General Paper aims to develop in students the ability to think critically, to construct cogent arguments and to communicate their ideas using clear, accurate and effective language. General Paper encourages students to explore a range of key issues of global and local significance and provides students with a good foundation to thrive in a fast-changing world. At the end of the course, students should have a broader understanding of the world, and be ready to meet the challenges of higher education and the workplace of the future.
The syllabus and examination are intended for all candidates who follow the General Paper course of study at the H1 level examination. It continues to underscore maturity of thought, independent thinking and the proficient use of language.
The syllabus aims to enable candidates to achieve the following outcomes:
• Understand better the world in which they live by fostering a critical awareness of continuity and change in the human experience
• Appreciate the interrelationship of ideas across disciplines
• Broaden their global outlook while enabling them to remain mindful of shared historical, social and cultural experiences both within Singapore and regionally
• Develop maturity of thought and apply critical reading and creative thinking skills
• Develop the skills of clear, accurate and effective communication
• Develop the skills of evaluation of arguments and opinions
• Promote extensive and independent reading and research.
The candidate will be expected to demonstrate:
A broad and mature understanding of a range of subject matter from the humanities and culture as well as science and technology, including current affairs, issues of global significance and issues of significance to Singapore. This includes the ability to:
• demonstrate knowledge and understanding of diverse topic areas
• analyse and evaluate issues across disciplines, showing awareness of their significance and implications for the individual and society
• express understanding as well as critical and creative thinking through informed personal responses
• formulate cogent arguments.
Comprehension, interpretation and application of a range of subject matter. This includes the ability to:
• comprehend the text(s) in detail and as a whole
• identify information
• infer relevant information
• summarise information
• evaluate information
• make observations of trends and relationships
• apply understanding and interpretation in a task derived from the text(s).
Effective communication and proficient use of language. This includes the ability to:
• use the accepted conventions of spelling, punctuation and grammar
• use a variety of linguistic styles and expressions appropriate to the context, task and audience
• use and demonstrate understanding of a range of vocabulary
• present information clearly.
Candidates are tested on two papers. Paper 1 and Paper 2 will be taken at separate sittings within the same day.
In Paper 1 (Essay)
o Paper comprises 12 questions
o Topic Areas:
• Issues drawn from across disciplines
• Issues of local interest and global concern.
o Answer any one out of a total of 12 questions.
o 500–800 words.
o 1 hr 30 mins
In Paper 2 (Comprehension)
o Text comprises one or two passages.
o Questions cover:
• Understanding including literal comprehension, vocabulary and inference (17 marks)
• Summary (8 marks)
• Application (10 marks)
o Candidates write their answers on the question paper.
o Answer all questions.
o Questions will be set on one passage or on two different passages that allow for comparative analysis.
o The length of text(s) will be about 1200 words in total. The text(s) will be marked by paragraph numbers in the left margin and line numbers in the right margin.
Range of Marks
o Content: 35
o Use of English: 15 (A separate but holistic score based on the entire script.)
• Total marks: 50
o 1 h 50 mins
In Paper 1 (Essay)
Twelve questions will be set, of which candidates answer one. This will allow candidates the opportunity to express an informed, critical, creative and relevant response.
The suggested topic areas are:
• Historical, social, cultural, economic, political and philosophical topics
• Science including its history, philosophy, general principles, current developments and applications
• Mathematical and geographical topics
• Literature and language
• Arts and crafts
• Topics of local interest and global concern.
Questions will not necessarily be set on every topic area and will not be set in any particular order. They will be general in nature and require candidates to draw on their knowledge from across disciplines to show an awareness of significant global/national/local issues.
The ability to convey a sustained and well thought-out argument will be important. Examples will be needed to support that argument.
In Paper 2 ( Comprehension)
One or two passages of continuous prose will be set. The passage(s) should allow for comparative analysis.
There will be a range of questions on the text(s), requiring candidates to demonstrate their ability to comprehend, explain, infer, evaluate and summarise.
Candidates will also be required to synthesise information and respond to concepts or ideas conveyed. They will apply their response, based on their understanding and interpretation of the text(s) as a whole, to a task derived from the text(s).