1) Get Started
Getting started is probably going to be the toughest part of the entire 2-year process. It’s
really all about gaining that momentum and having the right mind-set. Once you’ve cultivated
the right habits and found a ‘work-life balance’, Mid Years, Prelims and even the actual ‘O’
Levels will seem like a breeze.
But where do we start? Doesn’t it sometimes seem impossible with mountains of textbooks
and notes to revise, packed CCA schedules and sky-high expectations? Well, that brings us
to this next point.
2) Get Organised
You might have heard these time and time again from teachers, parents, and peers: “Plan
out your time well”, “Get your priorities straight “. But what do they actually mean?
Firstly, it’s about organisation. This includes clarity and precision: knowing exactly what you
need to do and when it needs to be done. This is where timetables or checklists come in
handy. You’ll find that once you write a task down, it’s more likely that you’ll do it. Set
deadlines that are realistic, but at the same time don’t make them too lenient. When you
categorise your work, it’s only natural that you’ll find studying less of a chore. Completing
monotonous homework and staying up-to-task will seem to become second nature to you as
Secondly, it’s about prioritisation. This basically means sacrifices have to be made, be it a
daily game of DOTA with friends or your favourite 9p.m. TV show. It means having self-
discipline and a willingness to put work before leisure. Of course, an occasional rest day is
also a must, so here comes the last point:
3) Get Rested
While many people “burn the midnight oil” and work through the night, it may not be as
effective as it sounds. Staying up to 3 or 4 a.m. compromises your ability to learn, work and
play the following day. If not corrected quickly, it can turn into a vicious cycle that’s
impossible to break all the way up to the actual ‘O’s. Try to sleep by 11 p.m., latest. If you’re
worried about not studying enough, then your studying during the day should be all the more
focused. This will allow your workload to become very manageable, and let you get a good 7
to 8 hours of sleep daily. Pace yourself and don’t burn out. This will be especially important
closer to the actual O Levels, where a clear and rested mind outweighs hours of late- night
In summary, the ‘O’ Level experience is ultimately an enriching one, to say the least. It will
be trying at times. But remember, you’re not alone. Your classmates, cohort mates, teachers
and friends will be with you 101% at every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Everyone stumbles sometimes. What’s important is being able to pick yourself up, and
moving on. All the best!
Warren Ong is from the graduating batch of 2014.