General Paper (GP) Tuition

Score for GP, Write for Life

We'll show you how

Let’s face it. General Paper (GP) does matter.

If you’re barely passing, you’re right to be worried.

Many courses in university require at least a good pass. Competitive courses require much more.

Failure is not an option.

But, you say, tuition is too expensive, too useless. Brand-name centres charge hundreds and they pack their classes.

One teacher. Fifteen students.

Five minutes for you.  Only five minutes to explain the red marks.  Just five minutes to connect.

You spend five hours on your essay. They scribble a few words.

You have a question. But so does everyone else.

“Sorry. Time’s up. See you next week.”

You give up.

It’s impossible. Too much to memorise. Too subjective. 

But, wait…

Failure is still not an option.

What to do?

We’re here to help

First things first: there is no shortcut. Learning to write well is a long and tedious process and achieving true content mastery requires dedication and effort.

The good news is, we’re here to show you how to do it. We’re here to make it enjoyable and feel as effortless as possible.

So, let’s get down to it.

What Do You Need To Score Well In GP And How Can We Help?

#1: Build your Content Knowledge

Contrary to popular belief, GP is not just an English subject for JC students. Content matters.

Cambridge examiners have made this abundantly clear. They award low grades to students who exhibit a poor understanding of the subject and fail to substantiate their arguments with robust evidence.

Those who cannot address differing viewpoints fare even worse. They receive failing grades because they are “unable to meet the basic requirement of this paper”. (Examiner Report, 2013)

It’s therefore no surprise if you score poorly when your scripts are filled with comments like: “lacks balance”, “weak argument” and “poor evidence”. No matter how effusive your language, you will not get a good grade. Cambridge said so.

So, how can we help?

Weekly Content Updates

Every week, we read hundreds of articles, choose the best 20 and give them to you. These are not your run-of-the-mill, repetitive, news articles. We’re talking about opinionated commentaries and essays, specially selected for their novel insights, persuasive arguments, and useful facts.

In addition, you will get quick updates on the most important developments in the world during our regular lessons. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to make sense of what you read—be it in our reading packages or your comprehension passages.

Combined with our weekly discussions, these updates will deepen your understanding of common GP topics and set you up for success.

Context-based Content Packages

Memorising facts and statistics without understanding their context or knowing how to use them is actually worse than useless—it can be harmful because it instils a false sense of confidence. You may think you’re impressing the examiner when in fact you’re just frustrating him.

Thus, our content packages are not designed to flood you with examples that you can then thoughtlessly insert into your essays; they are designed to help you understand popular arguments associated with a particular topic and enable you to see how the evidence can be marshalled to support your argument.

During our lessons, we will select excerpts from our content package for discussion and explain how you can use them to craft your own arguments. You will then be given feedback on the essays that you write using our content package.

#2: Master the Art of Developing Strong Arguments

You probably already know this. No amount of facts and statistics can make up for a poorly-developed argument.

If you receive poor grades despite your extensive use of examples, here’s why: GP is not a test of general knowledge. (Examiner Report, 2013)

So, what is it a test of?

Cambridge has made it abundantly clear—it’s about the arguments. You must argue, reason and persuade, not flood the examiner with details and lengthy descriptions.

This is the trickiest part about GP. Memorising model essays will not work. Neither will copying and pasting canned arguments. Because every question is different, every response must be unique.

Within those 90 minutes, you must formulate and express your own arguments. This is where we come in.

The Secret of our Success

Let’s be real. If there were truly some secret formula to instant success, your school would have taught it to you by now or someone else would have told you about it.

Instead, the key to our success lies in our use of the age-old Socratic method. Through the painstaking process of asking and answering questions, we push our students to think for themselves and justify their ideas. 

The studies support this. Our experience supports this. And our students’ results speak for themselves.

Argument Clinic

Some students just get it while others don’t. We have developed a structured approach to teaching students how to formulate arguments. 

Again, nothing fancy here. You could find this in a first-year philosophy textbook, but we’ve adapted it for our students. 

Learn this well and you will have a scaffold for constructing and evaluating any argument.

#3: Write Like A Pro

If you have good ideas but cannot articulate them, those ideas will be for naught.

It is always a pity to see students marked down on content when, in fact, it is their language that is the problem.

On the flipside, Cambridge loves scripts which are written with appropriate expressions, controlled complex sentencing and the right tone and diction.

These things are all highly achievable and we’re here to show you how.

Individualised Feedback

Have a question about your script? Want to know why there are squiggly lines everywhere? 

Go ahead and ask. We allocate one-to-one time for every student to ask specific questions about their scripts and receive guidance on how to improve their writing. 

We’re here to make you a better writer than the teacher.

Common Mistakes

We’ve designed a series of exercises to help you learn from common grammatical mistakes made by fellow students. 

Every year, Cambridge complains that many students make the same grammatical mistakes. 

Let’s show the Brits that we’re not uncivilised brutes.

#4: Ace your Comprehension and Summary

We can’t emphasise this enough—if you want to score well, you must ace the comprehension and summary components.

They’re worth 25% of your total grade and they’re the least subjective part of the entire paper.

Does that mean it’s easy?

No, you need to have a wide vocabulary and a good understanding of the passage.

Having to paraphrase almost everything is also immensely challenging.

But perhaps the better question to ask is—is it achievable?

The answer is an unequivocal yes. Yes, you can conquer comprehension and summary with these three steps:

  1. Understand how teachers mark. In our lessons, we don’t just show you the correct answer, we explain how we arrive at it. Once you get it, you can easily replicate the correct answers.
  2. Figure out what’s wrong with your own answers. There’s no use knowing what the right answer is. You need to know how to avoid making the same mistakes that led you to the wrong one. We’ll explain your mistakes.
  3. Learn to paraphrase without synonyms. Sometimes, there simply are no appropriate synonyms. We’ll teach you how to rephrase ideas without a thesaurus.

#5: Learn from the Proficient

Mr Liau, GP Teacher

About Our Tutor

If you’re feeling lost, fret not. Our GP tutor, Mr Liau is uniquely equipped to help you maximise your potential.  

A former journalist, Mr Liau has written for The Guardian and Asian Correspondent, along with several other local platforms, over six years.  

Capitalising on his professional experience, he has turned many amateur writers into proficient wordsmiths.

Mr Liau is also the former debate coach for Hwa Chong Institution’s debate teams. Under his tutelage, they won ten championships over four years. With his extraordinary gift for teaching students how to reason, he has empowered students to construct compelling arguments that exceed even his expectations.

Because we believe that premium education need not come with a premium rate, we provide affordable solutions ($200/month).

We also believe that every student deserves individualised help. Therefore, we only have a maximum of 8 students per class.

So, if you agree that we can empower you to conquer GP, contact us now.

  • Call 91781642 to speak with our GP Specialist, Mr Liau.
  • SMS/Whatsapp 91781642 with your enquiry and Mr Liau will respond to you within 24 hours. You may click on the WhatsApp button at the bottom right corner to WhatsApp Me.
  • Alternatively, you may fill up the form for a free consultation.

Address: Block 201B Tampines Street 21 #02-1069 (back entrance) S(522201)

5-min walk from Tampines East MRT Station (Downtown Line)

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What Our Students Say About Our GP Tuition Method

“Before joining The Mustard Seed, I was scoring an ‘E-grade’ for General Paper. After weeks of discussion about current issues and brainstorming on essay plans, I’m glad to have improved to a ‘B-grade’ at the A-levels.

I am truly grateful for Teacher Chuan Yi’s conscientious effort to put together weekly Readabees (Set of compiled articles about current issues). Having it as an online version made it convenient and this fueled my drive to start reading to find out more about what is happening around the world. This allowed me to draw examples I have read from these articles to my essays/application questions. I was also able to learn from the different writing styles of the authors to modify the tone or approach of my essays to suit the topic better.

All in all, I am really appreciative of the hard work Teacher Chuan Yi put in to make every lesson an engaging an fruitful one!”

~ Tricia 

“Classes with Mr Liau always bring fresh insights that have never crossed my mind during my self-study or even during GP lessons in school. He always challenges me to stretch myself and deeply explore conventional topics and issues that are usually only superficially discussed in school. The weekly materials he provides, called “Readabee”, are full of new ideas and content which prove to be very useful in brainstorming for essays.

Mr Liau’s strong foundation in the fundamentals of logic (such as arguments and premises) helps me to hone my reading and writing further. His strong sense of logic also helps in analysing passages, questions and complex issues clearly. His excellent language abilities have likewise enabled me to refine my writing to write more clearly and concisely.

He pushes my intellectual limit and inspires me to take an interest in the subject and in current events. With his help I am more confident of my GP exams in my A levels.”

~ Jiwon

“During GP lessons, every student is given meticulous care and Mr Liau caters relevant solutions to specific problems each student faces for GP.

Mr Liau is dedicated to prepping his students with utmost general knowledge.  He intends for us to possess a greater understanding of the ongoing issues and opinions that we discuss and write.

Through such a method, we are able to write out our own personal take, add in comprehensive examples to substantiate our points. Take for instance, through Mr Liau’s notes, I am able to discuss many topics in essays extensively,  ranging from the environment to societal issues. My essay marks eventually improved over time through continuous practice and amendment as guided by Mr Liau.

I am grateful for his assistance throughout such a stressful period of JC life!”

~ Crystal

“Tuition at My Mustard Seed has always been enjoyable for me, with caring teachers and friends that made my learning experience here a very fulfilling one.

The classroom experience has always been a relatively open one, where we hold discussions about various topics and are free to express any opinions we have.

This has greatly broadened my perspectives about the world, giving me deeper insights on how the world functions and how one thing impacts the other.

Through the various discussions and guidance provided, not only have I improved on my language skills, but also in my common sense, which have benefitted me greatly in General Paper.”

~ Yu Han

Sample Essays from Our Students and How to Improve Them

Question: Is diversity necessarily a good thing?

Before

What the student wrote:

Not always a good thing. It is human nature that people get along with people of the same kind. There wouldn’t be issues like discrimination if everyone is the same. It is inevitable that there are always stereotypical views towards people of different identities and that is when problems arise. Society could be more harmonious and cohesive without diversity in identities. Therefore diversity of identities is not a good thing as people feel more comfortable with people of the same kind.

Comments: 

The first sentence fails to convey the gist of the argument. It merely states the author’s stand and is moreover an incomplete sentence. Sweeping claims are made throughout this short paragraph. Any ideas worth considering here are underdeveloped and no evidence is provided.

After

Suggested rewrite:

Diversity is not always a good thing because it tends to lead to conflict in most societies. (Topic Sentence) Psychologists have found that humans naturally feel more comfortable around people of the same ethnicity or religion as themselves. This could be because they share physical characteristics and thus seem more familiar to one another. It could also be because they share similar beliefs and cultural practices and therefore are less likely to find areas of disagreement. On the other hand, diversity means that different kinds of people must live together in the same society, contrary to their instinctive preference for homogeneity. Conflicts thus inevitably arise when misunderstandings are combined with innate biases against people with different physical appearances. (Explanation) Most recently in March 2019, more than 100 people were killed in a tribal massacre in Mali because of longstanding grievances between two ethnic communities—the Dogons and the Fulani. (Evidence) In many other countries, racial and religious conflicts also continue to persist because of their diverse compositions. In India, for instance, intense animosity between the Hindus and the Muslims has persisted since the partition of India in 1947 (which failed to create a truly homogenous country). Although India continues to valorise Mahatma Gandhi, their pro-independence champion of nonviolence and peaceful coexistence between Hindus and Muslim, it seems incapable of rising above its ethnic differences. In recent years, the rise of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and the election of its leader, Narendra Modi, has been accompanied by an increase in hate crimes against Muslims (as reported by the United Nations in 2018). (Further Evidence) The persistence of ethnic conflict in countries with diverse populations thus suggests that diversity is not the unalloyed good that some of its idealistic proponents make it out to be. (Link)

Question: Consider the view that economic growth can lead to a more equitable society.

Before

What the student wrote:

Economic growth does lead to a more equitable society as there will be more job opportunities for the unfortunate people. Working is a way for the unfortunates to get out of poverty. When they work, they will eventually obtain sources of income. In addition, it may even lead to actual growth, allowing the firms to hire more factor of production which is the labour. As such, more job opportunities will be given. This causes a reduction in unemployment rate, which also reduce income inequality in the society. However, this scenario will only be applicable provided that there is no mismatch of skills in the industries. According to Work for Department and Pensions, a mammoth 55 percent of individuals in workless households are in poverty. This falls to 24 per cent for those in households with at least one person in part-time work, to 20 per cent for those in couple households where one person works full-time or at least one person is self employed, and to just four per cent in single or couple households with at least one person in full-time work. As such, this suggests that working is one of the effective ways to get out of poverty. Hence, we should not denigrating the value of work and give others a chance by providing more job opportunities.

Comments:

While this paragraph may appear impressive due to its use of economics jargon, it actually makes very little sense. Jargon cannot be used as a substitute for sound logic. It is moreover a bad idea to present your GP tutor with economics jargon.

Let’s look at what this student is saying. She says that economic growth creates job opportunities which allows the poor (let’s not call them “unfortunates”) to escape poverty. However, rather than develop this idea, she proceeds to argue that this allows them to “obtain sources of income” which then leads to “actual growth” and more employment.

Phrasing aside, these statements are simply a jumble of assertions with no logical flow. There is no attempt to specify the causal relationships between economic growth, employment, and inequality. The statistics used here are also poorly explained (not to mention the fact that it is copied word for word from the original CATO article).

After

Suggested rewrite:

Economic expansion helps to reduce inequality by creating more job opportunities for the poor. (Topic Sentence) Jobs are often created during periods of economic growth as businesses start hiring more people to meet increasing demand for their goods and services. As more jobs become available, unemployed people can find jobs more easily and start earning an income. This then gives them an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. Thus, economic growth can help to reduce inequality by reducing unemployment. (Explanation) The important role played by employment in lifting people out of poverty cannot be understated. A Department for Work and Pensions report on poverty in the UK (2017) revealed that in households with two unemployed adults, 55 per cent of them were in poverty. When at least one person found part-time work, only 24 per cent of them remained in poverty. This number fell all the way to just four percent when at least one person found full-time work. (Evidence) Clearly, gainful employment is key to increasing the incomes of the poor and this can only happen when countries experience economic growth. (Link)

Economic expansion also helps to reduce inequality by increasing wages for the poor. (Topic Sentence) During periods of prolonged economic growth, levels of unemployment tend to fall. When this happens, businesses start to encounter greater difficulty in recruiting workers because there are simply fewer people looking for jobs. This then gives workers greater bargaining power and forces businesses to raise wages in order to recruit and retain talented workers. (Explanation) This is precisely what has happened in America in recent years. According to a 2017 report by the Economic Policy Institute, continued economic growth since the Great Recession of 2008-2009 has led to a greater increase in wages for the poor than for the rich. While the report acknowledges that increases in minimum wages at the state-level has contributed to this reduction in inequality, it argues that a large role is also played by the tightening of the labour market. (Evidence) In fact, the tightening labour market is also precisely why Amazon suddenly and unilaterally raised the minimum wage for its workers to US$15. Amazon did not do it merely because of mounting political pressure—it had resisted this pressure for months and could conceivably continue to do so for much longer. Nor did it suddenly grow a conscience—this is the same company that paid $0 in federal income tax in 2018. This happened only because the labour market was extremely tight (the unemployment rate dropped below 4%) and Amazon needed an additional 100,000 employees for the upcoming shopping season. (Further Evidence) Thus, economic growth can reduce inequality by creating tight labour conditions that in turn force businesses to pay their workers more regardless of whether they care to be socially responsible corporations. (Link)

Time is of the Essence

We know you want to score for GP. But the longer we wait, the harder it will be to turn your grades around.

To summarise, we need to:

  1. Build content knowledge
  2. Learn to develop strong arguments
  3. Sharpen writing skills
  4. Master comprehension and summary
  5. Learn from the proficient

Because we believe that premium education need not come with a premium rate, we provide affordable solutions ($200/month).

We also believe that every student deserves individualised help. Therefore, we only have a maximum of 8 students per class.

So, if you agree that we can empower you to conquer GP, contact us now.

  • Call 91781642 to speak with our GP Specialist, Mr Liau.
  • SMS/Whatsapp 91781642 with your enquiry and Mr Liau will respond to you within 24 hours. You may click on the WhatsApp button at the bottom right corner to WhatsApp Me.
  • Alternatively, you may fill up the form for a free consultation.

It’s always a pleasure to see the massive transformation in our students’ grades.

We look forward to seeing the same in yours.

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