HKDSE 2019: What to do if your exam results aren’t what you were expecting

Whether you score higher than you thought you would, or don't get the grades you need for your preferred course, don't worry - there are still plenty of options for further study

Wong Tsui-kai |

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On July 10, you may be among the students nervously awaiting their HKDSE results. It’s a daunting day for everyone, but it can be especially tough if you aren’t feeling confident about your grades.

Young Post spoke to Ng Po-shing, a consultant at Hok Yau Club Student Guidance Centre, for some advice on what to do if the worst case scenario happens.

Ng says this year’s university admission standards should be similar to last year, despite fewer applicants this year. “Students with a score of 19 or higher should have a high chance of getting a university place,” he says.

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If you have got the expected grades (or even done better than expected), you might want to be more aggressive in your subject choices. You can make changes to your Joint University Programmes Admissions System (Jupas) programme choices during the time slot allocated to you on your Jupas account. It will be some time between 10am on July 11 and 6pm on July 13. 

But if your score is lower than 19, you may need to look at other options beyond the UGC (University Grants Committee)-funded programmes at Hong Kong’s eight biggest universities.

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Ng notes that the Open University (OU) and Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions / Sectors (SSSDP) Programmes are great alternative options if your score is around 16-17.

Self-funded degrees are a possibility, too, but Ng points out that these programmes still have some minimum grade requirements, such as a Grade 3 or above in Chinese and English Language.

If you’re thinking about enrolling in an alternative programme and later transferring onto a UGC degree programme, Ng says an Associate Degree might be a better choice than OU or Shue Yan University, as a high percentage of students go on to graduate with a full Bachelor’s degree.

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The admissions standards for Associate Degree programmes vary depending on the school and subject. Popular courses such as nursing or engineering may be harder to get accepted onto. Programmes at schools that are directly linked to universities, such as the University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education (HKU Space), may also be more competitive.

These schools tend to be popular due to their high rates of students going on to university, says Ng. He adds that there is a good level of course overlap. “For example, PolyCC design courses are similar to PolyU design courses,” he says.

Vocational training courses and diplomas, such as the Yi Jin Diploma or VTC diploma courses offered by the Vocational Training Council, IVE, THEi, and HKDI, are also an option.

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Under the Qualification Framework set by the government, these courses fall under Grade 3 qualifications, which means it is possible to climb up to a Grade 4 Associate Degree, and then a Grade 5 Bachelor’s degree.

Ng’s advice is to make the choice that best suits your needs. “Interest should come first. ‘Going up’ depends on your GPA [during your programme], so you need to do well,” he says, pointing out that getting good grades is hard when you aren’t interested in what you are studying.

“Students should look further than just needing to pick something. They should consider their career or job aspirations, and their personal interests. Having a degree for the sake of it is not that advantageous.”

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge