There were both tears and celebrations across Hong Kong yesterday as students received the results of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) examination.
Eleven students - six boys and five girls - achieved top scores in seven subjects in their DSEs.
They are among 74,131 students who received their results yesterday. Last year, the number of top scorers was 12.
The 11 top performers came from eight secondary schools on Hong Kong Island, in Kowloon and in the New Territories.
The eight schools are Shun Tak Fraternal Association Leung Kau Kui College in Tuen Mun; Hong Kong Taoist Association Tang Hin Memorial Secondary School in Sheung Shui; St Paul's School in Lam Tin; Hong Kong University Graduate Association (HKUGA) College in Wong Chuk Hang; Queen's College in Causeway Bay; St Mary's Canossian College in Tsim Sha Tsui; King's College in Sheung Wan; and Diocesan Girls' School in Jordan.
Two of the 11 are from HKUGA College - Melody Tam Lok-man, 18, and James Kwok Chun-kan, 17. "I think the DSE system can be a little freer, in terms of subject choices," said Melody. "The system is a bit stressful; it would be better if extra-curricular activities could be counted as points." Melody plans to study pharmacy at either the University of Hong Kong (HKU) or the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
"I think all Hong Kong education systems are stressful, and the DSE is quite similar to A-levels," said James. "DSE is still a new system, so it needs time to adapt."
St Mary's Canossian College is another school which boasts two top scorers - Wong Chi-yiu, 17, who plans to study psychology at CUHK, and Vienna Chin Hoi-yiu, 18.
Like Vienna, most of those who got the top grades are planning to study medicine at HKU or CUHK. Eighteen-year-old Queen's College student Lam Ming-tuen, who got eight 5** and a 5* in music, the highest scorer this year, is one of them. When asked about his studying tips, he said he goes by the Latin phrase labor omnia vincit, which means "work conquers all". Cheung Tik-fung, also at Queen's College, was another student who got top grades.
Young Post's editor wants you to know that you are NOT a failure if your scores were lower than expected - this is just one day in your life
Another top scorer planning to study medicine in Hong Kong is Chan Lok-pong, 17, from King's College. Lok-pong, who scored seven 5** and a 5*, is also thinking of studying natural science abroad.
"It is a struggle between a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and what I want to do," he said. He credits his top score to his discipline.
The head prefect at Diocesan Girls' School, Lau Hiu-ching, 17, got seven 5** and also plans to study medicine in Hong Kong.
Edward Ko Tsz-ngok, 17, from Shun Tak Fraternal Association Leung Kau Kui College, is also pleased with his top results.
His studying tips are "treat failures as lessons".
The other top scorers include Stephanie Wong Hoi-shuen, 17, from St Paul's School in Lam Tin, who got seven 5** without going to any after-school tutorials.
Chung Yik, 18, from Hong Kong Taoist Association Tang Hin Memorial Secondary School, is the first top scorer from the school, with seven 5** and a 5* in liberal studies. But he wants to appeal his liberal studies result because he thinks his handwriting affected his grade.
Though Wong Chak-kui of La Salle College "only" scored four 5**, he's also in the spotlight because he's only 15 years old, the youngest student to score that high. He also scored a 5* in liberal studies. When asked about his thoughts on the protests last year, Chak-kui said he felt students had a responsibility to study. "Going to Occupy Central won't help you with your liberal studies exam."
Chak-kui skipped two grades in Creative Primary School, but he doesn't encourage students to skip grades. He said it was his parents who requested that he skip grades.
About 40 per cent of candidates achieved the minimum scores required to enrol in local undergraduate programmes. The percentage is similar to last year, which means about two pupils will compete for each of the 15,000 undergraduate places provided by the eight local public universities and institutions.