If you are planning on securing a place in one of Singapore’s polytechnics, you may wish to consider participating in the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE). The EAE is an aptitude-based admissions exercise that provides candidates a chance to obtain admission into your chosen polytechnic course based on your interest and aptitude and not solely on your academic results. Students who go through the EAE will apply for and if successful, receive conditional offers for admission to polytechnics even before they receive their final grades. The Poly EAE is open to graduating O-level students, final year Nitec and Higher Nitec Students as well as adults with two or more years of relevant work experience. All 5 of our polytechnics currently participate in the EAE.
The application process
Before you get selected for the interview, you will need to submit your application via the EAE portal. The first thing you need to consider is your course choices. You are permitted to submit up to 3 choices, in order of rank. You are then required to do a 600-word write up for each course that you are applying for. This 600-word write up is compulsory and is a critical piece of your application. Each 600-word write up begins with “I have selected this course as my 1st (2nd/3rd) choice because …”.
Writing about why you are pursuing a particular career choice begins with self-awareness. Invest some time into asking yourself some questions. What is it about the course that attracts you to it? What have you experienced before that has convinced you that this course is for you? What specific element of the potential career path that this course leads you to excites you?
Many candidates write out their 600-word write up as if they are answering an essay. This is not an English language composition exam. Instead, it is a chance for you to express your authentic, sincere thoughts about your interest and to capture the attention of the reader in such a way that makes the reader understand and follow your thoughts and aspirations.
Once you have completed your 600-word write up for each course you are applying for, there is an optional 1000-word write up to highlight your talents and achievements. This is where you provide information about any achievements you have in a variety of areas including sports, arts, community service and leadership. If you have achieved any awards or participated in competitions and activities, this is your chance to showcase them.
Do take the time and effort to utilize this 1000-word opportunity as best as possible. It presents an entirely different part of who you are and allows for a holistic assessment of your skills, interests and aptitude. Definitely include experiences that are directly related to your courses of choice, but do not leave out significant events that have contributed towards your skill sets and development as a person.
Upon completion of your write-ups, the submission is then complete and this is where candidates await to be told of whether they are selected for the next stage. Candidates who are shortlisted will be required to attend an interview. For some courses, candidates may also be required to attend an audition, trial or an aptitude test.
Prior to your Interview
Part of being prepared for your interview is preparing your portfolio. The portfolio is essentially a folder of evidence of your achievements and experiences. The purpose of the portfolio is to help you showcase your interest and your aptitude in the course you have applied for, so include things like academic and CCA records, certificates of achievement, photos of projects that you have undertaken, any work experiences and referral letters if any. Do note that during this period of digital interviews, it will be best if you have a digital portfolio that is ready to be shared as well.
The EAE Interview
Now, let’s discuss the EAE Interview itself. The interview is usually conducted in a panel form, where you will have a few faculty members present. The primary objective of the interview is for the panel members to assess whether you are suitable for the course and for the polytechnic. In order to do this, there are two key things that the panel members will rely on. One is their overall impression, and the second is your responses to their questions.
This is an extremely important facet of selecting candidates. Many a times, the overall impression may have already been formed in the first minute of your interview. Generally, most interviewers will look for candidates who exude the following qualities:
· Positive attitude
· Confident yet humble
· Genuine enthusiasm for the course
· Willingness to learn
· Appropriate fit to the school
The overall impression is dictated by a few key factors such as:
· Positive body language
· Appropriate dressing
· Level of preparedness
Responses to interview questions
In addition to the overall impression that is formulated by the above, how you respond to their interview questions helps the interviewers formulate their opinion about your suitability for the course and the school.
Some common questions that you may expect include:
· Why do you want to join us?
· What do you know about this course?
· What do you hope to achieve after your studies with us?
· Do you have a portfolio of work?
· Do you have questions for us?
You can tell from the common questions above that the interview is an opportunity for you to showcase your interest and aptitude for your chosen course. Look at it as a time for you to showcase who you are and your genuine passion for the course, and at the same time, remember to balance off your confidence with humility.
Practice is essential as it can do a lot for your level of preparedness, which then affects your confidence and how you manage your nerves. Remember that there is a vast difference between having good answers on paper versus being able to deliver good answers during an interview, so do ensure that you have sufficient practice or coaching. Being armed with sufficient practice and good answering techniques can make all the difference in whether you have a successful interview.
Written by: Siew Ling Hwang, Founder and Principal Interview Coach, Discovering Potential
Ms Siew Ling Hwang, has extensive experience providing interview skills training to candidates for various industries and schools. She specialises in conducting workshops and 1-on-1 training for those seeking to improve their interview skills for school interviews and job interviews. She is also a Certified Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and NLP Coaching, as well as a Certified Advanced Behavioural Analyst. Her unique skillset in combining real world practices, NLP Coaching techniques and personality and behavioural expertise provides clients with an effective session to achieve real improvements that are suited to their own natural personalities.