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Choosing for Themselves: What’s next after the N-Levels?

22 Dec 2020

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Azraa binte Shah Mohiuddin’s familiarity with her secondary school is a big reason she wants to progress to Secondary 5, instead of ITE.

Secondary school has given these students a wealth of experiences. Now armed with their N-Level results, they are ready to embark on different paths. By Don Shiau.

For some, time is a consideration. For others, it’s interest. But one thing is for sure: these N-Level students understand themselves well, and their time in Chua Chu Kang Secondary School has given them clarity on what they want to do next.

Azraa binte Shah Mohiuddin wants to study biomedical sciences in a polytechnic. Based on her results, her teachers have suggested that she apply for the Direct Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP). But Azraa has a different idea about how she'll get there.

"DPP is two years in ITE, versus one year of Secondary 5," she explains. "Also, I think am more comfortable with the school environment here, and I like the teachers." So she'll be wearing her uniform for a while more.

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Vikki Yap's father would have preferred she took Mobile Robotics in school, because "everything is about technology nowadays". But the Normal (Technical) student is certain that she is not interested in computers.

Instead, she took Elements of Business Skills, her school's other offering for N(T) students. With the skills she picked up, she secured a place in an ITE business course via the Early Admissions Exercise in August this year.

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Jaclyn Yeo, on the other hand, jumped at the chance to do Mobile Robotics. She wanted it enough that she declined school’s offer to transfer her to the Normal (Academic) stream after she topped her class in Secondary 2. To her, remaining in N(T) to assemble robots was more than worth it.

Her parents weren't thrilled about her decision, but Jaclyn asserts: "I've visited ITE many times through my N(T) classes and Robotics CCA. I'm more of a practical student than a theory student, and what ITE students get to do looks very fun to me."

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N(A) student Lydia Sng is "elated" that she did well enough to qualify for the one-year Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP). After completing that, she hopes to pursue a diploma in health sciences or pharmacy.

"I come from a family of O-Level students," she says. "I wanted to prove to them that even if I take N-Levels, I can have a very bright future".

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Tan Shi An came oh-so-close to his dream of getting into the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) and going on to study mechanical engineering. Alas, he met all the requirements except for his grade for N-Level Mathematics.

He remains undeterred. He has been assembling a portfolio consisting of his Design & Technology projects in school, as well as things he's built for his Robotics CCA. He's even spent his holidays working at his father's SME, learning to use tools and work with machinery.

"I already got a place in ITE through the Early Admissions Exercise," he says. "That means that my portfolio is good enough for ITE at least. This has given me more confidence for my DPP application. If I get it, I hope I will do well enough to be able to transfer to poly later on."