In this blog post, I will share my private education journey during the period when I enrolled at PSB, in the hopes giving you the readers an insight into the course, and to help you decide if it’s a worthwhile investment and decision to follow my similar path.
This blog post has several sections:
- Why I sign-up
- Course Acceptance
- Course Modules
- Course Orientation
- First Day of School
- Classroom Culture
- Exams & Assignments
- Student Portals
- What’s Next
(1) Why I sign-up
My background is Mechanical Engineering specialized in Robotics, and I started my first career in the blue-collar industry but I found my calling in Sports later on as it’s my passion.
I changed jobs from the Mechanical sector to the Sports industry for a few years now. So, I thought it just makes sense that I’ve some kind of related certification if I am to stay in this field.
Through a friend’s recommendation, who took the same course, I was introduced to PSB Academy’s Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences.
A big plus for me to signup is that the course is eligible for the Skills Development Fund (SDF) subsidy under the Workforce Development Agency (WDA). This subsidy discounts the course fee up to 50%-90%, depending on your profile. As for my case, I am eligible for a 50% discount. If I was older 40 years old and above, I would have gotten the 90% subsidy.
- 21-39 years of age: 50% off total course fees
- 40 years of age and above: 90% off total course fees
Without this subsidy, I probably would not have signed up as I would have to pay the full course cost of $7318.80, but it was half off it as I was a working adult and I fit the subsidy criteria. Of course, there is an obligation when you are enrolled at PSB Academy that you agree with and fulfill the following.
- You must complete the course
- And you hit a certain minimum attendance criterion
Currently, I am not sure if this subsidy still exists but do ask your programme consultant.
(2) My Application – 9th September 2016
I downloaded the Local Student Application Form from http://www.psb-academy.edu.sg, filled it up and with the accompany supporting document, I went down to PSB Academy campus, the old campus at Bukit Ho Swee at Tiong Bahru.
First impression wise, it’s an old building, but it’s spacious enough with ample classrooms and study area.
I believed PSB Academy now has a new campus and moved to Marina Square if I am not wrong. That’s really exciting, as it is a new campus and will surely drum up the learning enthusiasm in me.
I submitted the below documents at the Admission Office counter:
- Local Student Application Form
- Photocopy of IC
- School certificates & transcripts
- Salary proof
After all the documents were verified and tallied, I was directed to the cashier to pay a non-refundable application payment of $64.20 which includes GST.
While Diploma application fee cost $64.20, I believe the Degree application fee costs more (PSB Academy also offers Degree Programmes).
There was like one person ahead of me, so it didn’t take that long of a process, it took less than 20 minutes and it’s all done. The course consultant was around to assist and guide me.
(3) Course Acceptance – 24th September 2016
Two weeks after I applied, I received an email from PSB Academy stating that my application was successful.
The next step for me was enrollment and to submit the various acceptance forms and make another payment for the course itself before a given stipulated date.
I filled up the following documents and submitted the following to confirm my slot:
- Private Education Institution-Student Contract
- Confirmation of personal particular
- Letter of Offer
I went down to PSB Academy Admission Office again with the documents and my credit card.
Another reason why I signed-up is the ability to make payment by installment, which is interest-free using my credit card (POSB).
Via credit, I had to pay $3283.20 over a 12-month period, and I had to make the first-month installment of $273.60 when I was there.
(4) Course Modules
The above image entails the courses when I was enrolled then. I am not sure if it’s similar modules now being offered for this Diploma. The document was attached in the acceptance email, which gives an overview of the overall modules for the Diploma. The document provided a term start, and the end dates, plus the exam period. Handy for those who have to plan early, especially working adults like me.
There are four terms, and per-term you’ll have two modules to clear, usually, PSB Academy will pair an ‘easy’ and a ‘difficult’ subject for us.
And during this four terms, it spans a total of one year of part-time studies.
The lessons are held two days during the weekdays, 7pm to 10pm. And if the lecturer or school had to cancel the lecture due to unforeseen circumstance, the lesson will be shifted to a Saturday to make up for it.
The exact detailed term timetable/examination date and class time will be given about a week before each term starts.
Back then you had to fulfill a minimum 75-per-cent attendance to sit for the final exam, I am not sure if that’s the same policy now.
At 75-per-cent attendance, that’s around 2-3 lessons that one can miss before PSB Academy will notify you with a warning email if I am not wrong. So don’t miss too many lessons or you’ll be disbarred from taking the exams.
And if you happen to quit the Diploma and you enrolled by under the WDA subsidy ($3.2K for example) scheme, you have to now pay back the whole course full amount! That’s $7.3K plus. So be serious before embarking on this journey, or it will be a costly one.
(5) Course Orientation – 29 September 2016
Less than a week later after the course acceptance email, I received an email from PSB Academy regarding the course orientation to be held that same week.
This is not a Freshman Orientation Camp, FOC, like the one many of us had during our Polytechnic/University days which spans over a few days. Well, it’s more of short 2-hours course introduction and welcoming by the in-charge briefing us on the Diploma.
The in-charge then handed the Orientation over to the course coordinator to handle the administration, such as checking if anyone has not received their funding subsidy outcome, to biometric fingerprint setup.
My batch then had a good response and there was a larger intake than the previous batch due to the WDA subsidy being offered, so some things were still a work-in-progress, such as I did not receive my PSB Academy Student Card that day itself during orientation, but a few weeks later.
(6) First Day of School – 3 October 2016
The first day of school is like your first day at work. You don’t know anybody, so just observe, and go with the flow.
It’s been a decade since I was in a classroom setting, so I just chill lah. I’m sure I am not the only one feeling likewise then. Keep calm and smile.
The lecturer will brief you on the course objective, expectations, assignment, deadlines, and exams details.
Most likely where you choose your seat in the class, the 4-5 person sitting around you will likely be your project partners for the rest of the Diploma.
You’ll, of course, meet some lazy ass people during this journey and it’s up to the group to decide whether to carry his/her workload or inform the lecturer of his/her lack of commitment, so the person will be penalized.
Lucky for me, right off the bat I met abled project partner, whom I teamed up during my Diploma and beyond the school hours, they became my buddies.
Those enrolled in this Diploma I observed are from all walks of life, from a young kid fresh off his N’ Level to aunties and uncles. As they say, “Learning never stops!”
Those in the same cohort will set up a main Whatsapp chat group to discuss and inform everybody of the latest for the modules that Term. It’s good as you’ll be reminded of upcoming deadlines, what you missed if you happen to come late or absent for the lecture.
(7) Classroom Culture
We had to sign these attendance books before the lecture or laboratory class starts, but PSB Academy was phasing them out during my final term there, they changed to Biometric fingerprint attendance logging using a device.
The former, we could help our class buddies who are late or can’t make it to class, by signing the attendance books. We are mostly working adults and unforeseeable overtime at work happens, so we help each other out lah.
Here is how you record your Attendance then, Biometric way
But with the Biometric attendance introduced, well there’s no helping out anymore. If I am not wrong, if one don’t log-in within 15 minutes with the device after the class starts, the new system will consider you absent. Yeah sucks.
The old campus at Bukit Ho Swee personally for me was suffice. There are several small outdoor study area and one big indoor study area that’s air-conditioned. During exams, I would just go into one of the empty classrooms and do my revision.
It may not be spanking top of the line classroom but it’s ample for lectures and laboratory. Usually, two to three class batches will be combined for lectures, and for laboratory lessons since it has a smaller space area, it can fit a class only, thus there will be several lab timings for the cohort.
My advise when attending lectures, is to sit in front of the class if possible. It can get pretty noisy at the back, especially if the lecturer is a bochap one and doesn’t reprimand the noisy students. If you are late and have to sit at the back as the front rows are filled up, you’ll have trouble hearing the lecturer due to the ruckus at the back. I would try to come 15 minutes before the lecture starts to sit at the front.
How a classroom lecture looks like
I have no idea why the students at the back are chatting. I believe in not being a burden to other people. You are there to learn, and to me after paying $3K plus for a private education, well I darn well make sure I learned something from this experience, and graduate with a good transcript so as to spice up my CV.
As for laboratories, it’s quieter as its a smaller enclosed space, and nobody wants to be the noisy irresponsible one, so no worries on where you have to seat.
Of course, new PSB students can now enjoy the new campus. I’ve never been there and I don’t know what it’s like. So the above might not be relevant anymore.
(8) Exams and Assignments
When I was enrolled there, usually Quiz, Group Projects, and Assignments will make up 60 percent of the total marks. Please score here and you’re halfway through passing your module.
Then the exams will make up 40 percent of the remaining marks.
To me, it’s impossible for one to fail this Diploma unless you never put in the effort.
Do attend each lecture, absorb what you can, and make notes. 2-3 weeks before the exams, compile your notes into your very own system where it’s easy for you to memorize and regurgitate when needed e.g. mnemonic.
Do not skip the last week of the school term! Usually, the lecturer will give tips during the final week of the term, most if not all of the lecturer.
You MUST revise and complete the past year paper as most of the questions will be recycled from there, the exams questions were just rephrased.
My Modules Then:
- Kinetic Anatomy – This module will teach you the human body parts in detail. Most people know what is a bicep, tricep and such right? Well, the modules go much further in-depth, such as the various muscles that make up the bicep for example, and the tendon and ligaments that surround it. There is two Formative Assessment, which is there to basically help in your grades, but the Summative Assessment is nerve wrecking experience as you’ll be with the lecturer one-on-one and he or she will test you on human anatomy with the provided skeleton model. There is a lot to remember for this module, so it’s best to know and understand than using memory only. This a Quiz summary I did, which helped me a lot.
- Professional Studies – This is a pretty useful module as it teaches you how to write a report, furnish your CV and most importantly how to reference correctly. PSB Academy instills ethics in their students and strongly oppose plagiarism. The first Formative Assessment was about us finding a job position that we like and how will our letterhead and CV will be like. The Formative Assessment number two is an MCQ. Here is a Quiz that I compiled. The group project for this module was fun, where we had to present to the class about a professional in the workforce, his goals, and aspirations.
- Biomechanics – If you can still recall your Secondary School Science Physics, then it will be of help for this module. Lucky for me I did Engineering Science in another Diploma I did previously, so it really helped out. You’ll need a scientific calculator for this module. The Laboratory Reports; there’s a few of it that you need to do, will be held outdoors. You’ll record and observe the data. While the Assignment Report, the major report was about Optimal Throwing Angle. Do pray that you get a zhai lecturer for this. If the lecturer is blur, you’ll probably be lost in the lectures. There are higher rates of failures for this module it seems. The module will teach you how to use Biomechanics tools such as Kinovea in the lab. It’s a big class, so the lab technician can’t cater to everyone, so you’ve to dabble around with the software on your own to get the hang of it. You’ll need to use the software for your major report to back up your data and conclusion. This is my own summary of the module.
- Methods of Group Exercise Instruction – MGEI has Formative Assessment which assess you with MCQ. Then there is the Group Project where the group needs to present a flowing exercise routine by the members. It is to be recorded in video format and with accompanying report, to be submitted to the lecturer. Tiring indeed but fun as we learned about beats and count moves. This is my short summary of the module.
- Principles of Weight Training – This module acronym is PWT. If you have a background in lifting, you can grasp the module easier. The Formative Assessment is an MCQ, the topic is more exercise centric. Then there’s the Group Project, where you are paired with a partner. During the assessment, you need to conduct a mock lesson on how to train your client. Once done, you change role, you become the client. If you are a personal trainer, this should be easy for you. Check out the module summary I did.
- Sport & Exercise Nutrition – This is one of my favorite module as I love reading up on Nutrition. There is two Formative Assessment both are MCQ. The questions are a mixture of common sense and nutritional questions. This module also has a Group Project. You will pair with someone to do a nutritional 3-day profile of a person. Feel free to read the summary of the module I did.
- Physiology of Sport and Exercise – This module overlaps with the previous module you’ve learned such as Kinetic Anatomy and Principles of Weight Training. You’ll, however, learn more in-depth of the energy system human possess and their metabolism. There’s one Formative Assessment which is an MCQ. The group project for this is laborious. You’ve to do a submaximal incremental test and a blood lactate concentration test on a treadmill. That was not fun as you’ve to follow the steps or you’ve to redo it again. Some might not be able to grasp the topic as it’s pretty dry, subjects such as your ATP, to glycogen breakdown and synthesis. This is my feeble attempt at summarizing this module.
- Sport & Exercise Psychology – This module has a reputation. It’s another module where students failed. I think partly because it’s all theory. Not surprising as the subject is Psychology. If I recall there is no Formative Assessment, I could be wrong. There is, however, a Group Project and yes presentation is required. There is a lot of topics to cover, so put your memory to good use. If you want to gamble during the exams, choose a few topics and remember that only. A few of my classmates did, some passed, some spectacularly failed. Here are answers to the MCQ.
(9) Student Portal
There are two online resources provided by PSB during my time. Of course, I am not sure if the portal is still being used and implemented currently.
One is called Moodle (https://lms.psb-academy.edu.sg/) where all the resources such as lectures notes, past-year paper and announcements are posted. You can contact your lecturer here via the message center. The discussion area is bare, no one actually post there. This is where the lecturer will post quizzes and such. Complete them as it will help in your final grading. Just click and surf within your course modules. A pretty simple portal.
The other is eTeams (https://students.psb-academy.edu.sg/) where we can check our grades. If you happen to key-in the wrong login and password after three times if I am not wrong, your account will be frozen. You have to call the school to unfreeze it. So keep that password close by.
Useful links that I used during my time at PSB:
- PSB Timetable
- APA Citation Generator (For your reports)
- bubbl.us (Great tool for mindmap)
- gen.lib.rus.ec (References Resource)
- paperrater (Check your report)
- thepensters (Report Plagiarism Detector)
(10) What’s Next?
Grades-wise, I did alright during my student stint at PSB. The workload and stress are manageable and will peak as the exam draws near, so balance your time well.
It was a good experience and I would recommend this Diploma to anyone who wishes to pick up knowledge of Sports and Exercise Science.
This course teaches you to be both more independent and a team player at the same time.
I’ve had prior knowledge in the field for which I picked up during my years as a freelance personal trainer and athletics coach.
In my opinion, it will be a harder learner curve for those without an exercise or fitness background, but it’s still a doable course, as long you put the hard work in.
In terms of the practicality of the Diploma Certificate, I’ve yet to use it to apply for jobs, as I already have one.
But I’ve known and seen personal trainers in private gyms to fitness related companies who graduated from this course getting the job using this cert.
If you wish to pursue further education, well this Diploma is valid for a private degree but not for autonomous institutions in Singapore such as NUS, NTU, SIM or SUSS.
How do I know for certain you might ask, well I applied for Bachelor of Sports and Physical Education with Management at Singapore University of Social Sciences but was sadly rejected as they only consider sports-related diploma from “reputable colleges or polytechnics”.
Imagine paying $3K plus for this Diploma and we won’t even be considered for a spot in a local university as the certificate is deemed not “reputable”. I’ve personally thought that the curriculum at PSB is pretty complete and detailed, and its sad that local universities do not see it that way. It’s just my unbiased opinion, a small-fry nobody.
So now I’ve applied for Specialist Diploma in Sports and Exercise Science at Republic Polytechnic. Yes, it’s the same field I’m enrolling all over again. Same subjects, same modules, LOL! It is one-year part-time Diploma that’s actually cheaper than the ones offered by PSB Academy, by 1/3 cost.
I applied for this course on 9th September 2016, and 456 days later (1 year, 3 months) I received my PSB Academy certificate proudly. Thank you PSB, you’ve empowered me with new found knowledge.
I decided not to attend the graduation ceremony which was costly to me. It was held at 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square. The cost includes:
- $193 includes 1 graduate ticket, 2 free guest tickets and cocktail food at the end of the ceremony. (All prices inclusive of GST)
- $55 gown rental fee (inclusive of GST) and $100 deposit (refundable), to be collected on the gown collection period.
- Extra guest ticket can be bought at $43 each. (Inclusive of GST)
I am still not giving up on furthering my education. Thank you for reading up to this point. I hope it’s of help.
All the best in your own educational journey. Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.
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