2018: A Year in Review J Carter Centre

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It is that time of the year when we sit back and reflect on what we have accomplished, the lessons we have learned and the mistakes we have made.

The year-end holidays have always been one of my favourite time of the year. Not just because of the festivities but also because it is a time to look forward to the New Year and the new happenings it will bring.

Before we ring in the bells for 2019, follow me back in time as I review the highlights of 2018 with you.

Highlights of 2018!

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January – The year began with lots of excitement as we were celebrating our Tenth Year in business. Since our centre began in 2008 at Novena with only four (4) students taking the Trinity Communication Skills Examinations, we now have more than two hundred (200) students taking the examinations on a yearly basis. To date, more than three thousand (3000) students have passed through our doors.

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March – Another exciting event that started this year for our students was the Primary School Model United Nations Conference (PY-MUN) organised by Overseas Family School. It was a great milestone for our centre as we were the first enrichment centre in Singapore invited to attend such a prestigious event. Twenty of our most outstanding students were selected to attend. They spend two days learning the art of diplomacy and understanding the workings of the United Nations. The theme of the conference this year was “Waste Reduction”. The highlight of the event was when our student Laura Lang was invited to speak at the closing ceremony. She was selected from two hundred delegates who attended PY-MUN.  Watch the video of her speech here.

trophiesMay – This was the month of Trinity Graded Examinations. We had a continuous four days of examinations, the most days since we started offering the Communications Skills Exams. One hundred and twenty (120) students took the Solo Communications Skills Exams while twenty-six (26) students took the Group Communication Skills Exams. We achieved 100% passes for the May examinations with 95% achieving a Distinction or Merit. The following students achieved Top Scores in their respective Grades at our centre:

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  1. Emanuel Quek – Initial
  2. Li Xinyan – Grade 1
  3. Jayden Joseph – Grade 2
  4. Alison Kuo Kit Ying – Grade 3
  5. Foo Shuen Hui Janelle – Grade 4
  6. Foo Jiehan Jonathan – Grade 5
  7. Sarrah Rose Binte Mikhail Leung – Grade 6
  8. Jodan Kerk Yu Liang – Grade 6
  9. Maya Raisha Zainudin – Grade 8
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June As usual, this was the month of DSA Interview Coaching. We had a large number of request for one to one interview coaching this year. In total, we conducted Seventy-seven (77) hours of DSA coaching in the month of June alone! We had to turn away many students as we just did not have the capacity to coach everyone!

July – One acronym to describe July and that is SPAF (Singapore Performing Arts Festival)! This was the second year J Carter Centre supported the festival. As a member of the Advisory Committee for SPAF, my goal is to eventually encourage 80% of our students to participate in this exciting event. This year, more than 50 of our students participated in at least one category while some participated in three. J Carter Centre also sponsored $900 in cash for the Gold Star Awardees in the areas of Public Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Storytelling, Verse Speaking, and Creative Writing. Six of our students achieved the Gold Star Award and received $100 each.

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  1. Laura Lang – Public Speaking
  2. Maya Zainudin – Public Speaking
  3. Sarah Limb – Impromptu Speaking
  4. Jonell Leong – Impromptu Speaking
  5. Ian Lai – Storytelling
  6. Cayla Lee – Creative Writing
Laura Lang PESA 2

August – A few of our students were selected by their individual schools to participate in PESA 2018 (YMCA Plain English Speaking Award). Two of our students managed to make it to the Finals. For Lower Primary, Cayla Lee Xin En represented Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) while Lang Wen Ling Laura represented Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) in the Upper Primary category. Laura Lang achieved Second Runner-Up for her category and received her award at the prize-giving ceremony in September. Congratulations to both of our students.

September – Every year, our students would anxiously await the announcement to find out who had topped the grade in Communication Skills for the previous year in Singapore. These students were invited to attend the Trinity College London, Singapore Conferment and Award Presentation Ceremony where they were honoured for their achievements. Since the Award Ceremony was introduced in 2012, students from J Carter Centre have received this special award yearly. The award recipients for 2018 are as follows:

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  1. Grade 2 – Luke Wang
  2. Grade 3 – Gauri Madhu
  3. Grade 4 – Majeethia Himanshu
  4. Grade 5 – Hasel Soh
  5. Grade 5 – Sarrah Rose Binte Mikhail Leung
  6. Grade 6 – Joye Lim
  7. Grade 7 – Loh Yih Hang
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November – It was the Trinity Communications Skills Exam Period again. This time we had 116 students participating in both Solo and Group Exams. We are confident that our students performed well and we look forward to receiving the results at the end of 2018.

DSA

December – Launch of 6 days Accelerated DSA Preparation Course. In response to the request by parents, I have amended the DSA Preparation Course in order to offer it during the December and June school holidays,  The response was encouraging as both classes were fully booked in December. However, we are still offering our regular 12 weeks semester classes. For those who are interested to enroll their Primary 6 children in this class in 2019, we do have a few vacancies left for the 12 weeks Semester 1 classes. However, places are limited so do call our centre at 67372700 for registration details.

There will be more exciting things happening in 2019 so do subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to receive information about what we are doing at J Carter Centre.

Thank you to all the parents and students who have supported J Carter Centre for Public Speaking over the years. We would not have lasted 10 years if you did not have confidence in our programmes. We look forward to your support for the next 10 years.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Jackeline Carter (Founder/Director)

HELP! MY CHILD HAS A FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING!

  • Does your child suffer from intense anxiety prior to an oral exam or at the thought of speaking in front of the class?
  • Does your child avoid participating in events that requires him or her to share views and opinions?
  • Does your child suffer feelings of panic when required to attend an interview for a leadership position?

If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of the questions above, your child may be suffering from ‘Glossophobia’ which is the fear of public speaking.

In our 9 years of teaching over 1000 students from different schools, we realised that only ONE thing separates an inspiring speaker from an average one when it comes to communication. And that is:

Believing in yourself.

In fact,we found that 90% of our students that first come to us, struggle with this . . . and painfully it affects their self-confidence and self- esteem . . . making them feel that they have nothing worthwhile to share. They end up never speaking up or volunteering for opportunities to showcase their talents or abilities. Worst yet, you get that dreaded call from the form teacher informing you that your child is not participating in class discussions and it is going to affect their final grade by 10% – 15%.

At J Carter Centre for Public Speaking, we have the solution for you. Our Internationally recognised Programmes and graded examinations by Trinity College London and LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) will propel your child to achieve the following:

  • Your child will be skilled at writing and delivering inspirational speeches without needing you to do it for them
  • Your child will start LOVING to communicate views and opinions on various topics, and become motivated to speak better and in a more succinct manner
  • Your child can finally secure that leadership position that he or she rightfully deserves

The earlier you enrol your child in our public speaking courses the sooner you reduce his or her fear of public speaking.

With years of experience and learning from the best educators in Australia and United Kingdom, our programmes uses 5 methods to help your children build confidence:

Method 1: All our students are taught to use a simple speech structure to write their own speeches and learn to use 10 speech delivery techniques to gain the audience attention. A child’s anxiety can be reduced if they know how to craft their speeches and believe in their ability to gain the audience attention with their topic.

Method 2: Our classes are small ranging from 6 to 10 students. It has been suggested that children should practise speaking in front of smaller, less intimidating groups when they’re getting started in public speaking so we try to create a supporting and safe environment for your children using our 4 PS Rules!

Method 3: We tell children that it is okay to make mistakes when delivering a speech and teach them techniques to hide it from the audience.

Method 4: Our Programmes are designed to run for 16 weeks (LAMDA) or 19 weeks (Trinity) as the children need to gain experience in public speaking so that it will become easier for them to do. Research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so our programmes are designed to meet this criteria as closely as possible.

Method 5: Our Teachers are trained to not only teach communication skills but to also incorporate ‘EQ moments’ into the lessons. Children are encouraged to display good manners and show respect to their Teachers and peers. A reward system called, “Reach for the Stars” is used to encourage students to display positive behaviours.

Our holistic approach to teaching public speaking has resulted in 100% passes in Trinity College and LAMDA graded exams in communication skills and speaking in public. We are also the only centre in Singapore with the highest number of students winning the ‘High Achievers Award’ from Trinity College London in 2016.

Many of our students have also been streamed into GEP, DSA into IP schools and attained leadership positions as perfects, councillors, school ambassadors and CCA leaders.

It is time to take action NOW by signing up for our introductory workshop this June holidays.

Each day you delay registering your child for our Programmes will mean that your child will keep struggling while his or her peers continue to improve and excel.

Do you want to look back and regret not helping your child become a better speaker?

Will your child end up being robbed of educational and career opportunities in the future just because he or she is unable to speak up thus allowing others to take credit for his or her work?

Don’t hesitate any longer, call Nanz at 67372700 or drop her an email: info@jcartercentre.com to register your child today.

She can also answer any questions you may have about our programmes.

Other than that, all I want to tell you is:

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, my friends. Do ‘Like’ and share it if you know someone who needs to read this.

Sincerely,
Jackeline Carter
Founder/Director – J Carter Centre for Public Speaking

Congratulations! You have read up to this point. As a gift to you, if you mention seeing this blog post on FACEBOOK to Nanz when you call to register for the workshop or any of our Programmes, I will waiver the $40 new student registration fee.

Looking forward to seeing your children bloom at our centre!

ketti

New Talent Development Communication Programme – starting January

Dear Parents,

DSA selection process will be focusing on talent and not academics from 2018. Many children who will be going through DSA selection in 2018 are caught in a bind especially if they have not focused on developing a talent.

Moving forward, I will be introducing a Talent Development Communications Programme that will help students who will be attempting the DSA route in 2020 and 2021. Soothsayers may say it is a little too early to prepare for DSA however I beg to differ especially if you intend to develop a talent in your children. Talent development takes a few years especially if it is in the area of Public Speaking and Debates.

As the commitment on the part of your children will be 2 to 3 years, it is recommended that you only enroll your children in Talent Development if they have a love for public speaking, debates and creative writing or it will be extremely stressful for your children.

In order to ensure the success of every child who signs up for Talent Development, I will personally be coaching these classes. As my schedule is limited, I may only be able to offer one class per grade. Children in the regular Trinity College Communications classes will still be taught by the other highly qualified trainers at our centre. I will  return to teaching primary students full-time from January 2018 while the teen classes will be taught by Ms Joyce Carter. However, I will still be teaching the Advance classes of Grade 6,7,8 for the time being.


Here’s a suggested timeline for Talent Development Programme starting in January 2018

Year 1 – (Primary 4)

Semester 1 (January to May 2019) – Trinity College Grade 2 (with focus on competition training in the areas of Story-telling and public speaking)

June Holidays Workshop – Preparation for SPAF 2019 competition (Creative Writing, Public Speaking Categories)

Semester 2 (July to Nov 2019) – Trinity College Grade 3 (with focus on Impromptu speaking and Current Affairs )

Year 2- (Primary 5)

Semester 1 (January to May 2020) – Trinity College Grade 4 (with focus on Debating)

June Holidays Workshop – Preparation for SPAF 2020 competition (Creative Writing, Public Speaking and Impromptu Categories)

Semester 2 (July to Nov 2020) – Trinity College Grade 5 (with focus on Success principles and Debating)

Year 3 – (Primary 6)

Semester 1 (January to May 2021) –  DSA Preparation for the following Domains:

  • English
  • Communications
  • Creative Expressions
  • Public Speaking and Debate
  • Bi-lingual
  • Creative Writing/Literary Arts

Students in the Talent Development Programme are encouraged to participate in communications/writing competitions through their schools and public competitions. All students are also strongly encouraged to take the Trinity College Graded examinations for each grade in order to aim for the High Achiever Award from Trinity College London. For those who show a strong creative writing ability, they will be encouraged to participate in The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.

This programme focuses on developing communication talent and confidence in primary students to prepare them for the rigors of IP and Specialist secondary schools.

If you have any questions about the Talent Development Programme, you may email me at carter@jcartercentre.com

Regards,

Jackeline Carter (Founder of J Carter Centre for Public Speaking)

Talent
p Our talented students

June Holiday Workshops: Oral Exam Preparation for Primary students

Especially for Worried Parents Looking For A Quick & Proven Way To Help Their Child Get Up to Speed In Time For The Upcoming English PSLE Oral Exam . . 

Jackeline and Joyce Carter have taught hundreds of students since 2009 to achieve full marks in the PSLE Oral Exam.

This Special June Intensive Oral workshop will prepare your child to converse in 15 Major PSLE Oral Exam topics that could appear in this year’s prelims or Exam. 

In 2016,  one of our topics appeared during the PSLE exams and several schools’ prelim oral topics were similar to those we taught in the workshop.

In This 3-Days Content Packed Workshop, We Share Our Proven Oral Techniques That Have Helped Many Students Ace this Challenging Exam.

So, If You’re interested In Preparing Your Chuld for His or Her PSLE And See A Huge Improvement In Their Ability To Read Expressively and Converse Knowledgeably, Here’s What To Expect At Our June Holiday Workshop & How It Can Benefit Your Child.

  • We will provide in-depth information on 15 topics that commonly appear in Prelims and PSLE exams and teach your children to develop their opinions and express them in a confident and succinct manner using good phrases and proper sentence structure.
  • We will cover essential reading techniques using our special PAFER-(P) method  to deliver a well-pace, fluent reading of a passage.
  • To sustain the interest of the students, lesson will be taught using exciting and informative videos, text, visuals and activities.

We will be running 3 workshops during the June school Holidays for Primary 5/6. Places are filling up so don’t delay if you feel your children need the extra coaching this holiday. The details of the workshop are as follows:

Primary 5/6

Weds to Fri (31 May-2 June)      10 am to 5 pm*             3 places left  – Registration closed

Fri to Sun (9 June-11 June)         10 am to 5 pm*             4 places left

Fri to Sun (16 June-18 June)      10 am to 5 pm*             2 places left

*Lunch and Snacks will be provided for full day classes. 

For more information or registration details, please contact our centre at 67372700 or email us at info@jcartercentre.com.

We are sponsoring the Singapore Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) 2017

Dear Parents,

The Singapore Performing Arts Festival 2017 is now open for registration. This year J Carter Centre for Public Speaking will be sponsoring two of the Categories – Public Speaking and Impromptu Speaking. The organizers has decided to offer a $50 cash award to the top 3 overall best speakers for these two categories. 

All speakers who scores 75% and above will be awarded a report and a Gold, Silver or Bronze Certificate. You can choose one category or both categories as they will take place one after the other.
The competition for these individual categories will be on Sat morning, July 29, 2017. It will be held at Chinese Swimming Club near Marine Parade. For the Public Speaking Category, students will receive the topic one month before the competition. 
You can enroll directly with the organizers by downloading the form from this link:
 
If you have more questions, please contact MS Works directly.
Regards,
Jackeline Carter
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Julian Tay, winner of Gold Award SPAF 2016 – Public Speaking Category. (Student of J Carter Centre for Public Speaking)

 

 

 

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)

3-Day Intensive Oral Exam Preparation for P5/P6.

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PSLE Oral Communication consist of the following components:

  1. Reading
  2. Graphic Based Stimulus conversation

There are several  objectives which students must fulfill in order to achieve a good score:

  • read with good pronunciation, clear articulation and appropriate intonation in order to convey the information, ideas and feelings in a passage,
  • produce a well-paced, fluent reading of a passage,
  • express their personal opinions, ideas and experiences clearly and effectively in conversing with the examiner, and
  • speak fluently and with grammatical accuracy, using a range of appropriate vocabulary and structures.

In the case of Reading Aloud, candidates are assessed on their ability to pronounce and articulate words clearly, as well as their ability to read fluently with appropriate expression and rhythm.

For Stimulus-based Conversation, candidates are assessed on their ability to give a personal response to a visual stimulus and engage in a conversation on a relevant topic.

To help students achieve the above criteria during the examination, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop will teach them to use the PAFER- (P)  method when reading a passage and the OREOS – (V) method when holding a conversation on a topic.

We will have 3 Runs during the June school Holidays and 15 topics will be covered over 3 days. Last year, one of our topics appeared in the PSLE oral exams which pleased the students who attended the workshop.

The booking details are listed in the flyer below. Registration is on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. Once the classes are full, your child will be place on a wait-list and we will contact you if we are able to start another class.

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Results for November 2016 LAMDA -Speaking in Public Examinations

Once again, our centre has achieved amazing results in the LAMDA Examinations. We had 100% passes with a Distinction rate of 93%. 64 out of 69 students who took the examination at our centre achieved a Distinction. The highest scores were 96 out of a possible 100. We are happy to say the 4 of our students from various grades achieved a score of 96%. Congratulations to all of our students, parents and teachers for putting in the effort needed to achieve such amazing results.

In the LAMDA Speaking in Public programme, Students are taught to write and deliver their own speeches using proper speech writing techniques as well as verbal and non-verbal techniques to deliver the speech in front of an audience. There is also a segment on ‘Discussion and Conversation’ which teaches the students to interact on a 1 to 1 basis  and to hold a conversation on topics that interest them. This segment of the programme has helped many of our students achieve high scores in English Oral Examinations in school.

There is still time to enrol your child in Public Speaking classes for Semester 1. We have very few places left. If you miss registering for Semester 1, the next intake will be in July 2017. We do not take in any students once the classes starts. The spaces remaining are mainly for lower primary students. All other classes are full. To find out more about the LAMDA Speaking in Public programme, please go to this link:

https://www.lamda.org.uk/examinations/all-examinations/communications-examinations/speaking-in-public

Our programme is 16 weeks long with an In-house test at the end of semester. Students who are keen to acquire an International Certificate which is recognised by MOE can register for the LAMDA exam. The examiner will fly in from London to conduct the examinations at our centre.

All of our trainers are specially selected and trained by our founder Jackeline Carter. Every year, many adults apply to teach at J Carter Centre but only a selected few who meet the stringent requirements set forth by Jackeline will be selected to undergo training and be given an opportunity to teach at J Carter Centre. Trainers’ performances are constantly being reviewed and those that do not maintain the standard of teaching required will no longer be offered assignments at J Carter. This is to ensure that the quality of teaching will not be affected and every student will receive the attention needed even if they are not in a class taught by our Founder.

If you would like to find out more about our programmes or enrol your child in a Semester 1 class, please call our centre at 67372700 and our centre manager will recommend the correct grade and programme for your child. You can also visit our website at http://www.jcartercentre.com for more information.

The vacancies available for Semester 1 are as follows:

Entry 2 – Start Date: Wednesday, 18 January 2017 – 5 places left.

Entry 1 – Start Date: Thursday, 26 January 2017 – 1 place left.

Grade 1 – Start Date: Thursday, 26 January 2017 – 4 places left.

Grade 3 – Start Date: Thursday, 26 January 2017 – 1 place left

Students who enroll in weekday classes will enjoy $100 weekday discount.

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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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