The O-Level results will be released in a couple of days. If you are eligible for enrolment into Junior College (JC), apart from deciding which JC to apply to, you will need to think about your A-Level subject combination. On the Mark’s Dean, Mr Chris Ho, specially pens this article to provide some tips to help prospective JC students choose the right subjects to take for their eventual A-Level examinations.

#1: Knowing your goals

If you have already decided on the course to apply for at university, then it is timely for you to look at the A-Level subject requirements from the various universities.

  • For example, if you are very sure about being a doctor in the future, then it may be more appropriate for you to be enrolled into the Science stream and perhaps to choose Biology over Physics as one of your main H2 subjects.
  • Likewise, if you are set on becoming a lawyer, then choosing Humanities or Arts subjects might enable you to be familiar with the rigour required to excel in the subject.

#2: Know your interests and strengths

However, if you do not have any idea about what you would like to do at university, then it might be worthwhile to choose a variety of subjects that cater to your interests. Since you are going to spend the next two years studying a subject, you might as well enjoy learning what you are interested in. Believe me, you will need the motivation to press on when the going gets tough.

  • For example, if you are more inclined to the Sciences, then consider the subject combination of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics (PCME) or Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics (BCME). Most JCs will offer such a combination, so there should not be much worry about these combinations being denied.
  • Similarly, if you prefer the Humanities / Arts subjects, the common subject combination will be History, Economics, Literature in English and Mathematics (HELM) or Geography, Economics, Literature in English and Mathematics (GELM). Do not forget that a distinction in General Paper will also help to boost the chances into the law faculty.
  • If you do not have any particular inclinations, you should consider taking a look at the syllabi of the various A-Level subjects and see if you might be interested in any of them. From experience, there are students who opt for a “hybrid” subject combination that has a balance of both Arts and Science subjects, e.g. Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics and History. The advantage of choosing a variety of subjects will allow for more options when applying for universities or internships. But, it may also limit some of the more specialised courses, such as medicine. So, please bear this in mind should you intend to choose the “hybrid” route.

Additionally, if you are struggling at a particular subject for your O-Levels, then it would be unwise to choose it at the A-Levels as the increment in content and skills required to do well can be very large (even if you are interested in the subject). All these can make it immensely difficult for you to cope right from the beginning.

#3: Know the track record for the subjects

Whilst it is important to take into consideration your interests, grades inevitably also play a large part when it comes to university application. For example, you are very keen and interested to learn about China and its recent developments and so the subject China Studies in English might be an appealing subject to take up. However, what do you know about the track record of that subject nation-wide, as well as for your chosen JC? If the national average for the subject is say 30% “A” and the school’s record is 10% “A”, then you should really think twice about taking that subject.

#4: Know the syllabus and exam format for the subject

If you are still unsure of what to choose, then you should read up on the respective syllabi and understand what the examination format will be. This will involve doing some simple research such as:

  • Read up on the syllabus online at the SEAB website
  • Speak with the subject coordinator in your JC
  • Speak with seniors who have recently graduated from JC
  • Speak with one of our friendly education consultants at 9622 4600

I hope this simple article has helped you in your decision-making with regard to your subject combination. Remember to do some basic research or seek help when in doubt.

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