Straits Times, 24 May 2009
After almost six months, publisher Michelle Yoo might finally stop receiving frantic phone calls.
Her firm, Singapore Asian Publications, has received more than 50 calls daily from parents, teachers and students since the start of the year.
They wanted to know why they could not buy copies of the sought-after 10-year series, which compiles questions from past O- and A-level exams into books by subject.
The series was pulled because of a copyright issue.
For more than 40 years, the series, affectionately called TYS, has been relied upon by many students to beef up their confidence and exam smarts.
Dunman High student Lee Kang Lin, 18, said: ‘The TYS gives us a very good gauge of what we will eventually face in the Cambridge exam. Whenever we approach our seniors for help, they always refer us to the TYS.’
There is good news now. The Ministry of Education (MOE) told The Sunday Times in an e-mail on Friday that the copyright issue had been resolved, and that the series will be back in July.
The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) and the copyright holder, the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), reached an agreement on Friday.
For the past few months, students have been making do with preliminary exam papers from various schools, or scrambling to get copies of the TYS bought previously by others.
When told the good news, Kang Lin, however, said the release of the TYS in July may be ‘too late’.
‘I’m not relying much on the TYS as my school has been giving me exam papers from other schools, which now make up the bulk of my studying material,’ said the student.
Still, she will buy the TYS for the mathematics and economics papers, ‘to gauge exam standards’.
Local publishers, who have to tender for the right to produce the TYS, are also glad that the wait is over.
‘If we are awarded the tender, the pressure for us then is to produce the TYS as quickly as possible since we have only about four months before the written exams begin,’ said Ms Yoo.
Every year, the TYS is updated with the latest exam papers.
Assistant to the executive director of Shing Lee Publishers, Ms Adeline Ng, agreed that it is ‘a bit too late’.
Typically, the peak period for TYS sales is the first half of the year.
Shing Lee said the number of copies it sold last year ranged from a few thousand to 20,000, depending on the subjects.
Maths and science are bestsellers while others like principles of accounts and food and nutrition are less popular due to a smaller pool of exam candidates.
Popular Book Company sold more than 100,000 copies of the TYS last year. It made up about 4 per cent of its total sales.