Ask an average teenager what inspired their ambition, and most wouldn’t cite a television programme they happened to watch by chance – but Preethi Peramanathan would. The 14-year-old watched a Korean drama where the protagonist had a rough childhood, but studied hard to become a neurosurgeon. Likewise, Preethi wishes to pursue a career in a field related to medicine or science.
However, Preethi wasn’t this assured of her future at first. “Before STEP, I found Maths to be boring. I aimed to score 80s, but I ended up with 60s and 70s. I couldn’t solve difficult questions and that proved to be a challenge for me. However, my STEP tutor helped me to improve my concentration in Maths. After getting better at solving complex problems, I began to gain interest in the subject.”
As for Science, Preethi had a pre-existing interest in the subject, but wasn’t able to score adequately due to the way she phrased her answers. Subsequently, she sought her STEP tutors’ help on structuring her sentences to reflect key words. “Most of the questions that we came across in STEP were questions I could apply to real-life situations,” she said.
Preethi, who is currently in Secondary 2, cites STEP’s learning environment as conducive and capable of facilitating learning for all. “During our lessons, we would combine our tables and work together. We were free to ask questions. The tutor would explain the solution to everyone so we could all learn. She would also use this as a chance to test us on how much we had learnt.”
The tuition lessons had also enabled Preethi to forge friendships with students from different schools. “For example, students at inter-school competitions have the opportunity to go to other schools and learn from those students. Similarly, when we see our friends from STEP at competitions, we can catch up with them. Networking is an important skill that I learnt through STEP – we are able to know more people, and improve our social interaction skills.”
Mr Nathan, Preethi’s father, is also proud of the changes he has seen in his daughter. “Previously, Preethi would use her phone excessively and ended up being distracted from her studies. Now, she is more confident in her approach towards studies, and concentrates better,” he says.
In recognition of her improvement, Preethi won the Sustained Improvement Award for Mathematics and Science in September this year. She studies with her friends before major exams, saying that “more minds are better than one”. She also reviews her past worksheets and identifies areas to pay more attention to during the exams. On days when she has co-curricular activities, she reads through her notes on the way home from school.
In her words? “It’s important to think carefully before choosing your subject options, as it will determine your career choices later on. Do your best at everything, and don’t be playful when it comes to examinations.”