Thursday 28 April 2011

Yet Another iPad

It is unbelievable. We have just won for ourselves another iPad (the one in the centre)! This time, it is won by Lim Min, who took part in the DSO Quiz which was open to current students of Raffles Institution (RI JC) during the career fair.

Again, it is not iPad2 .. it is a 32G with 3G.

Monday 25 April 2011

Excused from Lessons

This is posted by LJ's mum
In preparation for the SIMO National Team Selection Test (NTST) on 30 Apr and 1 May (4.5 hrs each day, 9 am to 1.30 pm), Lim Jeck has been excused from lessons and CCA commitments this week (25 Apr to 1 May).

As stated in the letter, the arrangement is to allow students from the National Team to fully concentrate on a 5-day intensive training, to increase the chance of qualifying for the IMO National Team 2011. Alternative arrangements will be made for lessons missed.

I appreciate NUS High's support of her students in their aspirations to become part of the 6-member Singapore IMO team.

In my opinion, it is not really necessary for students to be pulled out from all classes to fully focus on either the selection tests or (if selected) the intensive preparation for the competition itself (which could last 6-7 weeks). Consistent, on-going work (for instance, doing a few IMO question(s) on a daily/weekly basis) is probably more important. Unless you are really competent in the subjects missed, taking a long leave may be detrimental to your studies, and you are bound to have a tough time catching up. It won't be easy to make alternative arrangements for most lessons missed, since you are probably busy attending classes. Extension for assessment deadlines may not help much, since you will be overwhelmed with new homework and assessment for current classes. For group projects, it may not be fair for your group members to cover your area in your absence.

I think it is good that students are given the flexibility to attend any particular lessons. They can decide on missing those lessons which have the least impact on them. These may include subjects that they are already strong at (e.g. Maths), lessons that are inconsequential (e.g. PE, CCA).

If Lim Jeck is selected again, it would be the 3rd time that he is representing Singapore in IMO. If he is not selected, it is okay as he has 2 more chances, in 2012 and 2013.

May the most deserving students (from whichever schools) from the national team get selected into the IMO Singapore Team 2011! :)

Monday 18 April 2011

Direct School Admission

This is posted by LL's mum. The Direct School Admission – Secondary Exercise (DSA-Sec) for Primary 6 students has started. Lim Li has applied for the NUS High DSA. The selection test will be held on 25 June, which is about 2 months away. I do not think it is necessary to prepare for the selection test – it is hard to prepare anyway, since there are no past year questions for reference. Both Lim Jeck and Lim Min took the NUS High selection tests some 4 or 5 years ago, respectively. According to them, the Maths questions were easy (as they had been exposed to Maths Olympiad competitions like SMOPS, RI World Maths Contests) but the Science questions comprising Physics, Chemistry and Biology components were more challenging, though they could not remember what kind of questions were being asked.
While both Lim Min and Lim Jeck attempted two DSAs each during their times, Lim Li is going to try only NUS High. In my opinion, it is not advisable to try more than 3 DSAs. It may be emotionally draining for the kids as there will be a series of selection tests and camps (and possibly interviews too) - this could happen from June to August, which coincides with the all important preliminary exam and PSLE preparation period. I would think that students should only attempt DSA for schools of their first-choice (i.e. their dream school(s)), and not their second-choice or even third-choice schools. Why? There is a flip side to the DSA exercise – if you are successful in your second/third-choice school but not the first-choice school, are you going to accept the school? Once you accept the school, you will not be allowed to participate in the S1-posting exercise. What if your PSLE results turn out quite well, qualifying you for the first choice school? Yes, it may be possible to appeal to your dream school after the PSLE results are out. However, there is no guarantee that a place will be offered. Your dream school may request you to sit for tests, or call you up for an interview, and there may be a long agonizing wait for the appeal results (which could be soon after the appeal, or as late as end December, or even early January, after the school sorts out all the acceptances and rejections). There will be emotional upheavals while waiting for and receiving that important call.
Some top secondary schools will give priority to students from the MOE primary gifted education programme (GEP), and these students will apply under a GEP track. Mainstream students may apply under sports/art/music/performing arts, or academic track (math/science/english/mother tongue). For mainstream students, they have to prove that they are very outstanding in sports/art/music/etc., or way above their peers in the academic subject that they are applying. Some other schools like NUS High do not give preference to GEP students, but students who did very well in Maths and Science competitions (e.g. Platinum in SMOPS, Gold in SPSO) will have a higher chance of being selected. I have heard many parents lamenting that their above-average children who are non-GEP and do not have any special talent (in sports/art/academic area) do not stand a good chance in DSAs. I kind of agree with them. I think it is fine to try 1 or 2 DSAs, but don't take it to heart if the DSA is unsuccessful, and parents should encourage their child to focus on the PSLE and do well enough to qualify for his/her dream school.

Good luck to all the P6s who are applying for DSAs this year!

Saturday 9 April 2011

My Second iPad

I took part in the Cryptography Quiz jointly organised by DSO and Temasek Laboratories @ NUS, on 18 March. This afternoon was the prize presentation. Yay, I have won a 64G iPad with 3G. I think they should have given us iPad2, instead of iPad. I heard that the organiser had wanted to get iPad2 as prizes but unfortunately it has not been launched in Singapore yet. I already have a 16G iPad, but with this 64G iPad, we can download more games :)