Disregard the prelims and just focus on the 'A' Levels? (Response A)

This query comes from a student:

Hello, I am a J2 student taking my 'A' Levels this year. However, I am feeling extremely exhausted even though the 'A's are still like 2 months away.

Why? Because my JC is making us sit for 2 sets of prelims!!!! We had the first round in June, and the second round will happen in a couple of days. The teachers hold so many after school remedial lessons, and before I finish an assigned problem set, I am given yet another!!!

I didn't do well in prelims round 1, and I am not confident of doing any much better in round 2. There's so much stuff to internalize, and everything feels like a mess right now.

A senior told me to just focus on preparing for the As, and not care about whether I fail or pass for the upcoming prelims. It's too rushed and many students will also be struggling like mad, which is pointless.

Should I listen to my senior and take a can't be bothered approach to prelims round 2? It will certainly make me feel less stressed. I will still be studying hard for the As in the meanwhile of course. Please help. Thanks. :(

The Response:


I agree with your senior. Concentrate on studying for the 'A' Levels and just do the best you can on the prelims. But once you get your prelim results, make sure you do go through the test and understand your mistakes. It will be helpful to do that as you prepare for the 'A' Levels.

Number one priority in preparing for 'A' Levels is that you understand the problems in the ten year series and can do problems of a similar level of difficulty. Most schools are setting the prelims at a higher standard than the A'Level. This is good if you are already strong in the subject because you end up being over prepared.

But if you are weak in the subject it is better to concentrate more on just the 'A' Level difficulty and not beyond because you may just get more confused with those very difficult problems.

Also, many people stress out over prelims if it becomes an issue of memorizing a lot of past questions in order to score well. If you learn science by learning how to apply concepts to questions, then it becomes less stressful. Take the time from now till the 'A' Levels to build a methodical understanding of the subjects. If you can do so in a calm and organized way, that will be much better than simply panicking. dont't let all the craziness get to you. Just work steadily toward your goal and do the best you can.

Best of Luck !

Dr Daniel Milton Oman

(Senior Councilor: May 2013 - December 2018)

Answered On 21 August 2015