An 18-year-old schoolboy yesterday became the first Hong Kong student to score seven straight As in his A-Level exams. Law Ka-ho, a science student from Queen Elizabeth School, Mongkok, clinched the record total by studying for two extra exams - Economics and Applied Mathematics - by himself at home with no formal tuition. The previous record was six. Ka-ho said he chose to take so many subjects because he did not want to give up Applied Mathematics and Economics, which were not taught at school. He said the secret to getting good results was regular study and getting enough sleep at night. Describing his hobbies outside study, he said he liked surfing the Internet and reading books about maths. 'I love activities that make me use my brain,' he said. Three students gained six As and seven got five. One of those with six As - Anastasia Liu Yung-tsin, 18, from the Diocesan Girls' School in Yau Ma Tei - said of her study skills: 'Concentration was . . . very important while skilful note-taking plays another key role.' But she complained: 'Students nowadays are exam-oriented and they pay too much emphasis on recitation. There is no close relationship between the teachers and the students.' A total of 34,669 candidates took A-levels this year, but 51.3 per cent failed to meet the minimum entrance requirement for universities - a pass in Chinese and English, as well as at least two other subjects. About 65.2 per cent of all candidates passed both the Use of English and Chinese Language and Culture exams. Of those eligible for a university place, about 2,300 students with less satisfactory results are out of luck because there are only about 14,500 places available. Universities may admit students based on non-academic merits, regardless of their A-level results. Students have another chance with three community colleges opening at the University of Hong Kong, Baptist University and City University in September, offering almost 3,000 extra places in total. They can pursue an associate degree in the two-year programmes at the self-financed colleges which charge about $30,000 a year. The colleges have no entrance requirement as long as applicants have completed Secondary Six and Seven. Jennifer Ng, acting principal for Hong Kong University's community college, said her office had more than 600 applications. 'Some students are applying with quite good results while others are less satisfactory,' she said. 'But we don't look at results alone. Results are one thing but other aspects, such as common sense, interpersonal skills, languages and how a person thinks, are more important.' City University and Baptist University also reported enthusiastic responses. Hok Yau Club, which operates a help line for students, has received at least 50 calls with most expressing distress over disappointing results.