For NUS students, the most important period of the year is arguably the module bidding period because the two-week of virtual Hunger Games will determine the next 17 weeks of lectures and tests.
Since taking Singapore Studies modules is a must all of NUS students, I have a list of four most recommended Singapore Studies modules (and ‘survival’ tips from those who took and passed these modules!) so, hopefully, you can spend your G account points wisely.
SSA2209 : Government and Politics of Singapore
“Man is by nature a political animal.” – Aristotle
Are you into ‘Men in White’ or MM Lee Kuan Yew’s ‘Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going’? If the answer is yes, you should definitely choose this module. This is for those who really want to study about Singapore, especially Singapore’s unique political aspects. Plus, you will get to know insights on recent political issues. The lecturer has been teaching this module for more than ten years so there is no doubt about his understanding.
Tips for this module: Read, read and read! Keep yourself updated with latest news and make sure you have the textbook (no getting away with not reading the readings here!). Plus, construct a convincing argument with solid evidence and quotations for your final exam. And… Voila! You will score well (unless everyone else is reading this article as well)! Content wise, the lecturer is great if you really love politics, especially Singapore’s.
Last year’s cut-off:
400 points(start saving your G account points!) for semester 1 and 1 points in semester 2.
SSA2204 : Nation Building in Singapore
As the module name suggests, this is a history module about how to build a nation. It covers the vast components of nation building such as colonial rule, independence, military services, education and housing. The content is similar to Social Studies you learned in Secondary (with more details and a different point of view!).
The good thing is: text book is optional (that means you don’t really need one!) and NO term papers. You only need to do 2 CAs and one final exam. Essay writing skills are important for the exams so if you are more the MCQ type, this probably isn’t the best for you. Also, don’t miss any lecture and tutorial session. If you want to score well, try to not only read and memorise but also understand the readings.
Last Year’s Cut-off:
248 points in semester 1 and 31 Points in semester 2.
SSS1207 : Natural Heritage of Singapore
A lecturer once told me that his primary-school son didn’t know how a chicken looks like and screamed when he saw a chicken. If you are aware of the existence of various species (for example, the cute, brown squirrels that love to slide down the slope outside YIH) across Singapore and want to know more about them, this module is a must. Which animals are native in Singapore? Which animals are not? What was so important about the two questions? Find out the answers in this module!
MCQ as final exam? Irresistible!
Am I kidding? No. Statistically speaking, this is one of the rare Singapore Studies modules with MCQ as its mid test and final exam (although, honestly, I couldn’t find any other). If you are lucky, some of the lecturers are quite entertaining. Plus, you can go on a field trip and have a stroll around Singapore’s natural reserves to do your project (optional, but doesn’t that sound like fun?). Sounds like an easy A? But beware the bell curve. Easy for you means easy for everybody too (now that sounds creepy, right?). But don’t worry because I also come up with tips to ‘survive’: For your tests, you should pay attention to lectures and tutorials. They do help. A lot. Trust me, because I took this module a couple of years ago.
Last year’s cut off:
807 points. Only available in semester 2.
SSA2202 : Changing Landscapes of Singapore
A popular geography-based Singapore Studies module. If you love going places in Singapore, this module will be very interesting. You can also go for a field trip to places in Singapore for the project (sounds fun!). Since the project plays quite a big role, it will be better if you take this module with friends (especially the responsible ones ;) ). If you are lucky enough, some lecturers are quite engaging. Just like other SS modules, you will need essay writing skill to conquer this module.
A sneak peak into a presentation of SSA2202: http://www.slideshare.net/micamonkey/changing-landscape-tutorial-1
Last Year’s Cut-off:
289 Points in semester 1 and 51 points in semester 2.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what you like. If you are into politics and a great essay writer, SSA2209 will suit you best. If you are looking for Singapore Studies module without essay writings, try to bid for SSS1207. Here’s wishing you all best of luck in your bidding next semester! :)
Updated: First appeared in The Ridge (November 2011)