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After A-Levels: What to Do If You Didn't Get the Grades That You Want

When A-Levels Don’t Go As Planned: Navigating Your Next Steps


Feb 26, 2024

Receiving your A-Level results can be a defining moment in your educational journey. For many students, it’s a time of joy and relief, but for others, it might not bring the news they were hoping for. If you find yourself in the latter group, feeling disheartened about not achieving the grades you desired, breathe—and know that your future is not written in stone because of this one moment.

Singapore's rigorous education system sets high standards, and it’s natural to feel the pressure of those expectations. However, every cloud has its silver lining. We want you to remember that a less-than-ideal A-Level outcome is not the end of the road. It's simply a detour – a chance to explore alternative routes to success.

Reassess and Realign

Taking a step back to reassess your goals can be invaluable. Reflect on what’s truly important to you. Consider your core strengths, passions, and where you see yourself in the future. Is it directly into the workforce where you can learn on-the-job? Getting to practicality might just be the change in scenery you need.

Or perhaps it’s re-routing academically—looking into private institutions that offer diplomas or degrees that align more closely with your interests, or thinking about programmes overseas that have different entry requirements. 

Retaking Examinations

If you’re set on a particular course that requires specific A-Level results, know that it’s not uncommon for students to retake their A-Levels. Especially for highly competitive and academic courses like Medicine or Law, you’ll need a specific set of grades to get into any programme—within and outside of Singapore. This route demands resilience and commitment, but it can pay off if you’re willing to be strategic and put in the work to reach your goals. 

Tools such as prep courses or working with a professional coach could significantly enhance your chances of getting into the programme or figuring out alternative routes to your programme of choice. 

Polytechnics and ITEs

Another consideration could be exploring courses at polytechnics or the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). These institutions offer more practical and hands-on approaches, which could cater better to your learning style. Transferring from these pathways to a university course is also possible down the line, should you choose to pursue it.

Skills-Based Certifications and Apprenticeships

Leaning into certifications and apprenticeships can be the strategic pivot you need, if you would not like to enter directly into university first. They offer opportunities to start working and earn credentials simultaneously. Given that the job market now appreciates diverse experiences, vocational qualifications can serve as a robust foundation, offering strong prospects for career advancement.

Seek Professional Guidance

It's completely normal to feel uncertain about your next steps, and seeking guidance can be comforting. Icon provides services aimed at helping students like you. With a free, no-obligation consultation, you can discuss your results, aspirations, and options with experienced professionals who understand the system intimately.

To schedule a consultation, simply reach out to the team at Icon. They can provide clarity on your educational track as well as emotional support during this challenging time.

Looking Ahead with Optimism

We acknowledge that not meeting your A-Level expectations is tough—both emotionally and practically. Remember, this isn't just about plan Bs or Cs; it's about tailor-making a path that’s unique to you. Think of this as an opportunity to redefine what success means on your own terms. Where one door closes, windows swing wide open with possibilities.

While it’s normal to be disappointed, try not to let it overshadow your strategic planning. Though it may sound like a platitude, it holds true—you are more than your grades. Ability is malleable, and with initiative and guidance, you can mold your future into a form that fits you best. 

Embrace the challenge ahead with an open mind and a resilient spirit. Let this stumbling block be a stepping stone to a future that resonates with your individuality and ambition. Your journey is far from over—it's merely taking a new direction, and Icon is here to support you every step of the way.

The roads to success are many, and some are yet to be charted. Forge yours with confidence.


Founded in 1999 to provide comprehensive standardised test preparation and admissions coaching for students embarking on their university education.


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