2018 O-Level Success Stories
|TANG JING WEN [4E2]|
At the GCE O levels in 2018, Jing Wen achieved six distinctions.
“I’m really pleased with my results! The whole of last week, I was dreading the arrival of this day, imagining the worst. Now that I know my results, I think there is definitely room for improvement,” she says with a chuckle. “I feel that I’ve let down a few teachers. I know that I could’ve done a lot better for some of my subjects but what’s done is done. I will aim to work on improving myself further in the future and hopefully achieve better results. I am glad that I can make it to some of the JCs I was considering.”
Jing Wen explained that definitely one of the key reasons for her results would be her teachers. “It is no cliché,” she says emphatically, adding, “They’ve spent a lot of time and effort, providing us all sorts of revision materials, and also motivating us to continue working hard through this crucial period. I’ve received many kind and uplifting words, even from teachers who were not teaching me.”
She also highlighted her supportive family and friends. They helped her keep her ‘sanity’ during the stressful periods. She reminisced how her family would be flexible in accommodating her schedule and how they would make sure that she was ‘well-fed and healthy’. Her friends stayed by her side and studied together with her, and their presence made the long hours of study in the library much more manageable. “When I was too stressed out, we would also find ways to wind down before starting work again. All of that helped me to maintain my stress levels and allowed me to continue studying.”
Even the initial grade of B3 for Chinese became a driving force for excellence. After some deep reflection, Jing Wen said to herself, “I’ve done this before so why shouldn’t I do it again?” So instead of being dejected, she decided to take this as an opportunity work for the results she really wanted.
Though she knew her teachers meant well but, at times she faced quite a bit of pressure from them. “I guess I lost sight of what was truly important to me. It was really stressful having to upkeep their hopes of me when I failed to meet them consecutively. I spoke to my parents and my friends about the stress I was facing. They helped me reshape my perspective – to see their expectations in a positive light – by taking their expectations as a form of encouragement.
Jing Wen always exemplified what it means to be a thoughtful leader. She would take the perspectives of both her peers and her teachers, and see situations through empathetic and thoughtful lenses. She would not stay silent in the face of injustices or shy away from taking responsibilities. As a Head for PMC, she was competent a competent leader who always stepped up to new challenges. She also achieved the ECHA Award (2018), the Rudy Mosbergen Scholarship (2018) and A-Star Scholarship (2018).
Throughout the course of her sixteen years in education, she had considered a range of career paths – from being a lawyer to being a counsellor and even a teacher. As she reflects on all of them, she says that now she realises that she has a deep interest in biology and the human anatomy. Consequently, Jing Wen plans to enter a junior college and hopes to pursue medicine in the University.
|WONG JIA QI [4E2]|
Jiaqi was the Head of the 55th Student Council and served the school with distinction. Epitomising the values of Passion and Dare to Try, she was an exemplary leader who juggled her multiple responsibilities well while ensuring that she made good academic progress. She scored eight distinctions in the 2018 GCE ‘O’ Levels Examinations. When asked how she managed to stay afloat all her responsibilities and sustain the determination to succeed, Jiaqi explained that her inspiration came from her predecessor, Ying Wei, who was the previous Head for Student Council.
“Seeing Ying Wei standing on stage during speech day to give her valedictorian speech made a big impact on me. I clearly remember her telling us to visualise ourselves in a year’s time and how soon that will be. I was truly inspired and I told myself that I will work hard to get there as well.’
She also added that there was so much support from the people around her, not discounting her own strong desire in wanting to do well.
Were there challenges for Jiaqi? Well, yes. Her greatest fear was the thought of not being able to do well and not keeping up to the high expectations people around her had for her – family, teachers and peers. She knew however that the expectations they had was a direct and natural result of their concern for her.
“I could clearly imagine how disappointed they would be if I did not do well. Luckily, I had a group of great friends and teachers around me who really supported me through this tough journey. I would specially like to mention my Additional Mathematics and Physics teacher, Ms Liew and Mr Lim Jun Li respectively, for their continuous support and guidance because these subjects were the toughest for me during the Upper Secondary years. The teachers kept encouraging me, giving me much time with countless consultation. And that was how I pushed on and got distinctions for both these subjects. I also want to put in a special word for the efforts of Ms Yong for not giving up on my English potential,” says Jiaqi.
Having pocketed a bag full of distinctions, Jiaqi plans to take the JC route to complete the A levels, and hope to pursue the field of Criminal Psychology in the future. In a humble tone, she adds, “I heard that it’s not easy, but nonetheless it’s a goal that will keep me moving forward for now.”
A student who displayed a fearless disposition towards challenges and positivity in all her tasks, we are confident that she will move forward purposefully and steadily.
Jacqulyn was a highly responsible and meticulous student who carried out her duties responsibly. She was a Vice Head for SJB, and was awarded the Chief Commissioner Badge, the highest achievement attainable by a cadet in secondary school. She was often seen providing assistance to her peers and showing care to others. She exemplified Passion and Empathy, and in 2018, she was presented the ECHA Award.
In the 2018 O level examinations, Jacqulyn achieved seven distinctions.
“I’m quite happy about my results as it is better than I expected,” Jacqulyn reasoned. She felt that her good performance was to a large part due to her strong support system – of friends and teachers.
“My friends were very encouraging and would always care for me and help me when I had doubts when studying. They made me look forward to school and made lessons more enjoyable. The teachers were very patient, caring and encouraging. They would always make the time for us to consult them so that we can clear our doubts; they would also encourage us in times of stress and make sure that we are coping well,” elaborated Jacqulyn.
Behind all this steadiness were other problems, which Jacqulyn had to manage. She recollects
how around May last year, her father did not have a job and how around July, her mother was due to go for a surgery. It meant that her mother also had to stop work to recover. Concerned about the financial situation, Jacqulyn considered working. Her parents, however, reassured her; they pointed out that the examinations were really not far off, and that she should just focus and get them over with.
“My parents’ support despite their difficulties made me motivated to work even harder. I really didn’t want to disappoint them.”
Even with compelling reasons to work hard, the twin monsters of procrastination and distractions can rear their ugly heads in subtle ways. Jacqulyn recalled how she would use her phone often because like everyone, she found the mobile phone so indispensable, and unknowingly too, a distraction.
“I went on social media applications and also watched videos often. However, because I was so used to using my phone very often, it was hard for me to notice or break the habit. I would often look at my phone after studying for a while and without realising it, start to procrastinate. This happened even though I really wanted to focus and study hard.”
Luckily, she also realized in time that it hindered her studies. She deleted all her social media apps and YouTube on her phone. “Now I had no choice and nothing to do on my phone anymore. I also downloaded an app that would not allow me to do anything else on the phone within a given time limit,” she shared. These strategies allowed her to attain better focus and momentum.
Jacqulyn is now planning to enrol herself in the Science Stream in a Junior College. She has an interest in the medical field, given her exposure to and experience in SJB.
“I really like helping the sick and injured. I am even considering joining the army as a medic since I also like how disciplined and organized a uniform group is. Whatever the case, I want to give back to the society and help people who are in need.”
|R THARUN VIGRAM [4E2]|
Tharun has always been strong academically and a competent Head of NCC. His leadership capabilities were observed clearly in NCC and NCC HQ. In 2018, Tharun was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Cadet Award for his strong leadership, exemplary conduct and contributions at both school and headquarters. He is an all-rounder who juggled his studies, CCA and sports leader roles well.
Tharun has unwavering commitment to do his best in all that he has been tasked to do. In class, he was motivated and attentive, always seeking to clarify his doubts.
Tharun achieved seven distinctions.
“I feel a little indifferent about my results. I am contented, not too ecstatic nor overly disappointed. I feel so mainly because I know that my results can be achieved by anyone, provided that they put in the same amount of blood, sweat and tears as I have.”
When asked about the key reasons for his success, Tharun replied, “To me, the most important reason for my success would be a combination of confidence and resilience.” Repeated acts of resilience and will power gives you confidence in overcoming challenges. Confidence, in turn, fuels resilience. They help you be prepared for whatever that will be thrown at you, no matter the outcome. When I failed my Social Studies paper during the Prelims, I was crushed initially because the O levels were in less than a month away. That was when I remembered what my senior had told me: when there is will, there is a way. I knew I wasn’t doing something right. I consulted my teacher, identified my mistakes and worked on ways to correct them. I struggled, a lot. Sheer willpower helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Within a span of a mere month, I jumped five grades and managed to attain a B3 for O levels.”
Tharun was also very grateful to have had the support of the people around him. Tharun emphasises, “And that goes without saying.” In fact, his greatest fear was letting those who believe in him down, people like teachers, friends and family members. Their expectations for him gradually influenced the academic goals that he set for himself, but he also took a step-by-step approach – one mark at a time, one grade at a time, one subject at a time. This targetted breakdown made it less strenuous and easier to improve.
Tharun plans to take the Junior College route, mainly because he is not sure about the exact course that he would want to pursue should he go to the Polytechnic. At the moment, he knows that he wants the PCME (Physics, Chemistry, Math and Economics) subject combination to take him to a desired course at the University.
|RAMESH KANNA [4E2]|
Ramesh achieved a startling total of nine distinctions.
A driven and determined student with an insatiable curiosity for knowledge, he would ask targeted questions and is highly analytical. Beyond the academic, he was the Class Secretary in the lower secondary and the Chairperson in Sec 3. He was also the Red House Captain and played a significant role in trying to strengthen the House spirit.
“I’m definitely very happy for my results. I mean, when I saw that there was a student who got nine distinctions, I wanted to the one. When I realised it was actually was me, I was just over the moon. Because I feel I really worked very hard, it is very heartwarming to know that it all paid off,” says Ramesh.
His success is a result of resilience and passion.
“Sometimes I had to pull off all-nighters before exams and had to really sacrifice a lot just to understand certain concepts. If it weren’t for my passion to do well, I wouldn’t have been able to sacrifice my sleep, social life and entertainment to just sit down and study,” Ramesh shared. It was important to him to persevere until he finds a breakthrough.
Ramesh shared that there were challenges along the way, academically. He recollected how he found Combined Humanities demanding and difficult. “No matter how hard I tried, I could never manage to get a grade higher than a B3,” he recalled, adding that as a Triple Science student, he knew that the Combined Humanities grade was critical to the L1R5 computation.
“So before the Preliminary examinations, I met up with my Social Studies teacher for consultations and did more practice papers. I also met my Elective Geography teacher to clarify doubts about important concepts in Elective Geography.” His efforts paid off. He made improvement from a B3 to an A2 in the preliminary examinations and to an A1 at the O levels.
Ramesh plans to go to the Junior College. He know that he wants to take the traditional subject combination of Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Economics. He explained that he has a personal liking for Biology and a special interest in knowing more about the human anatomy. Curious about the meaning of existence and purpose of life, Ramesh feels strongly that it cannot be far off from doing something that benefits those around him and the community, and aspired to pursue medicine.
|CHEW JIAHUI [4E2]|
“I am surprised! I wasn’t expecting to do this well.”
Jiahui achieved eight distinctions. A highly committed student and a reflective thinker who presents her opinions succinctly and tactfully, she has the mettle to display resilience in the face of adversity. Jiahui was the Vice Chairperson for Dance, and she had led the club with quiet confidence.
Jiahui has always been a rather consistent worker.
“So, I’ve been revising the content taught in lessons throughout the year. I also ensured that I completed all my homework and did practice papers regularly. This is most likely why I was able to get a good grasp of the skills and knowledge tested in the syllabus and could apply it successfully in the examinations,” she gathered.
When asked to recount challenges, Jiahui recalled the Mid-Year examinations.
“I did badly for my Elective Geography Paper. I scored only a passing grade, which was the lowest score I’d ever gotten for the subject. Seeing the dismal number gave me a nasty, rude shock and pushed me to put in more effort into Geography. I knew I had been caught up in Co-curricular activities leading up to SA1 so I had somewhat fallen behind in my revision for the subject. I thus worked really hard to catch up on my weak areas to ensure that the same disappointing situation wouldn’t happen again, and this likewise applied to my other subjects. I was motivated me to excel.”
Were there challenges? Well, there was pressure and the expectations to live up to. For Jiahui, it manifested in anxiety.
“I usually fared quite well in internal examinations and naturally everyone expected me to excel in each and every assessment. Unconsciously, I started stressing myself out more than I should have, to the point whereby I would experience short episodes whereby I got so anxious that I couldn’t focus on anything at all.”
Eventually, she learnt to manage these attacks by employing relaxation techniques that she read about online like deep breathing and guided imagery. These strategies helped her keep calm and re-focus. She also reached out to her family and their support helped her to pull through her stress.
Jiahui is planning to enter the Arts stream in Junior College, as she has always enjoyed the Humanities. Though not sure about her aspirations for the future, she hopes to eventually work in the civil service.
“I’m grateful for having been granted so many benefits and opportunities as a Singapore citizen and I would like to contribute back to this country that has given me so much in my own small way.”
|NUR SABRINA RIFQAH [4E2]|
An enthusiastic and vibrant individual who gives her very best in all that she does, Sabrina is a well-respected leader, who held the rank of Master Sergeant as well as the position of Band Major in Swiss Winds. In 2015, she was also awarded ECHA for excellent character.
The all-rounder who openly demonstrated both passion and empathy, achieved five distinctions at the O levels.
“I am grateful for my results. All the effort that I had put in had paid off. At the start of the year, I could not have possibly dreamed of attaining ten points. It was only possible with the hard work, determination, and support from my family.”
Sabrina explained how over the period of continuous support and love from her family, she became clearer about her goals. Knowing what she really wanted helped to ease the stress. She had a starting point and something to work towards. But it was necessary to plot the route in between and a meticulous plan was necessary for that. She planned her next steps and moved on.
“Their understanding was crucial. They gave me the space I needed to study. In turn, I would remind myself not to slacken. I continued pushing myself to the end.”
In spite of hard work, the results were not immediate. Sometimes, the results might be unexpected. Sabrina recalls the shock she experienced at the preliminary examinations.
“It was a great shock to me. I did not do well. All the alarm bells started ringing.”
She reviewed her plans and put in what she described as “actual hard work”. For Sabrina, the Prelim results meant that she had not really done her best, and she continued to work harder. One of her greatest fears was disappointing her mother.
“With all the great sacrifices she had made and how she had given me ample support and space, I had to know that no matter what my grades at the end, I must put in my all of my effort to achieve to the best of my capabilities.”
Sabrina is set on the Science stream at a Junior College. She promises to continue to do her very best in the next phase of her education.
|NEVILLE ANG WEE DA [5n1]|
Neville recollected his lack of motivation in the Lower Secondary and how he turned around in the Upper Secondary levels. He then started working towards his target. His motto: the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
A student who exhibited passion & resilience, he achieved three distinctions in the O level examinations.
Neville was overwhelmed with joy because his results were actually much better than he had expected. Another key driver for good results was that he did not want to disappoint himself and family members who strongly supported and believed in him.
He was also thankful that his form teacher encouraged them; he remembered how his FT gave the class a talk about the O levels and what it would involve. He held on to his FT’s words, that he and his peers could get through the O levels, if they put their minds into it.
Another pillar of support was his mother. He shared how his mother sat down and talked to him about his future. She also explored various career options with him. In her exploration, she was mindful to select courses that are still likely to be relevant in the next few years. This experience provided Neville with a clearer resolution about his future. He participated in the research and set his mind on entering courses related to aviation. This goal led him to work very hard to enter the Polytechnic.
In spite of his hard work and resolution, Neville did suffer some set-backs. For example, he was not selected for the EAE interview in 2018. This made him realize that the criteria for admission was not that easy. Prior to that, Neville did not apply to pursue PFP though he qualified to do so. He wanted to complete a five year education instead. His only fear was that he would lie to himself about studying hard and procrastinate, instead of doing timely revisions.
Neville’s initial reasons for selecting aviation-related courses are predictable and interesting. He regarded working in the aviation field prestigious and demanding. He thought that it had sufficient rigour to be on par with the Sciences. Now, Neville sees his future in Aviation with a more thoughtful and service-oriented lens. While it may have been the typical ambition to be a pilot in such an industry, Neville is keen to be a technician.
“If there is no technician, how can the plane fly?”
Neville’s rhetoric reflected his focus on values rather than a narrow regard for pursuing a money-making career. He aims to study Aeronautical Engineering at Singapore Polytechnic.