What else have I done? Find out here.

What Else Have I Done?

Beyond teaching classes on the weekends, being part of the team that guided and assisted aspiring authors to get their books off the press, and being author of my own books, there is one more – well, it’s actually two more, but since their natures are one and the same, I will just take it as one – thing that might be noteworthy to you.

In 2015, realising that there might be a gap between theory and practice, I decided to take on the O Level English exams as a private candidate to test if the strategies I teach to students actually work on the battlefield.

So there I was, at 43 years of age, taking the Singapore-Cambridge GCE O Level English exams as a private candidate at the then Hong Kah Secondary School.

In a case of classic buffet mentality, I also registered as a private candidate for the Singapore-Cambridge GCE A Level General Paper exams, since I was also tutoring a couple of students for the subject.

Logic Behind My Move

As a teacher and tutor, it is all too easy to comment, criticise, suggest to my students how to improve on their grades.

But the truth is, nobody really knows if the strategies really work – unless we put them to the test.

Of course, there were odds that were in my favour.

As an ex-English teacher and tutor, I had the powers of the English language that were already ingrained in me – and presumed of me.

Yet, as an ex-English teacher and tutor, I was more accustomed to setting exams rather than taking exams.

In fact, the last time I had properly set for an exam was probably in 1997, so speed and training were really not on my side.

But I am experienced in the different ways that Cambridge can actually test us, so I was kind of prepped for the game.

What If I Failed?

One common question from my students in 2015 was:

What if you fail, Mr Lee?

To which, I would always answer:

If I fail, you should just quit my class. You shouldn’t be learning from a guy who can’t even manage a pass.

Remember what I mentioned earlier? That language prowess was assumed and presumed of me.

It would be understandable if I didn’t manage a distinction, since I would be lacking in ground experience after years of separation from exam-taking (which remains a nightmare for many adults).

But failing? That would be incomprehensible.

How It All Started

As I have frequently said, I am not an original thinker. Many of my ideas and actions have been and are inspired by other people.

In November 2012, I saw an article in the Straits Times about a group of teachers and tutors who taught the General Paper (GP), and taking the exams to test the practicality of their strategies.

I decided to do the same, and that has – at least to me – given me bragging rights ever since.

You can have a glimpse of the Straits Times article below, just before the evidence of my results.

Nothing to Prepare?

For students out there who think that there’s nothing to study for English, let me just say this:

I took about 3 months to prep for O Level English;

I took about 4 months to prep for A Level General Paper. – Lee Lin Cher, 1972 – present (LOL; I am beginning to enjoy this.)

Of course, I didn’t do it every day, but I did something every now and then, every now and then being about once a week of uninterrupted preparation.

If you go into any one of these 2 exams without any preparation, I must say – you are more pro than me.

I should be learning from you instead.

Kudos to Tutors Who Do This Every Year

I did this in 2015.

At the point of writing this page of the website, it is already January 2024.

It’s going to be 10 years soon, and I am still flexing about the thing that I did close to 10 years back.

Close to 10 years ago, while making my way to the exam hall for the O Level English Oral exams – yes, I had to undergo oral exam as well – I met another English tutor who was lost trying to locate the exam venue. When he asked me if I knew where the exam hall was, I asked him if he was going as a candidate or examiner.

He replied “candidate”.

He was slightly sheepish about his intentions, and when I questioned him further, he became evasive.

There was no way this guy was a candidate, and that was when I realised I wasn’t that rare after all.

I had the benefit of spotting more of me during the written exams – both for the O and A Levels – and that was when I realised that there were and are many tutors out there who are deadly dedicated to their craft.

I have only done it once and I keep flexing; but there are tutors out there – not just for English but for every other subject tutorable – who put themselves through the grind, year after year, to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the subjects examined.

That also explains why the solutions for some papers can appear online immediately after the exams.

The tutors were there, in the exam halls, with the students that year, fighting hard in the papers and memorising the questions and solutions at the same time.

I don’t know what you call this.

I call this dedication and commitment.

Kudos to you the tutor if you are one of these mythological figures I have just described.

(But unlike myths, these figures actually exist.)

The Straits Times 11 November 2012

Source of My Inspiration

Glimpse of the Article Published in the Straits Times on the 11th of November 2012.

So How Did I Fare?

A picture speaks a thousand words.

Here are 7 pictures, so I guess I have seven thousand words here?

Sensitive information like my address and NRIC number has been redacted.

Enjoy!

O Level English 2015 Entry Proof

Entry Proof O Level 2015

O Level English 2015 Results Slip

Results Slip O Level English 2015

O Level 2015 Certificate

Cert O Level 2015

JAE 2015

JAE 2015

LOL. laughing I actually qualified for the Joint Admissions Exercise in 2015. Except that I couldn’t go for the junior college option, since I had already attended it in 1989. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has very meticulous records of our results.

A Level General Paper 2015 Entry Proof

Entry Proof A Level GP 2015

A Level General Paper 2015 Results Slip

Results Slip A Level GP 2015

A Level 2015 Certificate

Cert A Level 2015

Contact or TikTok

Thanks for putting up with me. I guess I am done tooting my own horn.

You can decide for yourself if I am the one for you.

If I am relevant to what you or your child wants to achieve, feel free to reach out, via the button below.

If not, you can always watch TikTok, which is way more exciting than to read about an old man with his crazy exam odyssey.

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