Amongst all the subjects available on the O-Level curriculum, Social Studies would be one of the most likely to take the top spot when it comes to importance and difficulty.
It is a part of the Humanities curriculum which aims to broaden the students’ knowledge and understanding of Singapore society. Therefore, being good at one of its branches like Geography and History is helpful, however insufficient.
Social Studies are not simply about knowing, but more about comprehending the information given. You would need an extensive and in-depth understanding of all of its branches if you want to achieve a passing mark.
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure a good mark on the exam, but before that, let’s have a look at everything you need to know and prepare for.
Social Studies Exams
There are two syllabuses that students need to be familiar with if they want to take the exam: Social Studies History Paper (2273) and the Social Studies Geography Paper (2272).
Both syllabuses are comprised of two compulsory papers, each covering completely different topics.
1. Social Studies History Paper (2273)
The first paper for this syllabus will be on Social Studies. It lasts around one hour and 45 minutes and will determine 50% of your final grade.
You want to take note of the following key topics for paper one:
- Living in a Diverse Society
- Being Part of a Globalized World
- Governance and Citizenship
The second paper will be on History and will determine the final half of your overall grade for this syllabus. It is an hour and 40 minutes long and will also have two sections.
Take note of the following key topics for paper two:
- World in Crisis
- Cold War and Bi-Polarity
- Making of the Contemporary World Order (1900s-1991)
2. Social Studies Geography Paper (2272)
The first paper for this covers the exact same topics as the first aforementioned Social Studies paper for the History Paper (2273). Refer to the key topics above to prepare for the first paper for this syllabus.
On the other hand, the second paper for this syllabus will be on Geography. It lasts an hour and 40 minutes, and unlike the previous papers, this is divided into three sections.
Take note of the following topics and subtopics for your reference:
Our Dynamic Planet
1) Tectonic Hazards
2) Changing Weather and Climate
Our Changing World
1) Global Tourism
2) Limitations on Food and Resources
Geographical Investigations and Skills
1) Topographical Map Reading
2) Geographical Techniques and Data
3) Geographical Investigations
How to Score A1 on O-Level Social Studies Exams
Now that we’ve covered everything about the social studies exams, let’s cover some useful study tips you can follow to obtain beyond satisfactory marks on the exams.
Do remember that regardless of how difficult the exams are and how seemingly impossible they are, getting a high mark is actually feasible as long as you are determined and well-equipped with the needed knowledge and techniques.
Compile Credible Sources and Material
First, be sure to collect as many resources and materials as you can on both Geography and History for your study sessions.
Take notes and keep everything organized by having separate piles for your History materials and Geography materials. Exam papers are also very useful in this case.
This way, you won’t struggle with finding data on certain topics as they are already arranged accordingly, and last-minute reviews would go much smoother and faster.
Enhance your Knowledge
Since the History exams are meant to enhance the examinees’ understanding, examiners will be taking note of certain qualities in your answers.
To catch their attention, practice your skills on the following:
- Asking relevant questions
- In-depth analysis of given information
- Acknowledgment of differing perspectives
- Mastery of the topics
- Empathetic and non-judgmental remarks
- Methodical Approach
- Construction of sound and reasonable arguments
Familiarize Key Points in Geography
On the other end, Geography examiners will be attentive to your mastery and knowledge of certain topics. Examinees should be able to prove that they have not simply memorized the material but have absorbed every detail as well.
To do so, here are the points to study for prior to the exam:
- Human and Physical Processes
- Cultural and Environmental Diversity
You can check out our article covering some extra tips on how to ace Geography exams.
Create a Timetable
This is important to ensure that you are making the most of your time regardless if you’ve started early or later. Creating a timetable not only ensures that you have taken the time to study but also makes sure that no topic or subject is overlooked.
Make sure not to overdo things and always give yourself time to relax. This keeps you productive and lessens the risk of burnout. It is also important to incorporate your preferred learning style into your timetable.
Make Use of Flashcards
Flashcards and other materials for learning are great for last-minute reviews or simply remembering certain details that are easily forgotten. Constant reading of the content allows you to familiarize the material instead of simply memorizing it.
This will help boosts the chances of you remembering it when the time comes.
This way, studying becomes easier and can be done anywhere you are. Not to mention, you get to learn from the examiner’s perspective and be exactly what they look for in a suitable examinee.
Social studies exams may seem intimidating at first, but with determination and hard work, it’s possible to ace them. To be able to obtain an above-average mark, you would need to make sure that you are mentally prepared for it as it does not only ask for simple facts but also your own personal input on contemporary issues.
If you think you know too little of your society, then you would need to do extensive research on the relevant issues and get yourself involved. Mere surface-level knowledge and views would not impress the examiners in any way.
If needed, then you can also seek help from private tutors. With their help, you’ll be able to receive private tutoring lessons that are specifically designed to cater to your strengths and weaknesses.
This way, you can experience major improvements, allowing you to ace your upcoming O-Level Social Studies exam.