Don't want to study in SIM, must I retake my 'A' Levels?

This query comes from a student:

So I received my A levels results last week, and I did quite badly. Had CCD/B for H2 chem, maths and physics and H1 history. I don't really want to consider SIM, and the courses I hope to enter for at NUS or NTU (life sciences) probably won't even give my grades a second glance. I have a decent but not outstanding CCA record.

Does this mean I have to retake my A levels? I am currently serving NS, and I don't know if I really have the time and resources to restudy everything in the near future, much less scoring better grades. I also heard private candidates should attempt the A levels only with proper guidance, in other words, he should have tuition. What would you advise? I am really at a loss.

16 March Sunday is my 19th birthday, and I am really in no mood to celebrate it. Life sucks. Sorry for ranting here. :(

The Response:


It sounds like you already have a clearly defined goal in mind (life sciences course in a local uni), even though things didn’t turn out so well this time for the 'A' Levels. I personally think that that is a great start.

If getting into a life sciences course is your dream, then I would strongly encourage you to pursue it by retaking the 'A' Levels next year. Don’t just “settle” for SIM and possibly end up with regrets later.

I had a friend who flunked his 'A' Levels twice and didn’t give up; now he’s in NUS business and he’s more driven than ever. I’m not saying that going for SIM is necessarily a bad decision of course; you just have to make sure that it’s where you actually want to go, instead of just settling for it.

Start by taking out and organizing your notes and tutorials; come up with a solid study plan and you should definitely see an improvement for your math and sciences over time. It definitely wouldn’t hurt if you looked for tuition if you have the resources; being in NS means your weekdays are pretty much burnt (unless you are in a stay-out vocation), so a tutor can offer that acceleration in learning which you might need.

I hope this helps. All the best and hope you’ll make a decision only after careful consideration about your dreams and desires.

I’m sure you’ll succeed if you truly find your direction in life and work hard towards it.

Eric Chng

(Senior Councilor: May 2013 - December 2020)

Answered On 11 March 2014