PFP or O levels ?

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PFP or O levels ?

Postby Anonymous636 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:03 pm

Hello :) I'm currently secondary 4 and i'm from NA stream . I am confident i will be able to make it to the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) . However I do not know if i should go for PFP or continue my journey in Sec 5 . I have no intention of proceeding to Junior College after Secondary school .

The reason i'm considering to take Sec 5 is because i'm afraid that without an O level certificate i will have problems finding jobs in future .

So do share your views if you have any .... Thanks in advance :)
:thankyou:

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Re: PFP or O levels ?

Postby kurosouta » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:59 pm

Hey! I too took N Level this year and gosh it was easy wasn't it ;)
Now whether to choose going to PFP or to Sec 5, i have not a single clue. But i can tell you this, whether you choose either one, you'll still be in the same pace as your friends actually. Maybe you'd have a bit of advantage in the poly life but still, i don't think its that much. I'm definitely going Sec 5, if you're wondering, even though im VERY confident i am eligible for PFP (haha too arrogant aren't i?)
Plus don't worry about looking for jobs without a O level cert, employers hire you with your HIGHEST qualification, not your secondary's.
Anyway good luck with your results, by the way, how do we know when we get our N level results? xD

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Re: PFP or O levels ?

Postby LarryG67 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:06 am

i think the o levels will be a good foundation to have. at least you will have an internationally recognized cert. from there, you can proceed to poly with a peace of mind also

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Re: PFP or O levels ?

Postby TheWriter » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:07 am

Hello there!

I come from much simpler times where we did not have PFP, but I did have to take the N and O levels.

I cannot tell you much about the usefulness of a PFP qualification as opposed to the 'O' level qualification, but I will say this much:

Firstly, the 'O' level examination is at its most basic level a general, academic examination and serves as a foundation for FURTHER academic study, i.e. JC (which you mentioned you are not intending to go for). You will of course, not be extremely ill-prepared for polytechnic life with 'O' level certification (many of us did fairly well).

Now then, how exactly do you decide?

As with any endeavour, BE PREPARED. Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about your own learning objectives, and what the PFP offers. Are you looking to enter a science or engineering-based course? A cursory glance at PFP tells me that their introduction to Engineering or physical sciences course should be very helpful in preparing you for it. In my time, N(A) students were never allowed to do A Maths because we were too stupid to do it according to the system, but things may be different for you. If you are only offering E Maths as a foundation and wish to do engineering/science, PFP stands out as a stronger option immediately because it gives you the foundation needed to handle basic calculus (differentiation and integration), statistics (Student T-Test, One way ANOVA) and in engineering, possibly Ordinary Differential Equations. Do these sound unfamiliar to you? PFP will hopefully prepare you better for it, but like I said, find out EVERYTHING you can. This means bugging the Poly admissions with specific questions about what you want to do and what they can offer in their programme. Is it classroom-based teaching or modular, lecture-style? What do they cover in the foundational curriculum specific to the course you want to study?

The downside to PFP is of course, the fact that you are confining yourself to a very specific discipline. Many years ago, I did very well for my 'N' and 'O' levels and being an ambitious fellow, I ultimately pursued a polytechnic path which I did not quite prepare for - Life Science. I was armed with only E Maths and Comb. Sci (phy/chem), and struggled to keep up with simple differentiation, or with organic chemistry (you spend your O level days memorising colours of salts and no one ever tells about about aldehydes and ketones) and biology. It wasn't because they were intrinsically difficult subjects (except Org. Chem), but polytechnic gave you a sudden sense of freedom that, without discipline, you wouldn't know what to do with. My hardworking N(A) classmates found it in them to work very hard and top the class despite the lack of foundation while I floundered. This is definitely something you must bear in mind - the environment is very different from the regimented classroom at N and O levels, and there aren't any ten year series to help you ace every module.

But I digress. I really wanted to talk about the downside because being young, you probably see yourself (and I am very sorry if I am wrong) going down a definite path. Let's say you really enjoy biotechnology. You read about the latest advances in Medicine and stem cells. Friends tell you you must study all the way until PhD to do research work and there's no guarantee you'll succeed or have the money to do so. But you are not scared. You will top your class, get scholarships, finish university a year early and start doing your PhD where you will find a cure for cancer.

I'm not going to tell you it's wrong to be ambitious like that (I was), but keep in mind that goals change all the time, and people decide halfway through that something they started wasn't really meant to be, and change course. If you keep to your course and do excellently in your diploma studies that's great! But if you flounder and do badly, it will not be the end of the world. Do not think that when you're doing a diploma in electrical engineering, you'll be an electrical engineer for life and be branded as a societal failure if you don't do well enough to become one. There will always be alternate ways and life will open different doors, some of which will lead you on very unexpected paths. Some of these changes are not easy to do or accept, and it never gets easy, but you know what? With a bit of determination and flexibility, you'll get there.

And I realise after all this verbal diarrhoea that you're probably already in your first week of school and decided on either PFP/O levels. That's ok, my rambling still applies. All the best for your future endeavours, wherever you may choose to go!

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