1. Understand that JC is different from Secondary School.
There is a big jump between JC and Secondary, and while some of the topics and subjects are similar and require your prior knowledge, the requirements and marking scheme is very different. Take it that you’re starting afresh from the beginning!
2. Plan a Schedule for everything.
It’s always good to stay on task. Preferably, have a notebook that already has the dates of the year written out for you.
Some teachers and lecturers will tell you what they are going to do the next lesson, so write that down on the next lesson date so you don’t forget to bring anything.
3. Outline each topic that you’re learning.
A-Level subjects have “Learning Outcomes” for each chapter, stating what the important points of each topic is. Use it as reference to check your learning and ensure you know everything Cambridge is going to test you on!
4. Collaborate with your friends.
Collaborating with other people can be effective in strengthening your understanding.
For example, decide on one paper that you will do together. Set a common starting and ending time, and everyone does the paper together, treating it like a real examination. After time is up, everyone marks the paper by themselves, and then discusses their mistakes with each other. By learning from and teaching each other, everyone can improve!
Another example is for subjects like GP, where it would be useful if everyone could help by sharing useful articles and information on a platform like Google Drive.
5. Always time yourself.
By dividing the total time of each paper by the number of total marks, you can find out roughly how much time is spent on each question. For example, each Chemistry MCQ should take less than 2 minutes to complete. If you take longer than that, you should skip and move onto the next question.
6. Read through your notes before going for lectures.
Lectures go quite fast, so in order to catch up, you might have to read and highlight important parts of your notes.
7. Have a notebook to keep track of your learning.
Keep a notebook to note things down such as:
Questions you need to ask my teacher, and the answer that you got back
Common mistakes you keep making and its correct answer
Specific MCQ Questions that are confusing and difficult with the answer and explanation
Important points you need to take note of
Topics that you keep getting confused about
Formulas and equations that you need to remember
And so on! You can personalise it any way you want, as long as it helps organise what’s in your brain a little.
Alternatively, there is a computer programme called OneNote, where you can use to take notes online instead of on physical paper. I like it because you don’t have to care about neatness and order since you can put in any information at any line you like, and add photos wherever you like.
8. Continue having good habits.
Although it seems impossible, cultivating good habits such as sleeping and eating on time is extremely important.
For example, sleeping late will cause you to be sleepy during tutorials and lectures which causes you to have to revise at home late into the night. And the cycle is repeated over and over again. Let’s try to ensure everything is right and you make the best use of the time you’re in school with your teachers that are already in front of you. Keep the house for sleeping and the school for studying.
9. Use the Internet to your advantage.
If your teacher is unreachable, there is always Google to back you up. Where is all the pictures from notes and lecture slides taken from? Google, of course. Google has all the pictures and information you need to answer your content questions. Save the pictures that are useful for you in your phone so you can refer to them at any time.
However, Google cannot provide you with answers to application questions or answering techniques. For that, you’ll have to get help from a real human (a tutor).
By Ms Cheng
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