Before you rush to private tutorials for your HKDSE, think about how helpful they really will be

By Amanda Leung Sze-man, Leung Shek Chee College

Many students sign up with a tutor, especially before public exams, but they don't necessarily consider what they hope to gain from the lessons

By Amanda Leung Sze-man, Leung Shek Chee College |

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Private tuition is big business in Hong Kong.

I would like to give my opinion of the private tutoring culture in Hong Kong.

Because of the city’s exam-focused education system, we see a lot of students rushing to private tuition centres after school. They believe celebrity tutors can help them get good results in the HKDSE by getting them to remember key points, guessing the trend of exam questions, and showing the fastest way to solve problems.

While students pack their schedules with private tutoring courses, they don’t think about whether the lessons will actually be good for them.

The students’ intentions may be good but most of them don’t think about whether private tutorials will actually help them when they pick the courses. Some follow their classmates blindly, while others take too many courses.

I sincerely hope they plan their time wisely and select the right courses in their bid to get good grades and a place at university.

Amanda Leung Sze-man, Leung Shek Chee College

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Amanda. Hong Kong’s tutorial centres may offer short cuts to good grades, but learning is not only about sitting exams and gaining admission to university.

I agree that celebrity tutors might help students to score higher marks in exams, but relying too much on these “superstars” is not a good thing. Then students might never learn to solve problems on their own, or think independently and critically.

Also, students should not choose to attend tutorial centres just because their friends do. The HKDSE causes great stress for students, so going to “cram schools” can ramp up the pressure. It might be better to study at home, especially if they are doing well in school.

A good school-life balance is very important for students, too. Many often focus on academics at the expense of things such as relationships, a healthy diet, and exercise. Your physical and emotional well-being plays a big role in your academic performance.

Also, you should have some fun, for example, watch a movie, meet up with friends, or read books, newspapers, and magazines.

Learning should be a lifelong journey, in which we absorb new knowledge and adapt to changing environments.

There is no easy route to success. Such a way of thinking can leave us largely ignorant and unable to cope with the bigger challenges in life.

M. J. Premaratne, sub-editor

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