A Complete Guide to JC & A Level GP
Entering a Junior College (JC) can both be an exciting and stressful event for students, where they will be exposed to an extensive syllabus that they are expected to be well-versed in by the end of 1.5 years. In addition, being exposed to what seems like a completely new subject – General Paper (GP) in place of English can be daunting for most. Here at MindFlex, we have compiled an ultimate guide to the A Level GP syllabus, stocked with all the information you’ll need to know about A Level GP; together with free resources that’d help you achieve an A for A Level GP!
1. An Overview to A Level GP
Under the A Level curriculum, GP is a compulsory subject to be taken by students in place of the English language subject. Essentially, A Level GP bears many similarities with English, with the written examination format largely following that of the PSLE and O Level English. In addition, A Level GP also aims to allow students to develop the ability to think critically and construct coherent arguments through concise and accurate language. A Level GP also exposes students to a wide variety of global and local issues, allowing students to be more in-touch with the real world. This allows students to build a strong foundation in the key understandings of the fast-changing world in order to meet the demands of higher education and the workplace in the future.
A Level GP poses challenges for most students due to the need for a good foundation in the English language, as well as the need for immense amounts of general knowledge of global and local affairs. Hence, it is pivotal for students to grasp a good foundation in both the English language and the skills required in the A Level GP examination during their JC1 year, in order to further build on their skills and knowledge in the second year, which will allow them to do well for their A Level GP.
In addition, doing well in A Level GP is crucial if the student is intending on applying to local universities either to be exempted from the Qualifying English Test (QET), or to apply for undergraduate degrees such as Law, Public Policy and Global Affairs, Economics, Psychology and more.
2. Objectives of A Level GP
The aim of A Level GP is to enable students to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the world through fostering critical awareness, as well as to develop skills for critical thinking, effective communication and evaluation.
Paper 1 (Essay)
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of diverse range of topics
- Analyse and evaluate topics across disciplines
- Express understanding and critical and creative thinking
- Formulate cogent arguments
Paper 2 (Comprehension)
- Comprehend text(s) in detail and as a whole
- Identify and infer information
- Summarise and evaluate information
- Make observations of trends and relationships
- Apply understanding and interpretation in tasks derived from the text(s)
Use of English
- Usage of good spelling, punctuation and grammar
- Employ a variety of linguistic styles and expressions suitable for the context
- Use and demonstrate understanding of a range of vocabulary
- Clear presentation of information
More information can be found under the SEAB Syllabus.
3. A Level Exam Format
A Level GP consists of 2 segments – namely the Paper 1 (Essay) and Paper 2 (Comprehension). In addition, a portion of the mark allocation for each paper is also dedicated to the use of language.
3.1. Paper 1 (Writing)
50 marks, 1 hour 30 mins
Content Marks: 30
Language Marks: 20
The A Level GP Paper 1 comprises 12 questions of different topics. Topic areas are derived from issues drawn from across disciplines or issues of local interest and global concern. Examples of topics may include: social media, society, politics, law, culture or marriage. Students are required to pick 1 out of the 12 questions and write a 500-800 word essay. View the A Level GP 2020 Essay Questions for examples of questions.
3.1.1. Challenges Faced in A Level GP Paper 1
As with any other open-ended essay-based paper, students might find it difficult to brainstorm ideas or express their ideas coherently. In addition, added difficulty is placed on the A Level GP Paper 1 due to the need for a wide range of general knowledge and content required to do well. Students are required to be well-versed in the topic in order to generate ideas and arguments for their essays. In addition, sufficient writing skills are required for students to frame their essay and put forth their arguments coherently and clearly with appropriate language and vocabulary.
3.1.2. How To Score Well for A Level GP Paper 1
In order to do well, students are encouraged to be well-versed with global and local issues and current affairs, as well as to invest time and effort in consolidating a content bank with issues and arguments across different topics. Extensive in-depth understanding of key issues discussed in society presently will also be helpful in helping students do well for the A Level GP Paper 1. Above all else, students should also have a strong foundation in the English language as well as possess appropriate essay-writing skills. Here at MindFlex, our experienced A Level GP Tutors have years of teaching experience and are well-versed with the GP syllabus to provide concise and guided support for students in their GP essay. For additional tips to score well, read our Top Ways to Prepare for A Levels GP.
3.2. Paper 2 (Comprehension)
50 marks, 1 hour 30 mins
Content Marks: 35
Language Marks: 15 (a separate but holistic score based on entire script)
In Paper 2, students are required to answer various Short-Answer Questions (17 marks) based on one or two text(s). The Short-Answer Questions will cover understanding of the comprehension text, including literal and inferred meaning, as well as vocabulary. In addition, students are also expected to answer a Summary Question (8 marks) and Application Question (10 marks), which requires students to possess technical and analytical skills in order to answer the questions well.
3.2.1. Challenges Faced in A Level GP Paper 2
In Paper 2, Time Management has been proven to be something that many A Level English students struggle with as there are many different sections with questions of varying lengths. In particular, the Application Question is usually deemed as the most difficult and time-consuming section of the Paper 2, and it is usually also the last question. Hence, students tend to spend too much time on the front of the paper, leaving the Application Question only to the end – resulting in the lack of time available to complete the question and hence compromising the quality of the answer.
3.2.2. How To Score Well for A Level GP Paper 2
Here, practice and exposure are needed to ensure that students are well-versed in the various sections and are able to critically analyse and make meaning of both the text(s) and the questions. Students should also aim to get sufficient practice through attempting past-year papers under timed conditions to simulate examination conditions, in order to ensure that they are able to complete the entire paper in time. Lastly, having a comprehensive knowledge on general and current affairs or knowledge on a wide range of topics can also come in handy for students in the Application Question.
4. A Level GP Tips and Resources
The sheer amount of content mastery required for A Level GP is definitely a lot for students. Furthermore, students might also be caught up with extracurricular activities or other A Level subjects, which makes studying for A Level GP even harder. Here at MindFlex, we have compiled a list of key study tips and free resources, perfect for giving you the head start to ace the A Level GP examination.
4.1. A Level GP Tips
1. Start a Content Bank
In order to do well for A Level GP, students are required to read up extensively on global and current affairs and be exposed to different topics ranging from marriage and culture to politics and law. Hence, MindFlex recommends starting a content bank. This can be done through either a hardcopy notebook or an online one. Upon reading up or researching on a particular topic, students can note down key points, arguments and important issues to note, as well as brainstorm possible questions revolving around the particular topic.
This way, students will be able to get a good bird’s eye view of the various important topics and issues happening around the world, hence making it easier to study the content for examinations.
2. Craft a Study Plan
Many students struggle with doing well in their A Levels due to increased commitments and the sheer amount of workload for their multiple subjects. Hence, it is crucial for students to plan and allocate their time wisely in order to set aside sufficient time to study in addition to their other commitments and rest time. Students can get started with planning their study schedule through using printables, their school handbook/planner or drawing their own calendar/timetable.
3. Form Study Groups
Multiple studies have shown the benefits of study groups – hence it is no doubt that forming study groups with a bunch of friends or classmates can prove to be advantageous in helping students prepare for the A Levels. Given the rigour and stress involved in the A Level exam preparation, having a study group can help students to clear any doubts and form a healthy, productive study schedule. In addition, students can also destress with the study group at the end of their study session, which helps to promote a healthy work-life balance.
4. Exam Practice
A lot of practice is needed for students to grasp the content and be familiarised with the different question types and skills required – which is why MindFlex has researched a list of free downloadable A Level GP exam papers. By attempting a range of GP exam papers, students can be exposed to different topics and question types which has proven to be beneficial for A Level GP students in ensuring that they are exposed to a breadth of content and skills.
Additionally, it is also advantageous if students are able to take the exam papers under exam settings (ie. under timed conditions) in order to simulate real-life examination conditions. This way, students will be made aware of the speed and accuracy required to do well for their A Level GP examination.
5. Getting Extra Help
Tackling A Level GP can be extremely difficult if not armed with the correct skills and guidance. In addition, given the difficulty in amassing the accurate analytical skills required to analyse and interpret the various GP topics and Comprehension texts, students might require additional guidance that is tailored and customised. Given the subjectivity in marking and grading GP essays, it might also be difficult for students to study the subject on their own.
Hence, getting an A Level GP Tutor might come in handy. Here at MindFlex, we have over 7,000 trained and experienced A Level GP Tutors who have valuable tips and resources that will help improve students’ GP grades. Our A Level GP Tutors also have a wealth of resources, notes and content that will be made available to students to help them learn better.
4.2. A Level GP Resources
Here, we have compiled our top 9 resources for your child to aid him/her in their A Level GP preparation.
1. A-Level General Paper Model Essays By Themes
The guidebook serves as a good starting point for students who are struggling with their GP Paper 1. With 30 model essays from a wide range of topics, students can extract key concepts and ideas from the model essays, which will be extremely beneficial in preparing for their Paper 1 examination.
2. A-Level General Paper Understanding Singapore Issues
Written by the same author as the guidebook before, this guidebook is solely focused on unpacking Singapore issues that can come in handy for GP essays, which can be used for both the Paper 1 Essay and the Application Question in Paper 2.
3. GP Study Magazine
GP Study Magazine is a mobile app dedicated to helping students study and revise for their A Level GP examination. It features multiple GP essays and articles from a wide range of topics and issues to enrich students with content for their future essays. In addition, the app also includes many videos, infographics, data and figures to help supplement students’ learning. Furthermore, the easy-to-access interface allows for easier on-the-go learning.
Staying focused is something that is a struggle for many A Level students – especially with the large amounts of distractions and temptations posed to them. Hence, Forest comes in handy as an app to help students focus without getting distracted by their phones. It features a well-designed interface that can motivate students to engage in it by planting a virtual tree. While the tree is planting, a timer is triggered and students are unable to use their phones for that situated amount of time, or risk ‘killing’ their tree. Through this gamified interface, it will be beneficial for students who are trying to reduce their mobile phone usage and instead, focus on studying.
As mentioned in our tips, starting a content bank for GP can be beneficial for students. Notion is a note taking app that offers a powerful, database-driven note-taking experience. It has multiple useful features that can make the note-taking experience smoother. In addition, since it can be used online, students can write their notes on-the-go while they are commuting, and be rest assured that their notes will be safe and will not be lost or misplaced.
Find out more information about Notion on their website.
6. Free A Level GP Notes
Since GP relies heavily on content knowledge and skills, it can be extremely helpful to have a consolidated stack of notes to aid you in studying. Furthermore, having collated content on global affairs can greatly ease the amount of workload required to sieve through the Internet or newspapers for content – this way, students can focus on understanding and digesting the consolidated content provided to them.
7. Free A Level GP Exam Papers
We know how expensive extra exam resources can be – so, here at MindFlex, we have collated a list of free A Level GP exam papers that are downloadable, perfect for extra practice or revision.
8. A Level GP Tuition
Nothing beats an extra pair of hands to guide your child in their learning. Engaging in effective tuition classes can help you improve and gain an even greater interest in GP as a subject. Hence, we’ve collated a list of A Level GP Tuition Centres that can help push your GP grades further!
9. MindFlex GP Home Tutors
We completely understand the hectic school and study schedules of JC students. This is why home tutoring might be a more suitable option to ensure that students are able to study comfortably. MindFlex has over 7,000 A Level GP Home Tutors for you to choose from – all of whom are experienced and will be able to help aid students in their GP. Enjoy high-quality guidance and education at the comforts of your own home with MindFlex’s A Level GP Tutors.
The A Levels are undoubtedly one of the most stressful and rigorous examinations for students. However, it is still important to realise that the A Levels are a crucial stepping stone for one’s future. Apart from doing well, it is also important for students to learn the correct mindsets and transferable study skills in order to do well in their further studies.
Here at MindFlex, our A Level GP Tutors strongly emphasise on holistic education that is relevant in the fast-paced and ever-changing environment. By focusing on transferable skills, students will be able to gain genuine interest in the subject and learn important life skills and expand their mastery on general and current affairs, helping to mould them into ambassadors and future citizens.