SmileTutor Blog Students Exam Tips How Do You Prepare For Singapore GCE O-Level As A Private Candidate?

How Do You Prepare For Singapore GCE O-Level As A Private Candidate?

To move up in the education path to study a diploma or a degree, one must have good O-level results. It is the gatekeeper for advance education and nearly of the office administrative jobs in Singapore.

As a private candidate, it is not always easy to keep yourself on track with preparation. Personal, social and work commitments might hinder you from achieving your goals but we are here to help you to realize it with the tips below.

Always Have A Plan

Keeping a journal, a digital calendar, or a diary helps keep you on track. Use these to take note of all your school activities and their dates. These include exams, tests, homework, submission deadlines, projects, and so on. Keeping a schedule is the first step to staying on track.

You should also review all your plans at set dates. Keep a reminder so that you can do this. This is because writing them down alone is not enough. You could easily forget about a certain project deadline or test date if you don’t review those events.

Set a weekly reminder so that you can check your planner or diary. Mark the dates you start prepping for tests or exams. Indicate when a test is due, or when you have taken it.

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Do not forget to take note of and plan for all your non-academic events. Lunch with friends, dinner with family, or a walk in the park. You must get out and mingle with others. Outline those dates with schoolwork or tuition on them. Make sure they don’t collide with your friends and family time.

Be Organized

Staying organized is important for students preparing for their GCE O-Levels. Parents in Singapore want their kids to excel academically. This won’t be entirely possible if they can’t immediately find their Math book or Geography assignment in a pile of books. Having a strict organizational structure will help keep you focused as you self-study for your exams.

You can get a folder called an accordion folder. It is a folder with pockets in it for books and files.

Each pocket, or folder, can be labeled for each subject you are studying.
Keep one folder, preferably the first one, for ongoing work, such as projects or assignments. This folder will hold all ongoing work for all subjects.
Take this folder to school: it will keep your notes better organized than carrying a backpack.
Back at home, keep a binder for every subject. This is for your personal study time. Each subject should have its own binder.

Organizing your work and notes this way will save you time and keep you on top of your school work. These take care of schoolwork. How about homework?

You should have a list of homework/take-home assignments. This could be a simple notebook and pen, or a note-taking app on your phone.
Always update this list with recent homework daily, after school.
Check your calendar for appropriate times to do your homework.
The assignments with more immediate deadlines should have top priority.
As the day ends, check your list again for incomplete homework.

This isn’t as difficult as it seems. These methods keep you on top of your self-study game.

Use A Periodic Review System

Cramming is a terrible idea for students self-studying for exams. A tutor should tell them not to stay up at night memorizing entire notes. They are bound to forget half of it when they get to the exam. Instead, your students should use a periodic review system.

A periodic review system lets you learn more and store the info in your long-term memory. You study better and retain knowledge easier. Experts say the best way to do a periodic review is to learn in steps, such as:

When you first learn a new subject,

study it one day after that
study again 3 days after that first study
study 7 days after the second study
study 21 days after the third study

And so on. A periodic review means studying main points in a topic of the entire subject. This means you can stay for at least 10 minutes and be done.

Set Up A Distraction-Free Study Area

It isn’t just tuition sessions that need zero distraction. Your study time needs to be distraction-free as well. This means that you will have to:

switch off your phone
maintain an organized study area
don’t study for more than an hour at a time
time your study sessions
reward yourself for completing a self-study session

Multi-tasking when studying is a bad idea. Just because you think can study with the TV or radio on, doesn’t mean you should do it. Your brain could be affected by that. Stay focused on studying and that alone: you can watch TV afterward.

You should also ensure that distraction doesn’t come from your family members who are staying under the same roof as you. By placing a sign on your bedroom door when you are studying inside will alert the others to keep their activities to a low decimal.

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Get a Tutor on Your Weakest Subject

Singapore has several qualified tutors who can provide tuition at good rates. If you think you are weak in any subject, hiring a tutor is a great idea. Ideally, tuition could be at home, two times a week.

Getting guidance is crucial for any students taking the O-level. A tutor can help in a lot of ways such as

Focusing on strengthening your weak areas
Identifying your careless mistakes
Research on practice questions
Using his or her own study formulas to help you to study more efficiently
Using different methodologies to explain the concept

It is always useful to have someone to go through your study notes in assuring that you are on the right track. Before you know it, you will be more confident about your chances at great results in the GCE.


These preparations for self-study students may seem too rigorous. Once you put your mind to it, you will be able to do them all. You just need time and effort. Time here means that you can’t do all of these things at once. Start these one at a time, especially the scheduling and using a folder.

Also, you shouldn’t forget to exercise and sleep. Regular workouts and good sleep are essential when preparing for your GCE. These keep you healthy and keep your stress levels low. Eat healthy, with lots of fruit and vegetables. Foods like ice cream and other sweets should be treats, occasional rewards for completing study milestones.

Always remember: it isn’t the perfect GCE result that is important here. It is the process you go through to get those good results that are important. They are building blocks for your future success.

If you find this article useful, we have similar topics here:

5 Study Secrets to Take Your Grades to the Next Level
The Secret Formula to Ace Your Exams


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.