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**.
A-level students rejected by Hong Kong universities
Students who repeated the now-defunct A-level examination this year say they were "trapped" by the government, and are unable to study further even though some of them got two or three A grades in their exams.
They say that before the A-levels were replaced by the Hong Kong Diploma for Secondary Education (HKDSE) their marks would have placed them above a "cut-off line" for admission to a degree programme.
But they have discovered this is no longer the case and say they may seek help from the Ombudsman if they cannot get satisfaction from the government.
The 32 repeaters were caught in a no man's land after failing one A-level subject last year and were allowed to repeat it this year - the final year before the exam was phased out in July.
They were not allowed to apply for degree programmes through the Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS), which is now only for candidates of the HKDSE exams, but they could apply through a system known as Non-JUPAS.
They say they assumed the system would work as before and they would be accepted if their marks met the standard.
But they have found their marks do not necessarily qualify them, even though some have an average score across the two years that would once have been regarded as outstanding.
"The Non-JUPAS admission system is not transparent," said repeaters' group spokesman Fish Yu Ka-wai.
"We want the government to negotiate with universities so they'll judge our applications solely by the cut-off line."
Yu said if the government did not give them a satisfactory answer they might ask the Office of the Ombudsman for help.
The group said the Education Bureau encouraged them to apply through Non-JUPAS without warning them of the risk. Most applied for degree programmes late last year, but some were rejected even before they got their results.