General Paper – 4 Basic Principles To Transit Smoothly From O Level English

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All right, so you have completed your O levels and are all set to embark on your A level General Paper (GP) course.

If you’re thinking about the ‘ins and outs’ of a General Paper, think again.

There are 4 basic Principles to follow if you want a smooth transition to your General Paper:

#1 Awareness

Have you ever asked yourself if you were aware of the past issues in our world?

What about the present ones?

Ok, you know that Covid-19 pandemic affected the entire world but even a child knows that. I don’t mean to undermine you but really? What about world issues? 

Ok, there is a war going on in Ukraine. But do you know what factors started the war? Do you know about Ukraine’s history with Russia? Do you know that people of Russian descent live in Ukraine?

Ok, maybe you didn’t. If you want to be a versatile General Paper writer, you should make it a point to dig a little deeper beneath the surface. 

And that is the way to create an aura of sophistication and maturity in your writing.

You need to open your eyes to the shifts in the demographics of society. 

Are people changing? Do you sense the wind of change?

By change, I mean in terms of lifestyles. 

general paper

Are people becoming more aware of the need to save the planet?

Do you see the tide shifting away from our past neglectful habits?

Are you aware that Singapore is in a vulnerable position due to our geographic position?

Are you aware that Singapore has earned the respect of world leaders?

Do you know why?

You need to be aware of the people in society, our position on the global stage and make a prediction about where we are going.

Become aware of your surroundings and happenings.

#2 Cause And Effect Theories

Cause and effect theories concern every major event. 

People write reports about why it happened and what the consequences were.

For instance, do you know that there was a hunt for the people who were part of the Nazi regime and some of the main leaders were brought to justice? 

The cause for the war is defined in history but there was a concerted effort to redress the wrongs.

There are other ways of looking at causes and effects.

What made people react like that?

What will be the outcome?

Sometimes, these answers can be subjective.

And sometimes, it must follow history. 

More often than not, cause and effect will play a vital part in your writing.

#3 Making An Educated Guess

This is about being bold enough to surmise. 

You need to step up to the demands of the question and be able to assert your General Paper views. 

You need to be able to make independent and original statements about issues. 

You cannot afford to follow a safe path.

General Paper writing entails being able to scrutinise objectively and then drawing from it to form your own opinions. 

There are sometimes no right or wrong answers. 

There are only views. 

You can be right if you are able to support your view. 

It matters that you have suitable evidence to support your view.

It is all about sounding smart and polished.

#4 Thinking On Both Sides

You need to think on both sides of the coin. 

Remember, every story has two sides. You need to remember this.

Find the reasons for the why and look at the evidence. 

Actually evidence is not really completely foolproof. 

I mean, sometimes they are based on eyewitness reports and sometimes on the speculative views of witnesses. 

It is hard to disseminate the truth from fabrication.

Make it a point to look at the other side of the argument. 

Try to look beneath the surface. 

You will be enlightened on several interesting points of view. 

Make it a point to know both sides even if you are slightly prejudiced.

And why do I insist on this?

It is so that your writing is impartial. This is worth remembering.

Transitioning from O levels to General Paper is a rather tall order. 

I mean it is a truly philosophical genre you will be contemplating compared to your secondary years. 

It can be a valuable experience as well. 

Just push yourself a bit beyond the comfort zone and venture out a bit. 

It will be worth the effort as you will realise a whole realm of thought when you study for the General Paper.

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