General Paper: Acquiring General Knowledge

A Level General Paper tips

The A-Level General Paper exam tests you on your understanding of current affairs and issues via the format of an essay and a comprehension section. As its name suggests, general knowledge is crucial in doing well here. You not only have to first identify the relevant information and consolidate those ideas and thoughts in your head, but also be able to express them eloquently on paper. If you wish to do well in the GP paper, you may follow the tips listed below.

How can you do well for your general paper?

 1. Read widely

It is always recommended to read widely and critically (instead of only sticking to a narrow range of favoured topics) in order to broaden one’s horizons, so that you have ample insights and information to support your arguments when tackling general paper questions. If you manage to find good material or articles, it is wise to save them for reference purposes and understand how good analysis works, rather than simply engage in surface level description.

2. Stay updated with current affairs

The best way to gain such a larger pool of information would be to keep up with current affairs. By understanding the changes and complexities of the world around you, you will be able to critically analyse any topic that the exam throws at you, and be armed with sufficient examples and to substantiate your argument. This can be done via reading newspapers and magazines, or following the news. By immersing yourself in current affairs, you can learn to provide a critical yet balanced view and produce a nuanced argument.

3. Build a knowledge bank in 3-4 subjects of interest

It is a good idea to follow the cliche, ‘quality over quantity’ when it comes to preparing for GP. The word ‘general’ in General Paper might lead one to assume that a wide and all encompassing approach is best, but that in reality may be inefficient and frankly, counterproductive. By going for a large breadth of knowledge, you might find that you have compromised on depth which is essential for engaging in thoughtful, balanced arguments for General Paper essays.

Picking some topics of interest to specialise in would enable you to build an impressive and well-substantiated argument, avoiding the unwanted scenario of having addressed many various points but providing unconvincing evidence or substantiation for them. It would be wise to study and prepare for certain topics which have interlinked areas, such as environmentalism which encompasses chemistry, biology, geography, technology, politics and even economics. These various facets intertwine with one another and can be invaluable to demonstrating both breadth and depth. That being said, never stick to an example wholesale and always be prepared to adapt it to fit the question at hand.

4. Practice makes perfect

This is yet another cliche, but one that certainly still rings true. It is all well and good having the requisite information and facts memorised, but actual timed practice with well-planned essay outlines and refined use of language is absolutely crucial. The repeated practice will put you in good stead and ensure that you are able to complete your exam on time, avoiding the pitfalls of rushed and shoddy work.

Engage FamilyTutor for your JC journey

A-Level GP is highly daunting yet interesting, with a seemingly endless amount of information and general knowledge out there to sift through. If one wishes to seek improvements, it is advisable  to begin as early as possible. After all, GP is not a subject that can be aced by mere memory and note taking. By engaging with a private tuition teacher in Singapore, you can solve these worries today. Contact us at FamilyTutor tuition agency now to liaise with the best GP home tutors. Additionally, we also provide tuition for A-Level Maths, Chemistry, Physics and more! Explore our A-Level Tuition blog section now for more information!

This is the same with home tuition. If you really want the most of your lessons, you should already be prepared to ask questions rather than just say what you want to achieve. You want to ace your Math exam, you don’t just say it. You’d have to ask specific questions like “How can I answer this question efficiently without using too much of my time figuring out this formula?” or “Is my answering technique stopping me from flowing smoothly from one question to the next?”

Tutors love it when students prepare great questions for them. It allows them to hone what and how to teach their students almost immediately. This would also give them more ideas on what you may need and thus, give you more of the custom-made lessons.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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