When Muhammad Suhail Salimudeen collected his results slip yesterday, close friend Muhammad Zaydh Mohamed Ghazzali, was right next to him.
Suhail, a student from the Normal (Academic) stream in Balestier Hill Secondary, scored 13 points for six subjects, good enough to go to a junior college.
He had his friend to thank for his good results, he said.
Suhail had entered the school as a Normal (Technical) student with a score of 149 at the PSLE. He transferred to the N(A) stream in Secondary 2 and was later offered additional maths.
"I was contented to be in the N(A) stream, but I didn't feel confident enough to do additional maths," he said.
But with encouragement from Zaydh, he took the subject. "I barely passed my additional maths exam in Sec 3, but Zaydh did well, so he started to be my maths tutor," said Suhail.
Both 17, the pair have been schoolmates since kindergarten and live a 10-minute walk from each other. But it was in secondary school that their friendship strengthened as they studied together after school and on weekends at the National Library.
Zaydh topped the N levels at Balestier Hill Secondary last year and went to Singapore Polytechnic under the polytechnic foundation programme. "I just wanted us to do well together," he said.
In April, they will be in the same school again, as Suhail has decided to pursue an information technology course in Singapore Polytechnic (SP).
"Zaydh has told me a lot about SP," said Suhail, who is the third of five children of a housewife and a businessman.
At Balestier Hill, 84.4 per cent of the Express cohort got at least five O-level passes, higher than the national average.
In the Normal stream, 68.4 per cent of its students had at least five O-level passes, up from last year's 43.2 per cent.