About 150 students opted for the ultimate challenge and took eight subjects in the first Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams - but the public will not get to hear about how they performed. Education chiefs say they will not release statistics on the number of students who achieve the top 5** grade in five subjects or more because the exam is part of a reform process designed to change the entrenched mindset in Asia that puts exam results before all else. The results are due next Friday, with most of the 70,000 students having taken six subjects, the minimum needed for the most prestigious university courses. 'People should not chase after those who get the top grades any more. Exams are not the end. There are multiple pathways to success,' the acting chairman of the Examinations and Assessment Authority, Stephen Hui Chin-yim, said. The diploma replaces A-levels, which were run for the last time this year, and the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Exam, which used to be taken in Form Five. It is part of a decade-long reform process under which secondary education is reduced to six years and university courses extended to four years. The authority is are braced for a large number of requests from students to have exam papers regraded. Students should know what grade they should reasonably expect and consider carefully how likely it was that their results would be better after a re-evaluation, the authority's Christina Lee said yesterday. Competition for university places is expected to be fierce as the last batch of A-Level students and the first diploma graduates enter higher education. However, the number of A-level candidates who requested that their results be revised in the hope of improving their chances was only slightly higher than last year, at 15,684. All students had to sit papers in English, Chinese, mathematics and the new subject of liberal studies. The most popular of the elective subjects was economics, which 20,000 students sat. Exam officials will delay the release of results for a day in the event of bad weather, for example if a typhoon signal No8 or black rainstorm warning are hoisted in the morning and remain up at 1pm.