I’ve shared a few times before that I was an A Level private candidate. In retaking A Levels, I managed to not only understand the perspective of an elite student, but also sympathize what it feels like to “do badly” in life.
This post shall be a brief introduction to my decision to retake As, along with my grades back then and what I am doing with my life right now. I hope that this post will be an inspiration to both students and parents alike who face tough decisions after not faring well for national exams.
In addition, I may come up with a “comprehensive guide” to retaking A Levels. Hence, if you’ve any comments or questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will compile all the common questions into a comprehensive guide!
Background- What led to the downfall?
I did well for my PSLE and managed to get into RI. However, at around Secondary 3, I began to contemplate the implicit expectations of society. In particular, I protested at the mainstream thought of “do well in studies and get a stable job”, as though that is all there is to life. My form of rebellion to such a setting was to slack off and not study. I began to do poorly and ended up at the bottom 20 percentile for many subjects. My academic decline had its foundation back when I was 15.
To exacerbate matters, since there is no need for me to take national exams, I can safely not study and still hang around in school. As A Levels approached in J2, I put in more effort but they were too little too late. I thought the bell curve could save me but I was in for a rude awakening.
First round outcome
I managed a measly 3Cs and 2Ds for my A Levels, along with A for Project Work and HMT. For a Rafflesian, this is nothing short of extreme shame and I only understood the full implications when I applied for all 3 local universities and only got into one. In fact, the course I was offered was easy to get into.
This situation was a sharp contrast to back when I was 12- I could choose to get into any secondary school. The shame made me decide to retake my As- to prove that I can still do well academically.
Second round (after retaking A Levels)
Fortunately, by the time I retook my As, I was mature and hardworking enough to apply myself properly. After 9 months of intensive studying, I manage to end up with 3As (including GP) and a B. Couple this with my previous result, I got AAB/C AAA. This earned me a UAS of 85.5 and I managed to get into NUS Computer Science (a 4A course).
What am I doing now?
I am currently in my second semester of my freshman year at NUS. For my first semester, I managed to get First Class Honors without SU-ing. In addition, I scored 1570/1600 for a recent SAT.
I’m glad to say that I am “back on track”. I hope that if you feel that you’ve fallen on the track, please don’t lose hope. Take this opportunity to come back even better.
If you’ve any questions (on my exact schedule, timeline, study habits etc), please feel free to leave a comment below.