1. It's IB for me
When I first heard about the DSE, I thought the acronym stood for "Distressed Students Everywhere". At least that seems to be the case during exam season. Fortunately, I won't have to deal with the DSE; instead I will face the much-feared IB.
Henry Lui, 15, Sha Tin College
2. You did your best!
The DSE, also known as the "Definitely Stressful Education" system, is something I (hopefully) will never have to experience. Although the DSE plays an important role in deciding a student's future, the exam can be extremely stressful. So to those of you who are disappointed with your scores - don't worry, y'all did your best!
Julia Cheung, 15, Sha Tin College
3. More to life than DSE
I hate to say it but I don't like the education system in Hong Kong, where social status seems to determine one's academic achievements.
It is hard to judge a student's abilities based on a few exams. I also find the education system here doesn't focus enough on issues such as morality. There is more to life than good grades, and the DSE just seems to be another way to "organise" students. I won't be defined by the DSE.
Jack Mak, 17, Carmel Secondary School
4. Mark my words!
I'm not very familiar with the DSE syllabus because I don't study in a local school anymore. But one thing that really bugs me about the exam is its marking system. Why are there all these stars after Level Five? This is very confusing.
It would be much better if "A" was the top grade, followed by "B", and so on.
Jack Sun, 16, Sha Tin College
5. DSE's creative side
There's no doubt that the DSE is extremely tough. Students have a very hectic schedule, with revision and exams taking over their lives. As one of the thousands taking the DSE curriculum, I'm also under great pressure. But I'm fortunate to have at least one topic I really enjoy - liberal studies.
Although liberal studies is a really challenging subject, it has helped arouse my interest in important social issues. It's a sign that Hong Kong's education system is making progress, and does in fact have a creative side.
I believe that, in the future, many successful leaders will have studied under the DSE system.
Charlotte Chan, 16, Carmel Secondary School
6. Star tutors
The DSE has created a booming private tutoring industry. Lots of tutors gain fame and fortune by providing exam tips and model answers to students. Many students attend extra tutorial classes for all subjects.
The average fee for each course ranges from HK$500 to HK$700 a month. I feel sad that education has become a commodity in Hong Kong.
Crystal Tai, 18, SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School
7. Top curriculum
The DSE is great because it offers many different courses. With electives ranging from tourism and hospitality programmes to health care and social studies, the curriculum allows students to explore their passions during school. The IB should take note!
Pooja Antony, 17, West Island School
8. IB students' woes
Many people believe the DSE lacks the creativity and flexibility of the IB diploma, which is taught at many DSS, ESF and international schools. It is a myth that the DSE is more difficult than the IB. IB students have to submit essays, take part in the CAS (creativity, action, service) programme and many other projects, and make theory of knowledge presentations. They also have to deal with work experience, numerous written tasks, internal assessments, and tests. And this is all on top of their everyday curriculum!
Wincy Leung, 17, King George V School
9. Workplace boost
The DSE is good at developing students' memorisation skills and work ethic, both of which are valuable. Students will appreciate the exam when they start applying what they learned at school in the workplace.
Joshua Hung, 15, Chinese International School
10. Good luck!
The DSE seems really difficult and stressful, especially liberal studies and Chinese. There's no right or wrong answer to some questions, and it's very hard to make a persuasive point. So for this year's candidates, all I can say is good luck and all the best.