Econs For Private Candidates


Dear Private Candidates,


You have received your A level results and you clearly know that a CCC / C (& unfortunately, you also do not qualify to repeat your A levels in school) is not getting you anywhere.


For the girls. you have evaluated your options after reading my previous article and decided to give yourself another shot to redo your A levels as a private candidate. For the guys, you have took 1 gap year to cope with your military trainings and decided to retake your A levels after 1 year break.


Especially to retake Econs for Private Candidates, what are the potential challenges that are lying ahead?


1. Syllabus Change 


Especially for both H1 and H2 syllabus, the content and format has changed. For the new H2 syllabus – course code 9757, Cambridge has included new topics like adverse selection & moral hazard which were not previously covered and candidates caught in this transition may find themselves stuck between old and new syllabus! And for the new H1 syllabus – course code 8832, Cambridge has also scrapped the essay format and replaced it with 2 full CSQs (45 marks instead of 30 marks) instead.


2. Studying Momentum


We will further break this segment specifically into two halves, guys and girls.


For the girls – most of you will have done some fpart-timert time job from January (after your grad trip) and when results are out in early March, you would have probably forgotten 40% of the econs syllabus. For the entire march, you will probably be grieving over your results and when you have decided to sign up as a Private Candidate For Econs and the rest of your subjects, its probably mid of April and you realized that you only have approximately 6 months to catch up with 2 full years of syllabus! To make things worse, studying alone and after a long break literally breaks your studying momentum and most private candidates fare no better than the first time due to low motivation in studies.


Thus, it is really important to form your own study groups with your year 1 juniors (who promoted to year 2) / fellow private candidate friends to stay relevant with course syllabus as well as staying motivated to study!


For the guys – your difficulties compound further especially if you have to commit to National Service and tough military training. While most female private candidates redo their A- levels the following year and can commit a full 6 months to study full time at home, your busy NS involvement like National Day Parade may only allow you to retake your A-levels the year after. And by the time you redo your A-levels, syllabus have changed and you may have forgotten 80 – 90% of the econs syllabus!  The military environment will make things worse as your army mates will be busy playing games / sleeping in the bunk, making it uncondusive to revise Econs in camp. By the time you’ve booked out from camp, you will either want to spend time with your loved ones or exhausted from training and want to rest at home.


The momentum to study is simply not on your side and you need to be extremely self-disciplined in your revision!


3. Subject Combination


This is especially for Private Candidates who are attempting H2 or H1 Econs with no prior background – please do not mess with your existing subject combination and try out a new one! Do not underestimate the difficulties of “A” Level Economics as you will be competing with existing JC students with 2 full years of background & good school support of markings / consultations (some even have good tutors) vs yourself of zero background & zero support.


As your subjects are graded via bell shape, statistically you will be in a severe disadvantage as compared to them regardless of how smart you are. Sticking to your existing subject combination is your best bet!


To sum up, the odds are stacked against private candidates and they typically fare worse as compared to the first time without proper school support and lack of studying momentum.


If you are considering to redo your A-levels and enrol into your dream course in local university safely in your second try, with our proven track records of helping hundreds of private candidates and knowledge of all their struggles, we are your safest bet. We look forward for your application into the AYE family to rebuild your A-levels confidence with us. 🙂