OUT WITH THE ‘O’s AND IN WITH THE ‘A’s!
The ‘O’ Level results are about to be released and soon, you will be embarking on your post-secondary journey! For many of you, you will be donning your school uniform once again and conquer another great National Examination – the ‘A’ Levels.
Up-sized, fast-paced and more challenging than ever before, the ‘A’ levels will be an adventure much more rewarding than the ‘O’ levels!
But before starting on this adventure, you will have to Choose your ‘A’ Level Subject Combination.
With over 30 subjects to choose from, you will definitely be spoilt for choice and struggle to choose the perfect subject combination for yourself during the first week of school. But fret not, because help is here!
In lieu of the struggles and regrets that past students have made from choosing their subject combination, we have come up with FOUR important things to consider when choosing your subject combination.
1: Understand how ‘A’ Level works and how it differs from ‘O’ Level.
“Same same but different.” – A common local phrase that’s heard when asked about the differences between ‘A’ and ‘O’ levels. While there are similarities aplenty, there are still some stark important differences worth noting.
For ‘O’ Levels, you get to choose 6 or more subjects. Your ‘O’ Level score would then be computed from your best performing subjects for the L1R5/4.
Things are, however, slightly different for the ‘A’ Levels. Instead of choosing different number of subjects, every student will have to take six/seven subjects, two of which are compulsory (H1 General Paper and H1 Project Work). You will get to choose four other subjects (either 4H2 or 3H2+1H1 subjects). Your ‘A’ Level score would then be computed based on all the subjects (with the exception of Mother Tongue). Click here to find out more.
Here’s a summary table to compare the two national examinations:
|‘O’ Levels||‘A’ Levels|
|No. of Subjects||6 or more subjects||7 Subjects|
|Compulsory Subjects||– English |
– Mother Tongue
– E. Math
– Combined Humanities
|H1 General Paper |
H1 Project Work
H1 Mother Tongue/Basic MT*
|Computation of Results||L1R5 or L1R4|| Ranking Points (90 Points) |
(click here to find out how they are computed)
*Students who have taken Higher Mother Tongue are exempted from H1 Mother Tongue
With these differences in mind, do note that you will no longer have the luxury of choosing your best performing subjects for your overall score. Your ‘A’ Level results will be calculated based on all your subjects. This means that you have to choose the other four subjects carefully and ensure that you perform well in all your subjects.
2: Know the difference between Science, Arts and ‘Hybrid’ streams.
As mentioned, you will be choosing four subjects to complete your subject combination. This could be in the form of 4 H2 Subjects or 3 H2 + 1 H1 Subjects. The type of subjects chosen will determine your stream.
Science Stream : 3 Science and 1 Arts Subject
Arts Stream : 3 Arts and 1 Science Subject
‘Hybrid’ Stream : 2 Science and 2 Arts Subject
E.g. Science Stream: Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Economics
Arts Stream: Mathematics, Economics, Geography and History
‘Hybrid’ Stream: Mathematics, Chemistry, Economics & Geography
Do note that regardless of your stream, you will be required to take at least one Science and one Arts subject. Common Science Subjects taken are H1/H2 Mathematics or Chemistry and students would normally choose H1/H2 Economics as their compulsory Arts subject.
3: Be mindful of subjects that are pre-requisites for University Courses.
This is something that many students often overlook. Certain subjects are pre-requisites and required for many University courses. You will need to take these subjects in order for you to be accepted into your desired University Course.
Here are some common courses with pre-requisites:
|University Course||You will need|
|Engineering Courses (e.g. Mechanical, Aerospace, Electrical or Chemical Engineering)||H2 Mathematics and H1/H2 Physics|
|Medicine||H2 Chemistry and H2 Mathematics|
|Science (e.g. Chemistry, Physics or Math)||H2 Mathematics and another H2 Science Subject|
|Business and Accountancy||H1/H2 Mathematics|
If you have your mind set on any of these University courses, it is worth noting that H2 Mathematics would be one of the most important subjects you’d have to choose. Chemistry and Physics would also be important subjects for you to pick.
4: Avoid subject combinations that are uncommon and unique to others.
In some JCs, you have the freedom to choose your own unique subject combination that fits your interests.
With this opportunity, you might be tempted to choose a subject combination that is interesting and uncommon (e.g. Physics, Literature, Economics & Biology). But as unique and refreshing as it might sound, it would be unadvisable. Steering away from more common subject combinations (e.g. Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & Economics) would make it more difficult for your school to plan your timetable, and often, this leads to unusual timetables with many breaks in between and lessons ending late into the evening.
To curb the choice of such unique subject combinations, many schools have fixed the subject combinations available and restrict students from choosing less common subject combinations. That way, both the students and the school would benefit.
If given a choice, we would highly advise you to choose a more common subject combination that’s available. You will have all the freedom to choose unique and interesting modules when you are in University!
To End Of…
Choosing the right subject combination is half the battle won for the ‘A’ Levels! What’s left is your hard work and guidance rendered to you for the chosen subjects. We hope that these pointers would be helpful towards choosing your desired subject combination. Contact us and follow us on Facebook/Instagram if you’d like to know more about Habitat Learning Centre and how we prepare our students for the ‘A’ Levels!