Pass GP Exam in Junior College

Is the study of General Paper challenging?

Learn more about the potential obstacles of GCE A Level General Paper to be more prepared for this compulsory subject in Junior College (JC). Contrary to conventional belief, General Paper is not a ‘current affairs’ subject that can be prepared through casual reading of news articles and magazines. Instead, regular reflection, discussions and writing are necessary to develop the essential critical thinking and literacy skills to meet the requirements set by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB).

Content of GCE A Level GP Examination for Junior College

What are the areas of study for General Paper?

It is imperative to identify the examination format of assessment and the syllabus content to be more prepared for the GCE A Level General Paper subject.

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Examination Format

For the examination format, JC students are expected to sit for Paper 1 (Essay) and Paper 2 (Comprehension). Paper 1 and Paper 2 carry 50% of mark weightage each.

For Paper 1 (Essay), students are to select one out of twelve questions to write an extended essay that ranges from 500 to 800 words within 1 hour 30 minutes. These twelve questions can cover different topics that address local and international issues, such as the challenges of individualism and geopolitical conflicts.

For Paper 2 (Comprehension), students are required to read one or two passages, then answer short questions, as well as a summary and application questions. The short questions assess skills, like inferences and information extraction. This Paper is to be completed within 1 hour 30 minutes.

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Content of Study

As for the topics of study, they cover a broad area, such as historical, social, cultural, economic and philosophical questions. Additionally, the more relatable scientific developments in the recent decades. While it is true that the twelve essay questions tend to feature specific themes, such as ‘Science and Technology’, it is crucial to avoid ‘spotting’ as cross-theme integration is preferred to provide a more comprehensive discussion. This is exemplified in the recent GCE A Level General Paper examinations, whereby specific topics were not tested.

Is it difficult to pass the General Paper examination?

What are the important considerations for GP?

In this section, we will examine the key factors to explain the significance of General Paper and how students can overcome the obstacles to perform well at the GCE A Level General Paper examinations.

Your fear of failing General Paper Examination for GCE A level may be the reason why you have decided to take the polytechnic path of study instead of the JC route. This may sound rationale now but it is really unsound in the future. Your fear of failing has made your life harder in the future as you will find it harder to embark on an interesting and meaningful academic career as you may miss the opportunity to pursue your study in our local prestigious university. Well, having considered the detriments of your fear, the next concern would be on the clearing of the myth about the failing of GP examination.

“When you can think, read, write and understand better, you get to know more about the world, creating an interesting and meaningful life, just like mine, at least, significant for a boy who came from Chinatown and was deprived of a western cultural backdrop.”

From the last twenty years in my teaching of General Paper, I do not agree with the view that it is difficult to pass GP examination. In fact, it is quite easy to excel in this subject. This negative mindset is set in your mind at this age as you are not prepared for the task. I agree that a good language foundation will help but if you do not have that proficiency, it is imperative that you set out to achieve this now rather than when you start working and time is not at your side by then. Commanding good language skills is not difficult if you immerse in it. It is a cultural experience that will make you understand more about the world and express your ideas in an articulate and sensible way. When you can think, read, write and understand better, you get to know more about the world, creating an interesting and meaningful life, just like mine, at least, significant for a boy who came from Chinatown and was deprived of a western cultural enrichment.

To create this proficiency and capacity, you need to acquire knowledge. It is enlightening and enriching when you know more. Hence, a curious and eager mindset to learn is imperative to make the study of GP effortless and directional. With the right mindset, accumulation of knowledge is natural as it is like breathing, eating and drinking, part and parcel of your life. I have seen how students became more matured and sensible in their mindset and expression when they have positive thinking towards learning, not just for GP but for every subject. To overcome the difficulties in the achievement for good grade for GP, you must begin with a good learning mindset.

Next, you need to be conscientious and meticulous in your learning process for GP and to do so, you must be aware of your weaknesses and strengths. Correct your errors when you need to, improve your areas of excellence and always be ready to be the better you for the next day. It is really an uphill task for some students as the achievement is based on the quality of work rather than the quantity of work. To work this, you must review your work on essay writing and comprehension, finding out what you have done correctly and wrongly. Correcting your errors is done on the notion that you know why you are wrong while improving your techniques or skills is to learn how to write in a more effective way, different from your previous work. This requires you to be attentive and cautious of the practices, discussion and knowledge acquisition. After a duration of the study, you are ready for academic excellence.

Lastly, students need to focus on the organization of materials physically and mentally where your knowledge must be stored in your shelf and your mind in an orderly and systematic manner to make sure that you can study and use the information anywhere and anytime. Mentally, the capacity to create paradigms (areas of knowledge) is important to make it easy to recollect the knowledge for application when you are doing your assignments. Physically, your materials need to be organized in a structural and systematic approach, enabling you to track your areas of study and utilize them when you need to apply. To help you in the organization, we have two digital learning apps for the study of GP at the Play Store and App Store which will aid you in organization of materials (GP Frontier and GP Study).

In conclusion, the right way to study is the only way to overcome the difficulties in passing the General Paper examination and you can eliminate your apprehension for taking the JC path to university. In fact, it is easier to achieve this way to local university than the polytechnic track (50% of students from JC compared to 20% of students from the polytechnics).


This article is contributed by Mr. Simon Ng, founder and principal JC GP Tutor of Generalpaper.com.sg, who has 20 years of teaching experience. Currently, Mr. Simon Ng specialises in both GP Tuition and Economics Tuition programmes.

What we teach in our GP Tuition?

Defining features of our programme

Sign up for our GP Tuition programme, which is available for JC1 and JC2 students. We offer an integrated and comprehensive teaching programme, featuring thematic class discussions, online apps-based learning, skills development workshops and intensive revision class practices. Our carefully-developed and fine-tuned classes are instructional and meaningful as you explore various topics and apply them effectively.

Thematic Discussion

Explore different GP topics, such as the threats of fake news, dangers of environmental degradation and the pervasive influence of social media. These topics are taught via the use of online resources and classroom discussion.

Apps-based Learning

Download our educational mobile applications, namely GP Frontier Magazine and the GP Study virtual classroom, which are instrumental in raising the productivity of your revision efforts.

Skills Development Workshops

Attend our comprehension and essay writing skills development classes, which impart you with essential skills, like idea generation, perspective setting, causation writing, the use of rebuttals and example illustrations.

Intensive Revision Practices

Be prepared for the demands of the GP examinations by joining our intensive revision lessons. These classes are conducted during the school holidays, such as March and June, to focus on conceptual revision and application.

Develop proficient writing skills for General Paper

Find out more about our GP Tuition to be ready for the examinations.