AAA #23

Designed by Kothandam Anusha (20-I1)

How do I deal with bad grades? (For math, and promos in general!)

Hello there! To start off, props for taking the initiative to seek advice to improve your grades and/or to try and deal with the results that you received for the promotional exams! Personally, I believe that the first and most important step is to acknowledge that you need help, be it from your tutors or even your friends. It can be difficult to acknowledge that especially after all the hard work we have put into our work, which may mislead us to think our unsatisfactory performance was just a fluke. Ultimately, the onus is on us to take that first step to seek help, and let others help us see our blind spots and how to move forwards! For one, do consider going for consultations with your tutors to understand the mistakes that you made during the papers you feel you did not do as well in. Through understanding these mistakes and asking for tips from your tutors, you can improve and hopefully do better in future exams. You can also ask for help from your friends who may have done well in those papers.  This exchange can be a revision for both you and your friend.

Next, do consider using this time period to continue practicing and revising for your examinations. While we of course have things such as our OP and Mother Tongue A Levels to worry about, this is also an opportunity for you to catch up with your content before being once again thrown back into the fast-paced learning next year. Take this opportunity to revise topics that you were unable to tackle during your promos. The examiners’ comments that were provided for most subjects are effective tools for reflection and can be used to figure out the common mistakes made and understand exactly what parts of the question you may have misunderstood. Furthermore, do use the December break to revise for the past J1 content that has been covered so far, especially for those who are involved in orientation next year! As unfortunate as it is, the reality is that December isn’t really a true break. Our real break comes in December of next year after our A Levels, so don’t lose sight on the prize! (#90rp) The best time to start on the race is as soon as you can—which would be today! Hence, do try to use some time to revise and practice! 

Most importantly, don’t focus too much on the outcomes of this exam! As Mother Teresa once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Dwelling on the past or expecting a certain outcome without moving forward or putting effort to reach that outcome is ultimately fruitless. Focusing too much on past results can often cause us to become unmotivated or even frustrated, affecting our future performance and our ability to stay focused on the matters at hand. While it is important to reflect on where you faltered, it is equally important to balance it with learning new things and not be stuck in the past.

Hope that this helped! It can be hard to get back up after disappointment, but don’t let that take over your life. It’s alright to feel down for a while, but remember that there’s still hope in the future. Take your time to get up, and even take small breaks away from OP, MTL Exams and studying. Give yourself some time to rest and pick yourself up, and keep going! All the best!

What are some fun things I can do with my friends while still obeying safe-distancing measures?

Hi there! I understand that with everything going on right now, we are going through a different and tougher period in life. Trying to navigate around and adapt to the new kind-of-post-pandemic-jc-life can be stressful and difficult. The same applies to hanging out with friends, where most of us are facing the same problems in trying to figure out what fun activities we can still do with friends, while abiding by the safe-distancing rules. Fret not! There are plenty of activities that we can enjoy as friends, many of which are free and accessible.

One activity most of us enjoyed before the pandemic happened was to head to the cinemas to watch a movie. Even under COVID-restrictions, we can still enjoy films in groups larger than five through the magic of the internet! Some of you have probably already tried this out during the circuit breaker period, and that is to have a Zoom call with friends and watch a movie together using Netflix Party! This is a fun yet simple way to chill and connect with your friends, without any fear of breaking safe-distancing rules, being in the comfort of your own home whilst still enjoying the company of your friends. 

Another suggestion would be playing mobile or PC games with your friends! One of the more popular games right now is Among Us, which is an app available for free on your mobile device. Playing games is a great way to relax and interact with your friends, and just like the previous suggestion, does not require any flouting of safe-distancing measures as you can all play these games at home. 

For those of you who miss the outdoors and prefer going out, one suggestion would be to head to an outdoor space, like Botanic Gardens, Chijmes or even the beach, to have a picnic with your friends! But just be mindful to maintain the distance from other people, and preferably set up your picnic in a spacious area to abide by safe-distancing rules! This is a really cute and fun idea, especially if you can head to someone’s house to prepare small snacks together before heading for your picnic! (For those who want to head to the beach, remember to make a reservation in advance!) 

And as for those who are itching to dress up and take pretty pictures, one suggestion would be to go to a cafe or museum There are so many aesthetic and quirky cafes and exhibitions in museums around Singapore that you can head to, but once more, just remember to try and not spend too much time so as to be mindful of other people who would like to visit these spaces as well. 

Some of us may feel like we have gotten more unfit during Covid, especially when we had to stay indoors and all we could do were static exercises, so this suggestion would be perfect if you’d like to get back in shape! You and your friends could go to a nearby park, or simply for a jog around the neighbourhood to get a sweat on. This is a good idea to maintain your fitness, especially for the J1s (NAPFA next year!) Plus, running with friends may also help in encouraging and motivating each other to continue being active and healthy. 

These are some suggestions which I have, but this list is non-exhaustive. Feel free to try out any of the above activities, but keep in mind to always abide by the safe-distancing measures, as well as the 5-person limit for gatherings. Remember to always wear a mask when you head out and sanitise your hands frequently! Last but not least, have fun and relax these holidays.

How should I spend the holidays?

Hello! I know that the holidays are coming fast and I’m sure you can’t wait to go out and have fun with all your friends and family. However, the COVID-19 safe-distancing measures are still underway, and not all the activities that were once available may be feasible right now. Despite this, we can still have fun so here is a set of activities and plans on how to spend the holidays.

We must admit that JC life can be really stressful and we all look forward to a chance to take a break from working so hard. There are many ways for you to spend the holidays to give your brain and body a much-needed rest. I’m sure being involved in school and promos has been entirely tiring and mentally draining. Many of the hobbies and activities that we had planned to do were postponed or maybe even outright cancelled. Well, now that the holidays are approaching, this is the best time to start picking them up again! Pick up your old hobbies and start achieving more with them. You may even try to pick up some new ones! Try a variety of different activities and explore to find out which ones you like. Let your creative juices flow with drawing, dancing and perhaps even reading new books! Don’t be afraid to try out activities like skateboarding or ice skating. Start “un-neglecting” your interests and continue with what you enjoy doing. The holidays are the time to let loose and try numerous things without worries.

Of course, while busying yourself with that, remember to spend some quality time with your family. Those months of tiresome preparation for promos and exams, while juggling CCAs, must have tired most of us out. Having your plate full may be tough and even cause you to neglect your closest family and friends. However, you can use the holidays to catch up on some serious bonding and much-needed family time. Play some games with them, or talk with them about school happenings. Ask them about their day and help around the house once in a while, I’m sure your parents would really appreciate it too!

Just like spending extra time with your family, take advantage of these holidays with your friends too! Instead of spending countless nights and hours video-calling to study, go to a cafe or grab some lunch with them for a change! Spend the day out and make memories with them. You could come up with a list of things to do together during the holidays. This could include activities you have been wanting to try out for a long time or those you have been missing out on, from ice-skating, going to the beach, learning to play a musical instrument, trying out a new restaurant, to just cycling together! However, remember to keep the safe-distancing measures in mind and go in small groups, sanitise your hands regularly and wear your mask. 

Furthermore, you can continue to keep in shape! J1s, remember you have NAPFA next year! Start running and crunching those ab muscles now so you can get your gold. Keeping fit would also greatly help to improve your immune system and body. Have a balanced diet and exercise at least 4 times a week. Do consider keeping an exercise log (available on any app stores!) to monitor your progress. The visual graphs and charts can too be satisfying and encouraging for us as a representation of all our efforts.

Last but not least, although a break is important, remember that next year is an important year, academically, with the A levels coming up. You should definitely also allocate time for yourself to consolidate your learning of J1 topics before you forget. Don’t walk into J2 not having taken time to revise past work and needing  to spend longer trying to catch up to your peers. You could perhaps come up with a fixed time that you want to spend on your revision and stick to it, then reward yourself by doing activities you enjoy after you have completed your work.

These are only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. Do search online and find extra activities you can pursue. Hope this response helps you! All in all, focus on your mental and physical health and have fun while also being responsible in the way you spend your holidays.

How do I become more confident for OP? I have trouble voicing my thoughts in public and I have consistently been feeling discouraged in RTQ practices as well. How should I go about this?

Hello! First, I’d like to assure you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about for OP! Okay not completely none, but all of it can be dealt with if the effort is put in so don’t worry! Everyone has their weaker points and it’s alright to start out a little weaker for your OP portion of your PW. Just taking the first step to seek help is already a big step forward, so do your best and don’t be discouraged!

The most important part of preparing for OP is to not slack off! Considering how the majority of OP is individually graded, it is absolutely essential that you know your project and script extremely well, and the first step to doing this is by taking part in its processes. Rather than relying entirely on your groupmates to do a certain aspect of your PW, it is important to actively participate and reflect on it, keeping your mind sharp as you offer insight on how to improve (this will help with your RTQ too since it trains you to think critically on the spot!). 

Of course, in order to know your presentation and content well, you will have to practise, practise, practise! I would recommend practising with your slides prompting you (as they would on the actual day), as well as another round without any prompts, so as to allow yourself to become less reliant on your slide. Alongside this, a good way to make sure you know your content is to reread your WR to refresh your memory on what all your available content is.

As for gaining confidence, you can also train yourself to present to a crowd more naturally, in terms of the way you speak and the way you stand. Try presenting to your friends, your family, even your stuffed toys! You are basically trying to simulate your examiners on the actual day here. If you are presenting to your friends and family, ask them for feedback, to help look out for areas for improvement so that you make adjustments to the way you present! When presenting to your friends or family, you can also encourage them to ask you questions as well (remember to time your RTQ response!) and do your best to formulate your points and structure them coherently. Practice this often and you’ll be able to make on-the-spot judgements and answer well on the actual day!

Last but not least, another good habit to have is to record yourself and play it back to yourself while critiquing what was done well (self-affirmation is important! Don’t get discouraged!), and what can be done better. This will not only help you to be more aware of how you present, but also help you to get used to hearing yourself present to a ‘crowd’. Try putting your phone a distance away from you so that you actually have to project your voice!

Lastly, have a little faith in yourself! Tell yourself you can do it, give yourself the confidence boost you need, and you’ll surely overcome the barrier of nervousness. Even if you don’t think you have that confidence, just fake it till you make it, and believe that you’re the world’s most confident person! I wish you good luck for your OP!

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