By Aaron Goh Wei Ming (23S06H, Peer Helper) and Alisha Insyirah (23S03Q, Peer Helper)
Cover Image by Johnathan Lim (23S03M)
Your resident Aunties and Uncles are back with our Ask Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset column, this time as a collaboration between Raffles Press and Peer Helpers’ Programme (PHP)! Ever wanted to rant about that someone you just can’t stand? Overwhelmed with too many feelings? Submit your confessions to https://tinyurl.com/riadvice and we’ll give them our best shot. This column will be published at the end of every mo
Dear Disappointed Dane,
First, a disclaimer: we are not experts in GP (we are struggling too!) and we do not know much about law. However, what we do know is that you are not alone: worries about grades and university admissions is one of the most common concerns students face.
While we won’t be able to help you guarantee an A for GP or secure a spot in law school, we hope that these tips can help you take a small step towards your goals.
GP and University Applications
Some think that your GP grades are a good reflection of one’s ability to analyze and articulate complex ideas.
However, the reality is that GP grades are just one of many factors considered by universities in their admissions process. While good GP grades can certainly enhance your application, universities do not require you to get an A (a quick Google search reveals that some Singapore university law courses require a B in GP).
Furthermore, GP is but one H1 subject — universities also consider your performance in your H2 subjects, extracurricular activities, and personal statements. Take it from an expert: a self-proclaimed “Y3 NUS Law student” made an insightful post (on Reddit) highlighting his experiences applying for law school:
“Note on A-levels: generally 87.5 RP should grant you at least the interview and written test, after that it is entirely based on your performance there.”
Although this post was made 3 years ago and may be outdated, the core idea should still apply: an A for GP is not necessary.
Additionally, while GP grades can certainly be a factor in university admissions, they should not be viewed as the be-all and end-all of your portfolio. Consider focusing on developing a well-rounded profile that showcases your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities. Perhaps, this is the best and most realistic way to maximize your chances of success in the competitive world of university admissions.
If you wish to begin exploring your options, consider booking a slot with the Higher Education Office! They are certainly much more qualified to discuss this with you and will have the experience and resources to answer all your queries.
Improving GP Grades
You’ve probably heard from your seniors, peers or even family members that “GP is just English” and that it “only requires logic”. However, we know that for many of us, studying for GP isn’t as easy as it seems. While there is no surefire way to improve at a subject, here are some tips that could help you do better in the GP exams.
To Err Is Human
As cliche as this may sound, mistakes are the key to success.
If you ever feel overwhelmed by all the different materials to revise, start off with what is readily there for you: the past mistakes you’ve made. GP is a broad subject so you’ll want to narrow your focus to areas you’re weaker in. Remember that class test or Promo paper that you may have swept under the carpet? It’s time to fish it out again and read what’s most valuable—the feedback given.
If your essay is filled with angry red circles and annotations that say “so what?” or “explain!”, then this may be a sign to work on your ability to craft arguments. Alternatively, if the feedback given is that the example used does not support your argument, perhaps it’s time to start an example bank that can span across several topics.
When in doubt, always consult your best resource: your GP tutor!
Practice Makes Perfect
So you’ve identified the areas that you need to improve on and you might be wondering: what now? This is a common question, because unlike mathematics and the sciences, there technically is no fixed way to revise GP. It may seem like practising past essay questions and doing past comprehension papers will bear no fruit because the likelihood of that same question appearing again is relatively low.
However, practice does come in useful for GP! Practising your writing skills will build confidence and familiarity, while exposing yourself to various questions will train you to think on the spot. You can tap on the past year papers uploaded on IVY and the GP Infopack for a variety of questions that can be tested. It wouldn’t hurt to do an essay outline once in a while, and if you want, you can consult your teachers to receive feedback.
Don’t fight this battle alone
One way to improve your essay writing skills is to read more model essays for GP. This will give you ample opportunity to analyse the structure, format, and style of good essays, and hopefully you can discover a style you wish to emulate. Fortunately, there are plenty of essays written by current and former students, easily accessible on IVY under the “library” page. There are up to 8 years worth of fantastic reading materials for you to refer to.
Another important tip is to form a small study group with your close friends or classmates. This can be a great way to collectively brainstorm, discuss different perspectives, and give each other constructive feedback on GP assignments. One method I find particularly helpful is to create a Google Drive folder to share your work and collaborate on essay points and examples together. This will not only help you improve your writing skills but also create a supportive community that will motivate you throughout what will understandably be a hard slog.
Words of Encouragement
Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. Clicking on this article is already an act of wanting to improve your GP grades, and an important one too!
Remember that a great writer is never born overnight. Your journey towards better grades in GP will take time, but with time and effort, we can assure you that you will always be a better writer than you were the day before.
Aunt Agony and Upset wish you all the best in your journey towards improvement in GP!
Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset
If you need anyone to talk to about any issues you might be facing, do drop by My Rest Space near Marymount gate and talk to one of our peer helpers! We’re open on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3.00 – 5.00 p.m and Wednesday, from 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. If you would like to meet a peer helper on a regular basis, do email us a request at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our request form at our website https://rafflespeerhelpers.wordpress.com!