To my ex-students: The truth about the ‘A’ levels.

(This was written by Ivan Gn, an ex-colleague of mine and has been edited slightly for style.)

I wanted to use a S'porean/Asian picture but everything I got from 'getting exam results singapore' looked so subdued!

I know that many of you are having the jitters about the impending release of the ‘A’ level results tomorrow.

So am I, for I – like you – have no idea what your results are like.

Nevertheless, I want to share with you some things I learned since I took my ‘A’ levels.


Tomorrow, you might find that you did well for your ‘A’ levels. Or you might not.

Either way, I hope you accept the reality of your results as they are and deal with it maturely.

Cry. Tears of joy; tears of sadness – let it all out. It was a tiring two years (for some, three). At the very least, you deserve a pat on the back for sticking it out.

You may not do well for the ‘A’ levels, but you’ve gained many other things like friends who will be there for you for the rest of your life.

If you do well, be the pillar of strength for the friends who haven’t. They need you now.

But remember – this isn’t the end. When the tears have been wept and the emotions have died down, all of you will need to find the strength to take the next step.

So don’t be left behind. Don’t let the results of an examination run your life.


Many of my friends who didn’t do well for the ‘A’ levels turned out to be the most successful in life.

One of them is a millionaire running his own business. The other is a social worker who was featured in the Straits Times some years ago doing “the most fulfilling work of her life”.

Many of them are earning more than me, or are living a happier and a more carefree life, simply because they had a great attitude and wanted to succeed regardless of their results.

They never gave up, even though they didn’t succeed at the ‘A’ levels.

They all took different paths to success, many of which might be unfamiliar to you right now.

University and higher education might not be your options tomorrow – but neither are they pre-requisites of success.

Some of these ‘failures’ worked hard in night school and worked hard to earn their dreams.

Others took it upon themselves to build an empire instead.

A few decided that life sucked and lingered in the darkness.

Who will you be?


If you do well, be humble and remember that a piece of paper is by no means a ticket to success either.

No one really cares about your results beyond the university you apply to or your first job offer.

Compared to your peers, your results might open more doors. But whichever doorway you step through is a very important choice.

Ask yourself what you want in life, and do something you’ll enjoy. Life’ll be more fun and meaningful down the road.

Don’t read a subject just because it’s cool or because your parents want you to.

Make an informed decision about your choice of course and live with it. From here on, no one is going to babysit you like we did.

Enjoy your life in university.

Do things you never had a chance to do, or things you never will do after you graduate.

Because this might be your ONLY chance to do these things, don’t live to regret not doing what you could’ve done.

Be open; make more friends; see the world.

Have a good attitude and if anything, remember these words from someone who’s been there and done that – things will always turn out fine.

About the author

Laremy Lee

A versatile educator, writer and editor, Laremy Lee (李庭辉) has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation in Singapore who crafts compelling stories in different genres.

View all posts