Despite being dyslexic, former Assumption English student Phineas Goh scored six distinctions in the O-Levels.Despite being dyslexic, former Assumption English student Phineas Goh scored six distinctions in the O-Levels.

Former Assumption English School student Phineas Goh often has to read the same word or question multiple times from a textbook before grasping its meaning.

Goh, who is dyslexic, shared how he has to study in a quiet environment or risk losing focus, and therefore it took a longer time for him to study compared to his peers.

Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters and other symbols. Different people are affected to varying degrees.

When Goh took his O-levels last year, he was given an extra 15 minutes for every hour of an exam.

He said that “walking around the house and reading out loud” were some of the tools that helped him overcome his study challenges.

Moving his legs during his examinations also helped to invoke memories of his revision.

Despite the challenges he faced, Goh was the valedictorian of the class of 2015.

For his O-levels, he scored A1s in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Elementary and Additional Mathematics, A2 for Humanities and C5 for English.

Not one to allow challenges to faze him, he even helped his weaker fellow students.

An example Goh shared was how he helped one classmate understand the different components in a Physics circuit and the role they played, by using examples from real life such as cars, a bridge, batteries and a nuclear plant.

“I would relate them to real-life scenarios. Your batteries would be a nuclear plant, the current moving would be cars moving along a road, the bridge is a fuse... if there are too many cars on the bridge, it would break, like the fuse,” said Goh, who represented his school in robotics in Sec 2 and 3.

Goh was also part of a school programme that was formed to help Sec 2 and 3 students in subjects such as Science and Math. He spent a couple of hours a week to mentor these students.

On how his family supported him throughout his secondary school education, Goh, who has three elder brothers and a younger sister, said: “They didn’t have expectations of me, which I liked... There wasn’t pressure from them and I was allowed to make my own choices.”

As to his academic plans after O-levels, Goh shared that after some advice from his mother, he now intends to apply for Engineering Science in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, in hopes of reaching his goal of being a scientist in the future.

By Jared Ng
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