Failures in life can be largely disappointing and disheartening. A Level is one of the most important milestones in students’ academic journey. Failing A Levels can be one of the most painful experiences as it leaves them with a sense of hopelessness.
It leaves students thinking about what needs to be done next. “Should I retake A-levels as a private candidate?’, “Should I join a private institution?”; the questions running through one’s mind becomes endless.
The initial stage of knowing that you’ve failed you’re A Levels can be the most difficult. You may not be able to cope with it emotionally. You would also struggle to think of a solution while trying to maintain emotional stability.
It is absolutely normal to feel this way so the first thing to remember is to try to accept reality. Students and parents may not have a clue about what they can do to possibly move on as failing A Levels may be an unexpected event.
So, here is what you can do if you possibly fail A-levels.
IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD
Calm yourself and your parents down and find a silver lining. Yes, this sounds absolutely impossible to accomplish in the midst of pure chaos. But this is the first step to sort things out.
When we invest ourselves in emotions, we fail to think about a situation in a practical way. When you have placed expectations on something and it doesn’t turn out the way your wanted, you set yourself up for disappointment. However, remaining disappointed doesn’t solve the problem.
Take a moment to feel upset about the failure. Maybe take some time to ponder about what went wrong and how your actions may have led to this failure. But, don’t dwell on as it doesn’t help improve the situation. Think of how you will take steps to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. As cliché as it may sound, failure is certainly a stepping stone to success.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS
Some students may simply say that they have failed their A-Levels when they can’t enter a top-notch University like National University of Singapore. Their comments and options may be insensitive and they may not have considered your plight. Hearing such voices around you is normal and there is nothing you can possibly do to change their opinions.
What you can do however is to ignore such remarks and ensure that you focus on your situation. Think of solutions without allowing others’ remarks affect your emotions. It can be challenging to be as such, but it’s a true experience which tests your inner strength.
If you’ve failed A-Levels it does not mean that you can never obtain a university degree at all. There are many private institutions in Singapore and there are a wide variety of options available overseas as well.
You can spend time doing some research on what kind of options are available. As you read up more and more, you might be able to find out a course that suits you best. If possible, you can also talk to your relatives or your tuition teachers to find out which course may allow you to capitalise on your strengths.
There is a common misconception that failing A-Levels limits a student to just a few options at the end. This is not true as in Singapore, there are multiple pathways that students can take. After failing A-Levels, you may not be able to travel the conventional pathway of education, but it’s possible to move on to other possibilities.
A good route to take would be to Polytechnic. It may be exhausting to think about having to enter polytechnic after having complete two whole years in Junior college. But, it’s important to understand the gravity of the situation and choose the best option available for you. Don’t let your emotions decide hastily.
After having travelled through 2 years in Junior college, you would have more or less discovered what interests you and what doesn’t. Based on this, you can choose which course to enter in Polytechnic. There is a wide array of spinalisations and each course provides unique experiences.
It will be helpful for you to discuss with your parents and tutors before making an informed decision!
RETAKING A LEVELS
If you really want to give it another shot, you can do so by retaking you’re A-Levels. You may have a voice in your head that says, “Oh no, all over again??”. But, ignore this voice in your mind and change your perspective on this situation. If you realised why things went wrong, and if you know what kind of study strategies work out for you, you can go ahead and try once again.
On your second attempt, you may be able to perform better than what you have expected. If you are re-taking you’re A-Levels, you will sit for your GP and H2 subjects once again. This is primarily because university application requires you to have taken them all in a single sitting.
You can choose not to retake your project work (H1), H1 MTL and other H1 content-based subject. You can make use of grades you obtained previously in your first attempt. If you choose to retake them as well, the best grades will be taken into consideration.
Some things that you should keep in mind if you have chosen the path of retaking A-Levels are:
- What will I do differently to achieve a better outcome?
- Can I once again cope with the academic rigour?
- Will I be able to remain positive through this journey?
- Have I considered the 3Rs?
- Reasons – Why am I retaking my GCE A-Level?
- Readiness – How ready am I to retake my GCE A-Level?
- Risks – What are the possible drawbacks involved in retaking my GCE A-Level as a private candidate?
Retaking A-levels through your junior college?
In order to be eligible for this, you need to have failed a H2 subject, or you should have failed your General Paper. You do not qualify based on this criterion; you need to retake you’re A-Levels as a private candidate.
Whether you retake you’re A-Levels as a private candidate, or through your junior college, the journey remains nonetheless arduous and challenging. You need to equip yourself with the mental strength and courage to do it all once again. If you feel a lack of motivation or if you are ever unsure of how to cope with your subjects, seek the help of A-Level tutors.
Champion Tutor has top-notch A Level tuition teachers who are ready to conduct one-to-one lessons in order to guide students in a personalised way. Teaching strategies will be tailored to meet the needs of every student’s specific learning needs.
TACKLING EACH SUBJECT
Every subject has its own unique challenges. Let’s take a look at how you can tackle each H2 subject and some H1 subjects in order to retake you’re A-Level examination with confidence.
The following are some key points that you can take note of and follow; but for proper guidance, its best for you to seek the help of A-Level tuition teachers! The subject combinations also vary for each student according to their own junior college)
Students can do the following to master General paper:
- Reading up on news articles is important
- Keeping up with current affairs by watching the news
- Reading journals
- Reading novels and other sorts of books
- Practicing essay writing
- GP tuition
- Practice comprehensions (the more you read and analyse, the easier it becomes)
History is a subject that requires students to be hardworking enough to remember all historical events in syllabus with great detail. Remembering the names and the dates will be half the challenge. Another major challenge in performing well in History is to be able to infer and evaluate the sources being given in questions.
Inference and critical thinking, as well as succinct presentation of answers is extremely important. Using the PEEL (Point, Example, Evaluation, Link) structure as a form of guidance, students can shape their essays to contain strong arguments and counter arguments that are well-substantiated.
- Make sure that you master the content in your syllabus
- Ensure that you understand case studies
- Condense your notes; you can make,
- Mind maps
- A list of important facts that you need to remember
- For memorisation, you should try to,
- Read your notes out loud (Hearing yourself will enable you to register the information better)
- Get your peers to test you on the nitty gritty details
- Use mnemonics
- Doing plenty of past year papers would give you more practice. Moreover, it will give you the idea of the most important topics that may be asked more frequently.
Mathematics is a subject that is so fundamentally important for various career options. It is essential to perform well in it and the best way to do so would be to seek the guidance of an A-level Math tuition teacher especially if you are retaking A Levels.
Tutors would be able to guide students to realise their own knowledge gaps. With repeated revision and practice with mock exams, students can excel in the subject beyond their own expectations.
Chemistry at the level of Junior College is quite challenging, and it truly tests students’ ability to remain persistent despite continuous struggle. Electrochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and whatever else comes under the syllabus is all uniquely challenging.
At Champion Tutor we have some of the best A-Level Chemistry tutors in Singapore who have the expertise to guide struggling students.
Physics is a whole lot of theories, formulas and practical thinking. Students need to understand their own thought process and check against the answer key or check with their tutors as to where they go wrong.
Lots of practice and revision of basics is important in order to excel in this subject.
Biology is a content heavy subject and requires students to memorise many mechanisms, cycles and details. Students need to realise that a large amount of attention needs to be given to understanding concepts more than blindly memorising content.
Questions being asked in Biology exams are real-world context-based. They require students to link concepts, extract important pieces of information from question and derive an answer that satisfies question requirements.
Students also need to realise that not all information are created equal. Some are more high-yield than others. If you are unsure about how to study effectively, talk to your A-Level Biology tutors about what is the most testable material.
H2 and H1 economics are almost similar, except for some extra topics and a paper 2 that H2 students need to write. Nonetheless, the techniques remain the same. Economics may not be an easy subject initially but once students get the knack of it, it gets better.
Economics essays require succinct writing, well-elaborated analysis of sources and case studies, writing needs to have economic jargons and appropriate diagrams need to be drawn to illustrate and substantiate arguments. This will be difficult for students if they are struggling all alone. If you are retaking an economics exam, its best to seek help from an expert tutor.
For every other subject in Junior College, for example English literature, Mother tongue, and knowledge and Inquiry, the challenges are unique and students need to decipher where exactly they went wrong.
It’s never too late to ask for help, so, students need to get out of their comfort zone and push themselves. It may not be in your fabric to acknowledge what you don’t know or to accept reality; but life doesn’t pan out beautifully all the time. If you fail you’re A-Levels, take the necessary steps to move forward and don’t dwell on the past!