JC1, ah the memories (and battlescars). As a survivor of Year 1, I must say that it was NOT easy for me. I faced a lot of ups and downs and hence compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you survive. If you are a JC1 student drowning in the scary ocean that is JC life or someone about to jump into its depths, I hope that these will help you manoeuvre your life here better.

  1. Choose a subject combination that you like

Well if you are a current J1 who has already chosen your combination then it’s too late. However, if you are just entering J1, please make a wise choice. The subjects you choose will be following you through the next 2 years and you really do not want to be stuck with subjects you do not like.

Utilize the subject talks and walkabouts along with your seniors and the BEST resource: teachers to find out on the subjects that you are interested in taking. Also find out about other subjects that you might not have considered naturally,  as you might end up having an epiphany that you actually love it! If this romantic saga is not in your fate, at least you can confidently eliminate it from your subject list.

Also, don’t just take a subject combination because everyone else is taking it (*coughs* CME *coughs*). Only take it if you truly have the interest and ability to perform well in it!

2. Attend your lectures and do your tutorials

Everybody says this but that is because it’s TRUE. It is always better to just sit in lecture and get 50% of the information than understanding nothing by skipping lectures and then panicking during exam time. Also some teachers drop some useful tips or information that is not in your lecture notes during lecture, which is all the more reason to attend.

After lectures, do try to do your tutorials or at least think through the questions if you are tight for time. This will help you to not be a lost soul during your tutorials and save you the embarrassment if you get called upon in class. Furthermore, it helps to reinforce the concepts learnt in lectures and will help you understand the content to a greater extent and hopefully score better in assessments!

3. Don’t be too upset by failures

Speaking of tests and exams, JC exams are quite different from those in secondary school ones. Firstly, you have 3-hour papers. I know it seems long but trust me nearly every minute counts during the exam. The standard is also higher by a significant amount. Some subjects require very different answering techniques and structures while some just give a lot more mind-boggling questions.

There are quite a lot of changes you will experience in the exams, and this for many is initially accompanied by a fall in grades too. It may seem like a terrible grade to you, but trust me people around you are getting similar grades at the start too. So don’t beat yourself up and just try to figure out how to score and do better next time. Eventually you should get the hang of it and improve but if you don’t, KEEP GOING anyways. Consistent effort will bring in results!

4. Make good friends who will have your back

Academics aside, another important aspect of your JC life will be your friends. They are the ones who are going through this journey with you and they make it so much more bearable! Try to make some good friends during your two years here so you can laugh and sing trashy songs with them and just try to get some smiles and excitement into your possibly sleep-deprived zombie life.

These friends will also have your back on the days you are down and push you to study and sometimes we all need that extra push from our friends right? So try to mingle around despite the initial awkwardness you may feel because you may just be standing next to your potential BFF to get through As with!

5. Project Work

In your JC1 life, another new thing you will encounter is project work. You may have heard of a lot of horror stories about this subject and I am not here to convince you otherwise. But what I can tell you is that, try to keep up with the draft deadlines, consult your tutors and set up some sort of work arrangement among your group so that the PW adventure becomes a tad bit smoother.

This subject clearly is also lot of WORK, and this work is a lot more manageable if everyone in your group contributes and puts in their 100%. At the end of the day the grade is shared for some components and it is only fair that everyone contributes towards the grade. So if you are reading this, this is a reminder for you to be a proactive group member and encourage your teammates to do the same to avoid resentment or tensions nearing deadlines!

6. Budget your cash

This may not be a concern for everyone, but it is so easy to go out with friends and indulge in Starbucks study sessions or go for every single school concert that you end up wondering where all your money went. It might be useful for you to write down what you spend your money on so that you can adjust your spending habits in the future.

Also something new in JC is that you have to pay for all your lecture notes and being a subject rep myself, it is seriously such a pain to chase people for money! So do keep that in mind and set aside some cash for notes and other school expenses to save your subject reps some stress!

7. Work hard, play hard

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” is a proverb you might have heard before. Whether your name is Jack or not, this applies to all of us. While JC is ultimately focused on the end goal of excelling in the A’Levels, it doesn’t have to be all studying and books. Have a bit of fun (although not too much) in JC1 as this is the time for you to have some fun, make mistakes and learn from them as you probably would not have time in JC2.

With a healthy work-life balance and just embracing JC1 life for all that it is, whether good or bad, you will make it out alive as well!

And with that, I wish you all the best in your JC1 journey and I hope that these tips help you navigate through JC life better:)

Article by:
Roshini Kumaravelu, 17S52

{All GIF credits to giphy.com}

PS: Dear JC1s, We hope this survival guide helps you get a big picture of how JC1 life will be like. This is the start of our initiatives to make your transition into JC a bit smoother! Stay tuned for our #AllAboutMyCCA initiative in which a series of articles written by our very own CCA leaders will be posted. This series is to help you become familiar with a variety of CCAs as you make an important choice. The CCA(s) you choose will be an integral part of your JC life as the memories you forge with your CCA mates will be some of the best memories in your life.

Yours faithfully,
Niyanta Chowdhury, 17S46
Chief Editor



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