Congratulations on receiving your A-Level results. We are extremely proud of you for completing another milestone! Some of you may be thinking of having another go at the A-Levels, be it retaking just one H1 subject or the whole A-Levels, and we applaud your courage for that. To register as a private candidate with SEAB, you must not be studying in a junior college in the same examination year. Should you want to sit for science subjects with practical components, you must have sat for the same science subject previously. Otherwise, you must attend a course of instruction in Science practical at any school. Check the link here to see if SEAB offers the subject that you wish to take as a private candidate. Registration will open from Monday, 28 March to Friday, 8 April 2022. 

Retaking the whole A-Levels as a private candidate

Sitting for the whole A-Levels independently and without any teacher to push you might feel a little daunting. However, with great willpower, it is possible! There have been students who retook the A-Levels and witnessed a great improvement in their rank points. 

Since you have many subjects to take, you should start preparing for the exams after you have registered for them. In the beginning, it would be wise to look through your prelim papers and practice papers that you have done to see what are the concepts that you are unfamiliar with. Write them down and remember to place greater emphasis on these concepts when you are revising content. If you need help, do reach out to your past JC tutors politely. Let them know that you are retaking your A-Levels and they should be happy to help! Otherwise, you can contact seniors, friends or sign up for tuition classes. It is critical to grasp the concepts well and build a strong foundation before moving on to practice questions. 

Additionally, look at the learning style that you adopted during JC and question whether it was efficient. If it was not, it would be good to change your learning style quickly. If you are a visual learner, try using diagrams and flashcards to help you. If you are an auditory learner, try saying the things you want to memorise and answer questions out loud. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you can try walking around while memorising, or doing hands-on activities to help you remember difficult concepts. You can also try active recall, where you look at the learning objectives of each chapter, and see if you can answer them. To beat the learning curve, try spaced repetition where you revisit the same content every now and then. This will help to lock the concepts better in your memory.  

Once you have strong content knowledge, move on to doing practice papers. Trying practice questions are really important because it tests whether you actually understand the content, and it assesses your ability to apply your knowledge. At the start, you may not be scoring as well as expected, and that is normal! You will need to take time to get used to the answering techniques since it has been a few months since the A-Levels. Take note of the questions that you are always answering wrongly, and place greater emphasis on mastering similar questions. If you are having trouble answering with the appropriate keywords, it will be good to highlight those keywords in the answer keys, compare them with your answers and take note of the keywords that you always miss. Make a conscious effort to remember those keywords and write them when you see similar questions or questions asking about the same concept. After doing many practices, you will start to realise that the style of questions asked are rather similar and the keywords examiners are looking out for are rather repetitive. There will still be some niche questions that take up 1-2 marks though. If you have the time, create a bank of niche questions and revise them every now and then, and before your A-Levels. 

In addition, do not push yourself too hard and do several practice papers every day, especially when the A-Levels are still quite far away. You certainly do not want to hit your peak before the A-Levels and burn out while taking the examinations. Listen to what your body needs and take breaks when necessary. Of course, do not use burning out as an excuse to procrastinate. If possible, find yourself an accountability buddy, be it a parent, sibling or friend. Ask them to check on you if you have completed the tasks that you planned to complete every week. 

Retaking one H1 subject

Did you do well enough to enrol into university, but just a few rank points shy away from the cut off point of your desired course? Retaking a H1 subject may be able to help you meet the cut off! For example, if you want to enter NUS Law, but received a C for GP, you can retake H1 GP and if you score an A or B during your retake, you may be able to meet the requirements for NUS Law. Here is the NUS Office of Admissions’ stance on combining grades from different sittings of the A-Levels. 

“If you are applying for Law-related course(s) and did not obtain at least a B3 (for old syllabus)/B (for new syllabus) for General Paper (GP) or B in your Knowledge & Inquiry (KI) (for new syllabus) in your first sitting, you may submit the improved GP grade from another sitting to qualify for application to this course.  However, the GP or KI grade obtained from the first sitting will be used for admission consideration.” 

Alternatively, if you want to enter NUS Medicine, but did not hit the cut off, you may want to retake one H1 subject and if you get an A during your retake, you may be able to get an invite to the interview round. 

“For admission consideration, we will consider your grades for GP/KI and 3 H2 subjects attained at one sitting of the A-level examination. Only the H1 content-based subject, H1 Project Work (PW) and H1 Mother-Tongue Language (MTL) subject can be of a different sitting (if this is presented, we will use the grades of these 3 H1 subjects attained at the earlier A-level examination). If you decide to retake any of the H1 subjects (excluding H1 General Paper), the best H1 subject grade will be taken into consideration for university admission.

Click here for more information on combining results. 

Last but not least, we wish all private candidates all the best and we hope that you will receive your desired results! Put in your best effort and you will eventually see the fruits of your labour :) If you need any help with acing your A-Levels, just enrol with us!