Should you repeat A levels? [Advice]
Every year, many students consider the idea of repeating A levels. After getting rejection letters from local unis. Should you do it?
Repeat A levels: This is a difficult exam!
The Singapore-Cambridge version is really hard. And there are many brilliant students every year. So re-taking A levels is a risk because there are many cases where some students see their grades stagnate or even drop.
Unfortunately, you cannot cherry pick the better grades from each of the exams. It has to be taken as a whole.
Because it is so stressful, I generally advice students to NOT do it. Even if this means I lose potential students who may enrol into my class.
Repeat A levels: I can’t get into med/dental school
Let me try to break down the reasons why some students consider retaking.
The chief of which is that they are not able to qualify for NUS, NTU, SMU’s most competitive courses. Medicine for example requires straight As and rank points of 85 and above.
And many students are not able to hit that level to shortlist for admissions.
Unfortunately, these students ignore the fact that there are numerous options overseas with easier admissions criteria.
In addition, there’s a scheme by MOH that seeks to attract Singaporean medical/dentistry students overseas back to Singapore via a pre-employment grant.
In this scheme, MOH is willing to pay a lump sum to get students back to Singapore to practice. Here’s more information about it.
The large sum of money helps to bring down the costs of an overseas degree.
Yes, medical and dentistry courses are extremely competitive even overseas. But there’s yet another way to gain admissions. Get an offer to a basic science degree and subsequently gain entry into graduate medical/dentistry programs. These science courses usually have even lower admission criteria!
Australian universities also offer 1 year foundation programs you can enrol into, sit for the exams and then enter directly upon fulfilment of their exams. Generally far easier than the Singaporean version.
I hope you begin to realise now that there are many options. If you look around hard enough, there are plenty of alternatives.
Repeat A levels: What if I still want to repeat?
For those students who absolutely have to repeat A levels, it is doable. I have a few students who have done it and aced the exams.
So here are a few suggestions for you:
Do you really really want it? Are you willing to put in an inhumane amount of effort to get there?
Don’t go further if your answer is no!
I see some of the NS guys who come to me after work and I can see the life drain from their faces. They try but find that the effort needed is far beyond what they can commit to.
If your answer is yes to both questions above, let me ask you this question next.
Are you going to repeat the pattern and way you study to improve your grades? If you are, then you’d likely be wasting another year.
Things have to change drastically and you need to seek out what were the shortcomings and improve upon them. This is the only way to improve your grades in the next attempt. Finding tutors that have the ability to provide targeted help is of utmost importance.
You may find this checklist useful in narrowing down which tutors to go to.
Repeat A levels: A tip to make repeating A levels easier
Local universities can actually consider H1 subjects from another sitting.
If you have done well for an H1 then you only need to focus on your remaining 3H2 subjects plus GP.
This way, you reduce a significant amount of workload prepping to repeat A levels.
For those who decide that this is a necessary path, I’d be crossing fingers for you.