N-level students overcome personal adversity to get top marks
Two top scorers beat adversity in their personal lives to be among the best N-level students this year
While living at the Singapore Girls' Home, Nursyawalliah Rahmat would often secretly study after lights-out, using the light from outside her dorm room or a night light.
It was a dramatic change of attitude from someone who, before the age of 12, had picked up smoking, drinking and inhaler abuse.
It got so bad that her step-mother filed a Beyond Parental Control report and admitted her to the home, where Nursyawalliah spent three years of her life, from 2015 to this year.
But it was also during her time there that she decided she was no longer going to disappoint anyone, much less herself.
Nursyawalliah, 17, started attending Bartley Secondary in the second semester as a Secondary 3 student in the Normal (Academic) stream last year.
Her determination to turn her life around received a boost yesterday, when she found out she had scored nine points at the N-level examinations.
She was among the 14,632 N-level students who received their results yesterday.
Now, the plucky teen has dreams of returning to the Singapore Girls' Home as a welfare officer to give back to the community that helped her grow.
Said Nursyawalliah, who was discharged from the home about three months ago: "It was an officer there who really motivated me, she believed in me and never gave up on me even when I caused trouble and got into fights."
Nursyawalliah, one of the top N-level students at Bartley, now hopes to study psychology. She intends to apply to the Polytechnic Foundation Programme, a one-year foundation programme to prepare students for entry into the relevant polytechnic diploma courses.
Another N-level student who did well was Vivan Ching, 16, a Normal (Academic) student from Assumption English School.
Vivan, 16, who scored 12 points, recalled her heartbreak when her father died of a heart attack when she was 11.
With her mother sometimes returning from work only at around midnight, she had to juggle studying and helping out at home with her three siblings.
She managed so well that she won the Edusave Award three years in a row.
Tearing up as she spoke about her father, Vivan said: "I had a hard time trying to accept the fact that he was not in this world any more. I miss him very much, and I want to do well for him."
She said that while she was stressed out in the lead-up to the N-level exams, her family, friends and teachers were always there to help her.
Vivan, who hopes to study business, plans to apply for the Direct-Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme.
The programme prepares Sec 4 N(A) students for progression into selected polytechnic diploma courses via a two-year Higher Nitec programme at the Institute of Technical Education.
"My father excelled in his studies during his school years and I wanted to be like him.
"I believe that giving my best in school would be the best gift for him," she said.
More students pass N-level exam
The N-level results were released yesterday.
Out of 9,917 students from the Normal (Academic) stream, 99.5 per cent passed the exam. This improves upon the 2017 passing rate of 99.4 per cent. Of these, 76.9 per cent students are now eligible for promotion to Secondary 5, up from 76.6 per cent last year.
Those promoted obtained an aggregate not exceeding 19 points in English, mathematics and the best three subjects and at least a Grade 5 for all subjects used in the computation of the aggregate.
Of the 4,715 students from the Normal (Technical) stream, 97.5 percent passed the exam. In 2017, 96.6 per cent received a passing grade.
- NUR SYAHINDAH ISHAK