As parents, we heave a sigh of relief after our children clear PSLE and get posted to Secondary school.

However, this relief can be short-lived as it gives way to anxiety for students who find Secondary 1 work different, difficult and disconcerting.

Common questions our Sec 1 students and their parents grapple with

❓ How is the English exam format different in Sec 1?
❓ If I did well in PSLE English, will I be able to do the same for Sec 1?
❓ Or worse, if I did poorly in PSLE English, will I struggle even more in Sec 1?
❓ Should I wait till Sec 2 or 3 to start English tuition?

The truth is

Whether your child has done well for PSLE or not, getting the hang of Secondary O Level English is going to be challenging. Almost every written component of the Sec 1 English exam is different from PSLE.

Some parents feel that Sec 1 is a suitable time to give students a year to relax.

However, these parents soon regret their decision. Unfortunately, we discovered that Sec 1 is not time to relax yet. Students who manage Sec 1 and 2 English well will be more successful in handling the rigour of Sec 3 and Sec 4 workload, which will involve more complex topics in other subjects. We believe that it is critical to make the transition to O Levels steady and stress-free, and our methods definitely help.

With years of experience in bridging the P6-to-S1 gap

Cognitus Academy has designed an intensive and effective course to help your child jump start Sec 1 English.

In 9 sessions, your child will learn

✅ The major differences between Pri 6 and Sec 1

✅ Simple and effective steps to scoring distinction for Editing. We will impart tips and practical steps that students can apply to score for this section.

✅ Structured approaches to plan and score for Situational Writing. Students will learn the requirements for writing emails, letters, reports, speeches and newsletters.

✅ Critical reading and writing strategies for answering Visual Text, Narrative and Non-narrative Comprehension. Students will learn and practise how to answer direct, inferential and evaluative questions, as well as learning the application of the Elements of Thoughts in this section.

✅ Fool-proof method to achieve high marks for Summary. Students will practise strategies to write a good summary.

✅ Give students an insight into the more complex Secondary Listening Comprehension and Oral.

Our Strategy

Using strategies taught to students in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP), our Secondary programme is built upon years of experience teaching, designing curriculum, marking exams and designing assessment modes in schools. We can’t wait to share them with you!

Credits: This framework is an adaptation and synthesis of Paul and Elder’s theory on Critical Thinking, and books on Critical Reading and Critical Writing.

Critical Reading and Writing principles used in MOE’s Gifted Education Programme form the basis of Cognitus Academy’s English programmes.

Don’t worry. Although these strategies are taught to gifted students, our programmes are DOWN-TO-EARTH techniques that have helped students of all abilities improve and excel.

4 levels of Critical Reading

In the 4 levels of Critical Reading, paraphrasing and identifying main ideas are foundational skills
for doing well in Secondary English exams.

The deeper levels of critical reading (Analysing text logic and Evaluating text logic) set Cognitus students apart from all others in the O Level English exams.

8 Elements of Thought

Students are taught to dissect essay questions and analyse texts through the 8 Elements of Thought.

Credits: This diagram is taken from Paul and Elder’s theory on Critical Thinking.

✔ Purpose: What are the objectives of this text/essay/image?
✔ Question at issue: What is the issue of contention involved?
✔ Information: What type of data do I need to answer the question?
✔ Interpretation and Inference: How can the information be applied to the question?
✔ Concepts: What are the theories and concepts that I need to know?
✔ Assumptions: What are the underlying beliefs and assumptions of the question/text?
✔ Implications and Consequences: What will happen if my answer/proposal is implemented?
✔ Point-of-view: What are the different points-of-view relevant to this text/question? 

How we apply the CRW strategy in our lessons

Our CRW strategy gives precise guidance on how students can score for English Paper 1 and Paper 2.


The 10-mark editing section might be a breeze for some students but a struggle for others, especially if students are not familiar with the grammar rules.
The good news is that being clear about grammar rules will lead to a good editing score.
We teach our students to identify different rules and apply them to the context of the passage.
Your child will be able to recognise these types of errors in the text:

– Subject Verb Agreement
– Tenses
– Prepositions
– Word Forms
– Connectors

Once they identify the error, students will find the right words to replace the error.
Situational Writing
Your child will encounter different types of genres in the Situational Writing task, including the following: 
– Email (Formal and Informal)
– Letter (Formal and Informal)
– Reports
– News articles
– Speeches, etc

Our teachers guide students to analyse the question and teach students to amplify their points by following the PAC checklist:

– Purpose
– Audience
– Context

Students are also guided on the different formats required for each genre and make improvements based on the teachers’ individualised feedback.
Continuous Writing
Continuous Writing requires students to write an essay according to one of the following genres:
– Personal Recount
– Descriptive Writing
– Discursive Writing
– Argumentative Writing
Our teachers adopt the 8 Elements of Thought and teach students to dissect essay questions.
Students are taught to do question analysis and use different brainstorming tools to generate key points for their essays.
Students are also taught skills in Substantive and Reflective Writing:
– Substantive writing helps students focus on the purpose of the writing task (e.g., to persuade, to entertain, to report, etc). Once students are clear about the objective of the writing assignment, they are able to focus their content to achieve the objectives. They will also be able to use the appropriate tone and vocabulary to meet their writing goals.
– Reflective writing involves developing students’ ability to evaluate their own writing by asking questions such as “How good is my writing?”, “How can I improve in my next draft?”, “How do I seek help?” etc.
Being reflective will transform how students write because they will always be trying to improve.
Our teachers will mark students’ first draft with detailed individualised feedback. This feedback points out the strengths of their writing and highlight areas for improvement. After drafting, students are likely to see an improvement from a B to an A grade, while retaining the ideas in their essay. Doing so encourages students to improve their work and leaves them with a piece they can be truly proud of.


Visual Text Comprehension
Visual Text Comprehension may seem easy because of the lack of long passages. However, students may struggle to interpret posters, advertisements, brochures, webpages, etc.
Students are bombarded by visual stimulus every day, but may not fully appreciate the purpose and message of these visual stimuli.


MOE has decided to include visual text analysis as a part of the Secondary English syllabus for students to better understand the world around us.
So how can we do well for visual text analysis?
Through a structured analysis of the visual stimulus, our teachers guide students to identify the Purpose, Message and Audience in the text.

– Purpose requires students to identify the action that the visual stimulus would like the reader to take.
– Message refers to the reason why the reader should take action.
– Audience refers to the target group that are able to take the intended action.
After analysing the visual stimulus, our teachers impart answering techniques that will help students maximise their scores.
Narrative Text Comprehension
Applying Critical Reading techniques, our students are able to dive deep into the context of the narrative text. Our teachers will  dissect comprehension questions into the following types:
– Language Use
– Vocabulary
– Paraphrasing
– Inferential
– Sequencing

Under each question type, students are given the most effective strategies and techniques to meet all question requirements.
Non-Narrative Text Comprehension
Non-narrative texts require students to apply CRW 2, which is to identify the main ideas in each paragraph. After analysing the text, students will be able to understand the logic and intentions of the writer. Next, our students will be equipped to handle the most challenging questions under this section:

– Justifying a Point-of-View
– Writing a Summary

To justify a point-of-view, our teachers deploy the 8 Elements of Thought to help students identify key reasons to support the given opinion.
To write a comprehensive summary that fits into the 80-word limit, our students are taught to design critical questions to scan for key points in the passage.

Our Teaching Team

Cognitus Academy takes pride in helping our students achieve breakthroughs in their results.
We are able to do that because of the strong team that we have built to teach, organise and administer our robust English programmes.

Having been a teacher trainer at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Dr Daniel Chua has not only crafted a solid curriculum for our students, but also an effective training programme for our teachers.

At Cognitus Academy, teachers form the foundation of our English programmes. Prospective teachers are screened meticulously and undergo a rigorous 3-month training programme to develop core competencies of a teacher. Teaching interns also develop academic and philosophical roots in their pedagogy by studying the relevant materials in-depth and observing senior teachers in action before they enter the classrooms to teach.

After the completion of formal training, new teachers will continue to go through robust training and meet regularly to sharpen their problem-solving skills, explore innovative and effective curriculum for students, and refine teaching methods to enhance the students' mastery of the subject.

Our curriculum and pedagogy are continuously refined and updated in accordance with the changes in the education system by our curriculum team comprising of ex-MOE teachers, Heads of Department, Senior Teachers, PSLE markers and experienced Cognitus teachers. All the teachers hired by Cognitus Academy must minimally obtain a Bachelor's Degree in English Language, English Literature or other related subjects.

Lesson Schedule

📍 Goldhill Plaza

Run Programme Date and Time
Run 10
Secondary 1 English Jump Start for P6 students
(24, 31 Oct, 7, 14 Nov)
7pm - 8:30pm
Run 11
(25 Oct, 1, 8, 15 Nov)
5pm - 6:30pm
Run 12
(27 Oct, 3, 10, 17 Nov)
7pm - 8:30pm
Run 13
(28 Oct, 4, 11, 18 Nov)
11:30am - 1pm

*All schedules subject to changes. Classes are usually fully subscribed 1 month in advance. Sign up now to avoid disappointment.

We would like to share some comments from our students who have successfully promoted from P6 to Sec 1 in the past

Hear what some our students have to say about our programme!


Clear and Sufficient

“Useful notes, good practices and the skills are very easy to learn. The teacher’s explanation is super clear and he gave sufficient homework.”
Ethan Woon Primary 6 going Secondary 1
boy (2)

Practice Makes Perfect

“I know how to deal with questions because I have practised them in the programme.”
Quentin Heng, Primary 6 going Secondary 1
boy (4)

Techniques for Answering Questions

“The programme has taught me about the Secondary English syllabus and taught me ways to answer all the questions.”
Jayven Phua, Primary 6 going Secondary 1
boy (3)

Useful Tips on Writing

“For some components like Situational Writing, the teachers have given useful tips on how to expand and write between 250 to 350 words.”
Shriram, Primary 6 going Secondary 1
girl (1)

Different Types of Writing

“I learnt about the different types of writing.”
Summer Cheng, Primary 6 going Secondary 1
girl (2)

Prepared for Secondary 1

“This programme has prepared me to face the challenges of Secondary 1 so that I will not be so unfamiliar with my work when I go to my new secondary school.”
Student of Cognitus, Primary 6 going Secondary 1

Still can’t decide?

We understand that choosing the right English programme is an important decision because we have worked with hundreds of parents who are just as concerned as you about their child's English results. If you would like to discuss your needs with one of our English specialists, fill out the form below and we will be in touch with you.