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SOTA life after DSA

I checked in with some of our students whom, successfully, entered into School Of The Arts (SOTA) via Direct School Admission (DSA). Most of them have been with us since lower primary and younger.

Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2018.
Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2018.

Catching up with them is really good. They make me feel really old and want to get younger. My first question posed is on how is their life in SOTA and in summary, they all felt excited and fun but just tiring and stressful. I guess since they have ventured into a new environment, comparision of self with others, current and previous environment is inevitable. They all felt that everyone else is talented, great and friendly and their life is packed with lots of work. Perhaps this applies to what others think of themselves too. So my fellow students, don't fret because you are talented and awesome too and you can just get it done too. Like how Chin Min mentioned positively:

"Life in SOTA is very fun yet quite stressful! Firstly, the people in SOTA are all very welcoming and friendly, easy to get along with. The teachers in SOTA are also very friendly and their classes are not boring at all, in fact they make learning quite fun. These factors make me look forward to going to school. However, there is a big workload and examinations, and many school projects. I get dismissed very late too, so life at SOTA is stressful because of the heavy workload."

SOTA is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school and I asked for a comparison on the difference between main stream secondary schools. They've seemed to identify the difference immediately despite some of them only being in the 1st year. To some of them, the plus in SOTA will be no 'O' levels or 'A' levels stress but they do complain to be about the daily longer hours required in school. I noted that they didn't mention anything about after school tuition that most main stream secondary school kids have committed hours to. I guess there's always a balance like how Katie takes it:

"In SOTA, students will spend more time on art subjects than regular secondary schools. In a week, we will spend at least 3 hours in drawing and painting, 2 hours in ceramics, 1 hours each in visual journaling, theory & history etc. And, we are required to do many components of art work and lessons are conducted more in depth, at times, we need to incorporate art in academic subjects' classwork too. For example, we made a comic book that introduced school values using our mother tongue."
Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2019.
Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2019.

Since there's so much art projects to be accomplished in SOTA. I wondered how they managed their materials, ideas and deadlines. For me, I look back at secondary school and if there were no extra curriculum activities, life in mainstream secondary school will be simply a day following the textbook syllabus, taking on tuition to learn future textbook syllabus so that I won't struggle with what the secondary school teacher is trying to explain in a large classroom, and repeat, and repeat until closer to the day of examinations, I revise, I go for more tuition and I revise and more tuition and I pass with flying colours. Now, I look at these young artists in SOTA and I find that they will definitely mature faster to catch up with adult life. Seems like SOTA environment or IB curriculum is adjusting them to tertiary education life and above. Every small step in their planning and time management is crucial to meet their deadlines and examinations.

"There are many projects ranging from academic subjects to various art forms. Need to have proper planning and prioritisation of time to manage. Art Friend is usually the place to go to. Ideas can be inspired in many ways in the daily life and surrounding." -- Charmaine
Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2018.
Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2018.
"Yes, there are many art projects in SOTA. For me, as I am in Visual arts, there are three main subjects under Visual arts; theory and history of art, sculpture and ceramics, and drawing and painting. Each term of the school year, there will be a new project for each subject, meaning every term there is a new project for drawing and painting, a new project for ceramics and sculpture as well as theory and history. All these projects are graded. In order to manage deadlines, I would plan out how I will spread the process of the project over the limited time I have to complete each project. For example, if i need to complete a painting over 10 weeks time, I will make a timetable and decide how many hours each day I will dedicate to the project. From there , I would already have a plan for my time management. For managing ideas, I would keep a RJ, or a research journal to keep track and document my thoughts and concepts in accordance with the theme of each project. E.g. If the painting’s theme given to us was fantasy, I would create a mind map branching out from the theme and print out reference images of my ideas, and sketch out compositions to manage my ideas and concepts. Materials, I would either purchase or the school will provide me with supplies." -- Chin Min
"The materials that were needed for the projects in the year was listed down and handed in to us, we had to buy everything by ourselves before the first art form class started. Other materials that were not mentioned in the list are handed to us during temporarily for the time when needed. As for the deadline, I personally don’t find it too stressful as I enjoy the projects. Usually, the teachers would ask us to keep a journal with our notes, idea development, sketches, plans and process which will then be marked. I usually write down things when I feel like I know what to write. (You can’t procrastinate too much or you’ll fail)" -- Momo
Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2019.
Artistori Art Class DSA programme. Photo taken in 2019.

Most of our students joined us since they were 4 to 5 years old and they've collated many art projects with us and I wonder how we have made a difference for them. Did Artistori's curriculum approach helped them face the difficulties and challenges in SOTA?


Here's what they say:

"I think artistori has played a big part in my life from introducing art to me and developing my skills to helping my dream come true. Artistori has helped me in developing my ideas and imagination and also gave me the passion of art. I can never thank Artistori enough for the endless encouragement and support I got from you." -- Momo
Momo & Charmaine when they were so little in Artistori...
Momo & Charmaine when they were so little in Artistori...
"Artistori is helping with the foundation of portfolio building for DSA interview and art techniques that are fundamental. It also helps in the technique of penning down ideas via sketchbook." -- Charmaine
Katie had her direction set for SOTA since then. Photo taken in 2019.
Katie had her direction set for SOTA since then. Photo taken in 2019.
"Yes, Artistori definitely has played an important role in my art journey to SOTA. I learnt drawing skills, sketching skills, using different types of art materials in my work. And, I learnt to appreciate art composition and feel more confident in presenting my own work to others." -- Katie
Chin Min with his awesome grid style self portrait inspired by Chuck Close back in 2019.
Chin Min with his awesome grid style self portrait inspired by Chuck Close back in 2019.
"Definitely! Artistori has taught me many fundamentals and equipped me with skills I need. Artistori also helped me further build my portfolio! Without Artistori, I would have never been able to enter SOTA. In SOTA, no matter the medium or difficulty I face, I am able to apply what I learnt at Artistori and overcome each obstacle. Attending it has taught me skills and more knowledge on a vast number of mediums. With these skills, understanding what they teach me at SOTA is much much easier." -- Chin Min

Artistori is proud of all students who have DSA, AEP and DPA successfully!


Thank you for reading and do share with your friends and family members if they should require any help with portfolio building, preparation for 'N', 'O' or 'A' level art examinations, direct school admission, art elective programme and direct polytechnic admission.


Thank you!


Yours Sincerely,

Vernon Chen

Art is a journey, it never stops.


WeChat ID: Artistori


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