SINGAPORE: More than 200 students in Singapore had part of their British-administered school leaving exam paper stolen when they were sent to be marked in Britain, the Singapore exam board said on Friday.

A parcel containing 238 scripts of the 2017 GCE A-Level H2 Chemistry’s Paper 3 was stolen from a courier in Britain while on its way to the examiner, the board said, adding that British police were investigating.

“We understand the concerns that the affected candidates may have,” said Tan Lay Choo, chief executive of Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB).

“SEAB and schools are in contact with them and their parents and will continue to provide them with the necessary support.” The exam board said the 238 affected students — who represented about 3 per cent of those who sat the exam — had been given “valid and fair assessment” and all passed in results released on Friday.

The students’ performance in the other papers and their cohorts’ performance in the subject were used to determine their overall grade.

“Nobody expected something like that would happen,” said Micole Lim, 18, who was one of 60 affected students from the Hwa Chong Institution. “It was quite shocking”.

All affected candidates have the option to register for a re-examination later in the year.

Lim said some of her friends said they would retake the exam but it was “not practical” as the initial tests took place several months ago and they would have to study again.

Singaporeans are very focused on academic excellence.

Parents can pay as much as $700 (Dh2,571) for four-session courses of private tuition and some tutors have even become millionaires from their trade.