A note from Director of Academics (DOA)

Dear Year 4 IP students (and parents),

Good day to you!

I hope you had a good start to the year and all ready to start learning and enjoying the IP journey. Some of you were busy last week as PSL and PSF and I am glad that you have taken the opportunity to guide and share your experiences with the new Year 1s.

I want to start my note with a wonderful news. The cohort did fantastically well last year, with a Mean Subject Grade of 6. We also have 45.8% of the cohort scoring 40 points and above and this is a great achievement! You should to celebrate your success and be proud of yourselves!

Nonetheless, I also know that some of you ended last year feeling worried about your academic performance.You might be struggling though you tried your very best to cope with the academic challenges. Sometimes, effort just don’t seem to pay off and no one seems to understand the position you are in. At times like these, believe in yourself! Reach out to any one of us or someone you are comfortable with and we will help you through. Having a person to talk to can usually help us to find the breathing space we need, allowing us to lighten the burden that we shoulder.

As some of you might know, I am away on course and have become a student myself. So, in a way, I am in the same position as all of you! I have to deal with receiving numerous emails from my lecturers daily, handling different deadlines and assignments, attending non-stop zoom lessons, conducting groupwork (when I am in a group of 6 but we can only meet in groups of 5), writing reflection, reflection, reflections etc. The expectations (from different stakeholders) can be overwhelming at times. So from a fellow student to another, I thought it might be good for me to share some tips with you:

1. Plan Plan Plan – there are many homework, readings, groupwork to be done and you need to manage your time well. Use a chart to put down what you need to accomplish and if there is a clash, let your teachers know in advance so that they can adjust their expectations

2. Rest and enjoy the moment – there are time to work and time to rest. As the Chinese saying goes, to rest is to be able to journey further. Engage in activities you like from time to time but of course, in moderation.

3. Challenge yourself – things always seem that much more difficult at the beginning but you will feel a sense of satisfaction when you accomplish what you set off to do. Also, go beyond the classroom and explore the opportunities out there!

4. Make good friends – be around those who will surround you with positive energy. In fact, you ought to be the ONE that people want to be near because of your positivity. Having good friends will allow all of you to grow and be a good influence to others. By the way, they are the ones who help you to understand how to do your homework, not one that allows you to copy their work. :)


The other big area I would like to challenge you is building your research skills:

Are you good at it? How do you know?

What’s the difference between a literature review and a research paper?

What is the difference between referencing, citation and bibliography?

What is the best way to go about starting a research?

The reason for the above is the need to get you started to understand the academic rigour at IB. Research is one of the critical skills you will need and you have to understand and grasp the requirements well so that you are focused on the content of your research rather than the technical aspects of it. Do bear this in mind as I will challenge you to do something in Term 3!


At this juncture, some of you might be wondering about the upcoming assessments and curriculum matters. These will be briefed by Ms Annie Wong during the level meeting. There is a major change to the format of assessment so please listen attentively. I always stressed the importance of academic honesty and therefore, please do bear that in mind at all times.


Lastly, I will leave you with another thought to ponder:

‘Why am I, a Josephian?’

Have a great Term 1 and God Bless!

Ora et Labora!

Miss Leong


PS: I can still be reach via my email at chrisleong@sji.edu.sg for any matters that you want to find out, academic or otherwise. If you need to talk to someone regarding academic related matters in school, you can reach out to Ms Annie Wong at annie.wong@sji.edu.sg


[27 Jan 2022] Academic Briefing (by Director of Academics)

20220127 Year 4 DOA Level Briefing.pdf