Revising for the Mid-Year Exam

Exam Meme

Hola all! It’s the fourth day of Pre-U Sem and Student Leaders Training, so more than a few of us should be beginning our revision for the Mid-Year Examination soon. You’ve probably heard your teachers repeat this ad nauseum already but it’s worth reiterating: the A-levels are not the same as the O-levels or your IP exams. Some of your old habits, whether in Literature or your other subjects, may already have haunted you in your various CAs. Whatever the case, let’s all start on a clean slate as we gear up for your first internal JC exam, and the A-level exam you will eventually take in November 2018!

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The JC1 Mid-Year Exam



3 hours

  • We strongly recommend you spend 1 hr per section, using about 15 min for reading / planning and the remaining 45 to write the essay.
  • Going overboard (e.g. using 1 hr 30 min) will not be worth the extra marks you earn
  • Brief answers tend to be awarded very low marks (e.g. less than 6 marks); incomplete answers tend not to be in the top two bands (18 – 25 marks).

Continue reading “The JC1 Mid-Year Exam”

The Critical Move – A History

What is a Critical Move? 

The critical move is a specific step you can take to make headway in your written assignment, be it in analysis or response. The critical move is scripted by your teacher, based on one of the “cool spots” in your work, and may take the form of the following:

  • Write or rewrite your introduction / conclusion
  • Analyse a new method or new evidence you didn’t previously consider
  • Analyse with a focus on the effects (you probably tried to describe or explain the text)
  • Add on or review the purpose or your discussion of concerns (you may have ended abruptly, or not linked your analysis to your ideas)

You should generally complete your critical move within 7 days of receiving your work back. Remember to write down the instruction given to you so that your tutor can understand the “destination” you are supposed to get to (see the next section).


What’s the background of this nifty idea?

Unfortunately, it isn’t mine. I adapted it from a book called Switch which is essentially a management book that is, despite the raised eyebrows that management books incur, useful and practical. The concept of the critical move could not do without the premise that we all want to become better at what we do, and we sometimes don’t know how.

The critical move is decidedly NOT a big picture statement like “Become a better writer!”, “Lose weight”!”, “Get smart!” or any other vague call to action. It is an attempt to shrink the change to something you can manage in less time. For some, it’s about changing what you eat for lunch every Monday, or adding 10 min of reading time to your schedule tomorrow. For us, it’s about reviewing a specific line or paragraph, or adding a few lines of analysis. It is also an attempt to point you to the destination. You may not have really covered the concerns, so your critical move guarantees that you’ll move one band up in the ‘Response’ column.


Wait, hang on a second, are you sure it’s that easy?

Well, of course not. The Heath brothers, the writers of Switch, tell us that it is important to motivate the “elephant”, that residual big beast of instinct in all of us. We all need to find the emotion to get started, to get better, to stare at our own work; that’s why we are dangling the carrot of additional marks to each of your CAs.

The critical move per se seeks to direct the rider – to tell the rational side of you where to go (i.e. you are definitely going to score 25/25 for all six of your answers), and to get us started on these “critical moves” so that you have a habit of relooking your work. 🙂 Enjoy the process!

Unpinning the Dress


In this extension tutorial, 17-E1 examines the use of voice and rhythm to Christine Chia‘s pithy and potent ‘New Year Dress’.  Remember to apply the skills of picking out (for voice) perspective, tone, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, (for rhythm) pauses, end-stopped lines and enjambment from our retread of Larkin’s ‘Mr Bleaney’. 🙂

New Year Dress

A dress is not just a dress
when your mother gives it to you
with the instruction that you
must wear it on the first day
of Chinese New Year.                                      5
You’ll never buy anything like that
but you put it on,
so that she’ll be happy,
radiant in front of the relatives
because she birthed you,                                10
clothed you, owned you,
like the dress she gave you.

> ‘.’ <

Write a critical paragraph on the above poem, relating it to the portrayal of the relationship between parent and child. You may respond to the guiding questions below, or roam free. Upon completion, let Mr. Lim know and await a few less-than-motherly words of affection. If given the green light, your newly clothed paragraph can see the light of day – post it as a comment here. Remember to leave your name somewhere!

> ‘.’ <


  • Who is the persona, and what are her feelings about the ‘New Year Dress’?


  • Why does the poem employ the second-person point of view (‘you’)? What is the tone, or attitude towards the dress?
  • Which words in lines 1-9 express the persona’s tone? Identify patterns of words (e.g. conjunctions, modal verbs, adjectives) and closely analyse how they evoke the tone.
  • Comment on the progression (change in effects) in lines 10-12, considering 1-2 features listed below:
    – Enumeration, or the listing of verbs (birthed, clothed, owned)
    – The repetition of ‘you’ at the end (i.e. epistrophe) and the pauses after ‘you’
    – The shift from enjambment (lines 1-5) to end-stopped lines (lines 10-12)


  • What does the persona’s attitude towards the dress suggest about her relationship with her mother?
  • What can we say about the relationship between a parent and a child in general?

Timetables for Term 2

Hey Eunoia Lit students! At our first lecture, we talked about dedicating ODD WEEKS to one Paper 1 lecture, two Paper 3 tutorials, and a Paper 1 tutorial, and EVEN WEEKS to one Paper 3 lecture, two Paper 1 tutorials, and a Paper 3 tutorial. From Term 2, we will be following this guideline so that we can cover both Measure for Measure for Paper 1 and Woman in Mind for Paper 3 concurrently.

You can access the Literature lecture and tutorial timetable below, which denotes the sequence of lectures and tutorials across both papers more clearly:

Timetable 2017 Term 2

Remember to bring the right text for the relevant tutorial!

To explain things a bit, covering texts concurrently gives you more lead time to read and re-read them, and familiarise yourself with the texts. We’d rather spend about 10 weeks per Paper 3 text and about 15 weeks per Paper 1 text, rather than dive deep into 5-6 weeks of one text and one text only.

An Introduction to Drama

Rip You to Pieces

Hello students! We’ll be studying a grand total of THREE plays this year, so you should expect to be swimming in a lot of character dialogue, stage directions and ‘visualisation’ of stage action, stage movement and characters’ expression.

We will be using much of our tutorial time in the first few weeks of Term 2 to expose you to these aspects and how to read / analyse a dramatic text of course.

I thought you might find the following lecture I did in 2015 useful and maybe enjoyable (I know I did, but that’s me). You will also see for the umpteenth time my obsession with the Hamlet reference on the SCGS banner within the notes, so I apologise in advance. It did have a role in me teaching you, so maybe it’s not all that bad? Maybe? (P.S. I just used a mix of rhetorical questions).

That’s So Drama (Notes)

That’s So Drama (Slides)

Productions of Measure for Measure

Comic Summary

Reviews and synopses of various productions:

The Guardian (Shakespeare’s Globe)

The Guardian (Young Vic)

 The Guardian (Cheek by Jowl)
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