Dropping out of JC: It's about taking back control of your own life

A student currently in JC1 shared her obvious dismay about how things have turned out for this past year in a post on a homework forum recently:

"I just got to know my results recently and I was promoted to JC2, however I was thinking about dropping out and taking private A Levels instead. JC1 had been an extremely unhappy year for me, because we go home at 4+pm every day and if there’s CCA we go home at 7pm. I take around an hour to get home and I can only manage to finish my homework and there is honestly no time to study if I want a decent 5 hours of sleep to keep me awake in school the next day. CCA made me very unhappy and it feels like I’m just wasting time, but I can’t quit to go home early to study. I am a slow learner therefore need a lot of time to study but I don’t even have that time (most of our time this year was also used on Project Work aka PW). In the end, I got a promo grade of UUS/UD and an overall grade of DDE/EC. I’m very stressed up and upset, so much so that I would go to the toilet to cry when I really can’t take it in school.

Would it be better for me to drop out of JC so that I have a lot more time to study? I can readily get notes from my seniors who will be finishing their A levels soon."

Renowned H2 chemistry tutor (and also former MOE teacher) who goes by the online moniker BedokFunland JC aka UltimaOnline offers his personal perspectives on her situation:

I've always been supportive of the private candidacy route, as I've always been of the opinion that the majority of time and energy spent in JC life is wasted (eg. how many students really learn and benefit from JC lectures? Lectures should be replaced completely by tutorials), majority of JC students suffer from perpetual chronic sleep deprivation (it's a medically proven fact that everyone on average requires a minimum of 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and daily sleep deprivation of less than 8 hours of sleep results in accumulative damage to your brain and body resulting in damaged intellectual faculties and semi-permanently lower IQ (damaged can be partially reversed if you successfully manage 8 hours of sleep daily from now on) and consequently significantly poorer A level results, and it's also therefore no wonder that Singaporeans have the highest incidence of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, the risk of these diseases greatly exacerbated by chronic lack of sleep) and the combined (mental, emotional, psychological) stress from all the different JC subjects, CCAs, projects and other commitments, can actually do more harm than good (and in extreme cases can almost ruin one's entire life, even for students in or perhaps especially students from top JCs, such as Kevin Wee of RJC, and XinLin of HCJC, etc. Hope Kevin and XinLin are both doing well in their lives now).

Better to leave now and go the private route and take back control of your life, than risk a severe psychological breakdown that will not only ruin your A level results anyway, but may even cost you your physiccal, emotional, mental and psychological health, and in tragically worst case scenarios (there have been several cases in the last few years), it may even cost you your life.

If you can afford it, go for tuition (group tuition is always a lot cheaper than solo tuition) for your H2 subjects. But even if you can't afford any tuition at all, even solely self-study will still (in all likelihood) gain you a better performance at the A levels, compared to if you were to suffer a psychological breakdown in the unhealthy JC environment.

Final disclaimer : obviously this is just my opinion. I'm *not* telling you to quit JC and take the private route (coz this is your own life and therefore you must make your own decisions for yourself). I'm just saying that if that's what you decide for yourself that it's you want to do, then as far as I'm concerned, there's certainly a lot of sense in doing so. Obviously there will be some JC and ex-JC students will say, "What a load of rubbish! I'm totally enjoying JC life! No stress at all for me! No sleep deprivation at all for me! I love JC life, which has been socially, mentally, emotionally and personally enriching and fulfilling for me in every way! I just wish it was at least 4 to 6 years instead of just 2 short years!", but just as there are such students on one end of the spectrum, there are bound to be students on the other end of the spectrum, for which private candidacy would make a lot of sense.

Decide for yourself, and no matter the outcome, you can respect yourself for taking back control and responsibility for your own life."


The Czar (Site Founder)

Dated 19 November 2014


The Singapore Education System is Quite Beyond Repair

The JC survival guide.

'A' Levels are coming, and I feel like a loser.