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Before you panic over your ‘A’ Levels results

Soe Thura Htun

“Before you panic over your ‘A’ Levels results, think again. There are actually various options besides a local university route… like the one I took after my Chemistry results were less than ideal.” - Soe Thura Htun, Foundation Diploma in Engineering (Full-time) by PSB Academy

Studied: Foundation Diploma in Engineering (Full-time) by PSB Academy

If some JC students awaiting their ‘A’ Levels results are losing sleep and appetite over whether they would progress smoothly to their next course of studies, ponder again about the range of available options. Soe Thura Htun, 23, embarked on the private education pathway, which is proving to be no less viable than his original intention to enter a local university.

Tell us about the course you are pursuing at PSB Academy.

I started my Foundation Diploma in Engineering in June 2013, which will allow me to progress to the 2014 intake for the Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering), awarded by the University of Newcastle, Australia. This Foundation Diploma is essential for me to build my post-‘A’ Levels foundation in modules such as Physics & Mathematics. In addition, PSB Academy’s Foundation Diploma has an English module which enhances our report writing and presentation skills – something I find extremely useful. I spend an average of three to six hours daily on-campus for my full-time course. 

Why did you choose this private education route and why PSB Academy?

It was unfortunate that I did not do as well as expected in my ‘A’ Levels, particularly in Chemistry which eradicated the possibility of my plan to pursue a Mechanical Engineering Degree in either NUS or NTU. This did not discourage me from exploring other possibilities to pursue my passion in Science and Engineering. So, I am glad I found this Foundation Diploma in my online research.
PSB Academy, from what I gathered, has a pool of knowledgeable and committed lecturers who come with their industry experience and are generous to share their resources with students. I also feel assured by the ample preparation in place for us for the subsequent Degree programme, especially after my two-year hiatus serving National Service.

We have an impression that Engineering is actually not as easy to grasp, so why this passion in Engineering?

The element about Engineering that resonates with me is how this field is so intricately-connected to everyday life. For example, a layman may see a radio-controlled toy car, but an engineer will be able to appreciate the finer works of how this machine operates and be inspired to devise ways on improving it. 
I find it an advantage that PSB Academy houses well-equipped Engineering and other labs, at the disposal of students to put to practice what we learn in theory. We are also guided by the lab personnel who are great mentors, generous in their sharing of knowledge and useful tips about the industry. 

What would you advise fellow ‘A’ Levels students whom we know are waiting for their results now?

I recall the first emotion most of my classmates and I felt was "panic". On hindsight, I would say that we could have done a lot more than panicking. Firstly, consider possible fields of study you have an interest in. From this list, shortlist the universities you have a chance at enrolling in, after checking against your ‘A’ Levels grades. I personally feel it is crucial not to forget why we opt to pursue a tertiary education in the first place – which for me is to gain knowledge and widen my horizons. It should not be solely a pursuit of a paper certificate.

What are some plans you hope to fulfill in future, especially after all the knowledge and skillsets you are amassing now?

I am currently working on a personal project of building fundamental electronics like Quadcopters and simple robots. I am definitely hoping to be able to construct greater machines in my future career!