In the coming years, Junior College students in Singapore will see major overhauls to the A Level scoring system, which will affect how A Level Chemistry students prepare for their examinations. At Focus Chemistry, as we strive to keep up with the trends in Singaporean education, and the purpose of this article is to evaluate how these changes will affect future A Level Chemistry students.
What are the changes in A Levels scoring which will be implemented?
The change in how the final A Levels score is calculated will take place in 2026, when Junior College (JC) students will not need to count their 4th content-based subject. In a move to encourage interdisciplinary learning, MOE made it mandatory to take a contrasting subject as a 4th subject for A Levels.
However, during university admissions, students will not be required to count their 4th contrasting subject unless it improves their total A Level score. Furthermore, A Levels students will not have mid-year examinations for JC1 and JC2, which means that right before their final A Level exam, their only practice is “prelims”.
What is the effect of these changes?
Although these changes may seem positive for Junior College students in Singapore, there are effects on university admissions and on students’ abilities to prepare for their exams. The first, most obvious consequence of the removal of mid-year exams for JC2 students means that right before they sit for their A Levels, their only round of practice doing questions under a timed setting to simulate the real exam will be the preliminary exams.
It is imperative that students practice doing their exam papers under a timed setting, to simulate the conditions in the real exam. Without mid-year examinations before the preliminary examinations, students may feel less confident about their abilities and preparations before the final A Levels.
Moreover, students will have one less opportunity to evaluate their performance to identify avenues for improvement. Exams are important for students as they are a time to evaluate the student’s understanding of the concepts, with feedback provided by the markers. If students are lacking in their understanding of the concepts, or in the answers they give, every exam is an opportunity to improve.
The effect of removing the 4th content-based subject for university admissions will have several unintended consequences. Students will not need to study much for their 4th subject, which may result in them neglecting it as it will not be counted towards their total score. This means that more time and effort will be spent on focusing on their 3 other subjects.
However, this would mean that competition for their remaining subjects will be fiercer, especially since students will likely be using their other 3 subjects as a basis for their university application. It is likely that the requirement for these main subjects during their university applications will be higher, such as more courses requiring straight As. Thus, this means that competing for places in university courses could get increasingly competitive.
Getting a place in the university course in Singapore and overseas is often already a competitive exercise, with students having to prepare their personal statements and academic achievements to demonstrate to the university that they will be of great added value to the course and the school. Moreover, students will need to pass several rounds of interviews to determine whether they are a right fit for the course. Sometimes, students in competitive courses must undergo additional testing by other examination boards such as the SAT if they wish to get into courses in other countries, such as the US.
With fiercer competition without the 4th A Levels subject, students need to ensure that they get the requisite grades to meet the admission requirements in universities. Furthermore, during interviews, they need to demonstrate a sense of keen intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills which will be an asset to any application. With Focus Chemistry, A Level Chemistry students will be able to hone these soft skills as well as improve their grades!
How can Focus Chemistry help?
Focus Chemistry can help A Level Chemistry students prepare for their A Level examination. With our curated materials and detailed question bank consisting of not only A Level Chemistry questions from a wide variety of Junior Colleges, but also difficult questions written by our very own tutor, we are confident that practicing with us can help you score!
A Level Chemistry students need not worry about the removal of mid-year examinations causing a lack of preparation, as attending weekly lessons to discuss homework questions and break down how to give concise, complete answers to exam questions will help students achieve their desired grades, which will be a steppingstone to the university course of their choice.
Despite these changes being implemented in future, we know that with our methods of helping students achieve conceptual understanding, students will feel more confident as they are stepping into the exam hall. The aim is for every A Level Chemistry student of Focus Chemistry to improve their knowledge of Chemistry not just for A Levels, but also for university and real life!
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Frequently Asked Questions:
- How many hours do JC students study?
The official time for JC lessons is 7.30am to 7pm on weekdays for lessons.
- Is there an age limit for JC?
JC students range from 16 to 20+ years old and must have completed the equivalent of Secondary 4 education.
- Is it ok to fail in JC?
Failing in JC could have an impact on a student’s future prospects and their ability to continue their tertiary education either overseas or locally.
- Does JC have scholarship?
There are scholarships in JC such as the Humanities Scholarship Programme which is offered by certain JCs. These scholarships require the student to take a subject combination with mainly humanities subjects like Economics, History, and Literature.