What is Project Work?

I am pretty sure those who are reading the article probably are curious about what Project Work is or already know what it is or might have even already completed it. However, for the benefit of those who do not, I would like to share about this A’ Level Subject – Project Work (PW), one that is compulsory for all Singapore A’ Level candidates in this article.

What is Project Work? The first thing you need to know is that this is a Higher One (H1) level subject, meaning that it is supposedly a less effort subject compared to the typical H2 subjects which you would take. This subject is special in the sense that it is to be completed in a year (ie. J1) as compared to your other subjects. Even General Paper (GP), which is also a H1 subject is not required to be completed in a year.

Next, PW is split up into different segments, consisting of individual components and group work. Individual segments consist of Preliminary Idea (PI) (not graded, not all schools may have it) and Insights and Reflections (I&R). The remaining Written Report and Oral Presentation are done as a group of 4/5 students. Of course, if you want the details of each component, you can kindly visit here.

If you are reading this article because you want to be better prepared for PW, or get a headstart in doing the report before JC starts so that you will not be overwhelmed, I would like to confess that I was like you too! I would like to prepare in advance for what is ahead of me. But the truth is that it is very difficult for you to know exactly what to do or prepare without really starting it. Hence, what you can do now, will be to take note of certain pointers before you dive into it. In fact, reading the PW synopsis might be pretty pointless to you because you cannot appreciate its criteria until you really form a group and start on it.

Therefore, I would like to share with you the main tips and tricks to overcome and excel in your PW within the short one-year in this article.


Addressing PW Expectations

Before going to the main tips, I would like to address some expectations that most Junior College students have, including myself! These are pretty subjective, but they are also the main expectations which I heard as a student.

“PW must get A”; “If you get bad group mates, confirm die”; “You cannot mess up the presentation, if not, really not much hope for an A”; “If your PW teacher sucks, gg”

Just like any other A Level Subjects, most students did PW ith the mentality of wanting an A. In fact, it is even more so for this particular subject because of the high commitment of the work involved.

The focus of wanting to get A often get the students to be paranoid at the external factors. This includes your group mates, your teachers, your performance ability during the actual Oral Presentation day. In reality, let me assure you that the time that you are given to work on this A level subject and your current capability alone is largely sufficient to mitigate the effects of all these factors. This is the truth you need to acknowledge! With that in mind, I will be sharing three tips you should take note of to ensure you succeed and cope well in PW.


1. Focus


If you focus, you can see a rainbow on the floor of my JC’s classroom. Are you able to spot it?

A takeaway from an educational motivational talk that I had attended in JC blown my mind. While the general content was useful, I remembered a particular comment about PW from the speaker which really struck and stayed with me till this day. He said that if the whole group were to gather and put their brains together, it is actually possible to finish the whole report in two days! He talked about how university students complete their many projects in one or two days as well. Of course, with ample research done beforehand. He goes on to break down on how if we were to seriously churn out the content page, introduction, first chapter of problem statements and so on. It can be done in one full day indeed.

As much as this may be a little exaggerated, the takeaway I got from the talk was that as long as you put in focused attention to complete the project, it can be done very productively.

Later in life, I further apprehend this statement when I see his words actualising in university.


2. Time Management 


My JC’s classroom depicting time (the clock) and time allocation

Interestingly, I realised the hardest thing about PW was not the subject itself but rather, the fact that we had to deal with many other content-heavy A level subjects too.

In Junior College, there are many tests planted throughout the year. We will find ourselves struggling to choose between CCA commitments, the need to study for subjects and the PW project time and again.

This opportunity cost, once recognised, can help you make clearer choices and decisions with your group mates when doing PW.

Hence, to cope with PW among your many other commitments, the key is to allocate your time early and fairly. If not, it is very likely that you will end up focusing a lot on your other subjects in the beginning, and giving up on studying right before the PW deadlines to rush out your report. This not only may produce poor quality results, but it also adds to a lot of stress to yourself. Time management is key.


3. Teamwork

Teamwork makes the dream work!

As we grow older, some of us will realise that their closest friends are mainly from Secondary Schools. However, in Junior College, many stuents find some of theirs through PW. From the time after the group formation to the final presentation day, this will be the group of people you will be working with and depending on, towards your common goal of an A. The kind of bond forged will be unforgettable. For me, I will never forget the one night in 2015 when one of my groupmates and I were chased out of Starbucks while doing the final report as Starbucks was closing. That year was also when the haze situation was still pretty unstable in the air quality. We had no choice, but to sit outside Starbucks, on the floor as we really wanted to finish up what we had aimed to finish. We now still look back at this day fondly as we did succeed in achieving our goal despite the tough times.

Hence, the third tip is really to treasure your teammates and work closely with them. It is very likely that they have the same goal as you too – to get that A. While differing opinions or working styles may be present among group mates, having trust and faith in your group mates would really mean a lot to the morale of the group. This also helps you work well together with one another, where each of you plays to your strength in the generating of the report. PW is not an individual subject; it is a subject that intentionally requires the gathered efforts of four or five people. Remember solidarity is key!

Remember the 3 tips: Focus, time management and teamwork are some of the key factors to getting that A for PW. Act on the 3 tips and I am sure you will have a smoother PW journey! All the best for your PW!

This article is written by Ho Kar Yern a Year 2 accounting student from National University of Singapore who loves a good cup of coffee and weekly mala sessions ~ She is passionate about serving the needs of the elderly in Singapore and participates actively in delivering her service and time to them whenever she can.