Category Archives for Exam Tips

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

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

O’ Levels English Paper 1 2019: A Post-Mortem

'O’ Levels English Paper 1 2019: A Post-Mortem

The following are the essay questions from the 2019 O Level English Paper 1, according to feedback from several of our students who took the exam and other sources.

Unlike Paper 1 in 2018, the essay questions posed in the 2019 paper reverted to the usual mix of personal expository, discursive and argumentative options. There was a good range of subject matters that are familiar to students. Hence, I felt that the topics were accessible and the paper, fair. 

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

  • Who is the person who has made the most positive impact on your life? Describe this individual’s personality and state what he/she has done to influence your life. 
  • What was the proudest moment of your life? (A quote preceded the question)
  • Young people are obsessed with fame and imitating celebrities. What are your views?
  • People can only be happy if they feel that they are fairly treated. Do you agree?

Our students found the paper very manageable as our lessons have comprehensively dealt with structure of various essay types and in particular, discursive writing. Students have also had ample practice writing full essays on topics relating to happiness, inequities, media and youth issues. 

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.

In the weeks to come, we will conduct 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 2018.

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 23 years experience in teaching and curriculum development, her first love is still teaching and interacting with young adults.

Effective Steps To Surviving The IP

Effective Steps To Surviving The IP

Being in the Integrated Programme has its perks – and make no mistake, it is a privilege that students in the IP track have more autonomy to explore academic subjects as they want. That said, this is not a privilege that one should take lightly.

Before you commence on your IP journey, be prepared to make certain tweaks to your mindset. To borrow the words of Dorothy from Wizards of Oz: Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas primary school anymore.

Your Worst Competitor Is...

One might think that in the absence of an entire national exam (the O Levels, typically slated for a student’s fourth year of secondary school), competition between peers would be less stiff. I honestly think that – just like it is outside of the IP scheme – the degree of competition mostly depends on one’s school environment.

My own IP classes were fortunately far from dog-eat-dog, but I did feel a constant pressure to keep up with my peers in the programme. Others may argue that competition in IP is bound to be more tense, given its reputation for being ‘elite’. 

But this post is not about debate. What I can confidently say is that your internal sense of competition is bound to increase, given the entrance requirements and expectations of the IP, no matter the external environment. That is:

  • Your peers will naturally seem more well put-together than you, and you might consequently feel a sense of inferiority.

  • The curriculum will seem way tougher than what you personally think you can handle, and you might consequently feel a sense of inferiority.

You see where I’m going with this? Do prepare for the fact that your worst competitor (AND critic, all rolled into one) might be yourself. 

If you’re struggling in a competitive environment, many will tell you, “don’t compare yourself to others”. I think it’s important to add: if you feel negatively overwhelmed, don’t compare yourself to who you think you should be, or the stage you think you should be at! This brings me to my next point … 

Give Yourself Time and Space

The IP scheme was introduced in 2002 for the express purpose of allowing students “broader learning experiences that would develop their creativity, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity and leadership skills” (MOE, 2002). These are soft skills in which progress is often not linear, nor immediately visible. 

  • Don’t let your fear of not being ‘good enough’ inhibit the fun and joy that you’re learning to have
  • Grant yourself enough time to get used to the demands of the programme, which may seem all-too-rigorous at the start.
  • Give yourself space to experiment with new ideas, even if it means you risk making mistakes. The IP allows students more freedom to play around with different aspects of academic thought, so make the best of it.
  • If you’re facing extreme difficulty, talk to your friends or adults you trust. There’s always a way out!

Create your Own Structure

It is no coincidence that many students who leave the IP midway to pursue an alternative path cite the same reason: because the programme gives so much flexibility, structure has to be self-imposed. 

Taking personal responsibility and staying disciplined thus become crucial to surviving the IP. From CCA and leadership positions to the choice of subjects taken, it is you who will be in charge of carving your own path in the programme. 

I remember doing a lot of introspection in the programme, as I had to decide what choices to make on my own. I cannot say that I made the best ones as a carefree teenager, but I genuinely appreciate the freedom of choice which I was given.

When push comes to shove in the sixth (and last) year of the programme, discipline becomes all the more important. One obstacle that I, and many of my friends, experienced was the transition from blithe independence to the ‘now or never’ mindset that teachers started to drive home.

From my experience, friends who had experienced the O-Level crunch – and were therefore used to the levels of discipline necessary for staying on track – were more mentally equipped for the A-Levels. Still, you need not fret so long as you cultivate discipline within freedom.

About The Author

Miss Fiona Tan is a Teacher Associate at Creative Campus. As a Hwa Chong Institution and NUS alumna, she is particularly familiar with what it takes to excel in demanding exam conditions.

New Ideas For Learning English

3 Powerful And Effective Skills To Write, Speak And Communicate With Impact

Now that we have hopefully put things into perspective, let’s put them into practice. I have compiled a fresh list of ideas that ideally will inject new life into your English learning.

Keep your ears perked

While I believe that books in their written form are timeless artefacts, they are not the be-all-end-all of language improvement. This is especially so if you are not a learner that thrives on written linguistic stimuli. 

  • Want to read more but prefer auditory input? Try audiobooks! There are many such sites (audiobooks.com ; audible.com) and mobile applications (e.g. Google Play Books) that allow you to access an extensive variety of titles whenever you like.


  • Want to make the most of your commute? If you have earphones, podcasts (or audiobooks, as previously mentioned and informative videos are great for enjoying on the go! TEDTalks or How Stuff Works, which are available both as podcasts or as videos, are tried-and-tested channels that cover an immense number of topics. Feel free to find any channel that you like and will continue enjoying; consistency is after all, key to improvement.

Build your reading stamina 

If your purpose is to excel in school comprehensions and essay writing, I still do suggest that you ensure you have the stamina to understand or write an entire short text. If need be, you can slowly build up your ability to concentrate on texts:

  • Short attention span? Try reading shorter books, like novellas, short story compilations, or poetry collections! They still help you concretise your command of the language, and as a plus – you gain exposure to a more diverse range of writing styles.

  • Read when no one’s looking! Next time you come across an event brochure, advertisement, or any sort of non-conventional media material – pay attention to how its written or laid out, try asking yourself questions about its purpose, and challenge yourself to structure your thoughts into full sentences. This is of course good practice for VTC, but much more importantly – it’s good practice for life! Who knows, maybe you’ll end up wanting to go for the event!

Make conscious effort

Will Smith famously once said, “if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready”, and it’s a good motto to prepare for exams by. Once you make conscious effort at the beginning of your learning process, it becomes much easier to keep it a habit. 

  • Make a list. I have been guilty of wondering what a word or phrase means, looking it up once, and then having this entire situation repeat itself the next time I see that particular word or phrase. To combat this endlessly cyclical phenomenon, try keeping a word log of words you don’t know. Collect words from all the compres you’ve had, books you’ve read, and people you’ve met. Look them up, so you’ve a working idea of what the dictionary defines them as. Then…

  • USE THE WORDS! Challenge yourself to write any sentence using those words, or even better – use them in your everyday life. I promise you that they become much harder to forget once they become part of your everyday vocabulary!
  • Connect the dots. After a while, you’ll begin to recognise some patterns between words. A particularly good example of this are word affixes that most people have an intuitive understanding of. Let me give an example:

      dis-: has the sense of negation, like in ‘disbelief’ (not-belief) or ‘dissimilar’ (not similar)


      junction: a common enough word, like in ‘road junction’. We know that it’s “a point where two or more things are joined” (Oxford English Dictionary).


      Hence, if we see the word ‘disjunction’, we can safely assume that it means something ‘not-joined’, which is similar to its dictionary definition: “a lack of correspondence or consistency”.

    dis-: has the sense of negation, like in ‘disbelief’ (not-belief) or ‘dissimilar’ (not similar)

    junction: a common enough word, like in ‘road junction’. We know that it’s “a point where two or more things are joined” (Oxford English Dictionary).

    Hence, if we see the word ‘disjunction’, we can safely assume that it means something ‘not-joined’, which is similar to its dictionary definition: “a lack of correspondence or consistency”.

That’s all we have for today. Enjoy the process!

Additional links:

List of audiobooks, available online

List of podcasts suitable for teenagers

More about words

About The Author

Miss Fiona Tan is a Teacher Associate at Creative Campus. As a Hwa Chong Institution and NUS alumna, she is particularly familiar with what it takes to excel in demanding exam conditions.

PSLE 2019 Paper 1: A Post- Mortem

PSLE 2019 English Paper 1: A Post-Mortem

The PSLE 2019 is finally done and dusted. The general consensus was that Paper 1 was ‘ok’. 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.

Paper 1

(1) Situational Writing

The pictures depict a comic conversation between a child and her uncle. He has a pair of tickets to a movie but is unable to attend as he would be overseas on a work trip. Write an informal letter to your best friend, Linda, inviting her to a movie with the details, and explaining why she would be interested in joining you. For this letter, the following pointers are crucial:

  • the informal letter format should be observed
  • the letter must address the recipient as ‘Linda’ and his/her ‘best friend’
  • the letter must be signed off in an informal manner eg Yours sincerely,/ Cheers,/
    With love,/ Your best friend
  • students must be meticulous enough to pen down all the necessary information
  • the questions ask for two reasons why Linda would be encouraged to watch the
    movie: students should use the information given as clues eg. free tickets/
    Linda’s love for action movies/ Linda’s favourite actor is the leading man

The following is the essay questions from the 2019 PSLE English Paper 1:

Write a composition of at least 150 words about a celebration. 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 the reason for the occasion?
  • How did the occasion turn out in the end?

You may use the points in any order and include other relevant points as well. [* The three pictures given include people dancing on a stage; a family portrait of 4 – parents, baby and elder sibling; and an invitation card.]

The topic was doable and the pictures were equally relatable. At Creative Campus, our students had practice on this theme twice, with the various scenarios included.

This year, the topic calls for students to reinforce the theme by relating it to a celebration, such as a performance for a Teacher’s Day celebration, a baby’s first birthday bash, or an invitation to a best friend’s graduation party.

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 2019 Sample Worksheets

On the week after the PSLE, students at Creative Campus were taught how to handle the PSLE 2019 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.

Valuable Tips To Improving English

A FRESH LOOK AT ENGLISH FUNDAMENTALS

Greek mythology tells of a king named Sisyphus, punished by Zeus for an act of deceit. In the story, Sisyphus is eternally tasked to roll an enormous boulder up a steep hill, only to watch helplessly as the boulder inevitably rolls down when it reaches the top. 

Today, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “Sisyphean” as “denoting a task that can never be completed”. A Sisyphean task – this is what I think of when friends and family ask me for quick and easy ways to improve their English.

To me, learning is a life-long process, and few can ensure learning that is both immediate and authentic. I can, of course, do my best to help. 

STICK TO THE BASICS AND GO WIDE

How many of us here have heard that to get better at a language, we have to listen, read, write, and speak? Although these so-called four ‘language skills’ seem simple in theory, many people either under- or overthink them, leading to much spinning of their wheels.

The fact is that neither discounting the practice of fundamental usage skills, nor obsessing over the kind of material to consume, is beneficial towards the learner. All listening, reading, writing, and speaking will be helpful; in fact, the more diverse the content you consume, the better.  

DEVELOP DIVERSITY BY READING ANYTHING KNOWLEDGEABLE 

There is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ type of thing to read! When I was younger, literature reigned king, and so I was told to only read books. Today, primary school students take Media Studies, which is “designed to train students to be media literate individuals” (SEAB, 2017).

Indeed, improving our English means being able to understand any text, so that we can critically think about its content or communicate effectively with its author. 

To borrow the words of linguist Wilhem von Humboldt: language is the ‘infinite use of finite means’. English, like any other language, does not draw from a fixed pool of knowledge.

Outside the classroom – which is to say, in the grander scheme of things – English is used in multifarious ways. Reading (and listening, speaking, and writing) diversely is a surefire way to improve without even feeling like you’re trying. It’s like ‘learning by osmosis’!

EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN FOR BETTER RECALL AND MEMORY

I may be biased as a Linguistics major, but delving into the history of language and words is one of my favourite ways to improve. Have you ever looked at a list of irregular verbs and wondered why English grammar was so hard to master?

Have you ever looked at an idiom and questioned how exactly their meaning could differ so drastically from its literal one? Well, your answers lie in history – how English has changed over time. 

This video, for example, explains why irregular verbs even exist:

By looking up how a particularly difficult-to-remember grammar or vocabulary point has evolved over time to be the way it currently is, you equip yourself with a mnemonic device that will concretise your memory further. 

Download Your Free Copy of our Pro Tips for Comprehension, Composition and Cloze Passages

Pro Tips To Help Your Child In The EOYs

This Free Giveaway can be easily viewed on your mobile devices​​​​

About The Author

Miss Fiona Tan is a Teacher Associate at Creative Campus. As a Hwa Chong Institution and NUS alumna, she is particularly familiar with what it takes to excel in demanding exam conditions.

How I Dealt With High-Stake Tests

How I Dealt With High-Stake Exams

Handling national exams like the PSLE, O-Levels and A-Levels

First things first, let’s get this straight: few people like exams. The process of exam prep is often mentally challenging, intellectually fatiguing, and in certain cases, physically demanding. Yet, exams are a constant force in Singapore’s formal education system.

National exams like PSLE, O Levels, and A Levels happen every two to four years after the age of 12 – and this is to say nothing of the intermittent school exams that happen yearly until students leave school.

When I was still in the thick of said education system, I tried my best to take a hakuna matata approach to learning. This was not always easy to do in my immediate schooling environment, which might be politely described as “enthusiastic” on our best days, and “competitive” on our worst.

Over time, I’ve marshalled a fair few tricks that have helped me deal with the stress of routine testing. These include both practical tasks which are most
germane at zero hour, as well as personal philosophies that prevent stress from reaching a critical point. Allow me to share four pointers with you.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY AND MIND TO ENSURE MENTAL CLARITY AND ALERTNESS DURING EXAMS

If we were to see exams as a marathon that we must run, then clearly, our bodies are infinitely salient to the process. Getting sufficient sleep, movement, and nutrition, even when exams loom close, has been key to my stress reduction.

I found sleep particularly important in my younger days, as afternoon activity after activity took its toll on my energy levels. In my later schooling years, my schedule became more flexible and self-directed; at that point, I had to learn to prioritise habits like exercise, eating wholesome meals, and pursuing fulfilling hobbies.

Remember: rest is requisite. The last thing you want to be is sick or sleepy on your exam day, which is all too likely should you push yourself too hard. When it’s time to work, work hard; but when it’s time to decompress, do give yourself time to do something fun or good for yourself!

3 USEFUL TIPS TO REDUCE COMMON DISTRACTIONS FACED BY STUDENTS TODAY

The pervasiveness of digital technologies – and ergo, digital distractions – cannot be understated in this day and age. I can think of many an instance where I chose to spend “five more minutes” on social media or YouTube, rather than do the task that I was supposed to do. 

Sheer willpower is oftentimes insufficient, so you may find these tips helpful instead:

  • Leave your phone/tablet/laptop in another room, or leave it with someone who can keep you accountable.
  • Use apps that help regulate the time you spend on particular apps or sites.
  • Select suitable study spots. If you can’t focus in your bedroom – go somewhere else!

USE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU - THE PRODUCTIVE TOOLS I'VE USED AND WHAT I'VE DISCOVERED OVER THE PAST 16 YEARS

When it comes to “exam techniques”, “tips for studying”, “how to manage time/cram for exams” – I’ve been there, done that. Over the past sixteen years, I’ve tried the gamut of study methods: (Click on the links below to learn more)

*Pomodoro for time management;

*Cornell for note-taking and

*Bullet Journal for keeping on top of tasks.

I’ve tried studying first thing in the morning, late at night; at home, at school, in libraries; the list goes on. The only thing I’ve found that works? Doing what best serves you, and not anyone else.

Give different study techniques a shot (if you’d like!) before exams are nigh, but stick to the basics in your routine when it comes to crunch time. 

For example, the Pomodoro method was lauded by everyone around me, but I found that I had little patience for its 25-5 intervals.

Instead, I did better with ‘warming up’ in the daytime and more focussed studying at night. Sticking to a routine that I was comfortable with made for a less stressful, more timely preparation process.

FOCUS ON THE PROCESS - WHY CONSISTENCY AND MOMENTUM ARE THE BUILDING BLOCKS TO EFFECTIVE LEARNING

“The higher the stakes, the higher the pressure”: this perspective seems intuitive and almost natural to us. Parents, teachers, and students alike fret much more about national exams like PSLE or O-Levels than regular school tests, even though the difference between the former and latter is one of degree and not of kind.

Students should prepare for all tests/exams in the same way – by focusing on the
preparation process, and not the hypothetical catastrophic consequences that might (or more realistically, might not!) occur after the results come back.

I applied the same amount of effort to my weekly quizzes in university as I did to the final exams that happened every semester; as a result, not only were my quiz results consistent, I was much less stressed out in the days leading up to my final exams.

In other words: if we treat so-called ‘small stuff’ as equally important parts of the learning process, learning becomes more consistent and more organic. Following that, big-ticket items will naturally become less daunting – as they should be.

Download Your Free Copy of our Pro Tips for Comprehension, Composition and Cloze Passages

Pro Tips To Help Your Child In The EOYs

This Free Giveaway can be easily viewed on your mobile devices​​​​

About The Author

Miss Fiona Tan is a Teacher Associate at Creative Campus. As a Hwa Chong Institution and NUS alumna, she is particularly familiar with what it takes to excel in demanding exam conditions.

GP IP Essay Writing Classes

Boosting Students' Confidence in Essay Writing

Parents often ask about how lessons are run at Creative Campus. Here's a video snippet of how an essay writing lesson is conducted. We approach essay writing for Secondary levels and up in the same manner.

This is a rare window into a GP lesson for a class comprising predominantly J1 students. The students were given 3 questions and this was the one question that no one chose because they found it difficult:

"Many receive an education, but few are educated." Discuss with reference to situations in your society today.

Empowering students with a methodical approach to essay writing​​​​​​​​​

  • The video shows how the teacher helps the students get over the fear of an assignment by deconstructing the perceived 'tough' question.
  • One of the goals is to empower students with a structured approach to essay writing. This is done by analysing and breaking down the question. to more manageable bite sizes.
  • We also believe in the value of an interactive, lively class discussion. When steered by an experienced teacher, this can stretch the ability of each student to think more critically about a topic.

Keen to find out more about our GP classes, or classes of other levels (K2, Primary & Secondary) ? Kindly click the Call Now button below and get in touch with our admin representative.

We are happy to answer all your questions on scheduling and how we conduct lessons.

‘I see dead people’ ~ Cole Sear

Is there such a thing as a ghost? Whatever an individual's personal views are on the subject, culturally most of us are brought up with the understanding that the dead lives in another form that still requires some kind of sustenance. An afterlife is largely dictated by several factors: the kind of life they had lived on earth; how their remains were disposed of at their death; and/or how they were remembered by the living.

The details of the afterlife in different cultures can vary, but the constants are that such a realm exists. This realm is governed by immutable laws, while the souls of the dead will remain there unless given licence by the gods to return to the land of the living for a specific reason. These reasons can include improper funeral rites; a lack of any kind of burial; murder where the body is missing or improperly buried; or to resolve some unfinished business.

The appearance of ghosts of the departed, even those of loved ones, is rarely considered a welcoming experience. The dead are supposed to remain in their own land and not expected to return to the world of the living. When such an event does occur, it is a sure sign that something is terribly wrong. Those who experience a spiritual encounter are expected to take care of the problem in order for the ghost to return to its proper place. This understanding is so prevalent that ghost stories can be found, with very similar themes across many cultures.

In various cultures, the spirits of the dead can benefit the living unless they are given improper burial rites. The Hungry Ghost Festival, which originated to honour and appease the dead, continues to be held on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the year. Known as the "Ghost Month", this time is thought to be when the veil between the realm of the living and that of the dead is thinnest and the dead can easily cross over.  So that’s why during the ghost festival, you see people leaving out food and gifts for the dead in the hope that they will be appeased and not bother the living.


Do you know a Spooky Place in Singapore?

There are many locations in Singapore that are thought to be haunted. Here, we highlight two locations that are considered to have high spook factor: 

Changi Old Beach Houses

On paper, this place seems like a good idea. Need a break from hectic work life? Renting a house near the beach would be the perfect getaway. However, you might be in for something a little more sinister. People have reported feeling like they were stared at and some have even returned home with scars. Others have also complained about doors creaking open and shut non-stop, and at night, witnesses claim to have heard a woman wailing. Changi Beach was used as the site of the infamous Sook Ching massacre during WWII. It is rumoured that the souls of the innocent slain continue to roam the beach, weeping and wailing in the night. Passers-by also claim to have spotted bloodstains on walls.

Pulau Tekong

EVERYBODY has heard the horror stories from Pulau Tekong. Boys, you share them in your bunks and then do not sleep at night. Girls, you hear them from your male friends and thank your lucky stars for the comfort of your own homes. The most frequently-told tale is that of a young man for Charlie Company who went for his 16km route march and got separated from the pack. He was later discovered by his platoon commander with all his insides laid out next to his body. Beds in the recruit's former bunk often shake for no reason and some people even report hearing his voice at night. Apparently, a third door was built in the bunk to let his spirit out but he continues to roam the bunkers.

The Worst House Guests

Houseflies. They are everywhere and anywhere.

Believed to be native to Asia, houseflies now inhabit nearly every corner of the globe. Except for Antarctica and a few islands, houseflies live everywhere people do. Houseflies are synanthropic organisms: they benefit ecologically from their association with humans and domesticated animals. Conversely, houseflies are rarely found in the wilderness or in places where humans are absent. Should humankind cease to exist, houseflies might share our fate.

They procreate anywhere too, as and when they wish, laying their eggs even in feces. Their rate of reproduction is so fast that, if not for environmental conditions and predation, houseflies would perhaps rule the world.

Houseflies breed in the things we revile - garbage, animal dung, sewage, human excrement, and other nasty substances. While living among these filth, they feed on them too. With sponge-like mouth-parts, houseflies soak up liquefied substances. When a housefly locates something tasty but solid, it regurgitates onto the food. Its vomit contains digestive enzymes that quickly predigest and liquefy the food for the fly suck it all up.

Other than its gross vomits, houseflies poop a lot too. Nearly every time a housefly lands, it defecates. So, the housefly almost always does poop where it eats. Keep that in mind next time when one touches down on your favourite meal...


Something to ponder

1. How do houseflies decide something is appetising? 

2. How do houseflies transmit diseases?


Here's how

They step on it! Like butterflies, houseflies have their taste buds on their toes, so to speak. Taste receptors, called chemosensilla, are located at the far ends of the fly's tibia and tarsa (in simpler terms, the lower leg and foot). The moment they land on something of interest – your garbage, a pile of horse manure, or perhaps your lunch – they start sampling its flavour by walking around.

Houseflies thrive in places that are teeming with pathogens, hence they have a bad habit of carrying disease-causing agents with them from place to place. A housefly will land on a pile of dog poop, inspect it thoroughly with its feet, and then fly over to your picnic table and walk around on your hamburger bun for a bit. Their food and breeding sites are already overflowing with bacteria, and then they vomit and defecate on them to add to the mess. Houseflies are known to transmit at least 65 diseases and infections, including cholera, dysentery, giardiasis, typhoid, leprosy, conjunctivitis, salmonella, and many more.

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