How to Prepare for the ‘O’ Levels

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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.

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