The Mindful Youth

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Failed EAE. Now What?

If you’ve been told, “no point crying” or “stop crying” between the time when you received your EAE results and now, then please stop reading this article and go cry first.

I am certain that people mean well when they tell us not to cry or to stop being sad over something, but that is neither healthy nor the most efficient way to help us. It is important that we take the time to process our emotions for reasons that I will explain in a future post and link here. For now, the gist of it is that it is healthier us both mentally (adaptive emotional processing) and physically (stress response) to process our emotions rather than supressing or ignoring them.

If EAE was something important to you and the result was not what you were hoping for, then naturally you are going to be sad and disappointed about it. Give yourself the time to cry it out or console yourself with a bowl of ice-cream.

Once you’ve done that, then we can move on to decide what we can do next.


Why did you take part in the Early Admission Exercise?

To get into a particular course.

Does failing EAE mean that you can no longer apply for that course?


EAE is like a bonus. If you make it through then you get to reserve a spot in that course. If not then you will just have to go through the original route of applying with your N or O level results.


I’ve talked about Locus of Control and basically it is all about directing your attention on the things that are within your control.

The EAE results are no longer within your control so stop looking at it. Instead, turn your attention to what you can control, which in this case is your upcoming national examinations.

It is still within your power to study and do well enough for your national exams to get into the course of your choice.


“If my grades were good enough then I wouldn’t have bothered with EAE in the first place.”

I’m sorry but EAE was not created for students who don’t do well academically. If you are not doing well academically then focus on improving because that is within your control now.

You CAN improve. I have worked with hundreds of students, many of them diagnosed with learning disabilities, and ALL of them managed to improve with these two things:

  1. Enough Effort
  2. Correct Strategy

I can’t help you with the first thing. Your parents can enrol you in every tuition centres in Singapore and strap you to a chair in front of the teacher, but if you do not put in enough effort to practice what you learn, then you will not improve.

However, I can help you with the second thing, which is what I am going to do next.  


First, I need emphasize that if you do not understand something that your teacher taught, then it is your teacher’s responsibility to find a way to help you understand. Your responsibility is to persevere trying to learn and understand.

Any student can be taught. My job was to literally teach students with learning disabilities, so trust me when I say that ANY students can be taught and ANY student is capable of learning and improving.

If you don’t understand something your teacher taught, ask questions until you understand it.

That is the main idea behind this action plan.

We are going to ask until you understand.


Your grades are determined by how many questions you answer correctly and incorrectly.

If you can answer a question correctly, you are safe. Just make sure you don’t forget it.

It is when you cannot answer a question correctly that we have a problem. Therefore our aim is to ensure that there are as few questions that we cannot answer correctly as possible.

To do that, we need to expose these questions and learn how to answer them correctly.

Here’s how we do it.

STEP 1 – List out every Chapter and Topic

Take all the subjects you have and list out every single chapter and topics that you need to learn for your national exams. I recommend doing this digitally and preferably in an Excel sheet.

The easiest way to find this list is to ask your teacher, but from experience I know this can be difficult so if you really have trouble with that then search for your subject and syllabus here:

Follow the links until you reach your subject’s syllabus and it will be downloaded as PDF.

The problem with this is that the syllabus is quite technical, meaning you might struggle to understand what they are talking about if you are not a teacher or if you don’t know the subject well enough.

Regardless, the end result is a huge list of all the chapters and topics that you need to study.

STEP 2 – Do you understand this topic?

Go through every single topic on the list, one by one, and check if you understand it.

How to check for understanding:

  • Can you do the homework for this topic?
  • Can you do the test for this topic?
  • Can you do the Ten-Year-Series questions for this topic?

This is basically ‘testing yourself’ to see if you can answer the question for that topic correctly.

If you can answer every single question from your worksheets/tests/TYS then you have understood the topic. If you have understood all the topics in the chapter, then you have understood the chapter.

STEP 3 – List out the topics you don’t understand

Make a list of all the topics you do not understand and still cannot understand even after studying and revising it on your own.

This is the list that you are going to work on.

STEP 4 – Consult your teachers

Taking that list of topics you do not understand, consult your teachers until you understand the topic. Remember, the way you check for understanding is by testing yourself, so make sure you test yourself to confirm that you have understood it.

STEP 5 – Rinse and Repeat

  1. Check for understanding
  2. Consult until you understand

Do this for every single topic until you understand all of them, or more realistically, until you can understand as many of them as possible.

That is how you improve.

The strategy is simple but it takes a lot of effort to actually go through every topic and consult your teachers until you understand. Chances are you might not even be able to find your teachers considering how busy they are in general.

But the fact is that if you are able to find a way to, 1. Identify what you don’t understand, 2. Ask until you understand, then you will definitely improve and do better.

I must add that during this time you will also have to revise the other topics that you already understanding. If you don’t revise then chances are you will forget what you’ve learned and end up not understanding them anymore.

You failed your EAE. It sucks. I know.

You can’t change the past, but you can still change your future. You just need to decide what you are going to do with the time that you have now. Give up? Or redirect all your energy now into doing your best for your national exams?

You know what to do. Believe in yourself.

Even if you don’t believe in yourself now, never mind, because I believe in you. And as long as you try, I will be proud of you.


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