A Complete Guide to JC in Singapore

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The Complete Guide to JC in Singapore

The Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) examination is an annual national examination that is taken by students in Singapore. It is an important milestone for Junior College (JC) and Millennia Institute (MI) students, as it can determine the next step of the student’s education journey and future career choice. A Level Singapore is one of the most rigorous and tough examinations in Singapore’s education system, so many students are worried about passing this hurdle. Fret not, MindFlex Home Tuition has compiled the ultimate guide to the latest A Levels syllabus and all the information you’ll need to know about A Levels in Singapore, together with multiple free resources to help A Levels students excel! 


1. An Overview of Junior College in Singapore

Junior Colleges in Singapore provide a 2-3 years pre-tertiary education program for students. Students will have to sit for the GCE A Levels Examinations at the end of the JC program to be eligible for University. Thus, the JC program is designed to be one of the most academically demanding curricula in Singapore’s education system. Here at MindFlex, we have compiled some information on the entire JC process to help you navigate through the seemingly complicated journey.


2. Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) for Junior Colleges

Students are strongly advised to consider his/her preferred choices of JC before the release of their O Level results. This is because all students will only be given 5 calendar days post-results to submit their JC application through the JAE Internet System (JAE-IS). Further details can be found in the JAE-IS User Guide

JAE results will eventually be released via SMS (if the student provided a local mobile number) OR via JAE-IS (accessible using the student’s Singpass or JAE PIN). 

Alternatively, the student may have already undergone the Direct School Admission for JC (DSA-JC) which allows students to apply to JCs before taking their GCE O Level examinations. Students may apply based on their talents in CCAs, or specific academic areas.

If the student is admitted to a JC through DSA-JC, they are not allowed to:

  • Participate in the JAE
  • Transfer to another school (they must commit to their chosen school for the duration of the program)

Additionally, students found to have ACCEPTED both DSA-JC and Early Admissions Exercise to Polytechnic offers concurrently will be disqualified from both exercises unless they cancel either of their acceptances before the end of the Acceptance Stage. This is not to say that the student cannot participate in both exercises concurrently. 

Students sitting for their O Level examinations may apply for DSA-JC based on a wide variety of talents, including:

  • Sports and games
  • Visual, literary and performing arts
  • Debate and public speaking
  • Science, mathematics and engineering
  • Languages and humanities
  • Uniformed groups
  • Leadership (for example, prefects)

To appeal for a place in a JC or MI, do approach the school of your choice directly. All appeals are done on a case-by-case basis. Highlighting holistic and extra-curricular endeavors may help the student to stand out from the rest.


3. Choosing Your Junior College

  • Academic Qualifications

Students should calculate their L1R5 score and proceed to note down the JCs that they are eligible for. Choosing a school that has a similar cut-off point to their O Level score will ensure that the student will be given sufficient academic support and be able to follow the pace of the school’s teachings.

The complete list of JC L1R5 cut-off points can be found here.

Students should try to avoid choosing a JC that has a cut off point that is beyond their attained L1R5 as their first few choices as the main goal here is to secure a spot in a JC. In the event that the student does not qualify for the school they wish to enroll in, they may still choose to lodge an appeal to the school. The school may request for the student to attend an interview where he or she will be assessed on their ability to keep up with the school’s curriculum.  It is worth noting that schools may not be able to accept appeals due to limited vacancies. Parents can find out more about the appeal process from the respective schools’ websites. 

  • Location

Time is of the essence for JC students in these 2/3 years of education. Long hours spent on travelling would be especially tiring since the road to A Levels is a high-stress period. Moreover, students can benefit greatly from cutting down on their traveling time as the time can be redirected towards productive or leisure activities instead.

  • Student’s interests

Students should also consider the school culture and academic subjects offered by each JC when choosing the right one for them. Elements of school culture, such as the school’s heritage, signature events, and non-academic activities available are some factors that students can consider. To gain a better sense of the school’s culture, students can also visit the open houses of each school. 

Students should also consider the subjects they have an interest in and come up with potential subject combinations. It is crucial that students enter a school that offers the subject combination they want so as to better explore their interests and help them enter the university course of their choice.


4. Choosing Subjects in Junior College

In JC, students are able to choose whether they would like to enter the Arts, Science or Hybrid stream. The A Levels require students to take 3 core subjects and 1 contrasting subject. On top of that, students are also required to take General Paper and Project Work which are compulsory subjects. It is also compulsory for students to take Mother Tongue Language subject in the event they did not take the Higher Mother Tongue as a subject in the O Level examinations. 

Students in the Science stream will take up 3 Science Subjects and 1 Arts Subject and students in Arts stream will take up 3 Arts Subjects and 1 Science Subject. Students who are in the Hybrid Stream would usually opt for an equal number of Art and Science subjects. Art subjects consist of History, Geography, Economics, Literature, China Studies in English, Art, Music and more. On the other hand, Science subjects include Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Accounting, Computing and more. 

Students should also note that different schools offer different subject combinations and they may also have unique prerequisites to take a certain subject. While most schools would require students to have experience taking the Science subjects at O Levels before being allowed to take it at JC, students should also check on the exact requirements from the school’s respective websites. 

Subjects are typically offered at H1 and H2 levels, with H2 subjects being more in-depth. Students are required to take the standard 3 H2 + 1 H1 subject combination OR a 4 H2 subject combination. Students who are academically stronger may be offered to take up to 2 H3 subjects. H3 subjects are extensions of H1 and H2 subjects and provide students with advanced content exposure which allows them to be exempted from future university modules. 


4.1 Language Subjects

  • H1 General Paper OR H2 Knowledge and Inquiry

The  H1 General Paper syllabus assesses students’ ability to think critically, construct cogent arguments, and communicate ideas clearly using accurate and effective language. On the other hand, H2 Knowledge & Inquiry syllabus assesses students’ ability to apply their understanding of theoretical concepts and critical thinking skills, as well as engage in an independent study in an area of their interest. Students can choose to take either of the two subjects but it is important to note that not all JCs offer KI as a subject. 

  • H1 Mother Tongue 

Mother Tongue is a compulsory subject at the Singapore-Cambridge GCE Advanced Level. All JC1 students who have not done Higher Mother Tongue (HMT) at O-Level are required to study H1 MTL. If the student  has done HMT at the O Levels and obtained at least a D7, the student will be exempted from H1 MTL. 

JC1 students who have done MTL B at O Levels will continue with MTL B at A Levels. Students who have obtained a D7 for their MTL at O Levels are allowed to opt for MTL B at A Level. As for students who have passed both MTL and MTL B at OLevel, they will have to take H1 MTL at A-Level.

  • H2 English Language & Linguistics

The H2 English Language and Linguistics syllabus assesses students’ ability to analyse and evaluate the influence of contextual and cultural factors in the production and reception of the English language.

  • H3 Chinese Language & Literature

The H3 Chinese Language and Literature syllabus aims to deepen the students’ language proficiency, literary skills and cultural knowledge in Chinese. The syllabus nurtures students to be cultural transmitters and Asian literature advocates with a deep understanding of Chinese languages, cultures, values and ethos.

  • H3 Malay Language & Literature

The H3 Malay Language and Literature syllabus aims to measure the level of achievement and proficiency of students in the field of language and literature.


4.2 H1 Project Work (Compulsory) 

For Project Work, students will be put into groups of 4-5 to work on a chosen project, according to either of the two prompts for that year. At the end of the year, students have to conduct a group presentation and submit a written report and an individual reflection. Students will be assessed both as members of the group and as individuals. It is a compulsory subject for all JC students and is included in the computation of the A Level results. However, with effect from 2024, the incoming JC1 batch will no longer receive letter grades for Project Work. Instead, the subject will be graded on a pass/fail basis.


4.3 Math 

  • H1/H2 Math

The H1/H2 Mathematics A Level syllabus assesses student’s ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts and skills in a variety of problems, solve the mathematical problems, interpret and evaluate the mathematical solutions in the context of the problems.

  • Further Math

The H2 Further Mathematics A Level syllabus assesses student’s ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts and skills in a variety of problems, solve mathematical problems, interpret and reason and communicate mathematically through forming conjectures, making deductions and constructing rigorous mathematical arguments and proofs


4.4 Science

  • H1/H2/H3 Physics

The H2 Physics A Level syllabus exposes students to the scientific process and allow them to gain skills like experimentation, reasoning, analysis and evaluation, which are transferable and useful to everyday life. The syllabus also helps to develop attitudes and dispositions like curiosity and inquisitively. This in turn encourages students to develop their critical thinking skills, building up their ability to solve problems and grasp complex concepts.

  • H1/H2/H3 Chemistry

The H1 Chemistry A Level syllabus aims to develop scientific literacy of students through the acquisition of core chemistry knowledge and scientific thinking. Specifically, it equips students with the ability to navigate Chemistry between macroscopic phenomena, submicroscopic interactions and the symbolic representations to communicate and explain the natural world. 

  • H1/H2/H3 Biology

The H2 Biology A Level syllabus develops a seamless continuum from the O Level to the A Level. Thus, students are expected to have knowledge and understanding of O Level Biology. The H2 Biology A Level syllabus goal is to lay a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to prepare students for university, work and life in the future. 

  • H2 Computing 

The H2 Computing syllabus aims to develop problem-solving and computational thinking skills in students. Students will acquire fundamental knowledge in core areas of computing and draw connections to real-world problems by applying these knowledge, skills and attitudes to solve a variety of authentic learning tasks. 


4.5 Humanities

  • H1/H2/H3 Geography

The Geography syllabus assesses students’ ability to demonstrate understanding, and apply and evaluate geographic knowledge. Students will be able to develop an understanding of geographical concepts and apply their knowledge to interpret different geographical data. 

  • H1/H2/H3 History

The History syllabus assesses students’ ability to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding, including the ability to interpret, critically analyze and evaluate historical issues. Students should also be able to make judgments based on historical context and reasoning.

  • H1/H2/H3 Literature

The H2 Literature syllabus assesses students’ ability to critically analyse and evaluate literary texts. Students should make informed personal and critical responses to the texts, explore connections between texts where appropriate, and supplement their responses using literary concepts. 

  • H1/H2/H3 Economics

The Economics syllabus assesses students’ ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of economic concepts, theories, and principles. The syllabus allows students to interpret economic information presented in textual, numerical or graphical form, and critically evaluate the usage of economic policy in real-world scenarios. 

  • H1/H2 China Studies in English

The China Studies in English syllabus assesses students’ ability to examine key issues relevant to contemporary China. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of issues in contemporary China and expand on their relevant dimensions.

  • H2 Management of Business

H2 Management of Business seeks to develop student’s knowledge of business activities and the skills necessary to make well-reasoned business decisions that will create value for stakeholders. As students learn to make well-reasoned business decisions, they will develop analytical, evaluative and communication skills, as well as critical and innovative thinking skills.

  • H2 Principles of Accounting

The POA syllabus places emphasis on developing students to become proficient users of accounting information, knowledge and skills that will be valuable in any field of work or life. As the the financial industry in Singapore grows, it is also recognised that the knowledge and skills in preparing and presenting accounting information are valuable and worth acquiring.


4.6 Art (Music, Art)

The Art and Music syllabi for Junior College are designed to provide students with an in-depth study in the visual arts and music respectively. The scope of the syllabi caters to a wide range of interests and abilities. Students at this level will investigate their own artistic inclinations while endeavoring to develop a lifelong interest in Art or Music.


5. Where to Go After Junior College

5.1 Local University (NUS/NTU/SMU/SUTD/SUSS/SIT)

You may check if your results meet the requirements for each course using each school’s admission requirements and indicative grade profile: National University of Singapore (NUS) | Nanyang Technological University (NTU) | Singapore Management University (SMU) | Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) | Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) | Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) 

5.2 Private University

Curtin Singapore 

Ranked #156 in Best Global Universities.

You will need to get at least 4 passes for GCE O-Level, have a minimum of 2 points from 2 GCE A Level H2 Subjects, or have a passing grade of C in Higher Nitec to get accepted into Curtin SG Diploma. In order to be eligible for the Bachelor’s Degree, one must have a minimum of 5 points from 2 GCE A Level H2 subjects or have successful completion of a Diploma/ Advanced Diploma/ Specialist Diploma from a Polytechnic or a recognized institution. 

James Cook University (JCU)

Ranked #293 in Best Global Universities 

The University offers you an extensive range of study options at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Since the admission requirements differ according to the different courses of study, the general applicants much have completed 12 years of schooling and have appropriate English proficiency levels equating to a minimum of IELTS of 6. Even though most of the different courses have different eligibilities, most of them require students to have at least a Grade C or higher in English.

Kaplan Higher Education Institute 

In the categories of law, accounting, business management, marketing, and psychology, Kaplan was recognized as the best private education institution in 2017. They provide over 450 academic programs for higher learning and professional certification courses for skills development. 

Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS)

It is Singapore’s oldest non-profit vocational university for lifelong learning. MDIS offers internationally-accredited courses over several disciplines that are in collaboration with renowned global Universities. The general applicant should be above the age of 18 and is expected to have attained C6 pass for English at the O Levels. 

Singapore Institute of Management (SIM GE)

At the 2016 AsiaOne People’s Choice Awards, readers of AsiaOne chose SIM GE as the Best Private Institute for the seventh consecutive year. SIM boasts more than 70 student clubs on top of the 120 programs offered. These programs span a diverse range of sub-disciplines and academic levels. 

Trent Global College

Trent Global College was established to conduct and deliver foreign university courses in Singapore and overseas. It has a variety of courses made available to students from anthropology to engineering to economics, there is definitely something for everyone!

PSB Academy

PSB Academy has been accredited the APAC Insider Business Award for the best educational institute in Singapore, 2019. It consists of 6 schools, namely the School of Foundation Studies, School of Business and Management, School of Engineering and Technology, School of Life and Physical Science, School of Postgraduate Studies and Digital Academy.

The entry requirement differs for each university and course.

5.3 Resit A Level

Students may also choose to retake the A Levels, either as a private candidate or as a school student, subject to the school’s approval. Retaking A Levels in school can offer the student a structured and guided environment in order to stay on track, revisit past concepts, and do better for their second attempt. 

5.4 Gap Year 

Taking a gap year is no longer the path less traveled for those who have completed their A Levels. In fact, many students choose to spend a year gaining real-world experience in the workforce before starting their University journey.  By entering the workforce, students learn valuable soft skills that help them further excel in University. Taking up internships is a way for students to boost their portfolios. Having relevant work experience may also improve one’s chances of entering his or her desired course under Aptitude-Based-Admissions (ABA) which takes into account a student’s passions, interests, and strengths. 

5.5 Poly

Some students may decide to attain a Diploma from local Polytechnics. Polytechnics include Singapore Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic. These Polys offer an array of courses that the student may have interests and inclinations towards. A Level students may enter Poly under the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) or the Direct Admissions Exercise (DAE). 

Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE):

JAE takes place in January and uses the students’ O Level results. The L1R2B2 (First Language + 2 Relevant + 2 Best Subjects) requirements for each course can be found on the individual Polytechnic websites.

Direct Admissions Exercise (DAE): 

A Level students may also choose to apply to Poly via DAE which runs from December to February and in August. However, students must meet the following criteria: Students must have sat for the Singapore-Cambridge GCE  A Levels and never studied in any Poly/Universities prior. All courses and their respective requirements can be found under Advanced Standing.

Eligible A Level students will then be exempted from one to two semesters of their 3-year Polytechnic curriculum. 


6. Junior College Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs)

Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) are a key component of students’ holistic education. Through CCAs, students will be able to explore their interests and talents. CCAs are also a platform where students can develop their characters, hone their leadership, and obtain social-emotional competencies among other relevant skills to prepare them for future challenges. 

During CCA sessions, students from diverse backgrounds are brought together to interact and develop friendships. Through this, students can also develop a sense of belonging to their CCA community and form bonds with more schoolmates outside their classes. 

Students in Performing Arts CCAs will participate in the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF), and students in Sports CCAs will usually partake in the A Division competition, where they compete against other Junior Colleges in the sport.

However, students should also be reminded to strike a balance between CCAs and their academics. Students should avoid jeopardizing their academic performance for CCA accomplishment. Although CCAs are important in building the student’s overall portfolio, tertiary institutions will still prioritize A Level results over CCA accomplishments.


7. Junior College Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How much are Junior College Fees?

Singapore citizens: $33 / month

Permanent Residents: $547 / month

ASEAN International students: $1097 / month

Non-ASEAN International students: $1977 / month

2. How many subjects do I have to take?

Minimally, students should take 3 H2 subjects and 1 H1 subject, along with H1 General Paper and H1 Project Work.

3. What is the difference between Arts and Science stream?

If you are in the Arts stream, you will take 3 Arts subjects, and 1 Science subject. For the Science stream, students will take 3 Science subjects, and 1 Arts subject. Hybrid combinations are also permissible. For example, a Hybrid Science student can take 2 H2 Science, 1 H2 Arts and 1 H1 Arts subject.

4. Which subjects should I take?

Subject combinations fall in either the Arts or Science stream. For all subject combinations, there must be 1 contrasting subject. It is recommended to choose your subject combination based on what you believe you will score well in and what you plan to do after the A Levels.

You may refer to 4. Choosing Subjects in Junior College for more information.

5. Where can I go after Junior College?

You may apply to a university (local or private), retake the A Levels, take a gap year and go to work, or go to a Polytechnic.

6. What is the minimum rank point required to enter a local university?

According to the 10th percentile of the Indicative Grade Profile (IGP) of local universities, a minimum of CCD/C would be required to enter a local university. However, with the introduction of Aptitude-based Admissions (ABA) in 2020, students who fall short of the minimum RP may still have a shot at entering a local university.

ABA takes into account students’ passions, interests and strengths. Applicants with exceptional talents and/or outstanding achievements beyond schools’ co-curricular activities can be considered, subject to a minimum level of academic competence, for admissions under ABA. 

7. How to calculate A Level score?

The A-Level Examination in Singapore grades students out of a maximum of 90 rank points. Each grade at the H1, H2 and H3 levels is allocated an amount of rank points that would contribute to the student’s final grade.

Grade Rank Points Allocated (H2) Rank Points Allocated (H1)
A 20 10
B 17.5 8.75
C 15 7.5
D 12.5 6.25
E 10 5
S 5 2.5
U 0 0

The total rank points is calculated through the addition of student’s 3 H2 Subjects, 1 H1 Subject, H1 General Paper and Project Work

8. Are CCAs Compulsory?

It is compulsory for all Junior College students to join a CCA, even if the student is part of an external CCA.

9. How many exams are there?

Similar to Secondary School, students are required to take Mid-Year examinations during both years of study. At the end of the first year, students will take the promotional examinations, which determines if they will be allowed to promote to JC2. Nearing the end of the course, students will sit for their Preliminary examinations, which is meant to simulate conditions during A Levels.

10. What if I did not get my choice of Junior College?

You will be posted to a Junior College with vacancies, provided you meet the school’s entry requirements. 

You may also submit an appeal by contacting the institutions directly through phone or email. Appeals are assessed on a case-by-case basis by the institutions. A place may be granted only when compelling reasons were presented and vacancies are available. While waiting for the appeal outcome, you should still report to your posted institution.

11. How is the posting of students to Junior College done?

The Junior College posting process is based on the student’s net aggregate score, order of the school choices, and the vacancies left at the selected schools. In the event that 2 students of the same net aggregate score are vying for the last place in a Junior College, posting will be determined by citizenship status, with Singapore Citizens gaining priority. If both students are of the same citizenship status, the one with a better gross aggregate score will be posted. If there is still a tie, a computerised ballot will decide the posting outcome.

12. Will my child have priority to the affiliated Junior College?

The student will be granted priority if the student places the affiliated Junior College as their first choice. However, this does not guarantee a spot in the school as it will ultimately rely on vacancies available. 


8. Conclusion

Here at MindFlex, we understand that Junior College is a huge source of anxiety for students, given the heavy content load and immense time constraints. Hence, it is imperative that students learn proper time management and good study habits to do well for their A Levels. We hope that this article has addressed some of your concerns regarding Junior Colleges. 

MindFlex’s Junior College tutors boast multiple years of experience and are well-equipped with the best teaching methods to help you or your child throughout the Junior College journey. Looking for a suitable JC tutor for your A Levels? Kickstart your A Level preparation journey with MindFlex by submitting a free request for tutors today!

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