Dear prospective JC1 students,
Congratulations for completing your O levels.
Are you wondering about what to expect from JC life and how to ace your school exams and the A levels? Over here, I will be answering some of the frequently asked questions which I often receive at school open houses previously. Also, I will be providing some tips and insights on how you can better survive through your 2 years in the JC.
1. How is the JC curriculum and school hours like?
A typical JC student will take on 3 H2 subjects, 1 contrasting H1 subject, H1 General Paper, H1 Project Work and H1 Mother Tongue.
For the H2 subjects, there will typically be 2 hours of lectures, 2 hours of tutorials and 1 hour of practical (applicable to H2 Sciences) per week. Then for the H1 subjects, it is usually half the curriculum hours with 1 hour of lecture and 1 hour of tutorial per week. On average, you can expect lessons to end at about 3pm. On some days, it may end as early as 1pm and on some days it can extend all the way to 530pm.
Next, the school starting time also varies across the colleges. Morning assembly starts at 830am for some colleges like NYJC and CJC while most other colleges start their morning assembly at 740am. A word of caution is that schools which start lessons later also mean that your lessons will likely end later in the day.
Lectures are very different from what you have experienced in the classroom lessons of your Secondary Schools. Firstly, there will be limited opportunities for you to raise questions during the lectures. Secondly, the pace of the lesson is much faster as the lecturer only has a stipulated number of lessons to complete covering a particular topic. The lecturer may also not necessarily cover all the details within the notes. Thus, it is essential for you to read up on your notes before hand so that you can keep up with the pace. In short, to survive in the Junior College, you do have to take more responsibility, initiative and be more independent in your learning.
During the first half of the year, you will also be very involved in your CCAs particularly those in Sports and Performing Arts. You can expect to have up to 3 training sessions per week. During the A Division competition and SYF period, there will be days which you will miss a couple of lectures and tutorials. It is then your own responsibility to find out what you have missed from your classmates and if you have queries, you are to book consultation slots with your respective tutors. Trainings and competitions are also not valid excuses for not completing your tutorials dutifully. To be able to balance your academics with CCAs is no easy feat which will require alot of discipline and mental resilience on your part.
Do not forget that you also have H1 Project Work which you have to work on concurrently. H1 Project Work requires you and your assigned group mates to brainstorm of innovative and insightful ideas to solve a particular issue that your group is interested in. Be prepared to face multiple rejections of your ideas from your PW supervising tutor along the way. Consistency in working on your group’s project is key as your group is expected to submit a 2500 to 3000 word written report and execute an oral presentation in the last quarter of the year.
Overall, you can expect JC life to be very hectic and the year will soon come to an end before you realise it. Nevertheless, it is an excellent platform for you to hone your resilience skills and prepare you for what is to come at the university and working world.
2. Generally, how do students cope at the JC level?
In the initial few months, many students would find difficulty balancing their academics, Project Work and CCA commitments. Many would choose to place their priorities on their non-academic pursuits. It is only through their dismal results in the first major exam i.e. Common Test, which happens after the June holidays for most colleges, that students realise how far they are lagging behind in their academics. By then, students only have about 2 months left to work on before the school’s promotional exam (End of September and early October). This is the period when stress starts to build up because of the tight timeline that you are working with, you not only have to revise the topics covered before the Common Test but also have to internalise the new concepts acquired in Term 3. Failing to clear the JC1 promotional criteria has serious implications because it would mean that you either have to repeat JC1 or leave the college.
My advice is to be consistent in your revision efforts and if you find that you are struggling to cope with your academics, seek help early.
3. Should I enrol myself/my child for JC tuition?
I would simply say that the costs of repeating JC1 and not doing well for the A levels are high. Repeating JC1 means an additional year spent in school, entering the workforce one year later which is equivalent to one year’s loss of income.
Not performing well for the A levels means that you/your child may not be able to enrol in a desired university course of your choice or having to retake the A levels. Note that if you choose to retake your A level, you cannot just retake one A level H2 subject. Instead, all 3 H2 subjects and GP have to be retaken together at one sitting of the A level examination.
Hence, relatively speaking, the financial costs of JC tuition is really not high and should not be a difficult choice to make. The bigger concern should be about selecting the subject and the right tutor to go for tuition so that you can achieve the optimal results.
On my side, I provide private tuition for the subjects of A level Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics. You can click on “Tuition Services” to find out more details.