The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination is administered by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority. Most candidates take four core subjects - Chinese and English languages, mathematics and liberal studies - and two or three elective subjects. Results are divided into five levels, with 5 being the highest. A Level 5 with the best performance will be awarded a 5**.
Top scorers shy away from Occupy Central
Most either oppose the democracy movement or say they've been too busy to find out about it
Most of the nine top performers in this year's secondary education examination oppose or do not know much about the Occupy Central movement.
"I won't participate in Occupy Central because I heard from my friends that this movement is illegal," said Angel Tsui Yan-kei, 18, the top scorer at Good Hope School. She scored straight 5** for her seven subjects.
"I don't want to be involved in something I don't entirely understand."
The organisers of the Occupy Central movement are planning to hold a mass rally in Central next July 1 to bring the area to a standstill, but details of the civil disobedience protest are still under discussion.
"I hope we can have universal suffrage, but any activity that will disrupt Hong Kong's economic activities is unacceptable," said Tsang Ka-hing, 18, from Queen's College. He obtained the school's highest score in his seven subjects. "I don't think I will participate in Occupy Central, because I'll be busy with my schoolwork by then."
Four other top scorers from different schools were unwilling to comment on the topic, saying they did not understand the event. One confirmed they would not participate in the protest.
Occupy Central organiser Chan Kin-man said he was not surprised by such responses from the top scorers, believing they would not have had time to focus on political events while preparing for the examination.
"The idea [of Occupy Central] was raised when the exam took place. Schools wouldn't have discussed it much," said Chan.
"I think many schools wouldn't dare to discuss it much in the current political climate and with pressures from different parties."
He said schools had the responsibility to let students know about the movement and the concepts behind it such as democracy and civil disobedience.
Terry Tsz Cho-ho, the top scorer at the Federation of Youth Groups Lee Shau Kee College, said he supported Occupy Central but was not sure whether he could take part amid a busy study schedule.
"I can't understand why the government doesn't listen to the people," said Tsz, who marched on July 1 last year, calling for universal suffrage. "I'm surprised the government hasn't collapsed given all the dissatisfaction with its performance."
Erica Wong Nga-yee, 17, Ying Wa Girls' School's top scorer, said she admired the Occupy Central organisers.
"I very much appreciate that there's a group of people with their own principles and goals," she said. "They're not paid … and have a high risk of losing their jobs, but still they are out fearlessly fighting for something."
Wong took part in student group Scholarism's protest last year against the introduction of the highly criticised and now shelved national education subject.