Instead, her total score of 287 points came from a combination of her consistent hard work - she spends 70 per cent of her time studying - and help from her family.
Yen Jean's mother coaches her in English, Mathematics and Science and her grandmother helps her with Chinese.
"It was probably better without tuition because if my mother was teaching me, she would understand me better and that would help me more," the eloquent 12-year-old told AsiaOne.
However, her parents were no slave-drivers.
"At times when I was feeling really pressurised, my parents will tell me to take a break," shared Singapore'stop student, as she recalled how she bonded and relaxed with her parents and brother, 9, over warm chats and board games during the exam period.
You don't need tuition to be top In fact, so dedicated were her parents to their children's well-being that Yen Jean's mother, Madam Tan PeiFong, 42, decided to quit her job as a lawyer about eight years ago as the long hours were robbing her timeaway from her children.
"It was a painful decision, but we have no regrets as it was the right choice," said the now-homemaker, whorevealed that her move to stay home was a joint decision made between herself and her ophthalmologist husband.
Besides her parents, Yen Jean, who counts English as her strongest subject, credits her success to the longtimesupport she received from her teachers and friends at Nanyang Primary School.
"Last year, after my Term 3 science practical exam, I was quite upset because I did not have enough time tofinish my paper."
But my teacher wrote a note to cheer me up and my friends also encouraged me by telling me 'it's just anexam, work hard for the next one'," said Yen Jean, who has been offered a place at Raffles Girls' School.
She told AsiaOne that she will most likely accept the offer.
Yen Jean, who was part of a team that placed second in an inter-school debate, shared that she would like tobe a lawyer in the future as she loves "arguing her point".
When asked about her thoughts towards her daughter's aspirations, Madam Tan said she would not interferewith Yen Jean's decision."
It's not for us to decide. We'll encourage and give her support all the way," said the former lawyer.
By Geraldine Haruka Ling
Thu, Nov 20, 2008