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Transiting from Secondary School to Junior College: What you need to know

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This article gives 4 tips on how to survive the transition from Secondary School to Junior College.

Credit to you and your teachers’ hard work that have brought you good results for your O-level examinations, giving you the option to study in Junior Colleges. For many, the next two years may seem a breeze, after all, you have done well enough to enter a JC

The coming to JC marks another milestone, just like the transition from primary to secondary school – new environment, new classmates, teachers and school culture.

Unlike the transition from primary to secondary school where changes are accommodated for through slow and careful introduction of the new subjects, in JC, you will find yourself facing familiar subjects, yet at a width and depth previously unknown. It’s like suddenly jumping off an escalator onto a speeding roller-coaster.

Getting an A grade in the O-Level does not guarantee you an A for A-levels, even for your favourite and most confident subjects. Most of the A-level subjects take the giant leap from memorising to applications of concepts learned. The rigour of A-level takes a different approach, you will find previously learned concepts constantly challenged, and it’s natural to feel a little lost.

You may be overwhelmed by the myriad of activities in the college and the endless amount of homework. You may get anxious and have issues coping with this adjustment.

New environment and rigour, (which mimics how the teaching style of the university will be), majority of students that I have encountered got winded by this huge and sudden leap in teaching style: less hand-holding, more self-directed learning, break-neck pace, huge workload, and longer curricula and extracurricular hours. You would be exhausted by the time you reach home.  

What can you do to better prep yourself?

1. Take Stock

Take stock and access your strengths and weaknesses before you choose the best subject combinations. It’s better to take the subjects that you have passion with, and that you are stronger in.

2. Assess How You Learn

Access the type of learner you are, find out what is the most effective studying methods that worked for you, learn about how to perform the best, while studying less.

3. Prioritise Your Time Wisely

While it is tempting to take up non-academic commitments, be mindful that you are in JC to take up the examinations which gain entrance to University.

Many students end up over-committing themselves to non-academic pursuits, which results in their constant struggle to catch up in that less than 2 years of JC life. Worst-case scenarios? Failing the examinations or dropping out of college entirely.

Disclaimer: Not to discourage you from taking up extra-curricular activities, in fact, these extra-curricular gives you a good portfolio record, but it should not be at the expense of your results. Take up commitments that you KNOW you can handle, and not those you “THINK” you can handle.

4. Be Consistent and Do not Procrastinate

A great number of JC students have overlooked this aspect, preventing them from attaining good grades. Unlike studying in a secondary school, you cannot leave revision up to the last minute before any major exam. Be an active student in the class, stay attentive, stay awake! You no longer have textbooks, so you will need to actively and effectively take notes. Reading notes is not enough to even pass the exams – you will need to spend bulk of your time practising questions to master the concept. Thus, the more information you retain during your class time, the less time you will need to spend on revision.

Read 8 things I wish I knew before starting JC