Class of 2017 scores 93% pass rate at A levels

Millennia Institute student Gwen Tan had to repeat her first school year, but she resolved to be more diligent and managed to score two As, a vast improvement from the failing grades she got in her first promotional exam four years ago. She plans to
Millennia Institute student Gwen Tan had to repeat her first school year, but she resolved to be more diligent and managed to score two As, a vast improvement from the failing grades she got in her first promotional exam four years ago. She plans to pursue her studies in science or sociology.
Hwa Chong Junior College students, some in their national service uniforms, lining up in the school hall to get their A-level results.
Hwa Chong Junior College students, some in their national service uniforms, lining up in the school hall to get their A-level results.
Millennia Institute students take the opportunity to capture some memories while back at school to get their results.
Millennia Institute students take the opportunity to capture some memories while back at school to get their results.

Result is second-best performance since 2006 when curriculum was revised

Candidates taking the GCE A-level examination last year turned in the second-best performance since the curriculum was revised about 12 years ago.

Of the 12,502 students who sat last year's examinations as school candidates, 11,624 received at least three H2 passes, as well as a pass in General Paper or Knowledge and Inquiry, said the Ministry of Education and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board yesterday.

Last year's pass rate of 93 per cent improved on the 92.6 per cent achieved by the 2016 cohort.

Students in 2015 set the benchmark for the highest pass rate since the curriculum was revised in 2006, at 93.1 per cent.

Pioneer Junior College student Lee Zhi Xuan, 19, was one candidate whose grit and determination were duly rewarded yesterday.

He nearly dropped out at the end of his first year in JC when his father was diagnosed with colon cancer - the same disease that had claimed his mother's life three years earlier.

"I wanted to take a break from school and spend whatever time I had with him," he said. But his father encouraged him to carry on.

REARRANGING PRIORITIES

I dropped my external basketball commitments, kept up with my tutorials and paid more attention in class.

MILLENNIA INSTITUTE STUDENT GWEN TAN, on how she managed to improve her grades in the A-level examinations.

So Zhi Xuan would accompany his father to chemotherapy sessions after school, bringing along his books to study when his father was hospitalised during the examination period.

"I just kept pushing on and didn't give up," he said, adding that his teachers also encouraged him.

He was rewarded for his resilience and perseverance today when he scored five As and a B.

His results make him eligible for a pharmacy course at the National University of Singapore that he hopes to pursue. Spending time in hospital with his parents inspired him to want to be an oncology pharmacist.

"I saw patients slowly recovering every day and it made me happy to see them get healthy again. I want to be a part of that journey," he said.

His father has gone into remission and is now recovering.

Millennia Institute student Gwen Tan, 21, took a longer road to graduation than most of her peers.

In her first year, she spent almost every day training for basketball matches. This left her with little time and energy to concentrate on her schoolwork, causing her grades to drop.

She ended up repeating the school year, but resolved to be more diligent.

Yesterday, Miss Tan, the elder of two daughters of an accountant and a factory manager, scored two As, a vast improvement from the failing grades she got in her first promotional exam four years ago. She plans to pursue her studies in science or sociology in August.

In a Facebook post yesterday morning, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wished candidates waiting for their A-level results "all the best".

"Whatever your results are, remember that this is just one step in your lifelong learning journey," he wrote. "We are not only defined by result slips or certificates, but by what we achieve in life and what impact we make on those around us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'Class of 2017 scores 93% pass rate at A levels'. Print Edition | Subscribe