EAE poly admission tips

If there’s anything scarier than taking the dreaded O-Level exams, it’s doing badly for them. But for those of you who have your eyes set on a particular polytechnic course, there is an alternate way to get in without solely relying on your grades – the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE).

Typically held in June, EAE is an aptitude-based process that allows students to receive offers for polytechnic admission even before receiving your final O-Level grades. How do polytechnics choose who to offer these spots? Well, they look at criteria like a course write-up, a 1000-character write-up on your achievements, and finally, an interview for shortlisted applicants. 

That means you still stand a chance even if your grades aren’t the best, so you won’t have to overly worry about blemishes in your report book. Plus, if you get an offer, you only need to score a net ELR2B2 of 26 points or better during O-Levels and meet your course-specific requirements to confirm your spot in poly,

To help you boost your chances of entering your dream course, we talked to six successful EAE applicants. From boosting your portfolio to acing your interview, here are the ultimate tips for the Early Admissions Exercise.

1. Do your research on all the course modules and carefully choose the order of your top three courses

EAE Tips - Doing Prior Research

Considering you’re gonna spend three years of your life in poly, you really don’t want to haphazardly choose a course just a week before the EAE due date. 

Making such a big decision at the young age of 16 is pretty daunting, but thoroughly researching your course at the start is extremely important to make sure that you’re picking the right course. Plus, this research will be helpful in your application – especially during the interview stage as you’ll be able to properly articulate and show your passion for the subject.

The EAE application will require you to rank the three courses you’re interested in, so be sure to choose the order carefully. 

If you need some help deciding on a course, Dennis Chia who applied to Republic Polytechnic advised to carefully research all that the course modules have to offer, like topics and assessment formats. “I made sure [I] understood what the diploma was going to teach”. 

Tip: Once you’ve locked down your top three courses, tailor your application to boost your chances of securing an interview. 

2. Include achievements and talents relevant to your course in your initial writeup

EAE Tips - Include Relevant Achievements

When faced with the optional 1000-character write-up, you may be tempted to choose the following two options: ignoring it completely or writing every single talent and achievement you can think of.

While the second option is obviously a whole lot better than the first, writing everything down can dilute your application – especially when faced with a character limit. Instead, try focusing on a handful of talents and achievements that are relevant to your intended course.

For example, student Silvia Chew chose a media and communications course at Republic Polytechnic, and included her relevant experience in the field like “emceeing school events and running [her] own YouTube channel”. 

Likewise, you can include your leadership positions, co-curricular activities (CCAs), accolades, and even personal passion projects that show your dedication beyond school hours. While writing, don’t forget to expand on the skills learnt from these activities and link them back to your study of the course.

This way, your application will look more cohesive and reflect your passion for the subject.

3. Organise your portfolio well and get testimonials from your teachers

EAE Tips - Organise Your Portfolio Well

If you’ve managed to secure an interview after submitting your write-ups – congratulations! However, the process is still far from being over and the next thing you should prepare is none other than your portfolio. 

To help you along, student Gan Yong Han advises that you “state out the important points and ensure that you have the relevant resources/experience stated in the portfolio as it can help to serve as an additional boost to your profile when being vetted by the interviewer”.

When preparing your portfolio, it’s only natural to feel worried that you’re missing something important. We’ve compiled a list of things that you probably should include:

  • Relevant certificates and awards (modules taken, CCA records, report book slips)
  • Relevant work experiences (supported with evidence)
  • Workshop participation certificates
  • Recommendation letters from teachers, employers, and/or coaches 

Pro tip: Remember to ask a teacher that knows you best for a recommendation letter. Don’t forget to inform them of your desired course and advise them on specific skills or achievements you wish to highlight.

While there isn’t a magical formula in arranging your portfolio, it’s important for you to know where everything is to alleviate stress and remain composed during the interview. . For example, student Qistina Bte Sujimy “compiled [her] works into one folder so [she] did not have to waste time trying to find [her] works during the interview”. 

4. Go to your school’s career counsellors for the inside scoop on the interview 

EAE Tips - Get Advice From Career Counsellors

Applying to a polytechnic isn’t easy and if you need a helping hand along the way, there is truly no one better than your school’s career guidance counsellors. Not only do they have a wealth of experience in guiding students, but they’re also extremely familiar with the EAE interview and preparation process. 

According to student Nur Husnani, one tip that her counsellors shared was to “list down possible questions and prepare the answers for them.” Some common questions interviewers like to ask include:

  • Tell me more about yourself
  • Why did you choose this course?
  • Why should we accept you?
  • What do you know about this course?
  • Why is this your ___ choice?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Why do you want to join our polytechnic?

When preparing for the interview, you can even ask your career guidance counsellor for a mock interview so you can get comfortable with answering the various questions. This way, you won’t stumble during the real deal and can perform to the very best of your ability. 

5. Ask your interviewers the right questions about the industry and course to show your passion

EAE Tips - Prepare Questions To Ask Your Interviewers

As much as it is an interview for you to secure a spot in your dream course, it’s also a chance for you to interview the school and see if it’s a right fit. Student Gan Yong Han suggests having “some questions to ask during the interview to clear your doubts/queries regarding the course or future prospects”. 

Your interviewers are likely to have ample experience in their respective industries and can give you the insight you need. Plus, asking questions prevents the awkward silence after the dreaded “Do you have any questions for us?” and can give you a chance to redeem yourself if you messed up during the interview.

Some questions that you can ask include:

  • Is there anything in my application that you would like me to elaborate on?
  • What are the job prospects for a fresh polytechnic graduate in this field?
  • What is the culture like in this course/ polytechnic?

EAE poly tips for admission to Republic Polytechnic

Getting chosen for EAE poly has to be one of the most rewarding feelings ever and with these five tips, you’ll be one step closer to achieving this. Not only can you take it easy during the stressful O-Level period, but it also means that you’ve secured a spot in your dream course. 

Whether you’ve just begun secondary school or have your O-Level exams in just a few months, reviewing all your different options can help you to better prepare for your future. The application process can get a tad overwhelming but thanks to Republic Polytechnic’s EAE webinar, it doesn’t have to be. 

The webinar isn’t course specific so you won’t have to make such a big decision too early in the process. Featuring a special sharing from the Registrar about the EAE poly process and topping it off with a Q&A session at the end, you’ll be able to clear up any of your doubts or concerns.

Sign up for Republic Polytechnic’s EAE webinar here

This post was brought to you by Republic Polytechnic.