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5 Tips On How To Score A1 For O-Level Social Studies

Social Studies is perhaps one of the most important subjects in the O-Level curriculum of students in Singapore. The subject is tough and many students struggle with it. 

Some students are good with history and some are good in geography. However, it is important to understand both these subjects well to get a good grade in Social Studies. These subjects are all about comprehending the information provided to you.

Social Studies is part of the overall Humanities curriculum. It aims to deepen the understanding of everything that defines the society of Singapore.

Before we move on to revision tips, here is everything you need to know about the exams.

Social Studies, History Paper (2273)

This syllabus comprises of two papers. Paper 1 is Social Studies and Paper 2 is History. Both are compulsory.

Paper 1: Social Studies

Marks: 50

Duration: 1 Hour And 45 Minutes

Weighting: 50%

This paper will consist of two sections. Section A and B. Section A is of 35 marks and will have one source-based case study that will test your knowledge of societal issues and your analytical abilities.

Section B is of 15 marks and will have one structured-response question that will test your knowledge of societal issues and your ability to construct reasonable arguments with informed recommendations and judgments.

Syllabus

The syllabus will focus on these key issues:

  • Exploring Citizenship and Governance
  • Living in a Diverse Society
  • Being Part of a Globalised World

Paper 2: History

Marks: 50

Duration: 1 Hour And 40 Minutes

Weighting: 50%

This paper will have two sections. Section A and B. Section will be a source-based case study that will be worth 30 marks. Section B will have structured-essay questions. There will be two questions and both will be worth 20 marks. You have to answer one.

The question in Section B will have two parts (a) and (b). For part (a) you will have to explain events and issues and for part (b) you will have to make evaluations and judgments of issues.

Syllabus

  • The Making of the Contemporary World Order (the 1900s – 1991)
  • The World in Crisis
  • Bi-Polarity and the Cold War

Social Studies, Geography Paper (2272)

This syllabus comprises of two papers. Paper 1 is Social Studies and Paper 2 is Geography. Both are compulsory.

Paper 1: Social Studies

Marks: 50

Duration: 1 Hour And 45 Minutes

Weighting: 50%

This paper will consist of two sections. Section A and B. Section A is of 35 marks and will have one source-based case study that will test your knowledge of societal issues and your analytical abilities.

Section B is of 15 marks and will have one structured-response question that will test your knowledge of societal issues and your ability to construct reasonable arguments with informed recommendations and judgments.

Syllabus

The syllabus will focus on these key issues:

  • Exploring Citizenship and Governance
  • Living in a Diverse Society
  • Being Part of a Globalised World

Paper 2: Geography

Marks: 50

Duration: 1 Hour And 40 Minutes

Weighting: 50%

This paper will have three sections. Section A, B, and C. Section A will have two structured questions on Geographical Investigations that will be based on the topics of Global Tourism and Variable Weather and Changing Climate. You will have to answer one question. Both will carry 13 marks.

Section B will also have two structured questions on Geographical Investigations that will be based on the topics of Global Tourism and Variable Weather and Changing Climate. You will have to answer one question. Both will carry 12 marks.

Section C will have two structured questions on the topics of Living with Tectonic Hazards and Food Resources. You have to answer one question. Both will be worth 25 marks.

Syllabus

Topic 1: Our Dynamic Planet (Physical Geography)

  • Living with Tectonic Hazards – Risk or opportunity?
  • Variable Weather and Changing Climate – A continuing challenge?

Topic 2: Our Changing World (Human Geography)

  • Global Tourism – Is tourism the way to go?
  • Food Resources – Is technology a panacea for food shortage?

Topic 3: Geographical Skills And Investigations

  • Topographical Map Reading Skills
  • Geographical Data and Techniques
  • Geographical Investigations

Tips To Score A1 In O-Level Social Studies

This paper is in no way easy. However, it is not impossible to score well either. Follow these tips with consistency, focus, and dedication to get the results you need!

1. Gather Your Material

There will be a lot of material to study for both your history and geography paper. This is why staying organized is key to having a fruitful learning experience when you sit down to study.

Gather all your resources, notes, study materials, data, and anything else you might need. Remember to keep both your history and geography pile separate for minimum confusion and to save time.

2. Ace Your History Exam By Having An Inquisitive Mind

The History O-level examiner will be looking at some specific qualities in your answers. This is because the syllabus itself aims to enhance these qualities. You will be required to:

  • Enquire: This means you need to have an inquisitive mind and ask useful questions to understand the history
  • Discern: This is your ability to analyze the information beyond its face value
  • Balance: Acknowledging different perspectives when forming your interpretation
  • Be Knowledge: This is your awareness of how historical forces have shaped today’s world
  • Show Empathy: Understanding different aspects of history without imposing judgemental thoughts on the present
  • Have A Methodical Approach: This means to engage in the inquiry of history by selecting and organizing knowledge from a range of sources
  • Be Reasonable: Constructing interpretations of your own that are based on substantiated arguments

All these are important qualities a history student should have and this is what examiners will be looking for. Be sure to brush up on all of these skills and learn to have an analytical mind before your Social Studies Exam!

3. Understand Key Concepts In Geography

Of course, if history has requirements then so does geography. A geography examiner will be looking for your knowledge of specific things and you need to show them that you are well-versed with all of this information. Here are the six things your examiner will be looking for in your answers:

  • Space: Knowledge of the location and distribution of physical features and human activities, why these have changed, and understanding interaction between them
  • Place: Knowledge of the unique set of physical and human characteristics that every place has and understanding their nature along with challenges and opportunities that these places pose
  • Scale: Appreciating different scales from local to national to international and linking these different scales to show a deep understanding of geographical issues
  • Physical And Human Processes: Understanding the complexity of these processes and recognizing their different challenges and opportunities and understanding how events in the world are part of the changing planet
  • Environmental And Cultural Diversity: Appreciating the diversity of people, places, environments, and cultures
  • Interdependence: exploring the economic, socio-cultural, and environmental connections between places and understanding the interconnection of different physical features of the Earth with human activities on every scale

Yes, all of this is extremely extensive and this is why you need to prep beforehand for your exams. There is a lot to understand and learn.

4. Make A Schedule

It is all about prioritizing your study time. You need to have a schedule so you can carve out time for other things as well as studying during your exams.

Don’t go overboard and fit too much studying as everyone needs a break once in a while. Figure out your pace and then set a realistic and achievable study schedule for yourself that is easy to follow.

This way you will be easily able to study without feeling burdened or pressurized at the last minute.

5. Make Flashcards

It is all about reading the material, understanding it, and then memorizing it. Of course, one can become forgetful as it is not easy to absorb so much information.

This is why you can make the use of flashcards to make your studying journey easier. All the points that the examiner is looking for can be divided into flashcards for each topic.

This way you will have flashcards for every topic that will be divided into the different components that the examiner is looking for. This will make studying easier for you and you can cross all the qualities the examiners are looking for one by one.

It will also set you apart and get you an A1 grade because you will be learning from the lens of the examiner. This is the best study practice as you need to provide them with what they are looking for.

Final Words

History and geography are subjects that require you to have an open and analytical mind. This is why it is important to have a study practice that focuses on these two aspects.

Examiners are not looking for facts and figures. Instead, they are looking for how well your mind can formulate arguments and look at all the aspects through different perspectives. Consult a private tutor if you need help to prepare for the exam.

This is why if you want to score an excellent grade then follow all our tips with focus and dedication and you will be good!

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Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.


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