Thousands of fifth-formers will miss the chance to sit mock exams organised by a youth group as a warm-up for the real thing this year. The Hok Yau Club, which has organised mock Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations for the past 13 years, said it would suspend the exams because it had failed to secure permission for them from the Education Department. Since the exams are regarded as a form of teaching the department needs to grant an exemption. Ng Tak-kay, director of the club's student guidance centre, said it was registered as a non-profit-making organisation, not a school. 'Over the past 13 years no one has complained and no one has told us we should register with the department to organise mock exams. We were shocked to hear the news recently,' said Mr Ng. 'We tried to apply for an exemption of licence as the mock exams have been run for so long and proved useful and popular with students, but we were rejected.' In April last year about 11,000 students took the mock exams held at two local universities and eight secondary schools. Candidates paid $40 to $65 per subject. Yu Law Siu-man, senior education officer, said the club was not previously stopped from holding the mock exams because the department was unaware of the details. Ms Law reiterated all teaching activities must be held by registered schools. The department announced it would streamline this year's procedure for Form Six admissions. The existing five-stage procedure will remain but stages I and III would each be shortened to a half-day operation. 'Such an arrangement will allow students who cannot secure a Form Six place in their own school to apply to other schools earlier and therefore ease their anxiety,' said a department spokesman. Students with 14 points or more can apply to their own or linked schools at the first stage, and to other schools at the second stage. Those with minimum advanced-level entry requirements can apply to their own or linked schools at the third stage, and to other schools at the fourth stage. Students who still fail to secure places can apply for central allocation at the fifth and final stage.