Congratulations to all kids who’ve been selected. As my son has benefited greatly the last 3 years, I would like to share his experiences to parents who’re having doubts.
It’s not a fluke. Have faith in yr child’s ability… unless your child has attended GEP preparation courses… then seriously reconsider your decision. Mine wasn’t in the top 50 of his cohort in P2, and yet he was selected. We had our doubts then. Looking back, I’m glad we’ve made the right decision; instead of doubting him just because he’s never top his cohort. He’s had a challenging but very mentally enriching 3 years. He’s had opportunities to go to RI/NUSH/NUS for some enrichment programs.
Is it really stressful? Mine stops his work by 9:30pm every night..unless due to last minute work. No afternoon naps though. He hates them. He takes leisurely meals, long breaks to read his books. Yet, he’s able to clear his work, meet his deadlines on time. He’s not the hardworking type; You don’t see him doing more than is necessary. Chinese takes up so much of his time..cause he’s so SLOW in doing anything chinese. Though there’re stressful times, he copes well. He doesn’t sigh or ever regret joining the program. The kids aren’t competitive; though they always strive to do better than one another…friendly competition perhaps. but not the stressful, unhealthy kind.
Do I help him? Yes, stuffs like guiding him how to draw straight lines/boxes/write on vanguard sheets, how to use movie editor. I was also his cameraman in his Science project. I don’t teach him academic stuff like maths n science. But I do point him the way if he needs more details..like looking up his sis’ sec books, internet etc. Help him with stuff like Eng grammar, Chinese words. Other than that, I’m rather hands off with him. More like his driver. If he’s stuck, there’s also his teachers, his friends or the internet to help him. Some of the projects submitted by his peers are of such high quality, it’s very obvious it’s done by the parents. While I guide him sometimes, I don’t do his work for him.
With a class size of 18 and dedicated teachers, your child is in good hands. The teachers are just an email or a phone call away.
No worries if you’re a parent who find GEP maths tough. It IS very tough. If your child is weak, there’re remedial classes; or sign him up for tuition. If your child excels in Maths, stretch him further by signing him up for competition training…unless of course, you’re able to teach him or you found some excellent olympic maths guide so your kid can self-learn. Note, however, that some schools only allow students of Maths club to take part in the competition..do check. These competition can beef up the portfolio. I don’t agree that GEP kids, to prove that they’re worthy of the program, shouldn’t be seen in tuition centres.
You don’t need to join sports cca to be successful in dsa. Mine didn’t and neither did most of his friends.
You don’t need to score more than 80% to apply for dsa. For app to nush, it makes no diff if you’re gep or not. You still need to go for selection test then camp. For RI, if you score more than 80% in P6 SA1, you can skip the GAT and go straight to interview. For HCI, it’s just a writing segment and interview. As for DHS, you don’t even need to pay to apply and no interview required either.
Higher chinese. Textbooks same as that used by mainstream higher chinese. Exams are different from mainstream but doesn’t imply they’re any tougher…unless you’re in the BICEP program. In the recent PSLE exams, my son commented that HCL is easier than CL. Mine goes for tuition as we don’t speak the lang at home. Then again, he also goes for Eng tuition.
Continue to participate in the annual ICAS papers…again for beefing up his portfolio.
If there’re opportunities for other events like Mind games olympics (ACS), RISA etc, go for it..again for the experience and his portfolio.
As forreading list, I reserve them from the NLB, paying $1.55 per book. He doesn’t read all of them…but he also reads beyond that list.
Being in GEP does give your child ahigher chance of being selected for IP schools. In son’s class, out of 14 boys, 6 will be going to RI. Only 1 doesn’t have an offer. That’s because he only applies for 1 school.
Assessment books. Mine didn’t do any mainstream assessment books. He’ll be so bored. Time is better spent pursuing his other interests or relaxing. However, in p4, I bought the andrew er maths to let him do the level 3 and creative thinking sections. But he didn’t have time for it. So we left the book mostly untouched. Then in P6, I bought a synthesis n transformation book, which turned out to be useless as we became more confused than ever. That book doesn’t explain the rules, simply gives you the answers which at times, leave us more confused than ever.
Mainstream syllabus. Don’t worry about catching up with mainstream syllabus. With the psle drill starting in Jun P6, they’ve enough practices.
PS: Though I’m not keen to be drawn into another controversy, I hope that by sharing my son’s experiences, I’m able to convince some doubtful parents/kids to go for it.
The child can always join back the mainstream if the program isn’t suitable. But why give up without putting up a decent fight? At least you will not look back years from now and regret your decision.