Secondary 1 Survival Tips

Congratulations on getting your PSLE results!  Now the next step is to head to the next stage of your life- into your secondary school years.

Change is never easy, but always exciting. Here are a few tips on how to tackle Secondary One years for all the 12-year olds out there.

1. New school environment

You were the “big” brother/sister at Primary school. It’s all back to square one now. You are now the tiniest of the lot and the school campus is probably much larger than what your primary school was. You may have to learn to take a bus or train by yourself instead of walking to school.

Don’t worry. If you are afraid, orientate yourself with your parents before school opens. Take the public transport with them once so that you know how to get there in future by yourself.

As for the new campus, you will know it at the tip of your fingers. During orientation at the first few days of the school week, enjoy the games. Soon enough, you will know the compound by the back of your head.

2. New friends

If you are lucky (or maybe unlucky), some Primary school friends may end up in the same high school as you.

If you are alone, you could start afresh. No worries. You can start on a new slate and not worry about the embarrassing things you did when you were a kid and want no one to ever know about it.

If there are old buddies in the same school, good for you. But don’t just cling on to them, make new friends. You are still too young to stick to one group of friends.

Get to know more people. Join CCAs and you may find like-minded friends. 
Some of my best friends are from Secondary school days and we kept in touch even after twenty years. Treasure these times.

3. Study

It feels like a steep learning curve. Science, Maths and the languages just aren’t as easy as they used to be. Full marks aren’t a certainty anymore.

Depending on your school, you may be having several tests every week if you are lucky. Several tests a day if you are unfortunate. You may never have encountered stress like this before and it could be worse than your primary school days. And there’s social studies which seems so intimidating for some, especially for people who prefer the Sciences.

Don’t fret. Remember, it’s a new subject for everyone else as well. The important thing to do is to ask.

Pay attention in class. When in doubt, seek help with your teachers in class or outside of class if you are shy. They will be very happy to assist because teachers love nothing more than a motivated student.

As for how to tackle the new subjects like history and geography, the key is to read more. When you have more research and analysis, you can understand it better and form your own views on the matter.

4. Selecting your CCA

Choose something you enjoy. 

Some schools may insist you pick at least one sports program, others don’t. If it’s compulsory to have a sports activity but you don’t enjoy exercise in general, brace yourself for the challenge. Always remember- you are only 13. There’s nothing too difficult for you.

5. Growing up

Ah, the awkward phase of life. You may be starting to have facial hair and your voice starts to deepen if you are a guy. Girls will start having their menses.

There’s nothing to be afraid of- everyone goes through the same process. Talk to your parents and friends about them.

If you find the details too intimate to discuss with them, there are plenty of helplines for you.

Here are a couple of numbers you can call, just to name a few.


Teen Challenge Youth Axis 


Mon – Fri: 9am – 6pm




Mon – Fri: 8.30am – 6pm

Now as you see- it’s really not all that tough to get over to the next chapter of your life.

Just be fearless. Although you may be anxious about the changes in your life, there is really nothing to worry about.

Wei writes financial news in the day and solves PSLE problems at night.  He recently set up a facebook page studyroomjr with his buddy just to help children with their PSLE queries. Like the page here for more academic tips!


It's all adapting and time managing.

Eventhough sec 1 students may think they are already young adults, but they are actually not. They still need lots of guidance and advise from adults ( both parents and teachers). Parents should not let go totally as some mix with the wrong company. They must be aware that with the increase in the number of subjects, they need to be well prepared for the examinations.