N levels: Struggling student finds friends, teachers who support her
Secondary school turned struggling student's life around
In primary school, she struggled to study as illegal moneylenders banged on the door of her home at night to terrorise her dad for borrowing money from them.
Her parents also went through a divorce when she was in Primary 5. As a result, her grades suffered and she scored 159 for the Primary School Leaving Examinations.
Sandy Koh, 16, told The New Paper: "In primary school, I would go to school late often because I couldn't care less. I hung out with bad influences that would ask me to smoke or hang out late with them."
After enrolling in the Normal (Academic) stream at Serangoon Garden Secondary School (SGSS), Sandy met friends who turned her life around.
"In SGSS, I met much nicer people, they were nothing like my primary school friends. My best friend, Toh Qiao Juan, would always encourage me, be it personal or school issues," she said.
When she was in Secondary 2, she started to take on part-time jobs during the weekends and after school, to pay for her transport, meals and other expenses.
"My father handles everything alone. I thought about how I could make life better for him," she said.
"It also meant I had no time to do homework because I would come home late and I would be tired."
But when she scored 18 points for her preliminary examinations in July, it motivated her to put extra effort into studying for the N levels in September.
Sandy said: "I'm very thankful to my teachers who motivated me, especially my mathematics teacher who turned my hatred for the subject around."
Her form teacher in Secondary 3 and 4, Miss Chew Kai Qing, 27, said: "I'm very proud of Sandy because she's come a long way.
"I remember at the start of Sec 3, she cried a lot because she couldn't get used to being in the top Normal (Academic) class. But I encouraged her to open up, and I see a lot of leadership potential in her."
Sandy scored 13 points for her N levels and qualifies for promotion to Secondary 5. She will take her O levels next year, and hopes to go to a polytechnic afterwards.
N levels, by the numbers
75.2 per cent
The percentage of the 12,305 students who collected their Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) N-level results who did well enough to be promoted to Secondary 5. They will go on to take the O levels next year.This is a marginal increase from the 74.9 per cent last year.
99.6 per cent
The passing percentage of those who took the exam from the Normal (Academic) stream, similar to last year's 99.5 per cent.
97.1 per cent
The percentage of the 5,470 Normal (Technical) stream students who passed, an increase from last year's 96.6 per cent.