The Singapore education system has a subject called the General Paper (GP) at the ‘A levels’. A compulsory subject for almost all students, GP consists of two separate papers. The first paper, titled Paper 1, consists of twelve questions with topics from all possible fields. History, mathematics and philosophy are examples of the vast range of the melange of fields from which topics are selected for Paper 1. In a time limit of ninety minutes, candidates should select any one question from the twelve and write an essay with a word count between 500 and 800 words. The share of the final grade contributed by Paper 1 is 50%.
The second paper, titled Paper 2, tests the ability of the candidate to not only understand the content of two passages of continuous prose but also analyse and summarise the entire essay. All these tasks have to be completed within a time period of 90 minutes. The criteria for testing include the command over the vocabulary and grammar of the language as well the ability to grasp the underlying message of the content.
Many students and parents underestimate the magnitude of the difficulties faced by students while attempting to surmount the GP paper. Writing a 500 to 800 word essay in 90 minutes is quite a challenging task. Preparing for Paper 2 also can an onerous endeavour. Owing to these hurdles, it is wise to enrol in GP tuition classes to gain a better ability to tackle the General Paper.
While working hard to perform exceptionally in the GP, it is crucial to understand the important life skills learned while preparing for and writing this paper. Owing to the diversity of fields from which topics are selected, preparing for GP requires a remarkable general knowledge. GP students should have significant knowledge about current affairs and historical events.
The main purpose of the GP is to develop critical thinking abilities in students. A skill that will be tremendously useful in any career, critical thinking involves solving problems using reason and facts. A critical thinker will look at any situation from many different angles. The second benefit of the GP is a vast improvement in the ability to use language to communicate one’s thoughts and express ideas imaginatively. Finally, students who are successful in GP acquire a mastery over the grammar and the vocabulary of the English language. Owing to the usefulness of the English language in international communication, proficiency in this language is worth its weight in gold.