Seven Hong Kong students have nabbed top scores at this year’s Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exams that will qualify them for university entrance.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination DSE
Students taking Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (DSE). Photo: HKEAA.

Hong Kong’s examination authorities revealed on Tuesday the number of top scorers from a pool of 49,976 students who took part in this year’s DSE exams. The seven top scorers came from six different schools cross the city.

Perfect scores for 8 subjects

One super scorer from Po Leung Kuk Tang Yuk Tien College in Tuen Mun got a 5** grade for eight subjects — the highest possible grade for a maximum number of subjects a student can take. It is a historic record for the school. Two from Diocesan Girls’ School in Jordan achieved perfect 5** scores for seven subjects, local media reported.

The other schools with one perfect scorer each were St. Stephen’s Girls’ College in Mid-levels, Ying Wa College in Sham Shui Po, St. Mary’s Canossian College in Tsim Sha Tsui and Queen Elizabeth School in Mong Kok, HK01 reported.

“This is a better grade than [I] expected… I am just beginning to realise it, it’s like a dream,” said super scorer Chiu Yee-nap from the Tuen Mun school, who met the press shortly after receiving his grades.

chiu yee nap hkdse super scorer
Super scorer Chiu Yee-nap. Photo: Stand News.

Chiu said he attributed his success to studying well ahead of time with a structured study plan, and paying full attention during classes in school. He hopes to be admitted to the University of Hong Kong to study quantitative finance, which combines mathematics and economics – two subjects he is most interested in, Chiu said.

With all classes moving from schools to video conferencing platforms, and students kept out of school premises during the Covid-19 pandemic, Chiu said he initially found it challenging to remain focussed.

“I was used to listening to the teacher and looking at their writing or their face [before the pandemic]. I felt I may not be able to understand some things immediately via Zoom,” he said.

Covid-19 coronavirus virus school student
Photo: GovHK.

To supplement his revision, Chiu said he and his classmates used software and other online conferencing tools to study in groups.

Hong Kong’s schools were closed for over 195 days in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 outbreak but resumed in-person teaching with half-school days in May this year, after the number of infections dropped. The DSE exams were delayed until the end of April, with the oral component of the Chinese and English language exams cancelled.

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Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.