Polytechnic Tips: 20 Do’s & Don’ts in 2021

by | Apr 5, 2021

As compared to junior colleges, Polytechnics in Singapore provides a less intensive timetable, where independent learning is much more focused. A new batch of polytechnic students will be coming in April. How to prepare for Polytechnic?

We have listed down a handful of Polytechnic tips to get you prepared. Here are 10 Do’s and Don’ts you may want to take note of before you start your polytechnic journey!

The following are polytechnic tips that cover 10 Do’s you should consider as you start your journey.

1.) Choose your friends wisely

Man choosing friends wisely
Sourced from Giphy

This is one those polytechnic tips that I had known before entering poly.

Friends play an important role throughout your life and it’s important to surround yourself with the right people. They can heavily influence your mental health for better or worse.

It’s also important that you pick your friends wisely so that you don’t end up mixing yourself with toxic groups of people.

If you happen to get caught up in one, leave subtly. And remain in a neutral relationship. That way, you don’t have to keep in touch regularly.

Be with people that influence you positively and make sure to do so the same for them. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Help one another grow holistically. Most importantly, be genuine and honest.

2.) Join A CCA

Join a cca

Having good grades isn’t all that matters. Joining a CCA helps to shape your character, experience and growth.

Essentially, it provides a great opportunity for you to improve on your personal attributes.

The following are a few soft skills that you could acquire and improve over time while participating in CCA.

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Coordination
  • Planning
  • Multitasking

These skills are also applicable academically when you work in a team too. It’s best to join a CCA starting from your first year so that you can gain CCA points and build your portfolio.

Taking part in CCA also allows you to meet many new people who may end up being your long term close friends.

These friends are also people you would expect to learn a lot from in the future as you grow old together.


3.) Manage your time

Study planner to manage your time
Sourced from Pinterest

The third Polytechnic tip is time management.

If you have external commitments, it’s crucial to plan out your activities weekly. You should consider getting a study planner.

Several types of planners are available everywhere. If you’re on a budget, you may even look for one at Daiso where it’s only going to cost you $2.

Some other pricier alternatives would be Muji and Typo. You may even find one on Shopee!

If you find getting a planner a hassle, you could simply use the calendar application on your phone to input your events.

Just make sure to refer to it from time to time as you proceed with your daily tasks.

Ensure that you set aside sufficient time for yourself to study and for any other non-academic commitments.

4.) Stay disciplined

A man staying discplined
Sourced from Giphy

Being disciplined means following through with all your pre-planned activities strictly, without getting distracted. This is a challenge but as cliche, as it sounds, no pain no gain.

Constant mugging while working towards your goals can indeed be draining. It’s easy to give up but you should also always remind yourself why you started in the first place.

Also, remember to take appropriate breaks before going back on the grind.

This is one of the reasons why the Pomodoro technique is one of my favourite techniques to maintain focus over long periods of time. 

When you have finally reached your desired goals, all your efforts would’ve paid off. A lifestyle like this is ideal to adopt.

It would eventually be an addictive habit when you start seeing some positive outcomes from your efforts too.

If you don’t reach your goals despite doing your best, get back up and find the strength to try again.

When you try again, you’re guaranteed to make progress. When you don’t, you’re not going to get anywhere.

5.) Explore & seize opportunities


Do look out for emails in your mailbox and avoid missing out on any opportunities that may be interesting.

Many students tend to ignore their emails and only wait for their friends to inform them about something important.

There are several opportunities that the school exposes you to. The following are some examples that you could expect to find in your mailbox

  • Character development workshops
  • Career opportunity fairs
  • Main committee recruitments
  • Volunteering opportunities
  • Scholarship opportunities

It’s good to check your mailbox constantly to avoid missing any of these.

They may be out of your comfort zone, but it is only through participating in such events that personal growth can be cultivated. So why hesitate?

6.) Participate in class

Participate in class
Sourced from UOG

Please don’t be embarrassed to do this. You’re doing yourself and the teacher a favour. Your teachers will appreciate this.

Adding on, it’ll help you gain class participation marks which could end up being a lifesaver for your overall grade.

Furthermore, you are more likely to remember the content of the lesson if you make the effort to participate and ask questions.

If you are too shy to voice out, you could also drop your teacher an email to clarify your doubts.

If that doesn’t work out, ask them after class or arrange a consultation with them. However, bear in mind not to be too nosy and ask too many questions.

Some teachers and classmates aren’t as patient. You should try to solve the questions first before you seek any clarifications. And only ask questions that are relevant.

7.) Make full use of digital technology

Digital technology

This is one of the most important Polytechnic tips.

It’s best to back up all your work on Google Drive. You never know if your laptop is going to fail you, especially right before the day of your deadline.

It’s also good to create multiple folders for your subjects, and various purposes as seen in the following:

  • Notes
  • Assignments
  • Projects
  • Tutorials
  • Answer Keys

In light of Covid-19, most classes are conducted online. It’s faster to type your notes on a digital note-taking app, instead of writing them down by hand.

If you’re unsure about the right note-taking app to use, We’ve written a review on the best note-taking apps for students.

Of course, you may choose the method that works best for you since not everyone studies the same way.

If you don’t fancy Google Drive, that’s fine. There are other alternatives like One Drive from your 365 Outlook school email too!

8.) Engage in community service

Engage in community service
Sourced from Giving Sg

It’s important to give back to the community. Don’t just do this for your portfolio, do them because you want to.

It’s important to have a purpose and to gain a sense of gratification from volunteering.

Engaging in community service work is going to be an eye-opener for you. You will come to appreciate the great things that are around you.

You will also learn that you’re more fortunate than you think you are.

Be grateful for what you have and start volunteering when you get the chance to!

Volunteer together with your friends and you’ll definitely have a more enjoyable experience.

9.) Maintain neutrality with your classmates

Maintain neutrality in situations
Sourced from Giphy

You may not like everyone in your class. But, you might have to work with them someday. Sometimes, you won’t be able to choose who you get to work with, in group projects or assignments.

It’s likely you’ll experience difficulty in navigating group projects without these 15 tips on how to score in your polytechnic group projects.

It’s important to be professional and keep personal feelings aside. This doesn’t mean you need to be fake either. You don’t have to be personal or ‘too nice’ to every single one of your classmates. Always be respectful and talk only when you need to.


10.) Dress well

Dress well

Of course, school isn’t a fashion show and you’re not expected to dress fashionably well either.

But, it’s important to look presentable. Teachers and classmates still see you and dressing sloppily could leave a negative impression.

Moreover, dressing well also helps to boost your confidence and optimism.

This confidence will have a tremendously positive effect on work productivity, efficiency and interactions with friends.

It is also especially important to dress smart for days where you have to do a presentation.

Even though you may not be required to dress formally for certain presentations, it is still better to do so to leave a positive impression.

Some fashion polytechnic tips include wearing jeans that fit, outerwear or a colour matching fit.

Polytechnic tips: 10 Don’ts

Now that we’ve covered the Do’s, here are polytechnic tips that cover the 10 Don’ts that you might want to take good note of too.

1.) Procrastinate


This is another one of those Polytechnic tips that should be noted.

Procrastination is something we’ve all done. You may feel that you have a lot of time, but in fact, you don’t.

You never know when any sort of emergency arises too. Things don’t always go as planned, so it’s advisable to get things done as soon as possible.

Never procrastinate to the extent, where you find yourself submitting work a minute before the deadline.

Rushing to get work done will only reduce its quality and that delivers a bad impression to the teacher that’s marking it.

We procrastinate because we lack the motivation to complete our tasks, but they don’t realise there are ways to increase motivation.

2.) Skip lectures

A lecture gif
Sourced from Giphy

Oftentimes the teachers will leak a few tips and important advice for our assignments, projects, and even exams. Don’t miss out on these!

If you do skip lectures, don’t rely on friends who attended them to tell you these tips either.

Be responsible for your own studies and don’t take advantage of friends just so you can free your time up for your own activities. 

3.) Be too focused on getting a good polytechnic GPA


Yes, getting a good GPA in polytechnic is important but it isn’t everything. If you’re focused on doing well for your university admission, do take note that they are also interested to know what you do outside your studies.

Take admission or scholarship interviews for an example. GPA is self-explanatory, your transcript is submitted and they already know you’re a high achiever.

Whatever isn’t in your academic transcript is exactly what you need to be worried about.

4.) Treat everything as a competition

A chess board representing competition

It’s okay to be competitive, but never at an unhealthy level. Trust me, doing this is going to burn you out real quick.

Being too competitive is going to strain relations with others. Focus on yourself and refrain from comparing yourself to others.

Your motivation and purpose in doing well should never be to surpass people around you. Set realistic and specific goals, and gradually learn from the process.

The more competitive you are, the higher the expectations. Also, in the event you don’t meet your desired goals, you will be put through unnecessary frustration.

As a result, this will strain your ability to judge situations logically and objectively.

5.) Put CCA above your polytechnic GPA

If you think that maintaining excellence in your CCA is going to compensate for your gpa, you’re wrong. This will only show one thing – your poor ability to manage yourself.

CCA should come second to your academics. You can still be active in your CCA, but never to the point you completely desert your academics.

Balance your commitments and set aside sufficient time to catch up with schoolwork.

If you can’t catch up, it’s probably a better idea to give your CCA a break and work on getting your grades up first.

6.) Be part of the drama

A girl avoiding drama
Sourced from Giphy

Drama is going to be everywhere in polytechnic. If it has nothing to do with you, stay away from it. They are the least of your concerns.

Of course, some drama may be inevitable but think twice about the things you say.

Don’t gossip and thrash talk about anyone. If you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say it at all.

Only in the event of a moral conflict do you avoid being neutral.

Remember, if you choose to be neutral in times of injustice, it will only support the oppressor and never the victim.

7.) Copy and plagiarise

Copy and plagiarize

If you haven’t heard of the word plagiarise, it means copying content online and declaring it as if it’s your own.

The same can be described if you choose to copy your friend’s original work.

Most assignment and project report submissions are submitted online. These files will run through a plagiarism check and you’ll be surprised.

The plagiarism report will be produced and everything you have copied will be exposed. So, don’t copy!

8.) Be afraid of making mistakes

Not every phase of your poly life is going to be smooth sailing. But, what’s most important is that you learn from your mistakes.

You shouldn’t be too afraid of making them. It’s part of growing up. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn.

It’s better to make mistakes early than to make them when you’re older. However, make sure that you don’t repeat the mistakes.

9.) Pull an all-nighter

Pull an all nighter
Sourced from Pinterest

Many people say that they study better at night. Personally, I do too. But you should never disregard your sleep.

Most people think that getting things done at the moment is most important and tend to worry about sleep later. This is really an unhealthy habit.

It is no secret that getting sufficient sleep boosts productivity and focus. Have an exam the next day? Don’t you think you would really need them for it?

Besides, the later you go on in the night from a mugging, it is less likely for your brain to absorb anything after exceeding your average attention span.

A survey in 2014 was conducted by the National Sleep Foundation and they discovered that 45% of the adults lacked adequate sleep. This caused 23-45% of the population to lose more than 2 weeks’ worth of productivity!

10.) Brag

Whenever you achieve something great, don’t brag about it.

If you do, people will take advantage of and most wouldn’t like you.

You don’t have to let the whole world know about it. Be humble and focus on yourself.

If you want to share your success, share it with the people who matter. Otherwise,  let your achievements speak for you, you don’t have to brag for people to know about it anyway.

The Polytechnic life

To sum these polytechnic tips up, your polytechnic life can be characterized by self-discovery. Things will change and you will learn many new things. It’s a crucial period for you to find out what you want to do in the future.

Others may not have gotten into their desired courses, but they may develop an interest in their pursued course over time.

Conversely, there are also those who regret their choice of course after going through them, despite having been interested before.

In the end, not everyone will know whether they truly like what they study, till they go through it.

So come in with an open mind and try everything. If you’re never going to try anything, you’ll never learn anything. Most importantly, do not regret it!

We hope you enjoyed reading our Polytechnic tips on 10 Do’s and Dont’s.

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