by Jackeline Carter
Going through the DSA interview can be an easy process or a difficult one depending on how a student has prepared for it. Most questions asked are not too difficult to answer. In some schools, however, interviewers may ask some challenging questions that test the student’s creativity, problem solving ability and current affairs knowledge. Some questions can come across as nonsensical while others seem too advance for a twelve year old to answer. When answering these questions, the student needs to remember that there isn’t a right or wrong answer and to provide sensible supporting examples and reasonable solutions instead.
- If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Why?
- If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be? Why?
- Who is your favourite superhero and why?
- Who is your favourite sport star and why?
- What is the colour of your heart?
The purpose of these type of questions is to allow the interviewer to find out the personal attributes of the student. Most students who are not prepared will find these questions confusing and answer them in a manner which may put them in a negative light. It does not matter what examples the student chooses as long as he/she talks about the positive characteristics and associate it to their own.
Question 1 for example: ‘I would be a dog because dogs are loyal and protective of their owners. I am the same because I am very loyal and protective of my close friends and family members. I will always stand up for them if they are being treated unfairly.”
RELATED: Is DSA right for my child?
- If you could change something about your primary school, what would you change?
- What would you do to make Singapore a better place?
- If a member of your sport team refuses to cooperate, what will you do?
- If your friend messes up a cupboard in the classroom, how would you react?
- If a teacher does not like you and is not willing to help you, what can you do to change the situation?
These questions are to test the students’ ability to come up with ideas or solutions to a problem. It also tests the students’ EQ (Emotional Quotient). The answers to these questions should be about improving the present situation or showing an ability to understand the feelings of others. Never provide negative answers.
On Question 1 for example: “I would like to change my form teacher because she is bias against boys”.
Question 4: “I will report him to the teacher if he does not tidy up the cupboard”.
Local, Regional or International News
Questions in these areas can be asked in many ways. Some questions allow students to share any news item they are familiar with while others are related to specific news events. To answer such questions adequately, students need to keep up with the news on a daily basis. Parents can help by holding discussions about news reports with their child and sharing views and opinions about the matter.
- Share with us about a local issue that has been featured in the news.
- Recently, it has been reported that Singapore is a ‘Tuition Nation’. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
- The recent SMRT breakdown resulted in 250 000 people facing difficulty getting home. What does Singapore need to do to solve the public transport woes?
- Should schools organize outdoor adventure learning programme to places like Mount Kinabalu for primary and secondary students when safety could be an issue?
- What appeals to you the most in the news today?
- What are your views regarding human trafficking especially in the case of the Rohingya refugees?
- Share your opinion about an international issue that needs immediate attention.
- What do you know about the terrorist group ISIS? How are they able to recruit foreigners to fight for their cause?
Mission, Vision, Values
These types of questions test a student’s understanding of the mission, vision or values of the school. Interviewers also use these type of questions to determine if the student is serious about attending their school and has done some research about the school. It is advisable to go through the school’s website and attend the open house in order to answer these questions well.
- RI school values form the acronym FIRE – What does R stand for and what is your understanding concerning this value? (You need to know all four values and what they mean.)
- RGS school values are the 4Ps – what do you understand about the last ‘P’? (Make sure you know all the 4Ps and what they mean.)
- What is your understanding of the Victorian Tradition?
- What is your understanding of the Cedar Code of Conduct?
- Catholic High School has a ‘Tradition of Excellence’ – What is your understanding of this phrase?
- The Vision of CHIJ St Nicholas is ‘Girls of Grace, Women of Strength, Leaders with Heart’ – what is your understanding of this Vision?
The above questions are some examples of how students may be asked to share their understanding of the school.
It is crucial that students make the effort to practise answering questions with confidence and fluency. Project energy, enthusiasm and excitement when speaking to interviewers. Most importantly students must sound spontaneous and natural without being defensive or disrespectful.
To all Primary 6 students who are interviewing with the school of your choice, I wish you the very best. If you do not get an offer from the school, you can always try again in Secondary 2 or submit an appeal to be reconsidered.