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At Secondary School, your child needs to be inspired to achieve the best possible results in English.

The Critical Reading & Writing (CRW) Strategy taught by our inspiring teachers will help your child achieve Distinction.

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.

Strategic Approach

Cognitus Academy’s Secondary English Programme is designed by our team of curriculum specialists led by Dr Daniel Chua.

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At Cognitus Academy, our programme is crafted to MEET every child’s level of readiness and motivate them to achieve their FULL potential.

Through our own passion for the English language, our trained and experienced teachers ignite students’ LOVE and INTEREST in English.

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.

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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, 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.

Termly Assessment

Our students come from a range of different schools with different academic cultures.

Do you know how your child compares with another student from a different school?

We conduct termly assessments for our students to assess their current progress and see where they stand relative to their classmates from different schools.

Our tests comprise of the most challenging questions from past year exams and will be able to diagnose students' weaknesses. From there, we will reinforce confusing grammar rules and exam strategies.

You may wonder, how do we fit in so many topics into our lessons?

Our weekly lessons are divided into two parts. The first part brings world knowledge into the classroom while the second part develops our students' language skills.

Week Component Comprehension Language
Situational Writing – Informal email
Visual Text Comprehension, Narrative Comprehension
Grammar, Vocabulary
Continuous Writing – Personal Recount
Visual Text Comprehension, Non-Narrative Comprehension
Grammar, Vocabulary
Situational Writing – Formal email
Visual Text Comprehension, Narrative Comprehension
Grammar, Vocabulary
Class Test Paper 2
Class Test Paper 1
Visual Text Comprehension, Non-Narrative Comprehension
Grammar, Vocabulary
Continuous Writing – Descriptive Writing
Visual Text Comprehension, Narrative Comprehension
Grammar, Vocabulary

*Lesson schedule may change due to students’ school exam schedules.

Connecting Students to the World

One of the key strengths of our Secondary English programme is our ability to bring current affairs and world issues into our classroom discussions.

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Using magazine and news articles, our teachers discuss perspectives and evaluate various points of view regarding the following issues:
✔ History ✔ Politics ✔ Technology ✔ Human Rights
✔ Economics ✔ Social, Gender, Culture ✔ Education
✔ Media ✔ Law and Justice ✔ Environment ✔ War and Conflicts

Having gone through rigorous discussions on these topics, students will be able to speak more confidently and think more critically when writing essays and giving oral presentations.

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.

Interested to find out if Cognitus Academy's Secondary Regular English Programme fits your child's learning needs?

All new students are offered a 120-minute immersion session to get a taste of the quality teaching and engagement in our classrooms.

✅ Students should email us their recent test papers in advance for our teachers to look through. A 15-minute pre-lesson diagnostic assessment will be scheduled with the student.

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✅ Experience our teachers’ lively and engaging classroom teaching, as they optimise student engagement and provide easily comprehensible instructions in our 120-minute immersion session.

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✅ Evaluation of the student’s learning in class will be given to parents after the immersion session.

Additional support for Members of our Community

Apart from delivering the strongest English curriculum possible, what else can we do to add value to our students? While we will never stop innovating, we are currently supplementing our English courses with the following package we like to call Cognitus Plus.

Cognitus Online

Our very own student portal, Cognitus Online, provides supplementary materials and past exam papers for students to practise. This is a portal that not only supports our online students but, also our students attending physical classes.
To learn more about Cognitus Online, click READ MORE.

Centre Library

Our teachers have hand-picked more than 200 titles for our centre library, which exposes students to a range of genres and literature. Our students have access to The Straits Times online and quality periodicals such as Time, National Geographic kids, BBC Earth, etc.
To learn more about our centre library, click READ MORE.

Students' Works

Every child comes to Cognitus Academy to improve their English. Wherever they are in their Mastery of English, Composition is often their greatest area of weakness. We value the opportunity to guide our students to constantly improve their writing through multiple drafts and are proud to publish their drafts on our webpage.
To learn more about our students’ works, click READ MORE.

Parents Support Facebook Page

Our Parents’ Support Group on Facebook invites students and parents to ask challenging questions, which our teachers will reply.
To learn more about our Facebook page, click READ MORE.


Our Blog pages feature study tips, exam techniques and model compositions to support our students and parents.
To learn more about blog, click READ MORE.

Hear What Some Our Parents Say

Don’t just take it from us!


Strongly Recommended!

“To other parents who are reading this, I strongly recommend Cognitus Academy. It is really WORTH giving it a try and you see that your child enjoys the learning process.”
Parent of Twylla Teo, Secondary 2
cheryl ang

Motivated to Learn

“She enjoys the lessons and looks forward to them weekly, which, as parents, is great to see. She is motivated to keep learning.”
Parent of Cheryl Ang, Secondary 1

Progressed Very Well

“Harshini enjoys her weekly lesson. She has progressed very well academically too.”
Parent of Harshini d/o, Secondary 1

Conducive Learning Environment

“They look forward to lessons with Dr Chua. Everyone participates actively during class discussions as the learning environment is conducive.”
Parent of Robyn and Marcus Lam, Secondary 1 and 2

Frequently Asked Questions

How does your programme benefit my child?
After more than ten years of refinement, our Critical Reading & Writing (CRW) Strategy has helped hundreds of students improve their English results by at least one grade, with several achieving Distinction (A and A*) for PSLE, O Levels and A Levels. The CRW Strategy is adapted from the Critical Thinking framework that is being used to teach students in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP). We have infused the essence of the Critical Thinking approach and created the CRW Strategy that has an impact on students’ Comprehension Open-ended, Comprehension Cloze Passage, Comprehension Short Answer Questions (SAQ) and Summary. The CRW Strategy also develops students’ writing ability, helping them in their Continuous Writing and General paper essays. We are proud to share our students’ essays with you in our Blog. For more information about the CRW Strategy, you can see Our Strategy, Primary English Programme, Secondary English Programme and General Paper Programme.
How qualified are teachers at Cognitus Academy? Are they NIE-trained?
Cognitus Academy shares the same concern with the parents of all our students. We want the teachers teaching your child to be the best at what they do and demonstrate the professionalism befitting an educator. All Cognitus Academy teachers undergo a stringent interview process, rigorous training programme and aptitude tests before they are allowed to teach our students. All our teachers have completed university education with high achievements and have wealth of experience teaching English, including writing. Guided by Dr Daniel Chua, an NIE-trained ex-teacher and a former NIE lecturer himself, our teachers meet weekly for professional development and mentoring. 
Not all our teachers are former MOE teachers. While we believe that the training and experience of a former school teacher can be invaluable, our observation has been that students taught by former school teachers may not always do well when it matters. Otherwise, parents would have sought their children’s school teachers for guidance. Armed with our strategy and teacher development programme, we believe that our team of teachers will help your child improve and excel.
Do you offer a trial lesson for new students before they commit to termly lessons?
Yes, we offer a 120-minute immersion session for students who are new to Cognitus Academy. We understand that parents need to know that our programmes can meet the needs of their children before they commit their time and resources at our centre. Therefore, we will arrange for an immersion session in one of our available class slots for new students to try out the teaching approach, lesson material and classroom environment before joining us. The teacher will conduct a brief diagnostic session with the student 15 minutes before the lesson. After the lesson, the teacher will conduct a 15-minute feedback session with the parent. Please note that the teacher may conduct these sessions over a phone call due to the teacher’s lesson schedule.
Do you offer replacement lessons if my child misses a lesson?
To fully benefit from the programme, students are strongly encouraged to attend lessons consistently. In the event that students are unable to attend a class due to school events or medical leave, we offer replacement lessons to be scheduled within the same lesson week. Students are allowed to join an existing class of the same level if there are available seats. Should your child be unable to attend a replacement lesson during the week, lesson materials will be passed to him/her in his/her next lesson. While Cognitus Academy will try our best to schedule a replacement lesson for our students, we regret that replacements classes are not guaranteed. We also seek your understanding that fees collected are not refundable because resources have been committed to provide the lesson for your child on the scheduled time. 
Do you offer online lessons?
Yes, Cognitus Academy offers online lessons. You may refer to our class schedule here.
How many students are there in a class?
We keep our class sizes small for conducive learning. Our maximum capacity for a class is 8 students for both physical and online lessons.
What else is Cognitus Academy doing to enhance my child’s learning?
In addition to weekly lessons with our teachers, Cognitus Academy offers the following channels to help our students improve their English results.


– Our Blog pages feature study tips, exam techniques and model compositions to support our students and parents
– Our Parents’ Support Group on Facebook invites students and parents to ask challenging questions, which our teachers will reply
– Our teachers conduct weekly Cognitus Connect sessions online to meet with groups of students to answer their questions and revise strategies for comprehension and writing strategies.
– Our student online portal, Cognitus Online, provides supplementary materials, such as past exam papers, for students to practise before their exams.
– Free use of The Straits Times online account
– Our teachers hand-pick more than 200 titles for our Centre library, which exposes students to a range of genres and literature.

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.