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­­­Can social media help students study? The answer is yes, says Hkdsegayau, a platform to share DSE study tips

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  • In recent years, Hong Kong’s education landscape has seen a boom in young content creators helping pupils prepare for the city’s university entrance exam
  • Hkdsegayau, a study tips sharing platform, was founded by Zoe Poon in 2017 to share strategies for tackling the Diploma of Secondary Education exam
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Hkdsegayau has more than 14,000 followers on Instagram. Photo: Handout

The public exam pivotal to Hong Kong students’ university admissions, known as the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exam, is a tough nut to crack. Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, candidates face more pressure than ever.

Against this backdrop, previous high achievers on the DSE exam have come together to extend a helping hand to local students, hoping to guide them through difficult times.

From voluntary teaching programmes and informative YouTube videos to microblogs on Instagram sharing techniques for tackling the public exam, there are now countless ways for pupils to seek academic assistance.

Hkdsegayau is one of these platforms. It provides study tips, revision notes and other useful information for its 14,000 followers on Instagram. Team members also occasionally share personal stories and struggles from their secondary school years.

To help those struggling with the uphill battle of DSE exam preparation, this group explains tactics for effective studying and methods to stay motivated.

“Students in senior forms often feel like they are in an endless cycle of getting up, studying and going back to sleep,” said Zoe Poon, founder of Hkdsegayau. “Sometimes, sleep isn’t even an option – it’s not unusual for students to pull an all-nighter just to cram more knowledge into their heads.”

Given that secondary school students often complain about the overwhelming amount of quizzes, homework and school-based assessments they receive, Poon’s observations are not unfounded.

“Having sat for the HKDSE exam some years back, we’ve gone through the ordeal ourselves,” she said, adding that she and her team members were “survivors of the excruciating public exam”.

“It all began a few years ago when I opened an Instagram account named Hkdsegayau and started posting revision tips,” the founder explained. “I was sitting at my desk, reading my own HKDSE exam script when the idea struck.”

Hkdsegayau is a publisher of revision notes for the DSE exam, specialising in the core subjects of Chinese and English Language. Photo: Handout

Hkdsegayau has proven to be a blessing for students, many of whom would have been at a loss without guidance from past candidates.

“Social media has brought everyone closer, especially when social-distancing rules make it hard for people to meet offline,” commented Poon, noting that Instagram had witnessed a rise of teen creators in recent years.

Within Hong Kong’s Instagram community, local university students and private tutors make up the majority of educational content creators.

Underneath their account names, each person has a story to tell. For Poon, it was that of a legal career she did not pursue.

Zoe Poon is the founder of Hkdsegayau. Photo: Handout

“I took a double degree in business and law in college, but it didn’t take long for me to realise that being a lawyer wasn’t what I wanted,” she shared. “Instead, I found passion in knowledge-sharing, as well as excitement in building projects from the ground up.”

Poon is now dedicated to her entrepreneurial projects in a bid to spread knowledge and lend a helping hand to local secondary school students.

“Preparing for the public exam is an arduous journey,” she said. “There’s no short cut to success. We all struggle, and we all fall. But we can push through any hardship if we hold our hands together. In this marathon which we must all run, a simple ‘ga yau’ can go a long way.”

For more information, please visit Hkdsegayau’s website.

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