Guide to WKWSCI Admission Interview

Hello everyone!

PLEASE READ: Please direct all questions to the comments section below so that they will also be visible for other prospective students. Do note that I will not be entertaining any NTU-related enquiries through e-mail from now on. Thank you for your understanding!

The time of the year is here again, when prospective students frantically scour through the internet for tips to ace their college/university admission interviews. I hope what I documented prior to my acceptance to NTU help shed some light on how the interview works. I have also received numerous e-mails pertaining to this so I thought I should share some frequently asked questions here for the benefit of those who’re too shy to approach me.

Please bear in mind that I’m merely a student of the school and not some ambassador who is authorised to speak on behalf of WKWSCI, so everything that is written here are merely my thoughts. It’s always advisable to seek second opinion before forming your own judgement 🙂

You can still e-mail me at should you have queries not answered here. I’m always very happy to help prospective students!

I also appreciate feedback about the accuracy and helpfulness of this entry! Do share your joy with me if you succeed at your interview as well! 🙂

Before I begin the FAQs, there is ONE thing you’d need to know about WKWSCI before you go for the interview because it’s one achievement that we’re so damn proud of and it’d be a shame if you don’t already know it:

According to the 2014 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject, NTU’s Communication & Media Studies is ranked 6th in the world…. NTU said the subject Communication & Media Studies jumped an impressive 17 positions within two years since QS started ranking this subject, to become No 1 in Singapore and in the Asia-Pacific.

Source: TODAYonline

Interview FAQs

1. I do not come from a Communication Studies (CS)-related diploma programme. Is my chance of getting accepted into WKWSCI slimmer?

I had received tons of emails about this which makes this the most frequently asked question. This is very subjective so my opinion on this is: yes and no. ‘Yes’ because you may not have relevant portfolio to show that you’re suitable for the course and ‘No’ because you MAY not need to even produce any portfolio (with exception of NAA), thus categorising you with the JC applicants who also have no experience in this field.

In fact, I think that people with CS background stand a slightly lower chance of getting in because they’d expect higher standards from us. When I went for my interview, I had to make a short impromptu speech on top of producing my portfolio which showed my designing AND writing capabilities even though I already expressed my interest in the advertising field clearly from the start. Some of my friends who graduated with Business diplomas on the other hand got it way easier – they didn’t have to produce any portfolio because the interviewers refused to see them so all they did was talk. Of course, a handful of my DBA (a Business course offered by Singapore Poly) friends briefly showed what they did to a different interviewer so it all really boils down to the one(s) interviewing you!

But if you want a definite answer, I think it’d be a ‘No’. I always have the impression that WKWSCI assesses every applicant fairly. They don’t shun people with no CS background nor do they only favour those who have. However, you definitely need to possess 2 sets of IMPORTANT skills in order to be considered, regardless of the specialisation you intend to pursue. They are writing AND public speaking. If you don’t have these skills, CS is probably not the course for you.

2. What should I do if I do not have any CS-related portfolio to show?

First and foremost, I recommend that you decide what specialisation track to pursue if you were accepted into WKWSCI as doing so makes you seem less indecisive. WKWSCI offers the following tracks to concentrate:

  • Journalism
  • Broadcast & Cinema Studies
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Communication Policy & Research
  • Inter-Disciplinary


For me it was, no doubt, advertising like duh… I spent my entire Poly life trying to perfect my advertising/design portfolio hahaha. I had no problem answering any advertising-related questions. What stumbled me was the interviewer’s request to view my writing because I had just too many design works that didn’t show my writing proficiency at all.

Having a track in mind makes your more focused on improving on your portfolio. You can modify it according to what you want to pursue. For example, if you want to be a journalist/PR, you should have more write-ups than anyone else to show your flair for writing. Or if you want to be in the advertising field, you should have some mockups WITH COPY (learn from my mistake). They DON’T have to be perfect/professional because if you’re so good, then why are you applying to University? You can start working already! FYI that was exactly what my interviewer told me -_- I was repeatedly shot down by him when I answered that my works were amateurish. “No no no! What is there to improve on? These are very good! You shouldn’t waste your time here! Go apply into SUTD or SIT!!!111”

Since having good command of English is what makes the cut, producing anything that shows your proficiency in the language should be sufficient in that aspect. Personally I think you can show reports you had done during your Poly course (or GP/History essays done in JC), or you can do a write-up/essay about anything that interests you. I believe the interviewer (typically a professor) will be interested to read about your thoughts. If you were part of a CCA in Poly that required you to write (a writer for the school magazine or something), you should also include that in your portfolio. Once again, it doesn’t have to be of top-notch standard and LONG but it has to be grammatically correct. I showed my copy for a newsletter (about 5 lines) and the interviewer seem pretty satisfied with it. Haha.

During the application process you would have already indicated your course of study in Poly, hence the interviewers would most probably know that you do not have anything really CS-related to show. Just show what you did during your 3-year course and if possible, select those that are closely related to CS (e.g. event planning, marketing plan etc.).

Always, always bring something to show to your interviewer(s) even though they MAY not look at them (it depends on how lucky you are). Going there empty-handed = bo chup, okay?

3. Since I do not have any background in CS, would it be difficult for me to keep up with the lessons?

NO OF COURSE NOT. You basically start from scratch in Uni and study the fundamentals of everything media before you choose your specialisation. That means you have to, at least once in the course, design a newsletter, write a press release, shoot a short film, study media law, study the history of media and other not-so-fun stuff. The only difference between one with CS background and one without is the ABILITY TO EXEMPT FROM COURSES and end your programme 1 semester earlier. But there are MANY people I know who came from Mass Comm in Poly who chose not to accelerate the programme because the graduation ceremony will be held on the same day anyway.

4. What were some of the questions thrown at you during the interview?

Okay I hope my memory doesn’t fail me. I am not feeding you my responses because if you guys are passionate about the course, you should have your own answers!

“Why did you choose WKWSCI and not elsewhere?” (elsewhere – if you get what I mean)

“What do you like to do?”

“Why do you want to apply into WKWSCI and not enter the working industry since you already have so much experience?”

“Why not SUTD and SIT?” 

“In WKW, we value good writing and public speaking skills. Do you have anything to show your proficiency in writing?”

“Now, give me a 3-minute speech about someone who inspires you or someone whom you look up to.”

And lastly… “If you can’t get in this year, try applying again next year okay?” to which I replied, “This is my second application.” He was a little dumbfounded. “Oh..”

5. What should I wear for the interview?

Anything not too formal, casual, fanciful and revealing. For girls, just be donned in a knee-length dress and for guys, short sleeves top with long pants should do the trick. Jeans are fine too.

6. How long must I wait for the interview results to be out?

I waited for close to 2 weeks but that was during the appeal period. If you had your interview before that, it should be faster.


Other WKWSCI-related FAQs

1. What are some essentials I need to have?

There are no needs per se because the school has almost everything. As long as you’re a student there, you get free access to the computer labs and printers (have to pay but through credits). Of course, your life would be much easier if you have the following:

  • Macbook
    … but I’m still coping very well with my HP laptop. Go Windows!!!
  • Adobe Design and Web Premium
    … Basically all you need from there are Photoshop, Dreamweaver and InDesign. Contrary to popular beliefs, it is not expensive to own the authentic Photoshop. You can get the Adobe Design and Web Premium at student price from
  • Final Cut Pro (FCP)
    … to edit videos but it’s only available for Mac. Windows users have to edit their videos in school 😦 The authentic copy can cost you thousands of dollars though so usually students get it by other *sinister look* means.
  • Sony Vegas Pro / Adobe Premiere Pro
    … Another alternative for FCP. Sony Vegas Pro and Adobe Premier Pro are also Windows-supported. Likewise, you can only get them by other means.
  • Microsoft Office
    … For report writing and creating presentation slides. MO isn’t that important now that we have Google Drive. But nowadays students also like to act cool and 一个 artsy fartsy and use Prezi instead for their presentation. Huh why? I find Prezi too complicated and error-prone. I have never encountered any group that managed to go through all Prezi transitions smoothly without exclaiming, “Oops!” and then clicking several times before getting to the right frame. I get massive headache just by looking at the slides zooming in and out in fast motion.


2. I missed the Freshmen Orientation Camp!!!!! O SHIT WHAT SHOULD I DO!?!?!

NOTHING. Relax and let nature takes its course. If you’re intending to stay in hall, you don’t have to worry at all. If you’re not, you can still meet nice people through group projects and elective classes! Or if you’re free, through clubs and other CCAs. Please always remember that you go to school to study okay, not to be the most popular person or something. Life will still be equally awesome with just 432 Facebook friends and 3 likes on your statuses LOL. Life will still be equally fantastic even if you have to eat, travel and study alone sometimes.

To read more about my friend-making process, click here.

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That’s all from me 🙂 I will update this post as and when I have new questions but please don’t ask me about FASS because I don’t think it’s fair for someone who know nuts about the NUS/FASS to answer them.

Thanks for reading!

Some useful WKWSCI-affiliated links:
WKWSCI Official Facebook
WKWSCI Facebook (student-run)
Wee Write (campus news)
Wee Shoot (compilation of videos shot by the Wee kids)


University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 1

Hello guys! Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been really busy with both work and school and only managed to find time now that my finals are over.

PLEASE READ: Please direct all questions to the comments section below so that they will also be visible to other prospective students. Do note that I will not be entertaining any NTU-related enquiries through e-mail from now on. Thank you for your understanding!

I’ve noticed a sharp increase in unique visitors to my blog especially during NTU’s course registration period and the jump kinda scares me LOL. However I am both glad and heartened that my course reviews helped many of you one way or another. As the title suggests, this is going to be the third instalment and I’m sorry I couldn’t get this out before the registration period started. Hopefully it’ll come in handy for Add/Drop period instead!

Ever since I left my job at a tuition centre in March, I’ve been giving tuition to primary-level students while juggling freelance design assignments (P/S: I have updated my portfolio section). Hence last semester was a little bit of a struggle for me especially when one of my core modules had a test every 4-5 weeks. I am just so relieved that my first sophomore semester finally ended.

No modules were pre-allocated to me since I’m longer a freshman so I had to go into (STARS) war like everyone else and add modules (including CORE) myself. I eventually got all the modules I wanted because shopping at Love, Bonito probably trained my fingers fast enough in mouse-clicking -lol so I didn’t have to go through the painful process of the Add/Drop period. Like the previous semesters, I had a four-day week so that I can sleep in to save on transport costs. Being one who absolutely loathes written exams, I chose modules that are more project-based. Hence out of the 5 modules registered, only 2 were examinable. Of course, there were pros and cons la. One of the cons being lesser free time for myself because I’d be loaded with projects throughout the whole semester but I’d rather spend more time applying what I’ve learned to reports than memorising them for the finals which I’d definitely forget after the paper is done.

Talking about finals, I had my worst this semester not because my papers were tough but because, oh my god I NEED TO RANT, I freakin’ fell down the stairs of bus 179 which braked so suddenly (and I wasn’t in time to grab the pole), gotten the biggest bruise in my life on my thigh and was subsequently late for my first paper despite reaching school early. Thankfully I alighted after Lee Wee Nam stop so the bus wasn’t very crowded (actually if it was, I probably wouldn’t have fallen so badly) and not many witnessed the fall. It was so awful that both my shoes flung out of my feet and a good Samaritan had to retrieve my shoes for me. I arrived with a slight limp at the examination venue 15 minutes late (also partly because I couldn’t find the venue) and one of the invigilators had to niam (nag) at me for not being punctual which I pretended not to hear and walked away…….. So irritating please. People late very anxious already, you still want to nag and affect their mood even further omg. Luckily for me, despite the loss of time, I still managed to finish the paper on time.

* * *

As always, my review on the courses I took as follows. I realised most of the reviews are only applicable to WKWSCI students but if I remember correctly, some are also UEs/GER-PEs for non-WKWSCI students.

1. AAI383 Choir I (UE)

I have been dubbed the NIE girl because I register for NIE electives every semester without fail since discovering their goodness (non-examinable and no bell curve if I am not wrong) in my second semester. The upcoming semester is no exception LOL.

Like Voice, Choir requires an audition before you can be registered to the module. But unlike Voice, it would be an actual audition i.e. you have to sing (in front of other students) and you must be above-average-to-good at it. You have to be in tune with the piano and the rest of the members. So yup, if you’re intending to go for the audition, pick a song that you know you can sing well. I didn’t know I had to sing so I only decided on my song just before my turn (and I was unfortunately the first. Lol I was so amazed how brave I was). After you’re done with your song – it does not have to be the full song (I only sang the first stanza, not even the chorus) – the judge will play a note on the piano and you’re expected to sing it. My advice: don’t rush into humming the note. Take a second or two to think and decide first. If you go too sharp or too flat, then you’re out. If do well, you’re in, and then you’d be assigned a voice part – either soprano, alto (for ladies), tenor or bass (for guys) – according to how you sang. I sang pretty low-pitched so I went into Alto. Many times I wished I was in soprano because alto’s pitch could get pretty low and boring at times. But yeah, soprano’s could get really high too and the possibility of going off-tune is higher.

The downside (or upside to some) of Choir is that you need to know how to read musical notes or better yet, sight-see (bonus if you know how to play the piano) because your lecture notes will all be in musical notes. OK maybe you don’t NEED to know, but knowing it would be helpful unless you can sing by ear. Even so, there are so many different voices singing at the same time so it can be difficult to identify your voice part unless you listen really closely to the person standing beside you (and she may be wrong too lolol). Of course, the conductor would go through the song several times so alternatively, you could record the lesson on your phone and listen to it again at home.

This module is not as simple as you think it is. It prepares you for a mini concert held on the last week of the class where you’d be watched by real audiences. You would be taught about 8 songs in total and that’s not it. You are also required to form quartets (4-6 people) and sing some of these songs chosen by the assessors. So don’t have the silly thinking that you can get away lip-syncing in Choir and get a good grade. You have to sing and be heard in the quartet especially when you’re the only soprano/alto/tenor/bass there and it’d be very obvious if one voice part is missing. Those songs are not those popular and modern ones you hear on the radio so most of the time you won’t know the tune before that. Also, because you won’t have the conductor directing you in your evaluation/assessment, you have to decide on the pace/harmonise and this is very challenging in a group.

On top of singing, you’d also be taught how to warm up your voices and yes, this will be evaluated. It’s not as easy as Do-Re-Mi okay.

I enjoyed my Choir session though, even more if not for the quartet 😦

Oh, and the conductor is not the professor teaching Voice in case anybody is wondering.

2. CS0900 Communication Strategies for Sustainability and Social Change (GER-CORE)

One of the more tedious modules this semester in terms of the number of readings you have to do (the other being CS2007). Many people will be shocked to know that even though I’m a Communication Studies student, I actually dislike reading. A lot. But I will still read if required, like for this module *sigh*

As you can already tell from the module name, this class is all about saving Gaia and saving the world. It discusses case studies about the problems faced by third-world countries, some major environmental issues faced generally around the world and the strategies used to address them. No doubt it’s an interesting class but what kept us going for lectures is actually the professor – he’s so humorous and engaging in his lectures. It was also his first time taking this class full-time and trust me, he’s extremely enthusiastic. It’s so hard to fall asleep in his class unless you didn’t sleep the night before.

There is no tutorial for this class but there would be two 1.5-hour lectures in a week. In previous years CS0900 was an examinable module but thanks to Dr Rosenthal (the prof of this module), it now has no finals! Whoopeee!! In exchange for that though, there would be 3 (MCQ) tests across the semester each weighing 20%. I didn’t do well at all for all of them so I’m depending on my group project which weighs 40% to give me a decent grade. For group project, you can either do a video or an interactive website featuring one of the strategies discussed in lecture. For mine, I did the latter 🙂 If I can find a web host, I’d upload and post it up here.

3. CS2007 Communication History and Theories (CORE)

Just by looking at the module name is enough to make you sleepy and indeed, there wasn’t a lesson which I would not doze off to. The lesson was pretty dry with many terminologies to remember and it’s not uncommon to have the lecture hall only 1/4 occupied – I’m serious! And there isn’t any lecture recordings for this course (actually almost every CS modules I know of do not have recordings) The only time, I swear, when the the class received almost-full attendance was when we had our mid-term test. It also didn’t help when both lectures were held at 9am. The prof was kinda boring too but that’s just my opinion because I know people who found him interesting.

The only thing I regret doing for CS2007 was buying the textbook. It’s so ridiculously expensive and bulky. There is actually a soft copy version floating around the net so please don’t waste money on a book which you’d only use for 12 weeks or less.

Like CS0900, reading the required text is essential, not only because it will be tested in the final paper but also because you wouldn’t understand a single thing on the lecture notes.

I’d have to admit, though, that after reading the textbook, some communication theories appear to be interesting. I especially love the one on Genderlect by Deborah Tannen. But on the whole, the textbook is just a platform for communication theorists to argue against one another and hopefully make a name for themselves for something (i.e. theories) we don’t need to know. (Ok I’m just being biased here because I’m not a fan of theories to begin with)

This module comes with, as mentioned, a mid term test of 30% weightage, a term paper of 20% (which the entire cohort did VERY badly in general. Some even failed like whaddahell how can you fail a midterm paper? The effort and all.. down the drain) and a final exam of 50%. You do not have the luxury of choosing your own group mates for the term paper because according to one of the theories we learned, “you work better with people you’re not familiar with” -_- So yeah, I didn’t know who my group members were at all until one of them added me on Facebook. It was a rather hilarious sight to see members in other groups describing to one another what they were wearing and where they were sitting prior to their first meeting hahaha.

Also, don’t bother getting notes from your seniors in the cohort before mine (12/13) because it’s a totally different syllabus now. We had nothing to practise on for our finals because past year papers were all tested on the now-defunct syllabus -_-

4. CS2025 Image and Sound Production (Major-PE)

The MOST physically tedious module because all its assignments involves filming. This is one of the modules I had to take if I were to go on Advertising track and probably the last production module I’d ever take in NTU. The good thing about this module is that it has no exams at all (but there are 2 tests and they are NOT easy). YAY I’d do ANYTHING to have the final exams scrapped. Lol.

It’s pretty ironic that the prerequisite of this module is CS2006 (another CORE production module taken in year 1) which I presume is supposed to give you a head start on filming and teach you all the technicalities of film-making and editing but I actually learnt nothing much from there. Almost every lecture towards the end of the semester for 2006 was just additional time to edit your footages but in 2025, every tutorial is an extension of the lecture and you’d definitely be doing hands-on activities like sound recording and lighting. I feel that 2025 is a better option if you’re really interested in film-making. 2006 is really a waste of time as compared to this.

The course is assessed by 2-minute dramatic narrative silent film (15%), a 30-second TVC (20%), a 5-min short film with written report (30%), class participation (10%) and test and quizzes (25%). It seems like a rather heavy module but strangely I didn’t really feel any pressure. Luckily for me, I was still able to find time to shoot amidst my hectic work schedule and my group members were also very accommodating. Probably I didn’t feel stressed out because everyone was very cooperative and all of us know our roles and responsibilities well. No one in the group was a freeloader *phew* and I’m extremely thankful for that. We forged close bonds after being through so much and surprisingly we never had any disagreement on set. From getting cast, approval to shoot at public areas and props all at the very last minute, I’m so glad we managed to pull through!

I was mainly the editor and director for the videos. I enjoyed being the editor more though because I like to work on software. Here are our work:

Assignment 1: Silent narrative film

Basically a film that has no dialogues because we’re not allowed to have any. I racked my brains for a concept and we only decided on this on the week before submission (prior to that we had 2 other ideas which I though were quite difficult to execute). We are the last minute champions man. This video stars Andrew and Amanda, our resident actor and actress (you’ll know why later) and other supporting actor and actress. They may not see this but I am very grateful for their help. They were more than willing to make a trip down again for a reshoot when asked to. Plus, they acted really well so do engage them if you have any acting gigs okay.

Assignment 2: TVC for Health Promotion Board

This assignment is a collaboration with Health Promotion Board to promote early (proper) sex education. The board will pick the best 3 and reward them prizes so it’s kind of like a competition as well. We didn’t really bother about the prize and only picked the concept (by students from another module. Our job was just to execute it) that we thought was the easiest to work on. Surprisingly this idea wasn’t very popular and only 2 groups (including mine) chose it.

The main actress was my group member, Sheena’s friend. She looks like a secondary school girl right? But she’s actually in JC now. Sheena is like the lobang queen for actors in the group. Andrew and Amanda were also sourced by her. And best, all of them is can act one la!

We had a hard time getting that drop of tear at 00:18-19. We tried putting eye drops but too much of it can be bad for the eyes so we made her sit in front on a moving fan with her eyes wide open LOL. But nothing happened to her except her eyes turned extremely dry so we resorted to wetting her eyelids. I can’t remember how many attempts it took to create that tear but it sure took us a long time! I felt so bad making her go through all these. She was very nice about it though.

As for the pregnancy test kit, no one dared to purchase it over the counter lor -_- So the fearless me had to get it alone… at Changi Airport HAHAHA. I got it while waiting for boyfriend’s plane to touch down. And after we used the kit, nobody wanted to keep it in case of reshoots because there were already 2 red lines drawn on the test strip (for the unaware, it signifies PREGNANT). Everyone had the same concern of being questioned if anyone at home sees it. So guess who brought it home? -_- I’m not very good in hiding stuff so I really hope no one chanced upon it while I was out. LOL!

Our video was first runner-up in the competition! We were pleasantly surprised. Like, finally some recognition in our work. We’re like a *cough* diamond *cough* in the rough waiting to be discovered. 😛

Assignment 3: Short film

Our best production out of the 3 but sadly the one with the lowest mark 😦 We love this because of the morbid storyline. For this assignment we are allowed to come up with our own plot.. but there’s a catch. We’d have to incorporate items provided by another group in our video (and we’d provide items to another group too. My pregnancy kit was still lying around in my room and I thought it would be a waste if I threw it away 😛 So yeah, you know what happened to it). Items we got were a wet wipe (which was already dry by the time we received it), a polaroid picture, a colourful hair tie, an envelope with a “Lorem Ipsum” letter in it and a packet of water. Can you spot any of these in our video?

This was shot at numerous locations with approval at the very last minute as well and we didn’t expect to be given green light to shoot at an actual funeral parlour (Singapore Funeral Services), cemetery (Ying Fo Fui Kun Memorial) and a doctor’s clinic (NTU Medical Centre). SFS was really kind to assist us if we needed any help. We asked for their company shirt and they loaned us without hesitation. THEY WERE REALLY NICE AND SUPPORTIVE BEYOND BELIEF 🙂

All in all, it has been a good experience working with new people. We must really thank our lucky stars for the smooth-sailing filming process despite being super late minute. It was very risky and this video wouldn’t be possible if the locations weren’t secured. So everyone, please do not follow in our footsteps.

Back to the module, one thing I dislike about it is that we had to critique every group’s video and then grade them. Although the grades students gave would not affect the actual marks given by the instructor, I feel that by doing so only sows discord among groups. Sometimes I feel that the grade we received from another group wasn’t justified as we had previously given negative criticisms for their video. I’m probably being overly sensitive here but I really wondered at times if they were just out to get back at us. It might not be the case but I believe things like that is inevitable? I also did feel that some feedback were a little biased to begin with.. No doubt, there are students who are really good in film making but I think it’s really unfair to assume that their videos are perfect before even looking at them. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me and I just feel that this critique session is flawed. I am perfectly fine with giving comments but grading is really unnecessary. It lowers morale sometimes especially when you receive marks as average as 70 while others receive crazily-high scores like 95. And these videos are really, in my opinion, not exceptionally good. -_- Like seriously man, 会不会有一点太夸张?

But anyway, the above is just my thoughts so please don’t take offense to that. I’ve got to admit though, that through this module, I realised that there’s a huge disparity in preference between me, the class and the instructor. What I like may not be what they like and vice-versa. Take the HPB TVC for example. I really didn’t like the concept and it’s actually my least favourite video. But guess what? My instructor loved it and it even bagged an award LOL. #okaycan

5. LM9001 Malay Language I (UE)

My timetable is never complete without a foreign language. I stopped taking up Spanish because the timeslot was really unsuitable for me and I think it will go on like this for a long time (because Spanish level 3 is not that high in demand so they put it at the least popular timeslots).

I chose Malay because it’s easier to learn and it is also applicable to Singapore and Malaysia (supper paradise). However what I learnt was formal Malay and not the colloquial Malay we use among friends. Jadi saya tak bercakap dengan kawan-kawan saya 😦

If you’re looking to take up a foreign language which does not consume much of your time, I’d recommend Malay because from week 1 to week 11, there wouldn’t be much to do except for self-revision. The tests only start coming in from week 12 (yes, the final teaching week). There’d be homework given occasionally but they aren’t very difficult to do (plus it’s not graded).

Since you’re in Singapore, you can practise by conversing with your muslim friends in Malay. I started eavesdropping on makciks‘ conversations ever since I took the language LOL. After all, being Singaporeans, we never form proper sentences when speaking so you should be able to understand a little even at level 1. 😛

Like Spanish, I enjoyed my Bahasa Melayu classes a lot. My classmates were a funny lot, always cracking jokes in class and making everyone else laugh with their silly comments. My cikgu would also play along and laugh together with us.

The exam structure for Malay is somewhat similar to our primary/secondary school English exam – reading aloud, conversation, listening comprehension, written exam and short composition. There would be a written test (with oral) before the finals which carries 50%. The remaining weightage would then come from the final paper. Don’t be alarmed by the composition. It only requires a minimum of 50 words for goodness sake! And I believe Malay is the only language to have English translation for the composition topic.

If you have time to study every week, an A+ shouldn’t be difficult to obtain. Even if you don’t, a B+ is not unachievable too.

Okay that’s about it from me for this semester. Hope I’m not too long-winded. Did it help? As always, let me know in the comments below if you have any questions! Alternatively, you can ask me through my formspring. It’s getting a little too quiet there so make some noise for me please. 😛

‘Til next time!

Read also:
University Senior: Year 4 Semester 1 & 2
University Junior: Year 3 Semester 1
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 2
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 2
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 1

University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 2

Helloooo I am back!

PLEASE READ: Please direct all questions to the comments section below so that they will also be visible to other prospective students. Do note that I will not be entertaining any NTU-related enquiries through e-mail from now on. Thank you for your understanding!

I’ve been super unmotivated to update this space because blogging would mean I’d have to spend hours inserting pictures and ensuring quality in my content. But I’ll still try whenever I have enough time to spare since this blog is going to be a keepsake of my early adulthood 🙂

This is a second instalment of my University life. As mentioned on my first, I would document all the highlights of my time in NTU which hopefully would help or enlighten prospective students about the school’s culture and system. I am really delighted to know that my first University Freshman entry had helped a few incoming students and that probably spurred me to do more. 🙂 Please leave a comment if you need me to elaborate or explain anything not included in my entries. I will try to to the best of my knowledge!

The year-end school holiday after semester 1 ended way too soon so I felt like I hadn’t energised enough for semester 2 (moreover, my Chengdu trip was rather energy-draining, even though it was so-called a vacation, with all the early morning calls and harsh cold weather). Not feeling as enthusiastic as before. I kinda dragged myself to school. While everyone was being super chatty in the first lecture of the semester, I was craving for sleep. Really man, damn tired I was!! And this feeling lasted throughout the whole semester – no drive for projects, constantly giving more attention to entertainment until I felt like I neglected my studies. But thankfully it didn’t really affect my GPA. It did go down, however still acceptable by me. Haha.

But a small part of me was excited for school, because I only had 1 exempted WKWSCI module (CS2008) which also happened to be my last and I was also allocated 3 core modules, leaving me with little time for electives unlike last semester. This meant that I could finally (fully) experience being a WKWSCI student, attend WKWSCI lectures and get to know more WKWSCI students from my cohort. 🙂 Despite not being in WKWSCI most of the time in semester 1, I was (and still am) really lucky and thankful to still be in contact with one of my first friends I got to know during orientation week, so we did projects together whenever we could, saving me the trouble of finding team mates (which is so difficult in a cliquish cohort).

Add/Drop period this time had been really kind to me, allocating me to every module which I placed on wait list and those modules are the highly popular ones. I can’t remember how many times I cheered when I accessed my NTU e-mail account at 10.00pm. The feeling is akin to striking lottery la, seriously. But this probably attributed to me already placing my choices on wait list from the onset instead of from the second day of the add/drop period like last semester. Even though the school claims that the system is unbiased, I still think it is as it gives priority to those who express their interests earlier in the period (i.e. higher chances for those that put the modules on wait list earlier during the add/drop period as compared to those who put them later). But well, no concrete evidence to prove my hypothesis so it’s all up to you guys to decide!

* * *

I didn’t make any huge discoveries during my second semester so I’ve got nothing much to explain like my first freshman entry. But I do have reviews on the modules I took, which can aid you in your timetable planning for the upcoming semester.

1. AAA183 Life Drawing (UE)

One of the very popular courses offered by NIE but it comes with a rather hefty price tag of $60 for the art materials. You’d have to pay that amount by the third or fourth week of the semester to the NIE office. Being one of the oversubscribed courses, I only got this module on the second week.

It hurt my wallet but it was a good learning experience even though I did regret taking this up midway through the course simply because my peers were already pros at life drawing. Honestly they were a threat (please take this as a compliment) and it was seriously detrimental to my grades which almost costed me an S/U option. Drawing is supposedly one of the better things I could do (and score) but I felt extremely overshadowed by students from ADM who have compulsory life drawing modules during their first year, if I am not mistaken. It’s like, walao they are already SO GOOD so why are they not exempted from this module? They just have to splash random paint on a blank canvas and they’d produce a masterpiece. While I gritted my teeth, fretting over the correct drawing techniques, they just stood in front of the easel looking so at ease and could produce an A+ worthy art piece so effortlessly in just seconds 😦 But well of course there were a few talented ones not from ADM who progressively improved throughout 12 weeks.

With my art teacher :)

With my art teacher at the end of the final lesson 🙂

The teacher was Mr David Chan and he is really nice and humorous 🙂 However I am not sure if this module would still be available in the next semester because of budget constraints. Apparently the $60 each student has to pay is not sufficient to cover the cost of the art materials! (And we were pretty wasteful too, oops)

Also, being a NIE module, it is non-examinable thus no projects or assignments or whatsoever. Everything has to be done and assessed in class and.. this is not good news to those who occasionally cut classes.

2. AAI385 Voice (UE)

Another non-examinable NIE module added to clear my electives (I’m halfway there). I deliberately chose non-examinable modules because I had 4 written papers at the end of the semester – 3 of which were my CORE.

Anyway, this elective requires you to go for an “audition” before you could officially have it on your timetable. I put inverted commas because it’s not really an audition, but a briefing and direct selection process. I went to the “audition” without prior preparation and true enough the professor (and also the course coordinator), Dr Chia, was not expecting any performance from the students at all, hence proving that the selection was not based on anyone’s singing abilities. What he did was to go through the course overview frankly (so honest that a student left the room halfway) and enrol students based on their year of study at the end of the briefing. For example, if you are a graduating student, you are guaranteed a slot. Then he’d go down the list where the remaining slots would be given accordingly to the juniors (Year 3s), the sophomores (Year 2s) and then to the freshmen. There is a limit to the number he could take in (I think about 30 since this is the only Voice class he was conducting) so by the time he reached the sophomores, the freshmen stood no chance at all. I technically was a freshmen but thanks to my course exemptions, I have earned enough AUs to qualify as a sophomore. Hahaha so I got it, while other freshmen in the room left disappointedly.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, this module is not all about singing. Yes, you can choose to sing for your assignment but you can also choose to say a speech! Because ultimately the aim of this course is to improve your voice usage, and not to train you to be a professional singer. It’s really a very useful course if you tend to shout a lot (teachers, for example) or if you think your voice projection is your major drawback in presentations. What I like about Dr Chia is his dedication in improving your voice. He would assign a time just to coach you when nearing the deadline of your assignment and you’re really encouraged to attend. You can see everyone improving tremendously after 12 weeks of “drilling”. I also like how he speaks to students as if we’re adults and reasoning with us instead of shouting and threatening like some professors always do. I always have the impression that older professors who have many years of experience under their belts tend to talk students down but he is definitely not one of them.

This elective comprises of 3 assessments – the first requires you to say a 2-minute speech (can be an extract from a book, or a poetry or anything that you can find on the internet), the second can be any 5-minute item (speech or song) of your choice and the  finally, a 15-minute video of you doing the McClosky’s Voice Techniques (which you’d read about in the course). Dr Chia was really nice to not fix a submission date for the last assignment because he wanted to give us time to study for our finals. Of course he fixed a deadline, but he was always open to negotiations. So I submitted mine like, 3 days before he had to submit all his collated marks to the office because I had 2 papers in one of the weeks?? LIKE OMG HE’S DAMN NICE RIGHT!?!!? And no, no deduction of marks or any form of penalty for late submission. Seriously, he is THAT nice, he even sacrificed his Labour Day to grade us, when he could have completed the marking before because most of us submitted “late” of course. So relieved to know that such professors exist. :’)

Honestly, you can easily do well for this course and I really recommend this to anyone who wants to pull up his/her GPA because unlike Life Drawing, the probability of you having professional voice actors in your class is pretty low (with the exception of my class. I had one and he’s damn good because he does epic voiceovers for films. But that’s just ONE). You may sing well but that does not mean you use your voice well 🙂 Everyone there starts off as a blank piece of paper so you don’t feel as much pressure as in Life Drawing.

Oh, you would also be asked to purchase a McClosky book which you’d have to read before every lesson. It’s not compulsory though Dr Chia is going to say that you have to buy it, but it is going to be really helpful when you’re doing your last assignment, trust me on that. If you know anyone who had been to that class, you can probably get it from him/her. I’m not selling mine though 😛

I am also aware that Dr Chia teaches NIE Choir (another non-examinable module) and I am probably going to take that next semester!

3. CS0203 Media in Singapore (CORE)

One of my cores which I think I should have exempted from but thankfully didn’t because it was here I got to know an awesome professor – whom many people should have known by now – named Dr Cherian George. Just to digress a little, you would not be able to understand the disappointment and disbelief we felt when we learned about his denial of tenure if you haven’t been taught by him! He was my reason for always being punctual for his classes at 9 freaking a.m. because he could be so enlightening and yet politically neutral at the same time. This was evident as I gradually arrived late when other professors started rotating to give lectures. For the record I was never punctual for early morning classes since SP days. He was also entertaining and funny and this was one of the main factors that kept me awake during his lecture. His first few lectures happened to coincide with the Punggol by-election (not the actual day but the whole campaign, rallies.. you get the gist) and those were probably the most interesting ones where he talked and critiqued about all the parties. What he said made me ponder (no matter how sleepy I was) because he made sense. I thought he was doing a great job as a professor so I still do not understand why his tenure was denied.  I’m sorry WKWSCI juniors that you won’t get to experience his awesome lectures.

As mentioned briefly earlier, there were 2 other professors giving lectures on certain weeks besides Dr George. No group projects but there were 2 quizzes (all MCQs. Can be tricky. I didn’t really study much and I relied on what I remembered from my poly lectures), and a final written exam. I also had to do a term paper which did not have to be submitted but the topic I researched on would be tested in exams. Because of that I only did it half-heartedly at the very last minute (with my friend) because I had to study for my finals.

4. CS2002 Information Literacy and Interpretation (CORE)

The professor (or coordinator) of this module was actually my interviewer for my appeal for change of course last year. He is a very laid-back, impartial professor, everything also “don’t worry, you will be fine”. But hearing that somehow makes me even more worried. Haha.

He has the habit of not using the microphone in all his lectures because he could project his voice well – no doubt about that – but unfortunately not audible to me :\ So I spent a lot more time on studying this module because I just couldn’t catch what he was lecturing. But anyway all’s well because I did surprisingly well for this.

This course was the only one that required excessive use of clickers from me last semester. Participation marks were derived from clicker questions in lecture (no mini tutorial groups) and there would be 8 in-class clicker quizzes. Other marks come from term papers (done as a group) and the final paper.

5. CS2006 Visual Literacy and Communication (CORE)

The most taxing module thus far because well, it’s basically film-making and editing (and film theory), so don’t expect sufficient sleep if you are the video editor. You shoot and edit with little to no guidance from your professors since everyone’s concept is different so you are expected to learn everything on your own. Luckily for me, I am not totally handicapped since I have learned editing in Poly before, so I kinda led the team. But sadly I still suck at handling cameras because I still got the over-exposed shit !#%&$! Argh. And yes, I also wonder why I didn’t exempt myself from this module -_-

This module made me realise how poor the school’s inventory is, their lack of good filming equipments (seriously, only 5 clip mics?!) and how pointless the booking system is… because the person in-charge of the equipments never uses the booking system to check if you have indeed booked the items before allowing you to collect them (then anybody can wayang and collect right?!). We booked a clip mic and were very sure it was available when we did the booking, but was told they ran out of clip mics when my team mate went to collect the equipments! Luckily he insisted that we’d booked it and that pressured the guy behind the booth to search high and low for one (walao, still must search so thoroughly, never keep properly right?!). We got the very last piece in the end. Then right, the booth closes ON THE DOT or even EARLIER despite us telling him that we would return our camera on that day (because late returns would incur fines). We rushed to the booth to find it shut! Panicked, we told the technical people on the third level and managed to get hold of the person in-charge of the filming equipments on the phone. Still couldn’t return on that day since the person had left, so my poor team mate had to drag it to her hall -_- We were spared from the fine.

Anyway, we collaborated with a non-profit organisation for our film because we chose to do the topic on creating social awareness. We wanted to reduce the social stigma towards ex-offenders (something like Yellow Ribbon project) and we e-mailed to many many NGOs to express our interest to work with them, only to have them turned us down 😦 except for one! Highpoint Halfway House agreed to work with us without hesitation! We were soooooo grateful! They even provided us with real ex-offenders to interview. But we were only given one day to shoot thus there were no rooms for improvements or retakes – it’s do or die. But I must say that speaking to ex-offenders really enlightened me about their lives (why they committed the crimes, and the struggles they faced upon release from prison and many of them had been in and out of prison several times). It taught me not to judge a book by its cover and true enough, many of them have turned over a new leaf. What really surprised me was their willingness to talk to us about their pasts because they wanted to inspire others, and they were totally fine with being filmed. Of course, the video cannot be broadcast or uploaded online due to obvious reasons.

Many hiccups happened on the day of shoot. Due to the very limited time we had with our cameras, we only booked them out on the same day. However my team mate who went to collect the equipments were stuck in the morning jam on the way to the halfway house, so we were late in filming for about half an hour 😦 Felt so bad letting them wait. That was the first hiccup.

Second was what I mentioned earlier – the over-exposed scenes! Way too many of them because most of our footages were shot outdoors and I had to trash most of them. Sigh pie. Totally regret adjusting the ISO (lol 不自量力) and agreeing to shoot outdoors when the Sun was so blaring.

Third and also the most epic one… well, because we were making a short film on ex-offenders, I thought of adding footages of barb wires. I managed to find some really good ones during my recce in the vicinity of Changi Prison. I didn’t seek permission since I thought we were just going to shoot from afar and we weren’t sure which barb wires we wanted. So my team mate drove us around and we spotted this row of barb wires which looked SO PERFECT for the video. We got off the car, set up our equipments and we shot the barb wires for a good 10 minutes. But just as I was about to stop, somebody from behind the wires shouted at us.


He asked this question thrice and we just froze there.


“…Filming the barb wires..?” We answered timidly.


Wtf man we really didn’t know we were just right outside Changi Prison! We saw a shipping company’s name displayed on a building next to it so we automatically assumed that they were both owned by the same company! Then we were told to go to the guardhouse where one of my team mate’s particulars were taken down because he was the only one who brought along his identity card. Damn suay!! We had to delete our beautiful footages of the barb wires (it’s only the wires and the sky) in front of the guards. But the guard who shouted at us probably saw how nervous we were and he tried to play nice la.. telling us not to worry and we would not be charged for anything. They needed our particulars just in case the video got leaked somehow and they’d know who to look for. -_-

I was so depressed, not because we were stopped by the guards but because the barb wires footages were deleted! THOSE WERE REALLY PERFECT FOR THE VIDEO -_-

Back to my review. That was the second assessment by the way. I’m not sure if you guys saw this video about the happiness of Singaporeans that was floating around on Facebook a few weeks back, but it was actually done by one of the groups for this module. It’s amazing how a video for a school project could end up viral and being watched by people across the nation! 🙂

Anyway just to give a brief description of the course assessments, the first graded assignment was actually to curate your family portraits. Because of that I had to ask everybody for old family photographs and literally ransacked my storeroom. You’d also need to present your findings to the class and you’re only given 5 strict minutes to do so (my tutor timed. Yes, timed. She cuts you off at the fifth minute). Oh boy I really hated that assignment. The last assessment was of course the final paper which I don’t think I did well, hence a drastic drop in my final grade.

6. LS9002 Spanish II (UE)

My third and final UE in semester 2. I initially wanted to take French 2 instead since I have so-called passed my placement test but looking at the placement test made me super demoralised and fearful that I’d do badly for French. I am still interested in the language but I wouldn’t want to risk my grades for it, so I chose to continue with Spanish. Not a bad decision after all because my level 1 teacher was the teacher for this class! 🙂 It was great seeing her again!

Level 2 is a lot more challenging of course but I am able to understand and read simple Spanish words now.

Like level 1, you’d be graded through a 7-minute (instead of 5) oral examination where you’d have to carry on a conversation with your partner in Spanish, 2 bring-home assignments which weighs 5% in total (#whut), a listening comprehension, a class test and a final paper. It’s more or less the same structure as level 1 so if you’re keen to know more, do refer to my first freshman post instead!

With my Spanish teacher :)

With my Spanish teacher 🙂

My LS9002 classmates

My LS9002 classmates

I didn’t do as well as I expected but I will definitely continue with Spanish again 🙂

Okay that’s about it! As you can see I didn’t exercise my S/U option at all this semester and I am glad my decision didn’t affect my grades that much. 😉

Will blog about my long overdue Chengdu trip soon!

Read also:
University Senior: Year 4 Semester 1 & 2
University Junior: Year 3 Semester 1
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 2
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 1
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 1