Every Tutor Was Once a Student (Part 1)

During my secondary school days, there was this girl in my class who was notorious for some of her misadventures. She was also not only the last in my class in terms of academic results, but she was the 2nd in the whole level, from the back.

You don’t need much imagination to guess what she scored for her Math at that time. You got it. F9. That was in Secondary 1 and 2. In Secondary 3, she ended up being my partner whom I sat next to in class, as arranged by our form teacher. From speaking less than 3 sentences in the first two years of our Secondary days, we grew closer and eventually spent much of our Secondary 3 and 4 years together.

During our ‘O’ levels examination, this girl turned up late for her Additional Mathematics paper. She was not just 5 or 15 minutes late. She was late for an entire hour. Guess what? She finished the paper earlier than the girl beside her and obtained an A1 for that paper. By the way, Additional Math is a compulsory subject in our school, regardless of the grades you obtain in Sec. 2.

I have another story to share with you.

This time it’s my personal story. I came from a neighborhood Primary school and excelled in Math. Eventually I obtained an A* for PSLE Math and got into a good girls’ school. From then on, it was disaster for me. I failed every single one of my Math test… Can you imagine how terrifying it was for me, the model student, to go from straight As to straight Fs? For every test that I failed, we have to sit for a re-test until I pass. Strangely, I would always do well for my re-test.

Eventually, I figured out the pattern and devised a strategy for myself. Whenever I sat for a test, I would always repeat to myself, “This is a re-test. Just take it as a re-test.” And it worked! I started getting the kind of results I would get for my re-tests for my actuals tests! From then on, I never had to take another re-test, and sailed straight back to As.

What’s the point of me sharing these two stories with you? Stay tuned and I will reveal in my next article!


By Tan Hui Ling

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