I regretted not taking A levels seriously 10 years ago. I don't think students are getting smarter these days. It's that the British O and A level system is very outdated. If you really whack the 10 year series, listen attentively in class for tips from teachers who'll tell you what will prob come out for the exams, do your homework, the A is almost there for you. If you get a B, that's because of careless mistakes (due to nervousness?) or you're having a fever on the day of the exam. C or worse shows you're not quite interested in whatever you're studying, or you have poor concentration skills or time management. It's not bcos you're dumb. If' you were dumb, you wouldn't be taking A levels in the first place.
I tihnk the MOE and unis here have discovered long ago the backwardness of the O and A levels. But they are too afraid to change. Change = uncertainty. You break tradition and we are pretty careful and apprenhensive of that over here. That's why they came up with students having to take the SAT to gain admission to unis from 2003 onwards. To me, that's very plain silly. You're taxing and wasting the money of your own students cos you make them experience 2 exam systems based from 2 different countries. That's all. Nothing speical about the SAT. It's like saying, I'm not confident of the A level system anymore, but I'm too scared to do away with it. It'a a tradition we use for the past 30 years or so. Why not keep it still, but then make the students take 1 more extra exam?
Of course, no uni dean or educator here will be in his right mind to admit the flaws of the O and A level system. They'll give you a bunch of reasons and excuses why the SAT will be good. Ironically, educators in America find loopholes in their SAT!!!!
By analogy, it's like owning a cheap 28-80 lens. then you find it's not good enough for you, but instead of selling it off, because you have sentimental feelings for it, you buy another 28-105 lens to complement it. Hahaha...