What to do if your A-level results are bad …

It’s ok if you cried at first, because chances are, you are below 21 and legally, you are still a child. But let that be for just one day, and no more after that. The past is over. You cannot change your past, but you can still influence your future.

(1) Do not blame others. The first step in making any kind of improvement to yourself is not to blame your teachers, your tutors, your notes, your handphone etc. Blame yourself. It was YOUR show. Only YOU can fail your self and only YOU can make your self succeed.

(2) Reflect on yourself. What went wrong?

(3) Search and find your true self. What are your real interests? What is your passion?

(4) Plan your next course of action. What can you do with poor A-level results? Here are some options:

(a) Redo your A-levels. If you didn’t get an overall pass, redo it in your own JC; you’d still need the right environment and the support. If you obtained a bad pass, you will not be allowed to redo it in your JC, yet you will not be given any place in any local university. So you either self-study, get tuition, or enrol yourself in a private school like SLA or MDIS College. But re-taking A-levels will not bear fruit unless you do steps (2) and (3) above properly; if you continue your bad habits and bad strategies or you simply did not like the subjects you were taking, it’d be very hard for you to be self-disciplined and to maintain focus. You don’t get different results by doing the same things the same way over and over again (in fact, Einstein called that kind of expectation, “insanity”).

(b) Go overseas (if you have the money or get some kind of sponsorship, loan or bursary). Do the SAT and go to the US, or do a foundation year in Australia and move up.

(c) Apply to a local polytechnic to get a Diploma (but make sure you do steps (2) and (3) carefully first). With a good poly diploma, you can still get into a local university. But I think you should apply to a poly using your O-level results instead (it worked for some students before). With a poly diploma, you may even apply to be admitted directly into the 2nd or 3rd year of a recognised overseas university. REMEMBER THAT MONEY IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR. IF YOU HAVE TALENT OR PROVEN ACADEMIC ABILITY, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A SPONSOR.

(d) If you have poor A-level results but very good O-level results, you might want to apply to the NIE to become a teacher; either you will be allowed to do a degree course or you might have to become a non-graduate teacher first before moving up later. Remember that a non-graduate teacher can become a graduate teacher via the Open University Degree Programme run by SIM. But the non-graduate teacher scheme is gradually being phased out.

(e) Apply to SIM to get a Diploma in something you like. Some SIM Diplomas are sought after by employers.

(f) Apply to a private education provider like MDIS, Kaplan, Stansfield or PSB Academy to get a Diploma or if you have two A-level passes, you might still get to do a degree course. But bear in mind that these degrees or diplomas may not be recognised by the Singapore government. But if you intend to work in the private sector, it should be alright.

(g) If you are tired of studying, work for at least two years first and when you reach 21, apply to SIM University (UniSim) if you have two A-level passes. UniSim degrees are recognised in Singapore, even by our government.

(h) If you want to be an accountant, self-study for the exam conducted by the ICPAS.

(5) Take action. Strategise. Gather resources. Believe in youself and your abilities. Adopt the right values and attitude. Set your short-term and long-term goals clearly. Write these down somewhere. Be positive, and be with positive people.

You see, there are so many ways to move on. Do not let setbacks affect you too much. Pick up and join back the pieces. Get up if you are down. Don’t go anywhere near Bedok reservoir (oops!). Spend time with your loved ones instead. Remember these lines from Miley Cyrus’ song (if you don’t hate her of course):

“But I gotta keep tryin’
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb.”

Do not worry about being left behind as your friends move forward. Chances are, you are going to live for another 60 years or so. When you look back someday, it wouldn’t matter that you ‘lost’ one or two years somewhere along the way. Setbacks happen to everybody; I had my fair share of failures and setbacks. How we respond to these setbacks matter.

If you still feel down, then please watch this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOlTdkYXuzE. It might help you a bit. : )

Good luck!

Best Regards,


Related page:   A-Level Results: What to do if you get BAD or DEAD, i.e., the ‘middle class’



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