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Model Essays for Blueprint to PSLE Success: Composition

Here are some sample writings from our Blueprint to PSLE Success: Composition

Referred to in Chapter 1 of our Blueprint

Referred to in Chapter 2 of our Blueprint

Referred to in Chapter 3 of our Blueprint

Referred to in Chapter 4 of our Blueprint

Referred to in Chapter 5 of our Blueprint

Referred to in Chapter 7 of our Blueprint

Time to Embrace Earth!

Time to Embrace Earth!

April 22nd is the annual celebration of the Modern Environmental Movement in 1970. It is known as Earth Day, or International Mother Earth Day.

ORIGINS OF EARTH DAY 

On 22 April 1970, 20 million people gathered in the streets of the United States to protest against environmental destruction. This protest was sparked by the Santa Barbara oil spill and its devastating impacts on the environment. In December of the same year, Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency, which was dedicated to clean up the nation’s natural resources. Rising awareness of climate change and the need for a clean environment grew amongst many American voters. 

“It took this basket of issues that we now call “the environment” and elevated them spectacularly in the public consciousness.”

~ Denis Hayes, organiser of the first Earth Day


WHY IS EARTH DAY IMPORTANT?

On a broader scale, Earth Day teaches the importance of conserving and protecting the environment. As society progresses into a more technocratic one, we have to remember the importance of protecting the Earth for future generations. 

The rapid development of society has only caused air pollution, global warming and deforestation to worsen, causing the temperature of the Earth to rise and multiple animal species to go extinct. 

Here are some reasons why having an environmentally conscious society is important:

  • Protecting the environment protects humanity- Pollution has caused natural resources like the air and water to be unclean. This also causes the quality of food to be affected, leading to the ingestion of toxic substances.

  • Forests provide raw materials such as food, rubber and timber.

  • Forests provide habitats for multiple species- Destroying forests would lead to the destruction of the ecosystem, causing more species to be endangered/go extinct

WHAT CAN WE DO TO LEAD AN ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS LIFE ?

Being environmentally conscious for one day is a step in the right direction. However, small changes in our lifestyle can reduce our carbon footprint, making Earth Day everyday! 

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!

  • REDUCE your carbon footprint- Less private cars on the road means less carbon emissions polluting the air! Riding your bike or taking the bus not only allows you to experience the sights and sounds of Singapore, but is also a great way to spend quality time with your family!

  • Use REUSABLE items- When shopping for groceries, bring a big reusable bag instead of using the plastic bags provided at grocery stores! Singapore uses about 1.76 billion plastic items each year, 860 million of which are plastic bags from supermarkets! Beyond just taking up space in landfills, turtles and other sea creatures often mistake plastic bags to be jellyfish, consuming such waste.

  • RECYCLE or UPCYCLE your clothes- Instead of buying a new outfit every few months, thrift! Places like Lucky Plaza and Salvation Army have one-of-a-kind pieces that are cheap and can reduce your consumption. Often, these stores allow you to donate your old clothes in exchange for ‘new’ pieces. Your pre-loved clothes can become a part of someone else’s new wardrobe (and vice versa).Upcycling clothes and thinking of new ways to style old pieces is another way of recycling an old wardrobe! By taking in the waist of an oversized dress or mashing two pieces of clothing together, upcycling works your brain muscles and reduces fabric wastage. 

Questions to Consider:

1. What other reasons can you think of to save the Earth?

2. What other changes can you make to your lifestyle to make the world a better place? 

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Primary Level Comprehension

Tips on the Comprehension Component

In the recent examination, our teachers found that students have problems sourcing for answers in the Comprehension Open-Ended component. Students tend to make the following mistakes:

* They cannot identify the correct source in the passage for an accurate answer;
* They give incomplete answers; or
* They do not answer the question required.

In the Comprehension Open-Ended component, practice is key. Students must show that they ‘comprehend’, and therefore, understand the passage and the expectation of each question.

The following aspects are suggestions to improving Comprehension:

  • Understanding the question-- This can only be achieved by reading and understanding the passage well -- at least twice -- before sourcing for the answer. 

  • Checking the mark allocation-- Marks are an indicator of the length of the expected answer. For instance, if it is only a one mark question, then the answer is short and that there is probably only one point to source for.

  • Realising the importance of clues/sourcing-- In the months leading up to the next exams, students should attempt more timed trials to practice time management. In addition, post-paper analysis, do go through specimen papers. By practising the right sourcing techniques, students can discern the patterns and fine tune their answers accordingly. The importance of proper sourcing techniques should not be underestimated. 

Tips on Composition Writing and the Oral Component

After poring through the examination papers, our teachers have noticed the following problems students face:

1. During Essay Writing and Oral Practices, many students have memorised certain key vocabulary words and phrases, and try to force-fit these words and phrases. Sometimes, this can come off awkwardly. (e.g. John was over the moon to be punctual for school).

2. During Essay Writing, students conclusions tend to be cliched (e.g. I learnt that honesty is the best policy.)

3. During Oral-picture practices, while the students would give short and direct responses, they were unable to elaborate or think wider than the teacher’s initial question or prompts.

The following are suggestions to improving essays and orals:

  • Brainstorming-- Prior to Essay Writing, going through key vocabulary words and phrases that the students think they will use or is important. This helps everyone to learn new vocabulary and how to use them effectively.

  • Planning-- Students can improve their conclusions by planning more natural or meaningful conclusions (e.g. “…and receiving the bicycle it was one of my best birthday present!” vs “…I learned the importance of cycling safely and considerately”). At Creative Campus, we construct essay conclusions as a class by experimenting and penning down various ideas prior to writing the essay.

  • Structured Responses-- For Orals, our teachers set aside a certain structure students should use to answer for every question. E.g. Direct answer (Yes / No / I’ve visited this before / I’m interested in this / etc) + Reason + Example + Lesson learnt or other thoughts (if any). Excelling in orals takes time, but students can take baby steps to learn and adapt.

The new PSLE syllabus has a stringent rubric. By applying the essential skills and techniques, students can break that 35-mark barrier in essay writing, thereby having the added advantage of clinching that AL1 in the English paper.

Here are more exam tips from our specialist teachers

Primary Elite - Cloze Passages

Primary Elite - Comprehension

A Review on the Cloze Passage Component

In the recent examination, our teachers found that the students fail to realise the importance of clues in the Comprehension Cloze component. They either did not source for clues, or when they did, failed to identify the accurate sources.

In the Comprehension Cloze component, the words tested are often those that students are expected to know; and can be traced in the content and context provided in the passage.

The following aspects are key:


Understanding the passage

Read the passage more than once. This will help the student to be more mindful of the context of the passage.

Filling in the blanks

Actively use sourcing techniques to nail down the most suitable word to use. For example, use the process of elimination for tricky questions. Do read the passage again after the blanks are filled in to check.

Read widely

Most Comprehension Cloze passages touch on general topics and so, students should be aware of the vocabulary specific to these topics. Since there is no shortcut to reading, do start early, and the mid or year end break is a good time to consolidate vocabulary.

In the months leading up to the next exams, have more time trials, and post-paper analysis. Revise the pointers on exam techniques and look out for patterns in the type of answers that are usually expected in the exams. Good luck!

Ms Germaine Lee

Senior Teacher: Creative Campus Learning with Latitude

Mrs Elizabeth Yeo

Director: Creative Campus Learning with Latitude

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Harry Houdini The Illusionist

Come one, come all and witness the amazing Harry Houdini!
Fill in the blanks with a suitable word. Each word can only be used once.


  • inflammation

  • restrain

  • repertoire

  • break

  • thrilling 

  • theatrical

Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz) was  Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer. He was first noticed in vaudeville, a Q1. ________ genre of entertainment born in France and later became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until early the 1930s.

Houdini began his career in 1891 but had little success until he began experimenting with escape acts. Three years later, Houdini met his wife and performance partner, Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner, or simply known as “Bess”. 

Houdini’s big Q2. ________ came in 1899 where he performed at top vaudeville houses in the country. By 1920, Houdini had appeared in theatres all over Great Britain, performing escape acts and illusions.

He also toured the Netherlands, Germany, France and Russia, becoming widely known as “The Handcuff King”. In each city that he performed in, Houdini would challenge local police to Q3.________ and lock him in jail cells to perform escape routines.

In Moscow, he had escaped from a Siberian prison transport van, claiming that he would have had to travel to Siberia for the key if he was unable to escape. 


From freeing himself from jails to ropes and straitjackets, Houdini began to expand his Q4. ________. This began with escaping from a locked, water-filled milk can.

Possible failure and death was Q5.________ to Houdini’s audience. Such dangerous routines became part of his act, where he would be trapped in nailed packing crates, riveted boilers and even the belly of a whale that had washed ashore in Boston. 

Houdini passed away from peritonitis, the Q6.________ of the linings of abdomen walls, in 1926 and was buried in Machpelah Cemetery.

Answers

  • A1. theatrical

  • A2. break

  • A3. restrain

  • A4. repertoire

  • A5. thrilling

  • A6. inflammation

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Remembering Rosa Parks

Remembering Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a seamstress by profession and was also the secretary for the Montgomery chapter of NAACP, a civil rights organisation working to advance justice for African Americans.

Known as the “mother of the freedom movement”, Parks was born on 4 February 1913. She was given this title due to her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott and the fight against Jim Crow Laws in the USA. 

To further understand her as a revolutionary figure, we have to understand the history of racism, slavery and segregation in the USA.


Slavery in the USA: The legal institution of human chattel enslavement

From its founding in 1776 to 1865, slavery existed in America. The rapid growth of the cotton industry in the south of America increased the demand for slave labour. This caused the United States to become polarised (and not so united) over the issue of slavery, where the Northern and Southern states were split into free and slave states, respectively.

This consequently resulted in the American Civil War beginning in 1861, leading to the end of chattel slavery in America. However, the end of slavery did not mean the end of oppression for black people in America.

Jim Crow Laws on Public Transport Systems

Laws were created in some states to separate people of colour (mostly black people) and white people. This meant that some public services like restaurants, schools and even drinking fountains were exclusively serving white individuals, disallowing black people and people of colour from entering the premises.

Racial segregation laws were enforced on public transport systems. For example, white people were allowed to fill seats from the front to back while black people would fill seats from back to front, until the bus was full. If a white person boarded a crowded bus, everyone in the black row nearest to the front half of the bus would have to stand so that a new row of white people could be formed.

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

One afternoon in 1955, Parks was seated in the foremost row in which black people were allowed to sit. When a white man boarded the bus, everyone in the foremost row was told to move back by the bus driver. She refused and noticed that the driver was the same man who stopped her from boarding his bus from the front door a few years prior. Parks was later arrested for failing to obey the driver’s orders.

The arrest of Rosa Parks spread outrage throughout the black community in Montgomery. An impending boycott was advertised at black churches where an organised system of carpools was created. Black taxi drivers began to charge a fare equal to the cost of a bus ride in support of the boycott. 

From white housewives driving their black servants to and from work, to individuals hitchhiking, cycling and driving horse-drawn buggies, the boycott proved to be extremely effective as it caused the city transit system serious economic distress. After 381 days, laws were finally amended and black people were allowed to sit anywhere they chose on buses.

This history of resistance and protest for equal rights is seen throughout Black history. Rosa Parks is one of many heroic figures who helped ignite such passion for change in future generations.

Let's Discuss

The passion for change and justice can be seen though figures like Rosa Parks who stands for the civil rights and freedom of her community. What kind of changes (environmentally, socially, politically...) do YOU feel passionate about?

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A New Years’ Party: The 5 Senses

A New Years’ Party: The 5 Senses

2021 is here! It’s time to say farewell to 2020 and usher in the new year by celebrating with our loved ones. What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you taste? What can you feel?

One of the best ways to describe our surroundings is through the five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. This is collectively known as sensory imagery. Through involving the use of descriptive language to create mental images, the writer is able to engage the reader, making the scene come alive in the mind’s eye. Can you identify the specific sensory word(s) in the phrases below?


Sight:

  • Tungsten lamps painted the room with an orange glow

  • Fairy lights sparkled in hues of blue and red

  • Fireworks shattered into a thousand sparkles against the velvety black sky

Sound:

  • Sudden pop of party poppers

  • Swiftly followed by squeals of excitement and delight

  • The countdown ended with loud tooting and hooting

  • Hot hissing of sparklers

  • Whistling sounds turned into loud spatters of fireworks

Smell:

  • Sweet scent of pork ribs and burning charcoal

  • Aroma of mother’s freshly baked chicken pie

Taste:

  • Saccharine-sweet taste of strawberry custard

  • Freshly baked buttery crust left a sweet yet salty taste in my mouth

Touch:

  • Lush velvety texture of my dress

  • Fizzy soda tickled my tongue

  • "Three! Two! One! Happy New Year!" we cheered with delight as my mother pulled me into a warm embrace

Test Yourself
Exercise 1: Here are some celebratory idioms. Can you explain what they mean?


  • Life and soul of the party

  • Pour cold water on

  • Burning up the dance floor

  • Paint the town red

  • Let your hair down

Exercise 2: Using the party-related sensory imagery and idioms shared above, describe your own New Years’ party!


  • Someone who is very lively and the centre of attention of a party or social gathering

  • Someone who turns an atmosphere cold ; usually puts a dampener on ideas

  • To dance with fervour and enthusiasm

  • To enjoy yourself with flamboyance

  • To relax and behave more freely

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General Paper 2020: A Post-Mortem

General Paper 2020: A Post-Mortem

Even as 2020 presented us with unprecedented challenges to learning—thanks to the virus that shall not be named—our students rallied, mostly online, and worked with resolve and efficiency.

I dare say, we made it work unexpectedly well and the groups were so cohesive that the experience turned out to be an enriching one. I could not be more proud, nor ask for better students.

GP 2020 graduates comprised a mix of students who journeyed with Creative Campus for over 6 years, and those who spent their JC years with us.

Each had personal areas to work on, be they improving essay structure, content development, or refining vocabulary and linguistic intricacies. Most went above and beyond, especially in the final weeks leading up to the GP papers!

I will dearly miss the individual personalities who were the highlights of my Thursdays and Saturdays. It has been an interesting and rewarding year with a graduating class who each adapted, worked hard and persisted right up to ‘go’ time.  

Most thought both Papers 1 and 2 were manageable except for paraphrasing of answers required in a couple of SAQs [comprehension Short Answer Questions].

Weighing in on Paper 1

Answer one question. Answers should be between 500 and 800 words in length.


1.How reliable are statistics as a guide for planning the future?

2.To what extent is human life in general about the survival of the fittest?

3.‘Individuals achieve sporting success, not nations.’ Discuss.

4.‘We shape our buildings, but then our buildings shape us.’ To what extent is this true of your society?

5.To what extent can any society claim to be great?

6.Examine the view that the scientist is concerned only with knowledge, not morality.

7.Given greater levels of international cooperation, how necessary is it for countries to engage in the arms trade?

8.Should politicians pursue the popular viewpoint or their own convictions, if they conflict?

9.Is modern technology a benefit or a threat to democracy?

10. ’An appreciation of music is vital for a fully rounded education.’ How true is this of your society?

11. ‘In a free society, there should be no restrictions on freedom of speech.’ Discuss.

12. How far can prosperity and uncontrolled population growth go hand in hand?

Paper 1 2020 was another fair paper offering a good range of topics and themes for candidates to choose from. The key to acing the GP essay is in the candidate’s evaluation and analysis of criteria and issues related to the question asked.

Hence, those who merely listed factors, and/or went about essay topics in a 'pros and cons' manner, would have presented limited arguments. These scripts would not score well in their content; neither would scripts that presented example-driven arguments.

The more popular questions, according to a poll of our students were (in order of popularity): 6, 9, 3, 5. The honorable mentions were: 12, 4.
__________________

Below is a quick summary of points that candidates could consider in regards to Question 4:  ‘We shape our buildings, but then our buildings shape us.’ To what extent is this true of your society?

Candidates must be mindful to evaluate whether and how our buildings shape [influence, impact] Singapore and Singaporeans. They should not merely expound on what our buildings reveal about Singapore and her citizens.


Possible Points of Argument

  • The buildings are private and public spaces that affect all aspects of our everyday life. While buildings are constructed to serve their various functions, they shape our routines, purpose, the way we socialise etc.
    EG: Housing Development Board flats, community centres, schools/various institutes of learning that have shaped our world-class education standards and are also historical institutions in Singapore [Raffles, ACS etc]

  • EG: Housing Development Board flats, community centres, schools/various institutes of learning that have shaped our world-class education standards and are also historical institutions in Singapore [Raffles, ACS etc]

  • Buildings are physical emblems of our history and culture--shophouses, museums. They continue to impact younger generations of Singaporeans by reminding them of our roots and traditions. EG the Peranakan museum, conservation houses along Joo Chiat, Emerald Hill

  • By extension, our buildings can also serve to fortify our national identity, reminding us of our multiculturalism, multi-religious roots, reinforcing the tenets of ‘regardless of race, language or religion’. EG: various places of worship, ethnic enclaves which buildings showcase the various cultural elements. For Singapore in particular, hallmarks of our political and judicial ideologies also exist--Parliament House, Supreme Court [now National Gallery Singapore]

  • But buildings are designed by Man to serve their primary functions [as purpose-specific venues and little more]. In land-scarce SG, constant urban redevelopment to fulfill practical needs. However, through time, our values and priorities have changed/ developed. We now construct more ‘green’ buildings as more importance is being placed on sustainable development. EG: Gardens by the Bay, Oasis Hotel Downtown, which has four lush sky terraces, 1,793 large planter boxes, and four large structural cores that allow for good cross ventilation reducing the overall energy cost.

  • Constant construction and reconstruction also means that our environment is always changing. This impacts us in terms of national identity, and our sense of rootedness and history. Our original National library was demolished to make way for the Fort Canning tunnel. Constant urban development and modernisation shapes our future-focused attitudes, rather than valuing the past.

Weighing in on Paper 2, the Application Question

The single passage was on the topic of apologising. This year, the SAQ [comprehension Short Answer Questions] required much paraphrasing of answers and several carried 3 marks. Because the passage was fairly easy, paraphrasing of answers in the SAQ and Summary sections would require a good range of vocabulary.

According to feedback from several of our students and other sources, the AQ asks:

In the passage, the author discusses the constituents of successful and less successful apologies. How far do you agree with the views expressed by the author, based on your experience in your society? [10]

As part of our GP curriculum, we will be conducting lessons with our students on how to competently handle the 2020 GP Papers 1 and 2.

Should you be interested to receive complimentary worksheet and lesson notes, fill in your email address below and we will send you, on the week of the lesson, the analysis to:

  • Paper 1 Q4 and other popular questions,

  • Paper 2 AQ

GP Classes- Not Your Average GP Tuition

Our curriculum is pitched at the academic level of top-ranking schools in Singapore, and focusses on the important know-how required to skilfully navigate GP. 

You can access the full Post Mortems via the links below. Each has been viewed over 2,000 in 2020 alone.

General Paper 2019: A Post-Mortem
https://www.creativecampus.com.sg/general-paper-2019-post-mortem/

General Paper 2018: A Post-Mortem
https://www.creativecampus.com.sg/exam-tips/english-enrichment-resource/general-paper-2018-a-post-mortem/

General Paper 2017: A Post-Mortem 
https://www.creativecampus.com.sg/exam-tips/english-enrichment-resource/general-paper-a-level/

PSLE 2020 Paper 1: A Post- Mortem

PSLE 2020 English Paper 1: A Post-Mortem

The PSLE 2020 is finally done and dusted. We are pleased that our graduating cohort has attempted similar scenarios on separate themes, and that they have been equipped with the know-how to handle this essay question. We are excited to share the following information with you, curated from several of our students and other sources. 

While this serves as a checkpoint to how the current cohort has done, we hope to shed some light on how certain challenging questions can be overcome in the national examinations.

The following is the essay questions from the 2020 PSLE English Paper 1:

Write a composition of at least 150 words about something that was lost. The pictures are provided to help you think about the topic. Your composition should be based on one or more of these pictures. Consider the following points when you plan your composition.

  • What was lost?

  • Who lost it?

  • How did it end?

  • What were the lessons learnt?

You may use the points in any order and include other relevant points as well. [* The three pictures given include a mobile phone on a bench; a boy at an information counter; and a poster of a missing cat.]

At Creative Campus, we want our students to get first-hand information about the PSLE English Paper 1 which took place on Thursday, 1 October 2020. 

Delving deeper and handling the essay with a better perspective is what differentiates an average student from the crème de la crème. Students should inject scene and emotion descriptors; address the problem and solution that arise from the plot; and showcase their personal voice with unique metaphors, imagery and tone.

The focus on techniques, rather than staid model essays, will gear them to attempt any topic with ease, and in the process, stand out from their peers.

Free PSLE 2020 Sample Worksheets

On the week after the PSLE, students at Creative Campus were taught how to handle the PSLE 2020 question effectively.

We have prepared a simulation of the essay question, based on the feedback from several of our students and other sources.

 Fill in your details to receive your free worksheets.

Primary Classes

View our selection of classes that are specially tailored for the Primary level.

‘O’ Levels English Paper 1 2020: A Post-Mortem

'O' Levels English Paper 1 2020: A Post-Mortem

The essay questions posed in the 2020 paper offered a mix of question types. Unlike most years, this year’s paper saw a higher dose of descriptive options and all questions took on a personal slant, rather than an objectively discursive one. There was a good range of subject matters that are familiar to students, and our student found the paper manageable.

The following are the essay questions from the 2020 O Level English Paper 1, according to feedback from several of our students who took the exam, as well as other sources. As such, variations in the phrasing of the questions exist.

You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on one of the following topics.

  • Describe some things you do to relax after you were busy. Why do you find them enjoyable?

  • ‘There is no place like home'. Is this true for you?

  • Describe a time when you tried to impress someone but ended up regretting it.

  • Learning from our mistakes will help us to be successful. What is your opinion?

Our students have had ample practice writing full essays on topics relating to youth issues and all things SIngaporean. They have also explored subjects that are more personal in nature.

The content to each essay topic has the potential to be elevated and the student who structures and expresses his ideas more eloquently will stand apart from the masses.

For the questions with the explicit requirement to ‘describe’, students would need to inject descriptive elements into their writing. Since all the questions require students to tap into their personal experiences, students need to be cautious that language is not overly casual nor conversational, as writing from the first-person perspective tends to be. Therefore, the differentiator to excel in Paper 1 2020 is likely to be language.



As part of our Secondary curriculum, we will be conducting an essay writing lesson with our students on how to competently answer these essay questions.

Should you be interested to receive the complimentary worksheet and lesson notes, fill in your email address below and we will send them to you on the week of the lesson. You will also receive worksheets and lesson notes to the O Levels English Paper 1 2019.

Secondary Regular Classes


O Levels 2019 Results: 100% Scored As and Bs. 2/3 Scored As

Early preparation is the key to scoring well for the exams.

About the author:

Ms Geraldine Chew is a Founding Director of Creative Campus. She is also the Director of Programmes for Secondary, General Paper and IB. With over 24 years experience in teaching and curriculum development, her first love is still teaching and interacting with young adults.

General Paper 2019 Post Mortem


General Paper 2019: A Post-Mortem

Our GP 2019 cohort came from diverse JCs. Each had areas that needed work, be they content development or vocabulary and linguistic intricacies; but work they did! It has been a rewarding year with the graduating class who have each worked hard and made improvements over the months leading up to the exams.  

Most thought both Papers 1 and 2 were manageable except for a couple of more challenging SAQ [comprehension Short Answer Questions].

Weighing in on Paper 1

Answer one question. Answers should be between 500 and 800 words in length.

  1. How far should countries have relations with others whose human rights record is poor?
  2. To what extent should income equality be a goal in your society?
  3. ‘Science is the only answer to global hunger’. Discuss.
  4. Consider the view that social media has more influence than politicians.
  5. To what extent is artificial intelligence replacing the role of humans?
  6. ‘A leader’s responsibility should always be to his or her own country, not other nations.’ Discuss.
  7. ‘Religion is an important part of the lives of young people today.’ Consider whether this is true in your society.
  8. Does violence in the visual media portray reality or encourage the unacceptable?
  9. Is globalisation to be welcomed or feared today?
  10. Should both parents take equal responsibility for raising their children? List Element
  11. Assess the importance of food within Singaporean culture.
  12. Can fiction teach us anything meaningful about the real world?

Paper 1 2019 was another fair paper offering a good range of topics and themes for candidates to choose from. The key to acing the GP essay is in the candidate’s evaluation and analysis of criteria and issues related to the question asked. 

Hence, those who merely listed factors, and/or went about essay topics in a 'pros and cons' manner, would have presented limited arguments. These scripts would not score well in their content; neither would scripts that presented example-driven arguments.

The more popular questions, according to an online poll which candidates took were (in order): 5, 9, 4, 12, 11. 

This year, I thought to review the questions based on the topics that are more popular with candidates.



Science and Technology

Questions on science and technology are a favourite, and popular with exam-setters and students alike. 

This year, there were again, 2 questions on this topic, with Q5 being the more popular.

Q3 : “Science is the only answer to global hunger.” Discuss 

This asks candidates to evaluate the broader topic of science within the narrower scope of global hunger. What this means for candidates is that they need to go deeper into the relationship between the 2 realms.


  • The word “only” is a clear indicator that science alone is not the answer.

  • Candidates must address HOW science can provide answers to alleviate or solve world hunger, but also acknowledge that science alone is intellectual: knowledge about the natural world that is based on facts learned through experiments and observation; an area of study that deals with the natural world.

  • Hence, science is extremely limited in that it can offer studies that lead to technological applications, but essentially, it may not provide tangible tools or solutions, and is dependant on Man’s wielding.

  • Other factors must also be considered: human avarice and self-interest, governmental priorities and policies, that scientific exploration utilises the very resources needed to treat/solve global hunger.

To receive the full analysis to:

  • Paper 1 Q5 and other popular questions, 

  • Paper 2 AQ



Weighing in on Paper 2, the Application Question

The two passages offer contrasting views on the topic of zoos. According to feedback from several of our students and other sources, the AQ asks:

Waldorf argues that zoos should be closed down, while Morgan argues the necessity of zoos. How far can you agree with the observations made by these two authors for you and your society? [10]

At the coarsest granularity, the authors’ theses read as follows:

Walford: In principle, zoos deprive animals of their natural habitats and instincts for human pleasure. In practice, animals in zoos suffer from poor living conditions. Hence, zoos are unethical and should not be allowed to exist any longer.

Morgan: In principle, zoos begin from a human concern for animal welfare and serve scientific purposes. In practice, animals in zoos are safe and populations can recover. Hence, zoos are important and have an important ecological role.

What is interesting about this pair of passages is that the authors engage each other head-on. It is not a situation where, for example, A writes from a philosophical standpoint why something is justified or unjustifiable, and B writes from a practical standpoint why, in reality, that something is not all good or not all bad. In those cases, it is easy to evaluate each author on their own merits, and it is easy to achieve a balanced AQ by assembling a coherent picture out of the pieces picked up from both passages.

Here, however, we have to be decisive about things:

  • In principle, do we think zoos are really about human enjoyment, or human education? We can’t have it both ways. We can’t argue that zoos are fundamentally premised upon both entertaining and educating humans at once.

  • In practice, do we think zoos actually mistreat animals, or are the animals better off than they would otherwise be? We can’t have it both ways. We can’t argue that zoos turn out to both do more harm than good and more good than harm.

  • And, ultimately, do we think zoos are intolerable or indispensable? Or… do our answers to the first two questions leave us somewhere in between?

To receive the full analysis to:

  • Paper 1 Q5 and other popular questions, 

  • Paper 2 AQ



GP Classes- Not Your Average GP Tuition

Our curriculum is pitched at the academic level of top-ranking schools in Singapore, and focusses on the important know-how required to skilfully navigate GP. 

You can access the full Post Mortems via the links below. Each has been viewed over 2,000 in 2019 alone.

General Paper 2018: A Post-Mortem 

https://www.creativecampus.com.sg/exam-tips/english-enrichment-resource/general-paper-2018-a-post-mortem/

General Paper 2017: A Post-Mortem 

https://www.creativecampus.com.sg/exam-tips/english-enrichment-resource/general-paper-a-level/

Our J1 students have already started preparing hard for General Paper 2020. We take a break from lessons until January 2020. I look forward to more intellectual sparring and argumentation with my students in the new year!
~Contributed by Geraldine Chew [Ms] and Ten Ting Kai [Mr] 5 November 2019

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