Grappling with the essay portion of the A-Level General Paper is no stranger to all of us. Regardless of whether you’re an Arts or Science student in JC, many Singapore students find themselves struggling to make their essays stand out from the thousands of other essays. The introduction is arguably one of the most, if not the most important part of your essay. The introduction is what hooks the marker. It is what sets your essay apart from the rest. The first paragraph isn’t just the introduction to your essay – it’s an introduction to yourself as a writer and your capabilities. Many teachers have claimed that markers will be able to gauge the performance of candidates’ entire essays once they’ve gone through the quintessential introduction. And so with that being said, coming up with a banger of an introduction would be key to clinching that ever-elusive distinction. It might seem easier said than done, but here are the 5 best GP essay introductions compiled by the top JC tuition center in Singapore. Buckle up as Zenith dishes out some of the most crucial JC GP tips and tricks to adopt into your GP essay toolbelt!
Start with a quote
If you are struggling to come up with something creative to start your GP essay with, one of the safest options would be to start with a relevant quote. With many popular sayings being thrown around in our day-to-day lives, it wouldn’t hurt to add one into the introduction of your essay to set the tone of what is to come in the following paragraphs. It could be one as mundane as “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” if your essay is centered around the topic of health, or it could even be as complex as quoting a particular Confucius proverb (in English, of course!) Doing so may serve to give the examiner a brief take on your stance on the question and could also add to the quality and concreteness of your essay. Additionally, this would also kindle a sort of connection with your A-Level GP marker, especially if the quote is one that they are familiar with. You could even impress them with an obscure but relevant quote. For example, if you are touching on the topic of mass media, you can even include a quote such as ‘When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.’ from George R.R Martin’s novel “A Clash of Kings” to address the issue of censorship. With that being said, be sure not to overuse this technique! Remember that in certain circumstances, less really is more, so make sure to employ this method moderately to ensure that the impact of whatever you are citing doesn’t get diluted. Zenith’s top GP tuition program offers personalized feedback to help with looking through your essay to ensure that you’re employing this technique adequately and not excessively, so reach out and get your work checked so you know you’re on the right path!
Another useful tip to recommend to Singapore students who feel that they lack a bit of creativity would be to include relevant statistics in your introduction. The more of a “wow” factor the statistic has, the better! This would not only be a great shock factor to immediately grab your GP marker’s attention but would also prove testament to how much you have prepared for the A Level GP examination – to the point that you’re able to throw in data like percentages and years to the tea. For example, if you are going to touch on the topic of media censorship in your essay, try to include statistics like how in 2013, Chinese authorities employed more than 2 million people to monitor social media sites and to block access to topics deemed as sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Throwing in relevant statistics into the introduction not only paints an image of the issue’s severity but also adds to the overall credibility of your essay. It assures the A Level GP marker that your argument is nuanced and built on facts, not fluff. The downside of this, however, would be that the information you decide to bring in as evidence has to be accurate and real – not something made up on the spot. Make sure that you are well-prepared if you are intending to weave statistics into your introduction. You should have done your readings and your due diligence prior to your H1 GP examination. Zenith’s JC GP tuition program pushes students to think critically about the world around them, creating numerous opportunities to turn real-world events into snippets of statistics that would be immeasurably useful in your JC GP essays.
Introduce anecdotes and rhetorics
If you want to set yourself apart from your peers, include a short and succinct anecdote to induce relatability. Bring in instances that people would normally be able to relate to. For example, should your essay be touching on the topic of the excessive use of mobile phones, introduce a scenario where you found yourself falling prey to spending excessive hours on social media platforms. Introducing relatable and shared experiences engages your GP A-Level marker and also successfully hooks them to your essay because of how they may empathize with the situation you’ve presented too. Increasing their engagement and grabbing their attention would set you aside from the many scripts they have already gone through, thus setting your JC GP essay up for success. Another way you can achieve this would be to throw in rhetorics. Employ rhetorical questions to get your marker to think more about the issue at hand. This actively engages them with the issue you are addressing and can even direct them to get a clear sense of where your GP essay is heading. Even a one-liner such as “Did you reach for your mobile phone and scroll through it this morning?“ would get them to reflect on their actions that may effectively increase their engagement with your essay.
Imagine being one of the A-Level GP markers. After going through script after script of information-loaded GP essays, coming across one that is able to appropriately include humor where necessary would be a breath of fresh air. You most definitely should not include knock-knock jokes in your essay because you still want to ensure that it is an essay that is examination appropriate but being able to make your marker smile would greatly improve their mood which would work in your favor. Be satirical even, but make sure to not overdo it. If you would like to err on the side of caution, the usage of plain irony would be sufficient enough to be the differentiating factor. Zenith teaches our students to directly contradict popular traditional sayings and try to juxtapose them with what is truly happening in the real world during the GP tuition program. The point is – dare to be different. Being normal is probably the typical route chosen by many Singaporean students because it’s the safest, but that also serves to be a double-edged sword. Opting for the conventional route limits the ability of your GP essay to be unique, making it more challenging for you to stand out. If you can bring forward a different perspective, dare to do so! Just make sure that you have the facts and statistics to back yourself up in the rest of the paragraphs to come.
Define keywords and set the general scope
Should you find yourself unable to employ any of the aforementioned tips discussed, the most basic and essential thing you should remind yourself to do during the A Level GP paper would be to define the keywords in your introductory paragraph. After selecting the question you will be tackling in the exam, break down the keywords. Explain your interpretation of them and share your general views and consensus. Be sure to also provide the general scope and direction your essay will be taking. Are you leaning towards agreement? Or will you be adopting a more neutral, balanced argument, bringing forward different instances where it might or might not hold true? Whatever it is, should you ever find yourself blanking out in the creativity aspect during the A Level GP exam, it is essential to remind yourself to at least execute this well because it makes sure your essay remains relevant and provides the basic framework. Be sure to do this even if you decide to employ other techniques because it indicates your understanding of the question and demarcates how you will be directly engaging with the question. The H1 GP tuition program offered at Zenith focuses on inculcating the skills of unpacking essay questions. As the top GP tuition in Singapore, Zenith does this by spotlighting keywords and comprehensively unpacking them together as a class.
A race is not won during the first few seconds but a good start is important to stand a winning chance. Take your H1 GP essay as a race. A good and solid start would put you in great stead of scoring and executing your essay well so remember to delegate sufficient time and effort into the introduction. As a popular writer once said, “There’s no point having a fantastic middle and an earth-shattering ending if the beginning fails to engage your reader. Without a decent beginning, you have no reader.“ Keep these tips in mind and go forth in your quest of crafting memorable GP introductions.
We hope you’ve found these A-Level General Paper tips useful. Click here to be part of Zenith’s JC GP tuition program today!