Many people have test anxiety but most of us would forget about the exam soon after taking it.

However, one candidate who took the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examination has set up a volunteer tutorial organisation to provide free tutorial and counselling services to help others overcome exam-related difficulties. 

Angus Chow (Government & International Studies, Year 4) has set up a non-profit organisation, The Renaissance of Stars, with a group of tertiary students three years ago to share knowledge and exam skills to HKDSE candidates. "I lost my way during the HKDSE exam period, especially because my results were not as good as I had expected. I felt frustrated and helpless. Besides, I think we should share what we have learnt with others so that knowledge can be passed on. Thus, after I entered the university, I decided to provide free tutorial service with several friends from different universities."

At the very beginning, there were only three or four volunteers working as tutors in The Renaissance of Stars. Today, there are over 40 volunteers from 12 tertiary institutions in Hong Kong who provide regular activities including oral practices, presentation skills workshops and homework supervision to share revision and exam skills as well as notes on tertiary education enrolment.

Angus says that at the time when they decided to set up The Renaissance of Stars, there were not many free tutorial organisations in Hong Kong. Due to limited budget, they couldn't afford to have a regular venue for class. Thus they usually got together in a quiet corner after meeting up with students. Angus and his partners began by sharing study skills in the subjects they attained the best academic result and are most familiar with. As more and more volunteers joined, they were able to set up more study groups for different subjects. In addition, with the help of secondary school teachers, The Renaissance of Stars organises mock exams in subjects such as Chinese, English, Mathematics and Liberal Studies for students. They even prepare subject examination reports and question papers with marking schemes, enabling candidates to familiarise themselves with the HKDSE exam and find out their own exam performance.

Angus reveals that The Renaissance of Stars focuses on experience sharing rather than paper practising. "Every volunteer has public exam experience so they understand how candidates feel. Thus, in addition to knowledge and exam skills, we are able to share more 'on-site' practical 'secrets' including study tips, exam hall description and even how to place the admission form while taking an exam." Angus hopes that this kind of sharing can reduce candidates' fear and allow them to prepare well for the exam. Volunteers also work as counsellors to provide candidates with information about further studies and university life.

Angus will soon graduate, so since last year he has taken a back seat, working behind the scene as an advisor. He is working on liaising with non-profit organisations and different tertiary institutions in order to secure more budget and venues to sustain the free tutorial service. "We are happy to be a partner of HKDSE candidates. Some former students have joined our group after they graduated from secondary school, paying it forward and sustaining our organisation as well as enabling our spirit to grow with all candidates."