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Post-A Level Students Unable to Qualify for Desired Courses

Increased chances of getting accepted by strategising your applications after A Levels. Learn how to navigate the admission process & explore alternatives.


Dec 15, 2023

Post-A level students unable to compete for their desired courses at local Universities should keep their eyes on the prize and re-strategise their applications rather than settle for an alternative course or completely give up, advises ICON+ Education.

ICON+, a scholarship and university admissions expert that has supported over 30,000 students in the last 23 years, urges students to view the academic setback as an opportunity to re-strategise, rather than to give up on their dreams altogether. 

Seraphine Ann Chia Headshot






While Singapore’s university admissions process is now more holistic compared to 10 years ago, it is still heavily dependent on one exam, whether the A Level or equivalent. The stakes are extremely high. We have seen students underperform because of the immense stress.

Seraphine Ann Chia


The entry criteria for popular courses such as Medicine, Business and Computer Science are such that students have no room for error on their A Level exams. This concern is an on-going debate between educators and policymakers – the balance of talent, diversity and inclusiveness in our higher education institutions.

 To students who remain convinced of their calling, Ms Clarice Chan, who founded ICON+ Education in 1999, says: “View the setback as a small blip in your career journey. Learn from the experience and review your options. There are many paths that lead to the same destination.” 

One option is a gap year, in which students can strengthen their profile by retaking their exam, completing additional courses and gaining relevant practical experience. 

“One of our students solidified his interest in pursuing Medicine only during his NS. He secured clinical attachments and volunteering activities in the next 1 year. We then coached him to consolidate these experiences into a powerful application,” shares Ms Chia.

The student eventually received offers from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at NUS and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at NTU.

While school fees and living expenses factor significantly in studying abroad, parents and students are advised to deliberate beyond finances. Additional admission tests may be required in such cases. For example, the SAT, ISAT and LNAT

School values, culture and curriculum can differ tremendously and mismanaging fit will impact one’s return on investment. Additional considerations in school selection include: the intention to work in Singapore post-graduation, openness to dividing time between two or more campuses, remote learning options and campus safety among others.

If  the A Level is inadequate to apply for their desired course at an undergraduate level, students can first take up a related course and pursue their desired study at a graduate level. For instance, those interested in becoming doctors can explore options such as Biology, Biomedical Science and Life Science.

“With strategic planning, students can still achieve their dream career, even if it takes a little longer,” adds Ms Chan.








(This News Article is also published on PRWeb)


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


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