Essay writing can study one meh? That’s something we heard a lot as students and now, as tutors. True, essay writing is not something you can study by reading a textbook and remembering facts. However, you can study for it and improve your essay writing for JC General Paper. It’s not just about talent or luck – it’s about hard work and smart work!
General Paper is one of those love-or-hate subjects in JC, because there’s no escaping it (unless you go for its even more challenging big brother, Knowledge and Inquiry). If you are good at it, it is instant points for you. But if you are bad at it, it’s going to put an ugly mark on your A Level cert.
So, while we are on the subject of General Paper essay writing, here are some of our favourite tips on how to actually study for the GP essay component. Don’t say we never share hor!
1. Engage with current affairs daily
The ‘general’ in GP refers to general knowledge. Essay questions typically revolve around a few realms of topics, as outlined by the Singapore Examinations and Assessments Board (SEAB):
- Historical, social, cultural, economic, political and philosophical topics
- Science including its history, philosophy, general principles, current developments and applications
- Mathematical and geographical topics
- Literature and language
- Arts and crafts
- Topics of local interest and global concern
There’s no way you can study and be prepared for every topic under the sun. But a good way to prepare is by catching up on the news daily. We love the suggestion of following popular news accounts on your social media accounts, so you will conveniently see news updates throughout your day.
Try to take note of recurring themes, hot-button issues, and debatable topics. When you read something you find interesting or which you think can be used as supporting example for a topic, make a note of it so you can go back to it later.
Unlike an expository essay which is more objective and informative, a good General Paper essay is about formulating a persuasive argument with a balanced point of view. That means you can’t just push your argument forward without considering the opposing perspective.
Explore different perspectives to an issue by speaking about them often with friends or family. Joining a group JC GP Tuition class may also offer you another platform to think and discuss about popular topics with your tutor and classmates.
One useful brainstorming framework for expanding your view to the different stakeholders and angles of looking at an issue is “SPERM”, which stands for:
E: Economic / Educational / Environmental
R: Race & Religion
M: Media / Morality