Another Perfect Score in the Trinity College Graded Examinations in Communication Skills – Themis Lai

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We have achieved another first at J Carter Centre for Public Speaking! Congratulations to our student Themis Lai for scoring 100 marks in the Trinity College Graded Examinations in Communication Skills – Grade 3.

In November 2016, at the tender age of 9 years, Themis was able to impress a tough examiner from United Kingdom with a speech based on a news article titled “Plot to attack Marina Bay with rocket from Batam foiled”. Although she is not the first student at our centre to achieve a perfect score in this exam, she is our youngest to date. Students attempting Grade 3 are usually 11 or 12 years old however Themis displayed an amazing talent in public speaking when she was doing the LAMDA Speaking in Public programme at age 8 and was talent spotted to move into the more challenging Trinity College Communication Skills programme by one of our trainers.

Themis is currently preparing for the Grade 4 examinations in May 2017 and will be completing her Grade 5 by end of 2017. We look forward to seeing her achieve even more amazing results this year.

If you are keen to enrol your child in our Trinity College Communication Skills programme, please call our centre at 67372700 for more information. We are currently registering students for semester 2 and places are filling up very fast. We will be offering classes ranging from Grade 2 to Grade 7 for semester 2.

You can also ask about our unique programmes such as the Grade 2 with Competition Coaching and DSA Preparation Course.

You may visit this link for updates on vacancies: http://jcartercentre.com/schedule-s2-2017/

Recommended Workbooks for GAT & HAST (Abstract Reasoning) Tests

Your child is sitting for an important Abstract Reasoning test. Many people advised you that it is not necessary to prepare your child for it so you did not think twice about the matter. On the day of the test, your child nervously enters the examination centre, he opens his test papers and is overwhelmed by  a series of diagrams that stares back at him. He doesn’t understand the questions. His six years of primary schooling has never prepared him for such a test. How is he going to answer all the questions in the allotted time?

Every year, thousands of students sit for the GAT or HAST test in order to gain entry to IP schools. This is usually the first phase of the DSA selection process and if your child is unable to test well for this segment, he/she will not move on to the next phase of the process. There are several ways to prepare your child for this test however the easiest and most inexpensive way is to purchase workbooks for your child to practise with. Unfortunately, such books are not produced in Singapore so most parents end up signing their children up for GAT preparation classes which can be expensive.

As a DSA coach, I am constantly looking out for workbooks produced in other countries that will be suitable for your children to use in preparation for these tests. When I find them, I will ask my publisher to order the books and recommend it to parents who are helping their children prepare for the tests. Early this year, I came across 3 new publications which I ordered from overseas. (It was very expensive as I had to order direct from the retailer). I was very excited upon receiving the books as it is perfect to use in preparation for GAT and the Abstract Reasoning segment of HAST.

For the past few years, I have been giving out GAT worksheets which I have compiled over the years to my students who are enrolled in the DSA Preparation Course. Last year the feedback I received from my students was that the worksheets were too easy. Upon hearing this, I started looking for replacement workbooks that would have clear explanations and more challenging questions. I am happy to announce that I have succeed in this aspect so now I would like to share these books with you.

The publisher of my book, Success Strategies for Direct School Admissions – has kindly agreed to take orders for the books and bring it in from her supplier. This will be more cost effective as she can offer the book at a better price if she is ordering in bulk. It will also save you a lot of time and money using this route as I have compared the cost verses what I paid for when I ordered it from overseas myself.

My publisher, September 21 Enterprise has also agreed to extend a 5% discount when you put in your order if you mention my name, Jackeline Carter or the name of my centre, J Carter Centre for Public Speaking. You can call them at 62560226 or visit their website for contact details:

http://www.september21.com.sg/contact.html

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DSA PREPARATION COURSE

If your child is in Primary 5 this year and intends to sign up for the DSA Preparation Course at J Carter Centre for Public Speaking in July, please don’t purchase the books as I will be issuing all 3 copies to my students as part of the course materials.

Registration is now open and the classes in July are filling up fast. The details are as follows:

Saturday, 4.15 pm to 5.45 pm – 2 places left 

Sunday, 10 am to 11.30 am – 6 places left

Classes start on 1 or 2 July 2017 and runs for 19 weeks. For more details please call our centre at 67372700 and speak to Nanz. She will furnish you with all the information. (Only for Primary 5 students in 2017)

Direct School Admissions – FAQ

2016 saw many changes to the DSA selection process and it was certainly a trial run to test out upcoming changes to the DSA system in 2017. Competition for IP schools was the toughest since its inception in 2004 due to increase applications. At the end of the 2016 selection process, there were many surprise outcomes as well as disappointments among the parents and students who undertook this route.  As the new year approaches, the rat race will begin all over again for students talking the PSLE in 2017. The enquiries are coming in and the same questions are being asked by a new cohort of students and parents. Preparation has already started for some while others are just beginning to consider attempting DSA. To start off the new year, I have put together a series of FAQs to help you understand this process better and to save myself the need to sound like a broken record. If you have more questions which I may be able to answer, you can post it on the Contact Form. So, lets get started.

What are the chances of my child getting a spot in an IP school without attempting DSA?

The chances are very good if your child has constantly attain excellent results since Primary 4 in all subjects. This will most likely mean that your child will achieve a T-score ranging from a possible high 250s and above. This will allow your child to meet the COP (Cut- off Point) of IP schools. The most coveted schools are RI, RGS, NYGH, HCI and their COPs range from 258-264. If your child’s academic results tend to fluctuate , there will be a 50% chance that your child can still meet the COPs of the other IP schools. The other option is to opt for coveted Express schools such as MGS, ACSI, CHJI St Nick, SJI, VS and SCGS as their COPs range from a high 240s to mid 250s.

From your personal experience, what were some of the lengths a parent would go through for their child to succeed in DSA?

If money is abundant, the sky is the limit. Even if that is not the case, parents will make sacrifices to ensure their children have a chance of entering a coveted school. It can start as early as kindergarten if the aim is to help the child develop a talent or life skill. Enrichment classes in areas such as sports, music and ballet are most common however parents are now moving towards developing communication and leadership skills in their children. The easiest way to figure out what kind of enrichment classes to consider is by looking at the domains offered by IP schools during the DSA selection process. Most parents do develop their children’s talent in one area if it shows up early in a child’s life however as many children are late developers, talents are usually discovered much later when they are in Primary 3 or 4 and some in secondary school. As such some parents will not leave it to chance and start placing their children through different enrichment courses in order to discover it. Its like being in a maze and you have to keep walking until you find the middle. Some times you take a wrong turn so you just have to double back and start all over again. This is a very expensive option so I don’t recommend it. Also your child will be extremely unhappy being forced to attend lessons that do not interest them.

Tuition (or in some cases ‘cram’ schools) with ‘Super Tutors’ are not uncommon. This is another expensive affair. Six years ago, some of my communication students told me that they would work with 10 to 14 different tutors per week but now a days the number has reduced to 4 to 7 tutors per week.

Competition is another popular area – the more the merrier! Well maybe not so merry for the children unless they are competitive by nature. Private competitions are becoming more popular as schools tend to select the same group of students for school base competitions leaving out many students who are keen. There are also many different types of competitions from Academic, Arts, Sports and more. The entry fees are usually affordable however once the children compete at the International level, it becomes very expensive.

Which group of children embark on the DSA selection process and why do they choose this route?

In the early days of DSA, GEP (Gifted Education Programme) and Sport students make up the bulk of the applicants. Now a days, anyone will try DSA if they are aiming for the IP track because these schools take in up to 50% of their students through DSA and the Specialise Schools like SOTA, NUS HIGH, SST and Sports school take in 90% to 100% via DSA.

I understand that the application process differs from school to school. Can you take us through the process briefly?

You are correct! Every school has their own unique selection process. The simplest only requires an application (usually Express Government Schools) while others require the the addition of Personal Statements, Portfolio, GAT/Subject testing, Half-day selection and Interview. If your child chooses the sports or performance domain, there will be trials and auditions. (Mostly IP schools). Specific information can be found on the school’s website.

The government recently announced some proposed changes to the DSA selection criteria. What is your reaction to the proposed changes? Will it help reduce stress?

Starting from 2017, DSA selection will have more emphasis on talents and less on academics. This is a return to the original purpose of DSA which is to provide talented students an opportunity to enter a coveted school without needing to achieve the required T-score.

Will this reduce stress? Yes, if we are looking at Express schools. More students will have a chance of securing a place with a lower T-score if they are talented in some area. No, if the goal is to enter an IP school. No matter how talented your child is in one area, academics still plays a major role. If students do not have good academic ability, they will not be able to complete the IP programme and will be place in the O’level track. Should too many students in an IP school end up in the O’level track, the standard and reputation of the school will be affected. So IP schools will try to take in those who are not only talented but show an ability to survive the academic rigours.  This means parents will spend more time and money developing a talent as well as focus on academics if the goal is the IP track.

The upcoming changes will also encourage more students to attempt the DSA selection in the hopes of getting a place. Thus competition will be tougher. 2016 saw a spike in the number of students attempting DSA. Many IP schools also started implementing changes to the selection process in 2016 as a test run before the official announcement in 2017.

Will GEP students still receive priority during the DSA selection in 2017?

I don’t know the overall percentage of GEP students getting a CO (Confirm Offer) in 2016 but I did notice more of my main stream students getting a CO or wait-listed in 2016. Those who were wait-listed received a CO after the PSLE results were released. Many of my students’ parents also gave feedback that fewer GEP students in their children’s schools received a CO from coveted IP schools. So, it may be safe to say that GEP students need to offer more than just academic achievements unless it is in areas such as Math/Science Olympiads.

Do you think DSA should be removed entirely?

Singapore believes in meritocracy and DSA is really about meritocracy. If one has the ability, one should be given the opportunity. Over the years, had it not been for DSA, 50% of the students that I have coached in Communications skills would not have gotten into IP schools because of the high T-scores.

The DSA process is also a learning journey for students who attempt it as they learn valuable life skills while preparing for the selection process. Skills such as persuasion, social interaction, problem solving, interview etiquette to name a few. All this will come in useful even if they do not receive a CO.

Getting a CO also means less stress during PSLE for both students and parents. With less worry, students end up performing better in the examination.

If I want you to coach my child on Interview Skills, how can I contact you?

You can click this link and submit your request. If my service matches your child’s need, we will instruct you on how to do the online booking.

http://jcartercentre.com/dsa-booking/

If we are unable to help you, I will advise you on how to move forward.

Here’s wishing everyone a successful DSA journey in 2017!

Regards,

Jackeline Carter

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Direct School Admissions to Raffles Institution – Speech by Brendan Hong

Majority of parents in Singapore dream of their children entering a top school. They will do everything in their power to help their children succeed.

As most of you are aware, entry into secondary schools is usually based on the results of the Primary School Leaving Examinations or PSLE. However, this route can be the toughest as you need to achieve a near perfect score in order to gain a place in a top school. Recognising that not all students can achieve such high academic scores, top schools will admit students via the Direct School Admissions scheme or (DSA).

What is DSA? For those who don’t know, the DSA exercise is an admission exercise that allows participating secondary schools to select Primary 6 students for admission to secondary one. The selection will be based on the students’ achievements and talents before the PSLE results are released.

There are many secondary schools in Singapore and some of them are more “popular” than others. I wanted to get into either Raffles Institution (RI) or Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), both of which are considered by many as the top boys’ schools in the nation. So, it was not easy to get an offer from either schools.

As I have a talent in playing table tennis, I knew that I had a chance of entering one of the top school through DSA. My parents did not want me to try for RI as they preferred HCI instead. However they allowed me to decide which schools I wanted to DSA to and since there was nothing to lose I decided to try both schools. Over the next few days, I felt that my decision was a little rash. There were many students trying for RI and most of them were the best of the best. It would be an incredibly difficult challenge. My table tennis coach decided to train me even harder for the DSA trial for RI, and it was a tiring process. I had to run 6 rounds in the stadium during every training session instead of the usual 3.

The DSA process also included interviews and selection tests. To increase my chances of being selected by the schools, my parents decided to enroll me at J Carter Centre to prepare me for the interviews. I was taught many useful techniques by the helpful Teachers to prepare me to succeed. I was painfully shy during the first lesson but after a few more lessons, I warmed up to the sessions and I had a memorable time learning from the teachers.

Three months to the DSA trials, my table tennis coach began training me harder than before. I was introduced to a lot of new but tedious techniques that was tougher than what I had been doing previously. To make it worse, I had to change the rubber on my table tennis bat to a completely different one. It was hard to adapt and get used to playing with a totally different rubber bat.

I was extremely anxious that the last minute changes would affect my performance during the DSA trails.

On the day of the Raffles Institution’s trial, there were a total of twelve players, ten of which were from the national youth squad. Upon looking at them, I could tell that it was not going to be an easy road ahead for me. I was extremely afraid when the coach arranged for me to play with the singles champion in my age group. It was surprising that I managed to defeat him after an extremely tough fight. All the workouts and training had paid off! After that, I played with a few more youth players and even though I lost to some of them, I felt that I had outdone myself on that day.

Hwa Chong Institution’s trial was a breeze compared to RI but there was still the selection tests which assess the students on academic ability. Both the tests and the interview were difficult but thankfully my teachers at J Carter Centre had prepared me well enough so it was simpler than what I thought it would be.

The weeks before the release of the DSA results, I could feel the tension at home. I could tell my parents were extremely anxious about the DSA results. I was also worried that I would not be able to get a ‘Confirm Offer’ from either schools.

Finally, the letters with the RI and HCI school crest came through the mail. I was over the moon to receive confirmed offers from both schools. I was thus in a dilemma. I did not know which school to choose as I favoured both schools. However, after a long consideration, I decided to go to Raffles Institution as their Table Tennis record in recent years were better than Hwa Chong’s. I also felt that the programs and learning environment in RI would be better for me.

I have now completed my first year in my dream school and I have not regretted my decision to go there.

The school is huge and the learning environment has been good. The classrooms are air-conditioned and the facilities are amazing. The seniors are friendly and not afraid to share their knowledge with the rest of us. The teachers are helpful and creative, often planning interesting activities to enable us to learn better. Direct School Admissions was not only a route to the school I wanted to be a part of but it was also a learning opportunity for me. Surrounding myself with supportive people like my parents, teachers and coaches also prepared me to go through the process with confidence and ease.

The experience also taught me that hard work and perseverance is necessary to get what I want in life.

Thank you.

Brendan Hong – Trinity Communication Skills Grade 5

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P.S. Thank you Brendan for the vote of confidence. Ms Joyce and I enjoy having you as a student at our centre.

Regards, Ms Jackeline

DSA Preparation Course (2017) – Semester 2 Open for Registration

Latest update:

Dear Parents,

Registration for DSA Preparation Course Semester 2 is now open for registration. Details about the course is listed below. Classes are filling up fast. Please call our centre at 67372700 or email info@jcartercentre.com for registration details.

Class Details

Sat, 1/07-11/11          12:30 – 2:00       2*   (New Class)

Sat, 1/07-11/11          4:15 – 5:45       FULL*

Sun, 2/07-12/11        10:00-11:30     FULL*

*Vacancy

Registration is only on a first come first serve basis. Recommended for Primary 5 (2017) students only.

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Dear Parents,

We are officially launching our new 19 weeks DSA Preparation Course in January 2017. This course includes many activities that are conducted by various IP schools during the Direct School Admissions Selection Process. Jackeline Carter designed this course with the help of parents and students who had previously gone through the DSA process successfully. As every school conducts DSA differently, she has tried to incorporate as many of the methods used by all the schools so that the students will be ready for any of the schools. It also includes preparation for Trinity College Graded Examination in Communications – Grade 3 (Group Disscussions). You can include this certification  in your child’s portfolio to highlight your child’s communication ability.

Jackeline Carter will also work hand in hand with parents to ensure that all work is completed on time and to brief the parents on how to help their child prepare for DSA. Direct School Admissions are becoming more competitive and students can no longer achieve success on their own. Support must come from both parents and trainers. Follow up support will be given to all students after the conclusion of the course through email and updates.

This course is suitable for students who are keen to attempt DSA in 2018. dsa-prep-courseHowever, if your child is extremely shy and has difficulty sharing their views and opinions,  it may be advisable to sign up for one to one coaching in Primary 6 so that the trainer can focus solely on your child.

We have included a feedback from one of our parents whose child has benefited from one-to-one coaching:

Hi Jackeline,

Hope this finds you well. 

Like to share with you that N______ was offered a confirmed place in SOTA for Literary Arts. She is pleased and the family is very proud of her. I am over the moon that her efforts have reaped results and that she is able to pursue an area that she is interested in, on her secondary education journey. 

The interviews for visual arts and literary arts were gruelling – although she did not describe much about the respective auditions, I could tell from her expressions after, that she had a difficult time at both visual and literary interviews. I am just so proud that she was resilient enough to pull through them. Getting a place is really a bonus achievement. She has since been working hard to prepare for the coming exams. 

Would like to thank you for guiding N_____, and for being patient and flexible with her during her 3 sessions with you in May and June. Though her lack of response limited her getting the most of your usual DSA preparation, your modified approach to her reserved personality helped to prepare her for what to expect and boosted her esteem and confidence. 

All DSA Preparation Courses will be taught by Jackeline Carter, author of Success Strategies for Direct School Admissions – DSA. Currently, there are limited spaces left in two of the classes. If your child is in Primary 6 in 2018 and would like to attempt DSA, don’t wait any longer, call our centre at 67372700 to book your place. We are opened from Tuesdays to Fridays – 11 am to 7 pm, Saturdays – 10 am to 6 pm and Sundays – 10 am to 4 pm.

*From 2018 onwards, schools will not require students to take a GAT test so this segment will NOT be covered in the course.

 

Congratulations to Augustus Tay for Achieving a Perfect Score in the LAMDA Speaking in Public Examinations!

Once again one of our students have achieved a first at J Carter Centre for Public Speaking! We are happy to announce that our student Augustus Gerald Tay has achieved 100 marks in LAMDA Speaking in Public Grade 3 Examinations held in June 2016. Augustus’ speech was based on his personal interest Magic.  Augustus is a student of Ms Jackeline Carter and is currently working on Trinity College London Communication Skills Grade 3 with DSA preparation.

If you are keen to enroll your child in our LAMDA Speaking in Public programme, please call our centre at 67372700 for information on 2017 schedule. We are currently registering students for 2017 Semester 1.

Congratulations Augustus, we are all very proud of you!

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AUGUSTUS GERALD TAY – Overall Top Scorer/Top in Grade June 2016

Congratulations to JulianTay for Achieving a GOLD at SPAF 2016!

We are proud to announce that our student Julian Tay has achieved a GOLD award for Public Speaking during the Singapore Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) 2016. Julian is a student of Ms Jackeline Carter and has been under her tutelage since 2014. He has constantly achieved Distinctions in his Trinity College London Communication Skills Examinations since Grade 4 and is currently working on completing Grade 8. We are all very proud of you!

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Julian Tay with Carol Lamont (Adjudicator)