Raffles Institution (Year 1-4)

Having survived PSLE. we still need to network with other parents with kids in the same Secondary school. While giving our teenagers their own space, we can update each other about the school.
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kohjl
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Post by kohjl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:58 am

Dharma wrote:Hi kohjl,

I understand that your older son is doing RA for 2 subjects in RI. Will appreciate your kind advise on some of my queries below.

How is the level of difficulty as compared to the rest of the subjects in RP? Is the workload very much more for RA? I understand that there are additional topics covered under RA. Does that mean that he sits for 2 exams per subject instead of 1? Is it compulsory to do SMP if one is selected for Science/Maths RA?

Thanking you in advance.
Hi Dharma
Sorry, I was on holiday the past week (post-PSLE celebration with a neglected hubby :lol: ) and just logged on today. My RI son is having exams this week, so will "interrogate" him over this weekend and share with you his answers early next week. This is just an interim reply to let you know why the "silence"!

Dharma
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Post by Dharma » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:38 am

kohjl wrote:
Dharma wrote:Hi kohjl,

I understand that your older son is doing RA for 2 subjects in RI. Will appreciate your kind advise on some of my queries below.

How is the level of difficulty as compared to the rest of the subjects in RP? Is the workload very much more for RA? I understand that there are additional topics covered under RA. Does that mean that he sits for 2 exams per subject instead of 1? Is it compulsory to do SMP if one is selected for Science/Maths RA?

Thanking you in advance.
Hi Dharma
Sorry, I was on holiday the past week (post-PSLE celebration with a neglected hubby :lol: ) and just logged on today. My RI son is having exams this week, so will "interrogate" him over this weekend and share with you his answers early next week. This is just an interim reply to let you know why the "silence"!
Thanks kohjl for your kind reply. Guess we all need a good break after PSLE. Also had a short break in M'sia over the weekend.

kohjl
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Post by kohjl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:02 pm

Dharma wrote:Hi kohjl,

I understand that your older son is doing RA for 2 subjects in RI. Will appreciate your kind advise on some of my queries below.

How is the level of difficulty as compared to the rest of the subjects in RP? Is the workload very much more for RA? I understand that there are additional topics covered under RA. Does that mean that he sits for 2 exams per subject instead of 1? Is it compulsory to do SMP if one is selected for Science/Maths RA?

Thanking you in advance.

Hi Dharma

As requested, I’ve asked my son (now Year 4, RI) to give his take on your questions. I’ve also asked him to give an intro as to what RA (Raffles Academy) is about.

So here below are the unedited comments from my son (not to be mistaken for his P6 brother kohjl Jr who is now called PlasmaStorm in this forum.):

=======================================================

Preamble:
In secondary 2, RI students can choose to try for the RA programme, a programme designed to stretch the capacity and thinking skills of students with a high aptitude in a particular subject. Students that apply for the subject have to have a minimum of 3.60 GPA (ie, above 70 marks on average for all subjects), as well as being in the top 15% of the cohort in that particular subject. This also means that the subject that you want to offer naturally has to be of at least a 4.0 grade (ie, greater than 80 marks). The subjects that you can choose to offer an RA for are biology, physics, chemistry, maths, geography, history and literature, up to a maximum of two RA subjects of any combination.

After meeting the basic criteria, you have to sit for a selection test and go for an interview with a teacher. If you pass both of these sections, you will be invited to join that subject’s RA. You can choose to try out for as many RAs as you like as long as you meet the criteria, but even if you are accepted for all, you will eventually be only allowed to take two.

As a last note, I know of a few people who do not have a 3.60 GPA on average and yet show extremely high aptitude and interest for the subject. They had appealed to take the selection test and have been offered the RA of their choice after attending the selection test and the interview. This is the exception rather than the rule. However, it is, of course, still better to maintain a high level of achievement for both the RA subject as well as for the rest of the subjects.

Q: How is the level of difficulty as compared to the rest of the subjects in RP? Is the workload very much more for RA?

A: The difference between Science RP and Science RA programme is in terms of the balance of O level and A level syllabus that is done in Year 3 and 4 (ie Sec 3 and 4). While Science RP students complete all of the O-level syllabus and study a few easy A-level topics, RA students complete the whole A-level syllabus for that subject by the end of Year 4. So yes, it definitely is much more difficult and challenging, and requires a lot more studying. Compared to RP, RA also gets higher-level projects to work on, a key example being the compulsory CHAOS project for all science RAs.

You can explore the website on CHAOS here for more info: http://www.gebsp.moe.gov.sg/CHAOS/index.htm

(Note: You will only be required to complete the section that you are doing RA in , i.e. chemistryRA students will complete the chemistry section, math RA students complete the math section, and students taking two science/math RAs have to – shudders – do two parts.)

Q: I understand that there are additional topics covered under RA. Does that mean that he sits for 2 exams per subject instead of 1?

A: Thank goodness no. The RA assessment plan is completely different from that of RP. This means that RA could have more or less or even no tests at all. However, in reality, the situation is that RA always has a far greater number of tests than RP. For example this year, the RPs have had (I think) about 2 common class tests throughout the year, whereas the RAs had 2 common tests, as well as 7 topical tests throughout the year. The only test common between RP and RA is the end of year paper, which is used as a tool to benchmark the RA students against the RP students.

Q: Is it compulsory to do SMP if one is selected for Science/Maths RA?

A: I do not think so. However, you are expected to do a research project that is related to one of your RA projects.


Hope that helps. :D

kohjl
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Re: RI

Post by kohjl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:14 pm

mathsparks wrote:Any parents here to share their boys' experiences about life in RI? Though we're very sure of our decision, we're interested to find out more...to be mentally prepared.

- Is life really so stressful?
- Are the kids ranked according to the class they're in? Are their positions in class/standard disclosed at yearend?
- Are remedial/supp classes provided for weaker students?
- Do your kids reach home late (as in after 9pm) often?
- Are the boys rough (during orientation, do the seniors bully the juniors in ways that are demeaning/spiteful?)
- Is it true if you "hide" in guitar ensemble, you'll have a less packed cca schedule? Anyway, son's not keen to join guitar.
- Are your kids generally happy (look forward to school).
- Are they often dead-tired from school activities?
- Are they snobs who compare the brands of their shoes/mobiles/laptops/games/cars etc..or even the places they visit?
- Heard that there're school buses that pick up the kids from east side. Any idea?
- Are parents allowed to drop off the kids within the school grounds(if it rains?)..Is there morning peak hour conjestion?
- Are they rebellious, rude and behave so high and mighty? Somehow I've the notion that sap school kids are more respectful and humble..so perhaps I'm looking more for assurances from parents.

Thanks much for any input.
Hi mathsparks,

Here are the answers from my son (Year 4, RI) which I had earlier promised. These are his actual comments, unedited by his mother. I have put my comments which I feel would aid parents’ understanding separately in brackets.

Hope these comments will help prepare your son for his life in RI! Regards.

========================================================

- Is life really so stressful?

A: No, as long as the student consistently puts in the effort and manages their deadlines and workload properly, life is not that stressful. Life might get stressful during the competition season when trainings and the workload clash, but the teachers are often understanding and do give extensions for projects, so all in all, life is not that stressful in RI.

[Note from kohjl (the mother) – On further questioning, my son said that his classmates do not seem stressed either, but I also need to let you know that my son is in the class that does two RA subjects, and generally, the students from that class have a minimum of GPA 3.6 with 4.0 in the two subjects that they had chosen to do RA in. Please note that I disclose this not with the intent to boast but it is to highlight that my son’s comments may or may not be representative of the RI student population. Personally, I have heard that there are some students that do feel the stress in RI, but I do not know the percentage.]

- Are the kids ranked according to the class they're in? Are their positions in class/standard disclosed at year end?

A: At Sec 1, I think there is no ranking involved, although I think DSA sports students are grouped into 1 class. At Secondary 3, students are grouped into classes according to the subject combination that they take. In addition, students with Raffles Academy classes or third language classes are often grouped into the same class.

- Are remedial/supp classes provided for weaker students?

A: Yes, for all or almost all subjects.

- Do your kids reach home late (as in after 9pm) often?

A: I, for one, do not reach home so late. The weeks leading up to competition will have more CCA practice and hence longer hours. However, if you live far away from the school and take a CCA with long training hours, I guess that may happen.

- Are the boys rough (during orientation, do the seniors bully the juniors in ways that are demeaning/spiteful?)

A: No. I haven’t come across such cases during the orientation camp that I attended as a secondary 4. However, cases do appear one time or another, although they normally aren’t serious.

I have seen some cases of students being “taupok-ed” in class during secondary 1 and 2. However, I have never seen or heard of any seniors doing it to their juniors nor seen seniors bully juniors in any such violent ways. “Taupok-ing” is quite a normal occurrence in most schools from what I have heard. In RI, I feel it’s of a milder form, as the students piling on top do get off when the student at the bottom asks them to get off.

- Is it true if you "hide" in guitar ensemble, you'll have a less packed cca schedule? Anyway, son's not keen to join guitar.

A: Personally, I disagree with this. During the competition season (especially SYF), trainings are extremely intense and take up long periods of after-school time. I think rehearsals can be as intense as a series for 4-hour rehearsals 5 times a week in the week before the competition. Generally, all CCAs do take time, and different CCAs have different times when they become time consuming, so I feel it's best to choose the CCA in which your son will enjoy the most.

- Are your kids generally happy (look forward to school).

A: This is really subjective. It depends on the teachers, students, lessons, and whether you've done your homework or not. I mostly enjoy going to school, with one exception: I have double chinese on a particular day of the week (and I absolutely detest Chinese). Otherwise school is generally fun and interesting.

- Are they often dead-tired from school activities?

A: No. Some students may be dead tired in class, but that's normally not caused by anything school-related.

[Note from kohjl (the mother): From what I have heard, it’s from playing computer games too late at night!]

- Are they snobs who compare the brands of their shoes/mobiles/laptops/games/cars etc..or even the places they visit?

A: I've heard my classmates comparing the effectiveness of their pens when it comes to writing essays....does that count? xD

- Heard that there're school buses that pick up the kids from east side. Any idea?

A: I'm not sure, sorry. I don't know anyone from the east side who uses the school bus.

[Note from kohjl (the mother) - Suggest you call the school office to find out.]

- Are parents allowed to drop off the kids within the school grounds (if it rains?)..Is there morning peak hour conjestion?

A: Yes and yes. There are two drop off points in the school, one at RI and one at RIJC. Both drop off points are sheltered, although the RIJC one is usually less conjested, in the sense that parents usually escape from the school compound faster than if they used the RI drop off point.

- Are they rebellious, rude and behave so high and mighty? Somehow I've the notion that sap school kids are more respectful and humble..so perhaps I'm looking more for assurances from parents.

A: Well, I'm not a parent, and hence cannot speak for myself, but I personally feel is that my classmates and I are not rebellious or rude.

[Note from kohjl (the mother) – I have met some of his classmates and other schoolmates from RI, and I think that they are generally polite and respectful, with only one bad apple that I know of. And I can personally vouch for my son that he is not rebellious or rude! ]

Hope that helps. :D





Dharma
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Post by Dharma » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:32 am

kohjl wrote:
Dharma wrote:Hi kohjl,

I understand that your older son is doing RA for 2 subjects in RI. Will appreciate your kind advise on some of my queries below.

How is the level of difficulty as compared to the rest of the subjects in RP? Is the workload very much more for RA? I understand that there are additional topics covered under RA. Does that mean that he sits for 2 exams per subject instead of 1? Is it compulsory to do SMP if one is selected for Science/Maths RA?

Thanking you in advance.

Hi Dharma

As requested, I’ve asked my son (now Year 4, RI) to give his take on your questions. I’ve also asked him to give an intro as to what RA (Raffles Academy) is about.

So here below are the unedited comments from my son (not to be mistaken for his P6 brother kohjl Jr who is now called PlasmaStorm in this forum.):

=======================================================

Preamble:
In secondary 2, RI students can choose to try for the RA programme, a programme designed to stretch the capacity and thinking skills of students with a high aptitude in a particular subject. Students that apply for the subject have to have a minimum of 3.60 GPA (ie, above 70 marks on average for all subjects), as well as being in the top 15% of the cohort in that particular subject. This also means that the subject that you want to offer naturally has to be of at least a 4.0 grade (ie, greater than 80 marks). The subjects that you can choose to offer an RA for are biology, physics, chemistry, maths, geography, history and literature, up to a maximum of two RA subjects of any combination.

After meeting the basic criteria, you have to sit for a selection test and go for an interview with a teacher. If you pass both of these sections, you will be invited to join that subject’s RA. You can choose to try out for as many RAs as you like as long as you meet the criteria, but even if you are accepted for all, you will eventually be only allowed to take two.

As a last note, I know of a few people who do not have a 3.60 GPA on average and yet show extremely high aptitude and interest for the subject. They had appealed to take the selection test and have been offered the RA of their choice after attending the selection test and the interview. This is the exception rather than the rule. However, it is, of course, still better to maintain a high level of achievement for both the RA subject as well as for the rest of the subjects.

Q: How is the level of difficulty as compared to the rest of the subjects in RP? Is the workload very much more for RA?

A: The difference between Science RP and Science RA programme is in terms of the balance of O level and A level syllabus that is done in Year 3 and 4 (ie Sec 3 and 4). While Science RP students complete all of the O-level syllabus and study a few easy A-level topics, RA students complete the whole A-level syllabus for that subject by the end of Year 4. So yes, it definitely is much more difficult and challenging, and requires a lot more studying. Compared to RP, RA also gets higher-level projects to work on, a key example being the compulsory CHAOS project for all science RAs.

You can explore the website on CHAOS here for more info: http://www.gebsp.moe.gov.sg/CHAOS/index.htm

(Note: You will only be required to complete the section that you are doing RA in , i.e. chemistryRA students will complete the chemistry section, math RA students complete the math section, and students taking two science/math RAs have to – shudders – do two parts.)

Q: I understand that there are additional topics covered under RA. Does that mean that he sits for 2 exams per subject instead of 1?

A: Thank goodness no. The RA assessment plan is completely different from that of RP. This means that RA could have more or less or even no tests at all. However, in reality, the situation is that RA always has a far greater number of tests than RP. For example this year, the RPs have had (I think) about 2 common class tests throughout the year, whereas the RAs had 2 common tests, as well as 7 topical tests throughout the year. The only test common between RP and RA is the end of year paper, which is used as a tool to benchmark the RA students against the RP students.

Q: Is it compulsory to do SMP if one is selected for Science/Maths RA?

A: I do not think so. However, you are expected to do a research project that is related to one of your RA projects.


Hope that helps. :D
Many thanks to you, kohjl and your son for the detailed and clear explanations and also for your kindness to share.

You have been blessed with 2 brilliant sons and from their responses (including kohjljr in PSLE Science thread), I see humility and maturity in them. Well done.


red rose
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Post by red rose » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:22 pm

The difference between Science RP and Science RA programme is in terms of the balance of O level and A level syllabus that is done in Year 3 and 4 (ie Sec 3 and 4). While Science RP students complete all of the O-level syllabus and study a few easy A-level topics, RA students complete the whole A-level syllabus for that subject by the end of Year 4. So yes, it definitely is much more difficult and challenging, and requires a lot more studying. Compared to RP, RA also gets higher-level projects to work on, a key example being the compulsory CHAOS project for all science RAs.
Q: I understand that there are additional topics covered under RA. Does that mean that he sits for 2 exams per subject instead of 1?

A: Thank goodness no. The RA assessment plan is completely different from that of RP. This means that RA could have more or less or even no tests at all. However, in reality, the situation is that RA always has a far greater number of tests than RP. For example this year, the RPs have had (I think) about 2 common class tests throughout the year, whereas the RAs had 2 common tests, as well as 7 topical tests throughout the year. The only test common between RP and RA is the end of year paper, which is used as a tool to benchmark the RA students against the RP students.

Q: Is it compulsory to do SMP if one is selected for Science/Maths RA?

A: I do not think so. However, you are expected to do a research project that is related to one of your RA projects.

Hope that helps. :D[/quote]


Hi! Thanks for the sharing. :D

I have a few other queries. If RA pupils complete the A level syllabus for that subject by year 4, does this mean that they repeat everything all over again in JC 1/2 (revision for them) or is there an extension of the RA programme in JC, whereby pupils do University level work ? I heard that the really outstanding pupils in the RA programme get to sit for their A levels in Sec 4. Is this information accurate ? BTW, what is SMP ?? :?

Thank you in advance. :lol:

kohjl
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Post by kohjl » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:26 pm

Dharma wrote:
Many thanks to you, kohjl and your son for the detailed and clear explanations and also for your kindness to share.

You have been blessed with 2 brilliant sons and from their responses (including kohjljr in PSLE Science thread), I see humility and maturity in them. Well done.

Hi Dharma

All I have done is to try and maximise each child’s potential. More than that, it is important for the child to grow up with good moral values and a good character. It is an exciting (though sometimes frustrating) journey to be a parent, and it is I that have been blessed by my family. Thanks so much for your kind comments! :D

BTW – Please also see PM. Thanks.

kohjl
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Post by kohjl » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:31 pm

red rose wrote: Hi! Thanks for the sharing. :D

I have a few other queries. If RA pupils complete the A level syllabus for that subject by year 4, does this mean that they repeat everything all over again in JC 1/2 (revision for them) or is there an extension of the RA programme in JC, whereby pupils do University level work ? I heard that the really outstanding pupils in the RA programme get to sit for their A levels in Sec 4. Is this information accurate ? BTW, what is SMP ?? :?

Thank you in advance. :lol:
Hi red rose

My son’s answers are appended below. Hope they answer yr follow-up questions on RA matters:

======================================================

Q: If RA pupils complete the A level syllabus for that subject by year 4, does this mean that they repeat everything all over again in JC 1/2 (revision for them) or is there an extension of the RA programme in JC, whereby pupils do University level work ?

A: When the student goes to RIJC, he can choose to try for the RA programme in JC or continue with the normal RP programme. If the student chooses to take the normal RP programme, then I think he will be repeating quite alot of the same things during JC1 and 2. From what I've heard, the RA programme also focuses on the JC 1 and 2 work, but also goes in depth for those topics, and takes on far more challenging questions. In addition, I think there are alot more opportunities given for them in the form of attachments, as well as for national competitions for that subject. For example, Chemistry RA in RIJC offers chemistry olympiad training for the students in RA on top of the higher level stuff that RA does.


Q: I heard that the really outstanding pupils in the RA programme get to sit for their A levels in Sec 4. Is this information accurate ?

A: I havent heard of any of my peers sitting for the A level for that subject this year, so I dont really think this is true.

Q: BTW, what is SMP ??

A: SMP stands for science mentorship programme, where a group of students is attached to a professor at institutes of higher learning such as NUS or NTU, and this group of students will work with the professor on a science study project of their choice. For further information, please refer to the official website (Erm....I sound like some advertisment here):

http://www.gebsp.moe.gov.sg/SMP/index.htm


[Note from kohjl (the mother) – General Note to all members: My son’s HCL at “O” levels is coming up soon, so I’m afraid he will not have time to answer any more RI/ RA queries until after his exams in about 2 weeks. Bear with us! Thanks.]

Regards. :D

Guest

Post by Guest » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:11 pm

krazy wrote:hey...

Thought I would share something: a conversation between 2 RI boys, I heard on the train.

RI1: A is a real genius! unlike B. He is a fake.
RI2: Yeah. B has to study like hell and he goes to tuition centre.
RI1: He is always studying because he knows he can't catch up. Whenever we ask B out, it's always a no. Like that, where got friends?
RI2: Yeah, miserable.

Haha very typical indeed, I hear from my source many are muggers to keep up whereas my source is not mugger-type but cruising along....so I tell him, don't worry, you've got what it takes to be truly successful in future as he has a gregarious nature and full of friends. But I find kids these days mature way too fast......not much innocence in their thoughts.

Fluffy
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Post by Fluffy » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:52 pm

It is so sad to hear students and parents making judgement on other children about their intelligence level and the need to engage tutors despite being in a top school.

There is a parent from RI who had to engage tutors for almost all the subjects for their son because this boy is a special needs child and although his intelligence level is high but he is not able to follow through the school lessons due to his disability. Unfortunately, many people like to criticise without understanding the child's background. The parent was very unhappy as their son was periodically mocked by his classmates.

My son is also a Special Needs student with executive function disorder, Irlen Syndrom and APD although many psychologist, teachers and tutors who know him well understand his potential and abilities. He has to work harder than anybody else. I do not feel a need to explain his disability but have also receive many criticism for his "fake" intelligence level. I do not expect high academic performance level from my son as I believe as long as he achieve average result and has a well balance school life, is happy and gets along well with his classmates and friends, he will go far in his own way. My son is by nature non-competitive, easily contented and good temper. He gets along well with his classmates and seniors. I only wants him to have good memories of his school life in RI.

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