A Personal Comparison Between JC & Poly Education

And so, I’ve received my results for my first semester in Chinese Media & Communication (CMC) yesterday. It has been like so long since I’ve seen such a decent result being shown on any of my own result slip. In fact, I’ve waited for this moment for about a year and 8 months

A year and 8 months. You didn’t see it wrong.

Definitely, I am not counting my A’ Level Project Work results — which is pretty much decent in my own definition. But too bad, it’s just a single subject and I doubt it’s of any value to me since the moment I decided to give up on the so-called ‘direct path’ to the University.

Ever since I received my O’ Level results in January 2013, my results have never go back to its glorious days. My year in Serangoon JC goes down in history as the most disastrous academic year for me to date. It started with an aspiration, then desperation comes into place and then depression. It eventually ends with devastation.

Well, I guess I need to blame most of it to my refusal to adapt to the sudden change in the academic environment. And my disability to absorb anything that seems just too difficult for me to even understand. Maybe, I lost interest in what I wanted to study — Econs, History, Chinese Lit. I just couldn’t cope with the fast pace of work in the JC.

I failed. Terribly.

At the same time, I need to make a confession here, I even make unnecessary inglorious record in the history of the school.

I decided, at the moment I received my last paper back from marking, I had to leave.

JC education is not the only route one can take when one heads into tertiary education in Singapore. I am sure there are definitely some adults, be it your parents or your relatives, who will encourage you to enter JC in order to have an ‘upper-hand’ when applying for the University.

Here, I need to give those of you who are taking O’ Levels this year or those who will be taking O’ Levels a warning. It appears to be true that you will have an upper-hand when entering your preferred University and your desired course in the future. BUT IT IS ONLY PROVIDED THAT YOU SCORE WELL IN YOUR A LEVELS.


For those who are good in your academics throughout your secondary school years (esp. during Sec 3 and 4), good for you. JC might just well be the route for you.

For those who are very disciplined and take full ownership of your own work, good for you too. You have the potential to succeed in JC.

If you don’t meet the above two criterias I’ve listed, you have to be warned. JC education is not a stroll in the park. It’s not like secondary school education. The pace, like I’ve mentioned earlier on, it’s very very fast. Try to slacken just a bit, and you will find yourself lagging way behind in lectures and tutorials. People might not agree with me, but I need to say it here, you need to learn to study smart — something that I failed to do in my one year.

I am not saying Polytechnic education does not require self-discipline or good academics, it is equally important. However, for those of you who are complaining that ‘Those who say Poly are easier and fun, please think again’, I need to tell you the hard truth, what you are experiencing now, in terms of stress level and the level of coping, you are in fact having a better life.

Trust me, for a person who experienced both kind of tertiary education, I know just a little bit more. I might be wrong but I am just more accurate.

Let me ask you, do you need to return to school for academic purposes for at least 30% of your designated holidays?

Do you find yourself having to study even quite a bit during your long holiday (Referring to JC’s 1 month holiday and Poly’s 2 months holiday)?

Do you find that you actually have more time to participate in more extra-curriculum activities (eg. working, volunteering for events like NDP or Asian Games) compared to your friends in JC?

Ask yourself.

You might want to rebut that Polytechnic education covers a span of three years compared to the two years of normal JC. But do you know that you are going to study the same thing for examination for just one semester (let just take it as 4-5 months) and then you are free from the pressure of exam for that particular module. I need to be frank and say that you definitely cannot throw most of your knowledge away because it may come in useful for your other modules.

On the other hand, JC students have to deal with the same thing for 2 Years or even more (for MI students and those who are retained) and they have to add on to their knowledge weeks after weeks, not forgetting to add in the pressure of examination.

If you are saying they have 2 long years to study and get their results on track, try studying 2x (or even more) of your O’ Level syllabus in the 2 years.

It’s not easy.

And guess what? If you fail your Promos in Year 1, you will be retained. It’s definitely good if you managed to pull up your socks and achieve the promotion criteria in the next year. But if you fail to promote again, you will be superannuated.

Then where can you go? You have to spend three years in Polytechnic again in order to at least get a qualified academic certificate. That means you are going to spend 5 years in tertiary education.

What if you fail your Promos in your first year, pass it in your 2nd year, and then screw up your high-stake examination of the A-Level? You don’t have another chance anymore. Your route to university will just become longer.

What I want to say is that the danger of JC is that you have to do it extremely excellent in your A-Level in order to even be considered for your desired course and university.

Of course, Polytechnic education is not very easy either. Rushing project deadlines, working with people and being consistent in your work etc etc. These are also factors of stress. I mean in Singapore, how can you not feel a little bit of stress? You might even have to retake a certain a certain module if you failed it.

In conclusion, in my own opinion, it is advisable for people who are doing good or great in their O’ Level to consider the route of JC education and the rest, to opt for the Polytechnic education route. Well, I am not saying you can’t try otherwise, there are definitely people who succeed in A Levels even though they didn’t do very well prior to that.

Afterall, results doesn’t mean anything, it’s how much effort you want to put in to succeed. But it is important that you choose the route that suits you best.

Take me for a good example, I chose a path that I am not suitable of and I suffered. I left, in search for another path, and here I am now, feeling more sense of accomplishment. 🙂

PS: This is just my two-cents worth, you may agree or disagree with me but I don’t intent to offend anyone through this post. Cheers 🙂



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