S’pore student scored 181 at PSLE, now in third year at NUS Medicine

Sometimes it takes a village of elders to change an apathetic kid's mind.

Matthias Ang | September 28, 2018 @ 12:34 pm


Sharing PSLE scores has become a thing as of late.

S’poreans share PSLE scores on Instagram to show that it doesn’t define them

And some truly impressive stories have been uncovered as a result of this new trend.

Like this guy, for instance:

S’porean researcher at A*Star with a PhD scored 124 for PSLE, was from EM3 stream

Which brings to mind for us the case of Tan Jun Xiang, who scored 181 for PSLE, couldn’t get into the school he wanted, entered the Normal Academic stream, and eventually applied successfully into the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) last year.

“… studying was not my thing”

Tan admitted in an interview with The Straits Times late last year that he was “very playful” in primary school, and talks about how he “flipped through (his) textbooks a day before (his) PSLE exam”.

In fact, even at the sight of his score, he was described as “unmoved” until he saw how disappointed his parents were.

The report goes on to add that he wasn’t able to enter the school of his choice, and his parents had to appeal to get him into Ang Mo Kio Secondary School.

Thankfully, that was when he saw the light and started working hard. He reportedly said:

“I did not want to waste the chance I had been given. It was precious.”

Tan eventually graduated at the top of his cohort with nine points at his ‘O’ levels, and he got a place at Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Biomedical Sciences course.

And it was there, during an internship at a hospital, where he decided he wanted to be a medical doctor.

Crazy as it was, he applied and got in, and he’s now in his third year of study at NUS’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. His dad was reportedly so overjoyed that he threw a two-table dinner at a restaurant for a family celebration.

“Don’t give up, just aim high and don’t compare”

Tan’s own perspective has turned out to be one of determination and humility. As quoted by The Straits Times:

“Everyone was very surprised that my PSLE score was only 181 points and they were intrigued by how I made it to medicine.

I tell others: Don’t give up, just aim high and don’t compare yourself to others. You will never know what may happen.”

You can read the original interview in hereThe Straits Times .

Related stories:

#LifeBeyondGrades founder thinks criticisms of being “high-SES” is not the point. Speaking up for those without a voice is.

Pritam Singh didn’t do well in his PSLE, but eventually worked his way to among the top of his cohort at NUS

Rai of S’porean music duo Jack & Rai scored 264 for PSLE, speaks up

ITE lecturer retook PSLE, made it to JC, failed to complete A-level but pressed on

Generally cool lawyer dude with L’Oréal Paris hair assures PSLE kids he scored 183 & turned out okay

Top image collage from Tan Jun Xiang Facebook and NUS Medicine Facebook

About Matthias Ang

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