Hermione is, undoubtedly, the smartest student in the Harry Potter films. While she may not be the smartest wizard per se (that honour belongs to Dumbledore), she would definitely excel in any academic system… except Singapore’s.

That’s right. If Hermione came to Singapore, she would just be an average student. She wouldn’t be a President’s Scholar – far from it. Conversely, it does mean that Singaporeans would be excellent wizards if we were to ever learn magic.

So here’s the body of evidence that shows that Hermione would be far from the top in Singapore’s education system. Sorry Hermione. Most Singapore schools are tougher than Hogwarts – every school a good school, you know?

1. She took 5 years to study for her OWLs

Not this kind of owls, but you know what I mean by OWLs. Credit: Love Owls Facebook Page

Not this kind of owl, but you know what I mean by OWLs. Credit: Love Owls Facebook Page

The OWLs (Ordinary Wizard Levels to you Muggles) are the magical equivalent of the O-Levels. If you’re in the Express stream, you take your O-Levels in Secondary 4, and 66.2% of last year’s PSLE cohort qualified for the Express stream. So we can assume more than half of each cohort studies for four years before taking the O Levels.

But not Hermione. She took her OWLs in her fifth year. If she came to Singapore, it’d be the equivalent of taking five years to study for the O Levels. More than half of Singapore’s students of the same age would have been done and dusted with the OWLs by the time Hermione took hers. Nope, she’s not going to be a star student in Singapore.

2. The OWLs are all content-based subjects

Time to mug. Credit: Buy/Sell/Trade Textbooks Facebook Page

Time to mug. Credit: Buy/Sell/Trade Textbooks Facebook Page

Part of what makes our education system so difficult is that most people have two or three language subjects to take, and if you’re a mugger, you’ll be taking Higher Mother Tongue instead of just Mother Tongue. If you’re Chinese, good luck to you – Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn, and you’re taking it as a regular academic subject.

Take a look at the OWLs syllabus. They don’t even need to take English! Language subjects are usually the most difficult in any curriculum. Hermione’s tests are all content-based. If Singaporean students took the OWLs, we’d be flooding the system with A1s. It’s all just regurgitating content. No Mathematics too!

3. No chicken essence

Tastes pretty good! Credit: Brand's Chicken Essence Facebook Page

Tastes pretty good! Credit: Brand’s Chicken Essence Facebook Page

There might be spells and potions to aid studying, but nothing works like chicken essence. There’s no indication that chicken essence even exists in Hogwarts, and I’m pretty sure Brand’s doesn’t deliver that far. Hermione might be smart, but without that magical elixir brewed from chickens, she wouldn’t come close to getting an A1 in Singapore.

4. She dropped subjects in her third year (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

Oh, Hermione (Emma Watson). Credit: Harry Potter Facebook Page

Oh, Hermione (Emma Watson). Credit: Harry Potter Facebook Page

So Hermione took so many subjects in her third year that she had to borrow a time travel device (the Time Turner) to have enough time to study everything, and in the end she had to drop some subjects. Since the Time Turner gives her infinite time, wouldn’t she be able to take the OWLs in Year 3? Hm…

But let’s get back to the topic at hand. She dropped subjects. For top students, that’s anathema. That’s like admitting you can’t finish studying everything. Hermione admitted defeated in her third year. She’d never be able to make it in Singapore.

5. No magical tuition or ten-year-series

Wouldn't mind a ten-year-series based on this. Credit: Harry Potter Facebook Page

Wouldn’t mind a ten-year-series based on this. Credit: Harry Potter Facebook Page

Did you remember reading about mock exams or practicing past year papers in Harry Potter? Nope. They were just studying their materials. Part of doing well means honing your exam skills, question analysis, and answering techniques. Hermione did none of that. She just mugged everything and then went for the exams.

What kind of good student does that? I mean, not even one practice paper?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Singapore’s stressful education system makes us yearn for the olden days, when the PSLE was just a pass/fail system. Maybe J. K. Rowling felt the same way too – which is why she wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Unlike the book, the film focuses on the adventures of Newt Scamander in 1926 New York.

Will we see an Avada Kedavra cruse? Will we see a young Voldemort? Do Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans exist? That’s something only Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them can answer.

 

Credits: Love Owls Facebook Page, Buy/Sell/Trade Textbooks Facebook Page, Brand’s Chicken Essence Facebook Page, Harry Potter Facebook Page, Golden Village Cinemas