2021 N-level Success Stories
Cruz Abiel Aquino [4T1]
Abiel achieved 3 distinctions and scored 5 points for his EMB2 and emerged as one of the top students for the 2021 N level examinations, qualifying for lateral transfer to the Normal Academic Course.
When Mr. Sherwin Cheng presented the list of students who have done well, Abiel did not expect to be one of them. He shared that he was truly surprised to have received a special mention.
“I have not been doing well academically since the start of Secondary School,” he shared. On top of his academic struggles, Abiel also had to face a fair share of discipline cases. The turning point for Abiel came when he decided that he ‘wanted to have a good reputation.’ He felt that it was more important to manage how he carried himself – even if he was still not doing well. This conviction to place character first had a profound impact on his learning attitude thereafter.
To make good the promise he made to himself, Abiel pushed himself to work hard. He served as Class Chairperson, and was also known for good work ethics that was marked by hard work, perseverance and humility. His teachers and friends who noticed his efforts, encouraged him. He exhibited Honour through his dedication in improving his academics and his skills as Bowler. He also exhibited Humility in the way he was receptive to feedback. He would always reflect on his mistakes, which led to him maturing and changing for the better.
His Form Teachers described Abiel asa student who displayed maturity in his thoughts and actions. He was known to be a self-directed learner who put in consistent effort to improve himself. The most striking aspect of his work attitude was the self-effacement with which he approached learnt from mistakes. His admirable learning dispositions and resilience paid off.
These affirming gestures and words from the people around him in turn, spurred him on, and helped him sustain his determination. After all, there were moments when he found himself giving in to laziness and lapsing in focus. As he reflected on his bumpy journey, he recalled how he had needed to constantly push himself to work harder to make up for lost time.
It was a significant moment on the day of the N levels when he realized that he could finally revel in the rewards of his hard work. Abiel expressed his gratitude for his years of education in Swiss Cottage.
Cruz Abiel Aquino has always had aspirations to become a film producer. If his school life were to be featured as a movie, it would depict a good ending for him in Swiss. He hoped to pursue a video production course in the Institute of Education.
Lim Jia Ying Jacelyn [4T1]
Wonderful. That was the word Jacelyn’s Form Teachers used to describe her.
She scored 4 points and achieved 6 distinctions to become the top student for the 2021 N level examinations. In 2021, she was also the recipient of the prestigious Rudy Mosbergen Scholarship, an award that recognized her for being the top all-around student in the Normal Technical course. The list of accolades and stellar results must have felt – wonderful.
Overcome by the exceptional outcome of achieving distinctions for all her subjects, the student deeply expressed her how ‘happy and grateful’ she felt. In an unassuming manner, she also shared that she did not expect such good results.
Jacelyn shared that even as the pandemic posed challenges for her in her learning. She however told herself that the last few months in her Secondary Four year was merely the last stretch in her four years in Swiss and that thought propelled her to work even harder than before. Her advice to her juniors was to stay ‘focused and attentive in classes’ and to ‘ask for help’ whenever they had any questions about any subject.
She recalled how she always had help from her teachers when she needed to clarify her doubts. She attributed her success to her teachers, family members and friends who stood by her when she had difficulties in her studies.
On top of her academic goals and focus in her final year, Jacelyn was also a student to made time for service to school. She had honed her leadership qualities through the many opportunities that came her way. She served as Class Chairperson and Environment Champion Coordinator. In all, her teachers describe her as a student who exhibited Honour by being a responsible and resilient individual with a positive learning disposition. She also exhibited Humility by always being ready to improve her competencies, and taking everything in her stride.
When asked about the way forward, she shared that she planned to pursue her education at the Higher NITEC level in Accounting.
Nakeisha Grace Chong [4T1]
Nakeisha was a natural leader with a drive to excel. She served as a Staff Sergeant in NCDCC and as a Student Councillor. And at the GCE N Level examinations, she emerged with stellar results of 5 points for her EMB2, including 4 distinctions – qualifying for a lateral transfer to the Normal Academic course. Overcome with joy, she shared that she glad and relieved.
During the course of the year, she recalled how she often felt stress and anxiety from thinking that she had not been studying hard enough, so she often overworked herself. During these stressful moments, her friends and parents would assure her that her mental well-being should always come first.
Her teachers described that she exhibited Humility by displaying a strong sense of empathy and civic-mindedness. She was always concerned about the welfare of her peers and juniors. They added that she honoured all responsibilities given to her and carried them out to the best of her abilities.
The grateful student shared her appreciation unreservedly. “I want to thank my teachers and classmates for being there for me and constantly having my back! I am really indebted to have such supportive and loving people by my side!”
Nakeisha learnt from her own journey with overcoming stress and anxiety that it was pacing herself and loving herself more that mattered. Interestingly, she discovered that once she was able to let go of unnecessary anxiety, it actually freed her to get down to doing what needed to get done, saving her precious space and time.
Nakeisha shared that as an NT student, one of her self-doubts came from feeling compared to students in the other streams. It is hard not to feel that way. But she also recognized that there were many things in her favour and she was grateful for those. For example, she found that like students in other streams, there were opportunities like the EAE that validated her aspirations and strengths.
“The EAE interviews really motivated me to do better and prove that although we don’t have as many subjects, we NT students can still do well and are worthy of the same respect other streams get.”
Nakeisha felt that it was important for her to be a role model for her peers in the Normal Technical stream. She wanted them to see that if she could do well, so could they. She felt strongly that this positive self-belief would make a difference to them.
Having a keen eye for Art, Nakeisha shared that she had a deep desire to pursue studies in the area of architectural technology in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Expectedly, she hopes to be an architect in the future.
Chng Sen You Corwin [4N1]
As cliché as it sounds, dreams do come true.
When asked about how he was feeling, Corwin immediate response was that he felt like he was dreaming. He shared that he could not believe that he had done well and was extremely pleased with his results. He achieved an EMB3 of 7 points and 5 distinctions for the 2021 N level examinations.
Corwin was known as a student who was mature and sensible. Corwin also served as Station Inspector in the National Police Cadet Corps, exhibiting strong leadership and responsibility. During class lessons, he was participative and would willingly share his insights – which never failed to liven up the exchanges among peers. He would drive to do his best in all his endeavors. He had a deep personal aim to achieve the goals that he had set for himself and to make his family members proud.
Besides being self-directed in managing his own goals, Corwin demonstrated the humility and willingness to learn from peers and teachers. He also exhibited honour by adhering to deadlines and by being helpful to peers.
Corwin shared how one defining moment in his academic journey was when he looked at his decent mid-year examinations results and told himself to believe that he can do even better. Sincere steady progress, the candid student confessed that his greatest fear during his academic journey was losing motivation and being unable to meet his own expectations.
To overcome moments of weaknesses during his pursuit of academic excellence, Corwin worked hard to sustain the momentum that he gained, and to stay focused on his goal to score well enough to qualify for any course he wanted.
Corwin has not decided on his desired course of study. But he was sure that he would definitely apply for the Poly Foundation Programme. He thanked his teachers for guiding him through these four years and he will definitely miss his friends who stood by with him through thick and thin.
Chua Bing Rong Zachary [4N1]
The interview with Zachary was filled with saccharine notes. He remarked that he was ecstatic but could not help feeling surprised by his results as he had not expected to do that well for his examinations. He had achieved an excellent score of EMB3 results of 10 points, including 5 distinctions.
Zachary served as Staff Sergeant in National Civil Defence Cadet Corps (NCDCC) and was known to be organised with a keen eye for detail. He was also one who was eager to render assistance to classmates who were in need. He exhibited Honour by adhering to his commitment to others to make things happen, and exhibited Humility by asking useful questions to enhance his understanding and knowledge.
As a token of appreciation, Zachary wanted a shout out of gratitude to his teachers. He thanked all his teachers who journeyed with him, especially Mr. Heng who was both his Form Teacher and CCA teacher. He attributed much of his academic achievements and character growth to the guidance of Mr. Heng. He also singled out Ms. Faith who taught him Elective Geography Elective for helping him achieve his goals.
He recalled sweet memories about his teachers’ encouragement. He shared how on the last Elective Geography lesson before the second phase of the N Level exams, his teachers, Ms. Faith Wang and Ms. Tan Rou Jing bought bubble tea and stickers as gifts to encourage them. He received a sticker that said, “Motivation is what drives you. Attitude is what determines how far you will go to achieve what you set out to do.”
Though he was not one to read too much into chance episodes like that, nevertheless, the meaning and positivity gleaned from the encouraging sticker was far-reaching. He shared that the seemingly casual moment motivated him, and he pushed himself – at least to not let his teachers down. “I reflected and asked myself what I really wanted in life. And I knew I wanted to make my teachers and parents proud. And so, I just pushed myself for those few months.”
Even so, Zachary feared that he might run away from challenges instead of facing what he needed to do or a scenario where his peers were pushing themselves, and he ended up complacent or overconfident. These were undesirable possibilities and Zachary tried to stay the course by being disciplined. “Although it was very difficult to get used to the new routine that I had set for myself, I encouraged myself to go on,” he explained.
The gratified Zachary shared that he was still undecided about his course of study but added that he was inclined to pursue nursing as a vocation. We wish Zachary all the best for his future endeavours!
Jacob Wong Wen Le [4N2]
Jacob struck a figure of self-assurance when he was asked about his excellent results. Jacob scored 5 points for his EMB3. The confident but humble student shared that he was ‘genuinely and pleasantly surprised’ but ‘not too taken aback’.
“I knew what I was capable of; I was more worried about careless mistakes than my ability to do well,” Jacob reflected.
He was also not afraid of sharing that while he had the fear of failure, he was also quick to become cognisant about how he could overcome them. He shared practical tips for academic excellence with his juniors, and it started with self-awareness. He believed that understanding one’s own method of learning and using the method which works best for one is the answer to making progress.
Like many students, Jacob faced his fair share of challenges when pursuing academic excellence. For example, he revealed how he had found it difficult to focus at times when the hours of studying and duration of lessons became longer. Inevitably, towards the examination period, this was an unavoidable reality.
In Jacob’s view, the secret to resilience came down to one word – motivation. Motivation was the driving force for him to persevere for the success he desired. Jacob shared that he believed that so long as you have a strong enough reason to achieve something, success will no doubt be within one’s reach.
Someone who was looked up to by his juniors, Jacob was a leader who served as a Troop Leader in Scouts. He exhibited Honour in his dedication to his CCA and through the submission of quality school work. He also exhibited Humility in the way he showed care for his peers and rendered help to them.
When asked what advice he would give his juniors, Jacob quipped, “Well, I think you must go experiment and find out what you think works for you, and eliminate what does not.” He elaborated, “Taking the time to understand what was taught worked for me. For example, I knew that memorizing chunks and chunks of information was not for me – because until I knew what something meant, it would simply not stick in my head,” he elaborated, before adding, “And we should not think of examinations as some complex problem.”
Jacob plans to continue his education in Swiss Cottage in 2022 for his Secondary Five year, following which he intends to further his education in a junior college. When asked if he had advice for his juniors, Jacob had this to say: “Believe that it is possible to do well, and just put your mind to it!”
Lui Yu Kai [4N1]
Yu Kai shared that was over the moon about the 5 distinctions that contributed to his excellent EMB3 score of 10 points. A picture of jubilance, he was elated and proud to see that his hard work had indeed paid off.
Yu Kai also shared that he had many things on his plate, other than his studies. He found the going actually quite tough. He recounted how he had to struggle to juggle between his academic commitments and his responsibilities as the former Vice-captain of the school’s Floorball team in Secondary 3. When he felt that he could not cope, he reached out to his teachers and others who cared about him.
He thanked his teachers for offering assistance to him whenever he needed them the most. He shared that the support from his peers, teachers and parents was the key factor that continued to feed his confidence and motivation to work hard.
“Without them supporting me and advising me, I would have lost sight of my goals for my future. I may have never attained the success that I have today,’ he reflected seriously.
Yu Kai was remembered by his teachers as a polite student who injected positivity during lessons through his enthusiasm and rendered help to his classmates. He exhibited Honour by being honest with teachers when he discussed issues, which helped him build trust and work towards improvement. He also exhibited Humility by respecting the needs of his classmates.
Yu Kai recollected a particular defining moment from his graduating year. He remembered receiving his mid-year examination results which were, in his words, ‘far from ideal’. It was followed by a fleeting but significant flash of realisation that he has to work very much harder to achieve the grades that he had wanted. Not daunted, he decided he could not afford to look back. Instead, he accepted that there was more to master and that fact became the push to focus better, re-examine methods and strive for deeper learning.
A firm believer in the humility to reach out when you need support, Yu Kai has this to say: ‘To all my juniors, do not give up even when things become difficult because there are always people to talk to and get support from! Believe that you can do it!’
He has plans to pursue a course in Business Studies in Ngee Ann Polytechnic and eventually start his own business upon graduation. He has some words of advice for his juniors before he ended the interview:
Matthew Anthony Style [4N2]
“It’s the little victories that come our way that matter,” quipped Matthew – who scored an EMB3 9 with 5 distinctions.
Like many of his peers, Matthew had a bag of responsibilities. He served as Staff Sergeant in National Civil Defence Cadet Corps (NCDCC) and as a Safety Ambassador. As responsible student, he exhibited Honour through the dedication that he showed to his CCA and in the submission of high quality of his school work. He also exhibited Humility by displaying his willingness to learn and by being receptive to feedback.
Matthew shared that success comes from the small successes that one gains along the way. He shared how he had scored full marks for his mathematics Weighted Assessment 1 (WA1), and how it was an important milestone in the many little steps he took towards the national examinations. Matthew recalled that the incident was instrumental in giving him ‘newfound confidence’ in himself.
“I challenged myself to attempt harder questions so I could be sure I wasn’t getting ahead of myself and so that I could be prepared for anything,” he shared pragmatically.
When asked about how he had succeeded in achieving 5 distinctions and an EMB3 of 9 points, Matthew shared that he took the initiative to clarify his doubts whenever he was unsure about any topic. He did this consistently for all his subjects. This openness to clearing up uncertainties in timely ways allowed him to ensure that he had a good level of understanding of each discipline – which helped in to consolidate larger bodies of knowledge and skills as time progressed and volume of learning multiplied.
As a reflective thinker and learner, Matthew also shared how he had assiduously read through his practice assignment pieces to see where he had made mistakes so that he will not repeat them again in the next test or examination. Hi teachers described him as a highly participative who would inject positivity during lessons to encourage peers to stay focused and learn well.
“I feel proud of my achievements because I actually felt uneasy about how I would perform after my examinations. I was happy that I had done much better than I had for my preliminary examinations,” shared a delighted Matthew.
Matthew would be keen to pursue his studies in either biomedical sciences or pharmaceutical research, which are areas of study that he has a keen passion and interest in. Matthew thanked all teachers who have made his success possible and hopes that he has made them proud.
Muhammad Akif Taruna Bin Jafataruna [4N1]
‘Ecstatic’ was the word that Akif used to describe how he felt after receiving an EMB3 of 8 points and 6 distinctions. Elated, he thanked his parents, teachers and friends for their unstinting support which contributed towards his success.
“When I received back my prelim results for all my subjects, I know I could have done better,” recollected Akif, when asked if there was a defining moment he could share. He added, “During the few months before the N level examinations, I pushed myself very hard. The goal was to perform better than the Preliminary Examinations.”
Akif recounted how holding three leadership positions during his Secondary Three year was not an easy task. He served as a member of Floorball team, Student Council and the House Executive Committee. He often found himself struggling to complete his assignments and study for his tests amidst a busy schedule.
“I knew I needed time management and a healthy mindset to manage all commitments. I needed to free up time. So during any free period that I had, I would take the time to work on subjects I was weaker in, such as Math and my Sciences. This move meant that I could delegate time for other subjects so that I could revise all my subjects fairly,” he reminisced.
Akif was described by his teachers as a highly participative individual with positive learning attitude. He was also known to be proactive in seeking help for self-improvement. In fact, he exhibited Honour when he showed perseverance and followed through plans. For example, his strategy of prioritising the study of mathematics and science which were his weaker subjects definitely paid off in the end. •He also exhibited Humility by asking useful questions to improve understanding and knowledge. He made steady progress that culminated in the happy results he received in the N levels.
Akif aspires to work in the medical field to save lives and help others in need. He shared that he has plans to either apply for the Biomedical Science course is Singapore Polytechnic or the Nursing course in Ngee Ann Polytechnic through the Poly Foundation Programme (PFP).
“To all my juniors, cherish your time in Swiss cause because you will miss it,” quipped Akif, who believes in making the most of the time one has, to fully engage on the opportunities that come in one’s way.
Yong Haiwen John [4N1]
Haiwen was a picture of joy and satisfaction as he shared how managed to obtain an EMB3 of 8 points including 4 distinctions.
He attributed his success to his consistency in revising what he had learnt in school every single day. He cited how he would stay in school till evening to revisit a concept such as covalent bonds in Chemistry so that he can reinforce his understanding of it. He also shared that he chose to study in school as he felt that it was a conducive environment that allowed him to be highly prolific. He explained, “I was away from distractions like my computer, I could study more productively without being distracted.”
Haiwen shared that another key reason for his success was his desire to pursue passion in an aerospace related career. “I have a passion for airplanes. And when I saw that some polytechnics offered aerospace courses, I was excited and I set my goals to get the desired grades to land a chance of applying for the aerospace programme.’
His quest for academic excellence was not always a smooth journey, but Haiwen persevered. Like many students, Haiwen shared that one of his greatest fears was falling short of his expected grades. He recounted how he was shocked when his mid-year examination results fell short of his expectations. He could not allow fear of failure to get the better of him. He went back to the drawing board to work on his revision methods, and he redirected his focus, working on more practice papers to give himself the confidence to do well.
Besides his self-directed attitude in the academic domain, he also contributed to the school by serving as Staff Sergeant in NCC (Air). In all areas, he exhibited Honour by doing the right thing even if it was difficult or inconvenient. He was also commended for his Humility in the way he actively self-reflected for self-improvement.
On the happy day of his results, Haiwen also had some words of thanks for his teachers: “To all my teachers, thank you all for teaching me and guiding me to achieve what I have today. Thank you!”
Haiwen was very clear about his desire to pursue his studies in aerospace engineering. He shared that he would like to be either an air force engineer or work in the aerospace department in Singapore Technology Engineering.
Introduction: Key quotes below photographs (own thoughts about studying and growth) what is the key quote and idea. Stand and hold a photograph. Standing beside certain backdrop. Group photograph. PMC photograph.