Last Words…

Enjoy the paper. It’ll come and go.

What will stay though, is you–your thirst for knowledge, your hunger for wisdom and your love for others. Everything I’ve taught you, everything we’ve discussed, wasn’t for this exam.

It was for you. 

God be with you!
Mr. Foo


GP Term 4 CAs


Just a reminder of the CAs for this term.
CA1: Comprehension (Cambridge Paper 2 2009) will be timed practice this Friday (30/09) at 1400hrs LT3.
CA2: Full essay from Cambridge Paper 1 2009 by this Friday (30/09). If you cannot make the deadline, you must inform me.
*Note: Depending on your revision strategy, you CAN choose any other question but you must tell me which paper it is from

Term 4 Essay Outline Practice

Don’t expect presents. If we’re going to run this last lap, we run it together or not at all. I hope to see more effort and focus on your part in these remaining weeks. 

We’ll be focusing on doing essay outlines this week. I’m doing this because the outlines I received last term were quite dismal in both quality and effort, reflecting your less-than-serious approach and attitude towards essay preparation.

Why write proper essay outlines? They are arguably the most efficient and effective way for you to practice (and for me to check) your ability to understand and approach a question, and also apply and commit to memory useful examples. Because they are not entire essays, you are not encumbered by your language and expression, and you can channel your energy into attempting a range of questions to cover more ground for the ‘A’ levels.

This week you will do one outline in pairs (in the computer lab) but complete it on your own at home. 

1. For the exercise in pairs, please choose a question from the recent paper (download the list of questions and guide here) and fill out an essay outline template (download Essay Outline Practice 2011). You are to work on it in class and but complete it on your own. Given the lab environment, I expect some research to be done in hounding for appropriate examples. Once done, send the individual file (e.g. “Harry Q5.doc”) to

2. Optional: You can use the same document template but are free to choose another question from the Prelim list or from past year papers.

From now on, any essay outline exercise, whether self-initiated or given by me, should employ the template provided. This is to ensure you commit yourself to quality practice and learning. 

*In the meantime, continue to contribute to Project Knowledge as well

Project Knowledge

Hello students

In a bid to desperately help all of you beef up your content knowledge in these final 2months, I’ve created two Google Docs to facilitate the process. The links to these documents will be available under the page ‘Project Knowledge’.

Here’s a brief overview of how all of you can and should contribute from here on.

1. Project Knowledge (you can access it here)

I’ve created a simple excel spreadsheet with columns for each topic area for you to insert in micro-content contributions (i.e. think Twitter and 140 characters) on an ongoing basis. By content I really mean content (i.e. events/trends/statistics/studies) and not arguments. It really only takes you 5-10mins to input interesting findings from your daily news reading.  Bookmark the site for easier reference in future as well.

I’m doing this so that we can all help each other build up ‘content knowledge’ for the various topics. It will be especially helpful when students focusing on a similar topics to study for the essays (e.g. technology, poverty) help each other out by adding in more information under the respective columns.

2. The Singapore SWOT analysis (you can access it here

I’ve converted it into a spreadsheet because word document formatting on Google Docs is terrible for large tables. Basically there are now two spreadsheet tabs, one for strength/opportunities and the other for weaknesses/threats. The entries have been very comprehensive so far (my deepest thanks) and I hope all of you will continue to add on. Just type in new entries under the appropriate columns. 

OK that’s it. Happy studying and I look forward to seeing your updates and contributions.

More Reinforcements Have Arrived…

Hello all,

Here are more insightful outlines on ‘The book has no place in modern society’ question and the ‘Lifestyle or medicine’ question  from Mr. Marc Lim. Pay particular attention to how his thesis statements often include a counter-arguments and qualifiers to make the response that more balanced and sharper. For example:

Q5: It is irrefutably premature to proclaim the book a ‘dead’ medium. As with all media in a technological era where we rush to adopt the ‘easier’, ‘better’, ‘faster’ and ‘fancier’, the book may have lost ground to the Internet, the eBook, cinema, television and games in its various uses but retains its elan. Its distinctive, tangible quality cannot and is unlikely to be replaced in a modern age whose interest in books is far above melting point.

Q11: While it would be easy to conclude that lifestyle is more likely than medicine to be the key to good health, the question itself is, on closer examination, untenable. The benefits of leading a ‘healthy’ lifestyle and using medication at appropriate times are impossible to doubt but any claim on one factor being ‘the key to good health’ is bound to be fraught with issues.

You can also take a look at this interesting video post from Ms. De Souza on the question on performing arts venues.

Lastly, here’s a link to more sample GP essays.

Language (better late than never)

You have been speaking (or at least trying to) speak English for the past 14-15 years of your life and your current level of language proficiency is an accumulative reflection of that. Truth is, two short and intense years in a Junior College will not magically improve your language. What you can do, however,  is to  1.) minimize your mistakes, 2.) ensure clear and accurate expression and 3.) build up your vocabulary (both academic and general). 

In a valiant (and hopefully not futile) effort to address (1), this page will contain a list of common mistakes that you seriously need to avoid (for both my sanity and yours). I will continue to update it so do check back often.