Yes. Students are required to pass a minimum of 5 subjects, to “pass” O Levels. Note that this is the bare minimum. Express students usually take 7 subjects, with the smarter ones taking up to 9 subjects for O Levels.
This O Level guide covers every single thing for Secondary School Education (O Level) in Singapore. Sit tight!
1. Entering Secondary School
After getting your PSLE results, you would have selected your 6 choices of secondary schools and obtained your Secondary School Posting results in December.
The next day, you’ll have to report to your new school at 8.30am.
School starts on the first weekday of the year (excluding New Year’s Day).
This is where you begin term 1 of your new School Year, in your next phase of Education: Secondary School
2. School Terms and Holidays
Each school year has 4 school terms, Term 1 – 4.
Of which, semester 1 includes both terms 1 and 2, while semester 2 consists of terms 3 and 4:
– Term 1 (Semester 1): 1st school day – 2nd week of March
– Term 2 (Semester 1): 4th week of March – 4th week of May
– Term 3 (Semester 2): 1st week of July – 1st week of September
– Term 4 (Semester 2): 3rd week of September – 2nd week of November
There are Exams at the end of each term. CA1 for Term 1, SA2 (EOY) for Term 4.
Each school year has 4 blocks of holidays:
– March: 3rd Week
– June: Whole Month
– September: 2nd Week
– End Year: Last School Day onwards till new school year starts
3. Secondary 1/2 Subject Combination
This differs from school to school. However, I will be covering the most common Subject Combination for Secondary 1 and 2.
English, Math, Mother Tongue, Science Social Studies, Geography, History, Literature
Most schools offer General Science. Other schools offer specialized Sciences to their students (i.e. Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Life Science, Physical Science).
Humanities (History, Geography, Social Studies, Literature)
Social Studies is a compulsory subject to be taken. For Secondary 1 or 2, you usually don’t get a choice for which Humanities as the School will make you try out everything. For example:
– 1st year: Geography + Social Studies, 2nd Year: History + Social Studies, OR;
– Y1S1: Geog + SS, Y1S2: Hist + SS; Y2S1: Geog + SS, Y2S2: Hist + SS
Art, Music, PE, Design & Technology, Home Economics
Some optional subjects that your school might offer. Of course, some of it are usually compulsory (i.e. PE, Art, Music).
Grades for all these subjects count to your Overall Grade at the end of Sec 2, where you will undergo Streaming.
4. Secondary 2 Streaming
While some schools do not require streaming (IP Schools), most Schools have Streaming at the end of Secondary 2.
Students are split into different classes based on your subject combination, for Secondary 3 and 4 and ultimately for GCE O Levels.
For streaming, this is based mainly on your Secondary 2 EOY (overall) results, but the school may also consider other areas, such as:
– Compatibility of student and subjects;
– Other results;
– CCA performance, etc.
You can choose which subjects you prefer to take up, but if you do not do well you may not be assigned your choice (e.g Pure Science, Pure Humanities).
5. GCE O Level Subjects
Students are required to pass a minimum of 5 subjects, to “pass” O Levels. Note that this is the bare minimum.
Express students usually take 7 subjects, with the smarter ones taking up to 9 subjects for O Levels.