a syllabus prepared by MOE teachers and distribute (2) subject materials prepared by our specialized curriculum team. As such, students who learn with our tutors gain distinct advantages over other tutors:
Strong Theoretical Understanding
Our JC tuition program is meant to to provide all our ‘A’ level students a very firm foundation in the theoretical aspects of the subjects taken at the ‘A’ level. The ‘A’ levels is essentially a preparatory step to University, and the curriculum tends to be theory based (as opposed to practical classes in vocational institutes like Polytechnics and ITE). Instead of simply going over generalized points and offering repetitive explanations, our experienced JC tutors puts the focus on giving students a fundamental understanding of the concepts and principles of the subjects. For instance, why does the AQ of the General Paper follow a PEEL format? Why must it be done this way? Each topic is taught from beginning principles and students are gradually guided into increasing building their in-depth understanding of the subject matter. This ensures that any misconceptions on the fundamentals of each subject is rooted out at an early stage, and not during the Preliminary Examinations.
Comprehensive Lesson Notes
We prepare comprehensive notes and materials for each topic of each subject. These are highly summarised notes that further supplement the MOE ‘A’ level curriculum. These materials are prepared by our team of curriculum teachers, and written exclusively for our students. Our students say our notes not only help them understand the subject matter better, but also are very helpful revision material in preparation for the ‘A’ levels. Our notes and materials are updated once every 6 months and we have a specialized curriculum team who are continually looking out for the latest MOE directives. JC students are busy people, with CCAs, internships, and of course, studying commitments — our goal is not to “give” the answers to the students. But to give them the maximum possible advantage as they prepare for the ‘A’ levels.
Practice Exam Papers from the Top JCs
Practice makes perfect. There are no “ifs”, “buts” or “whys”. Many of our top students do well because they do practice exam papers. Again, and again, and again. Moreover, it’s also important that students understand the mistakes they make as they put their learned fundamentals into practice during the examinations. Our syllabus incorporates ample use of many past years examination papers. Our tutors not only distribute the MOE answer scheme to the exam papers, our tutors also carefully explain the MOE answer scheme to the students. 3rd party examination answers are often insufficient or outright wrong since publishers are under pressure to release new editions of their “old” books. Our tutors are experienced and highly qualified, they assist students by showing the students how to present and format their answers in order to do well.
Students join our tuition program because they want to do well. We understand that, and place significant resources to work towards that end. Our tuition lessons equips students with both understanding of the subject matter, as well as imparting skills required to perform well in the examinations. For example, we teach basic speed reading for our GP students. Our tutors not only go through the students work, pointing out mistakes, but also identify important concepts and teach students to write clear and concise answers. Common mistakes made by previous students are shared with the tutoring students so they will avoid the same mistakes. Our dedicated tutors are also available to the students even outside of class time. During exams periods, students may reach our tutors through Whatsapp messaging or SMS as well.
Highly Qualified Tutors
Our team of JC tutors are made up of ex-MOE teachers and full time tutors. A significant number of our tutors have been prior trained at NIE, several of them have also been on the ‘A’ level examination committee of the various JCs. A few of our senior teachers have even won accolades during their time teaching with MOE.We take great care in crafting a proper and qualified curriculum team to guide our syllabus. We also have a strict and rigorous interviewing criteria that not many tuition agencies have. We believe that we have assembled a team of tutors with the ability to offer students the valuable guidance that untrained tutors and undergraduates tutors are not able to provide. Our tutors are Singaporean, and have gone through the Singapore education system. They have strong communications skills and are passionate about teaching. We believe that through inspiring and engaging students to immerse themselves into the subject matter, our tutors will ensure that the students perform at their best during the ‘A’ level examinations.
When Students Do Well. We Are Satisfied.
Our tutors are lead by a team of Hallmark & Excellent MOE teachers who have significant experience in teaching — in fact, they have been teaching for their entire career! Our Free Learning Support Programme is given to the students who need extra help outside of class time. With a strong familiarity and deep understanding of the Cambridge ‘A’ level syllabus and examination requirements, our experienced tutors are offer useful tips and make the learning process more efficient and productive, thereby giving students that extra advantage during the exams.
To see how we have fared over the years, we have placed some of our students’ testimonials up on the site for reference. Many students have taken the time to write long testimonials for the teachers who have spent countless hours guiding and coaching them. As a tuition agency, we are thankful and touched at the difference our efforts have made to the future of these students.
When the ‘A’ level results come out, we believe that students who do well ultimately deserve most of the praise for their outstanding results — we have simply provided the guidance and the practice materials. We are proud of our students, and our outstanding team of teachers.