From zero to hero

This StrongerHead encounter is about how I turnaround academically from being the worst student to becoming the top in school.

My primary school result was a disaster. Doing well academically is not in my dictionary. I never knew how to achieve it. I never believe I can even get close to being a top student. Was it humanly possible for me? In my primary school days, I’m always ranked among the last few academically.

Not surprisingly, the ranking follows through when I was in secondary one. After my PSLE, I got into Presbyterian High School (PHS), normal stream. Instead of taking 4 years to complete secondary education in the express stream, a normal stream will require an additional year. Oh well, just one year extra won’t kill.

My 1st year at PHS was a nightmare. My command of English sucks. Often failed to comprehend what my teachers were saying. I never knew there’s such thing as class tests, and common tests. I thought we only have spelling, dictation, mid year exam and final year exam. In Sec one, there’s neither spelling nor dictation. I was thinking to myself, “Isn’t it great! Less work in Secondary education. Just more subjects.” Thus, I never study for all the tests as I do not even know it exists, except mid term and final exam. My overall scores were once again below average. However, as I failed my English paper by 1.2%, I’m not allowed progress to secondary two. I FAIL.

It was a big blow to me. I failed to pull through to the ‘next level’ for the first time. On the first day back to school, all my friends were in secondary two, and I was with all the newbie who just finished their PSLE. Some of my ex-classmates were laughing at me. I felt totally humiliated. When I got home, I can’t help but to hide under my blanket and cry. I told myself, I must finish my secondary education the same time as my ex-classmates who laughed at me. In order to do so, I must pass my Sec one with flying colours, and get myself promoted to Sec two express stream. This way, I’ll take 5 years to complete my secondary education instead of 6 years.

Of course, no one believes I can achieve it. Especially my teachers who had dealt with me before. I never openly announced my goal to everyone. But there’s never a day I’d not remind myself about this goal before I turn to bed. This constant reminder pushed me to find a way to achieve my goal. I know I’m not a gifted child. I took the StrongHead approach in study. Whatever I do, I just have to do it doubly hard. Read my textbook not once, but several times over, until I understood what the book says. (Tip: When your mind gets conditioned to studying, the progress will just get faster. And time taken to revise your study will just get shorter.)

When the final year results were out, I did so well in all my tests and exams, not only was I promoted to Sec two express stream. I was top in class, and top in school among all the secondary one students at PHS. Life was never the same again. Instead of ranking among the bottom, I was always among the top students ever since.

Set your target and work for it. I’m sure you will taste the sweetest of success just as I did.