Retake A Levels


Dear Private Candidates,


If your “A” level results last year was disappointing, it usually means you can’t enter a local university or in some cases, not being able to repeat JC2 in school as you did not fail your GP unfortunately. Your options at this stage are to enter a private university OR retake A level.

And should you choose to retake A level this year, it means that you have set yourself for a tough journey. Statistically, 80% of the  Private Candidates fared worse in the second try and in case if you are wondering why, here are the top 6 reasons:


  • Some of your subjects’ syllabus have changed!  It means that whatever you have studied earlier may be obsolete due to a revised syllabus!


  • You haven’t been studying since the release of ‘A’ level results. By the time you’ve decided to retake your exams, it’s around April and it means that you have only half a year to prepare for a major exam. Especially for girls that are ‘borderline’ cases, your official rejection from a local university may only come in around  June / July Period, leaving you with only 4 months to prepare for a major exam;


  • Being out of touch of the exam syllabus is another big problem! Many of you will find it tough to revise yourself as you can no longer recall the exact answering requirements. Your JC teachers are no longer there to guide you too. You are left alone to fend for yourself!


  • For the girls, revising alone at home can be extremely challenging as you no longer have your classmates and teachers to push you. Many female private candidates simply slacken off in the later half of the year watching Youtube videos at home instead of studying;


  • For the boys, revising alone in NS is even worse. You have to struggle between your daily rigorous training & your night studies. Not to mention that your NS buddies have already cleared their A levels and will be constantly tempting you to “chill” with them in the bunk. Bad environment!


  • Stakes are extremely high – performing poorly is no longer an option as nobody studies A level for 3 years (you are actually better off taking a diploma!)


If you are not prepared to overcome any of these 6 hurdles, this year will be another disastrous year!


Tip #1 – Check your readmission date back to your ex-JC


If you have failed your GP or a H2 subject, all hopes are not lost yet! There is a cut off date for you to re-apply as a ‘Year 3′ back to your former JC (differs from JCs to JCs) and you should keep an active lookout for this date. Otherwise, you will risk having an ‘incomplete’ certificate!


Tip #2 – Check the criteria of Discretionary Admission (DA) into local university


As a recent shift of tertiary institutions placing greater emphasis on holistic selection practices for admissions (Straits Times April 2016), applicants with exceptional talents and/or outstanding achievements beyond schools’ co-curricular activities will be considered.

To break down what it means in layman form, it simply means that if you have a talent / hold a leadership position in CCA, if your RP is a borderline into the faculty/course of interest, just try your luck via the DA channel! You never know you can still enter a competitive course because of your outstanding contribution in sports or performing arts!

Here are the three important links you need to have:

  1. NTU DA
  2. NUS DA
  3. SMU DA

Oh one last sub tip under this, remember to collect a good testimonial from your school and relevant subject teacher! This helps tremendously!


Tip #3 – Form your own study group


If you do not fulfil the criteria for both repeating as a ‘Year 3′ or ‘DA’, you will have to enrol into a private university or consider the option to retake A levels.

And if you are retaking A levels, our last tip for you is to form your own study group with your juniors (in school) or fellow friends redoing A levels. This is because the process of studying alone is really tedious with no school nor peer support and many private candidates burnt out because of this lonesome journey, resulting in a poorer grade as compared to the first time.

Also, try to tap on your ex-teachers favour to provide you with free consults if possible as they are still in touch with the latest syllabus and can help you for free (that’s if they are willing)!

We sincerely hope that these 3 tips are able to help you to get into your desired course into university. However, if you fall under any of the following categories:


  • Not being able to repeat as ‘Year 3′;
  • Clearly know that your RP is not good enough for the ‘DA’ process;
  • Still wants to enrol into a good reputable local university;
  • Lost touch with your ex-teachers;
  • Your ex-teachers are not proficient in what they teach and you ended up in this situation because of them;
  • Can’t form a study group as most of your friends have proceed on to university / busy serving the nation
  • Needs a structured programme to guide you through your second chance