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Singapore-Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level

The Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (O-level) examination is a national examination held annually in Singapore. The examinations are jointly conducted by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) as well as the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB).[1]

Despite the engagement of an identical examination board as partnering authority, the Singapore-Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level examination have no relation to the British GCSE examinations, having de-linked since 2006 when the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) took over the management of the national examination. This is owing to the stark differences in the development of the respective education systems in the two countries.[2] Nevertheless, the qualification is recognised internationally as equivalent to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), taken by international candidates including Singaporean students who take the exam as private candidates, as well as the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination taken by students in the United Kingdom.[3]

The national examination is taken by secondary school students at the end of their fourth year (for Express Stream) or fifth year (for Normal Academic Stream), and is open to private candidates. Recent studies show that approximately 30,000 students take the Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Level exams annually.[4]

Contents

SyllabusEdit

Examined subjects taken in English and international languages are set and marked by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), with the standards and grading for the subjects determined by SEAB and MOE in consultation with the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), a subsidiary of UCLES. Localised subjects, including Mother Tongue subjects such as Chinese, Malay and Tamil and Combined Humanities (Social Studies) are set, marked and graded locally by the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE).[5][2]

After the examination, standard papers (excluding the specified localised papers) are sent to Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) board (in Britain) for marking. For localised papers, the personal details of the student are omitted with the use of the Integrated Examination System where bar-code labels are used. Local teachers would not be able to recognise scripts from students of his or her own school as the candidates' names are neither written on the papers nor printed on the labels, hence preventing malpractice of teachers.[6]

GradesEdit

Candidates are graded based on their performance relative to the cohort. A grade in one GCE exam subject is a number with an accompanying letter. In descending order, the grades are: A (1,2), B (3,4), C (5,6), D7, E8, and F9. A grade of C6 or better is considered an O-level pass. Obtaining a pass in one or more subjects will lead to a Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level). Candidates whose subject(s) are denoted as 'Absent' - should they be absent from any component(s) for the subject - will not have the subject listed on the certificate; this is likewise for those who obtain a Grade 9, though it will appear on the result slip.[7]

The grades of six or five subjects (depending on the scoring system used) taken are added to give an aggregate score known as L1R5 (one language subject and five relevant subjects), or EL1R2B2, which is a separate aggregate scoring system used for polytechnic admission. The score is calculated by adding up the numeral of each grade. For example, a candidate who scores a grade of A1 in six subjects will have an L1R5 score of six.

SubjectsEdit

Special and Express studentsEdit

All Special and Express stream students are required to take a minimum of five subjects, but are allowed to take up to a maximum of nine. Students who wish to take ten subjects must obtain permission from the Ministry of Education. All Special and Express students must take the following subjects:[6]

  • English Language (includes listening comprehension and an oral examination)
  • Mathematics (Elementary Mathematics)
  • Mother Tongue (includes listening comprehension and an oral examination)
(Second Language or Literature may be taken by foreign students in lieu of Mother Tongue such as Japanese, Bahasa Indonesia and Arabic)
  • Combined Humanities (Compulsory Social Studies with either Elective Geography, History or Literature in English, Chinese, Malay or Tamil).
  • Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)
    • Pure Science (includes the School-Based Science Practical Assessment (SPA) for school candidates); and/or
    • Combined Science (combinations of any two science subjects listed above, considered as one subject)

Elective SubjectsEdit

  • Additional Mathematics
  • Principles of Accounting (POA)
  • Applied Subjects (Biotechnology, Design Studies, Media Studies (In English Language and Chinese Language, Fundamentals of Electronics, Food and Consumer Education, Art, Music)
  • Pure Humanities (Geography, History, Literature in English/Chinese/Malay/Tamil, Higher Music, Higher Art)
  • Religious Knowledge (Bible Knowledge, Buddhist Studies, Islamic Law)
  • Foreign Languages (3rd Language Malay,French, German, Japanese, Arabic, Burmese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia)
  • Economics

Normal (Academic) studentsEdit

Students in the Normal (Academic) stream take four to seven subjects including:

  • English Language (includes listening comprehension and an oral examination)
  • Mathematics (Elementary Mathematics)
  • Mother Tongue (includes listening comprehension and an oral examination)
(Second Language or Literature may be taken by foreign students in lieu of Mother Tongue such as Japanese, Bahasa Indonesia and Arabic)
  • Combined Humanities (Compulsory Social Studies with either Elective Geography, History or Literature in English, Chinese, Malay or Tamil).
  • Combined Science (combinations of any two science subjects (Biology, Chemistry & Physics), considered as one subject)

Elective SubjectsEdit

  • Additional Mathematics
  • Principles of Accounting (POA)
  • Applied Subjects (Design & Technology, Food and Consumer Education, Art, Music)
  • Foreign Languages (3rd Language Malay,French, German, Japanese, Arabic, Burmese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia)

Mother TongueEdit

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) is the examining authority for Mother Tongue subjects. The Mother Tongue paper is different from the other papers, in that it includes a "Mid-Year Examination" for written papers (i.e. Papers 1 and 2), taken on the first Monday of the June school holidays. The Oral and Listening Comprehension papers are usually taken in July, and the results for Mother Tongue are subsequently released in August. However, the candidate may opt to re-take the paper in October/November along with the other papers that the candidate has registered for, though an additional fee is payable. The November re-assessment only covers the written examinations; no re-assessment is available for the Oral and Listening Comprehension component of the examination.

The best result of the two assessments is reflected in the result slip which will be released in January the following year. In addition to the grade, it will also show the candidate's performance in the Oral/Aural Examination as Distinction (highest), Merit, Pass or Ungraded.

With effect from 2007, the use of approved electronic handheld dictionaries in O-level Chinese language composition examinations (Paper 1) has been allowed.[8]

Social StudiesEdit

Social Studies, the compulsory subject of the two components in Combined Humanities, is used as an implicit study of National Education.

School-based Science Practical AssessmentEdit

Pure Science subjects (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) include the School-based Science Practical Assessment (SPA) for school candidates. It assesses candidates' competence in science practical skills over an appropriate period of time that the candidates is offering the subject, and forms 20% of the overall mark for the subject. While the questions are set by the Ministry of Education, the assessment is scheduled, carried out and marked by the school before submitting the scripts to the MOE. The scores for the assessment are kept confidential and are never disclosed to the candidates. The assessment is grouped into three skill sets:

Skill set 1 – Performing and Observing
Skill set 2 – Analysing
Skill set 3 – Planning

Each candidate is to be assessed only twice for each of skill sets 1 and 2 and only once for skill set 3.[9]

In 2018, the revision of the O Level Science Syllabus will see the SPA Component being phrased out and replaced by the previous one-time Practical Examinations again.

List of subjects examinedEdit

Cambridge Subjects

Subject Code Subject Language medium Notes
1128 [1] English Language English
1135 [2] Arabic as a 3rd Language Arabic For school candidates only.
1136 [3] Bahasa Indonesia as a 3rd Language Bahasa Indonesia For school candidates only.
2049 [4] Religious Studies (Bible Knowledge) English For private candidates only.
2065 [5] Literature in English English
2174 [6] History English
2204 [7] Combined Humanities English Last year of examination in 2017. May be offered to repeat school candidates from 5N in 2018.
2236 [8] Geography English
2267 [9] Combined Humanities English
2272 [10] Humanities (Social Studies, Geography) English Offered from 2018 to replace Combined Humanities syllabus 2267.
2273 [11] Humanities (Social Studies, History) English Offered from 2018 to replace Combined Humanities syllabus 2267.
2274 [12] Humanities (Social Studies, Literature in English) English Offered from 2018 to replace Combined Humanities syllabus 2267.
2275 [13] Humanities (Social Studies, Literature in Chinese) English Offered from 2018 to replace Combined Humanities syllabus 2267.
2276 [14] Humanities (Social Studies, Literature in Malay) English Offered from 2018 to replace Combined Humanities syllabus 2267.
2277 [15] Humanities (Social Studies, Literature in Tamil) English Offered from 2018 to replace Combined Humanities syllabus 2267.
3012 [16] French French
3028 [17] German German
3034 [18] Spanish Spanish For school candidates only.
3186 [19] Arabic Arabic For private candidates only.
3194 [20] Hindi Hindi
3196 [21] Urdu Urdu
3199 [22] Gujarati Gujarati
3203 [23] Panjabi Panjabi
3215 [24] Bengali Bengali
3249 [25] Burmese Burmese
3260 [26] Thai Thai
3261 [27] Japanese Japanese
4047 [28] Additional Mathematics English
4048 [29] Mathematics English
5059 [30] Physics (SPA) English Last year of examination in 2018. For school candidates only.
5064 [31] Physics English Last year of examination in 2017. For private candidates only.
5073 [32] Chemistry (SPA) English Last year of examination in 2018. For school candidates only.
5074 [33] Chemistry English Last year of examination in 2017. For private candidates only.
5076 [34] Science (Physics, Chemistry) English
5077 [35] Science (Physics, Biology) English
5078 [36] Science (Chemistry, Biology) English
5108 [37] Biology English Last year of examination in 2017. For private candidates only.
5158 [38] Biology (SPA) English Last year of examination in 2018. For school candidates only.
6063 [39] Electronics English New subject from 2018. For school candidates only.
6085 [40] Music English For school candidates only.
6086 [41] Higher Music English For school candidates only.
6087 [42] Food and Nutrition English For school candidates only.
6091 [43] Physics English Revised syllabus from 2018.
6092 [44] Chemistry English Revised syllabus from 2018.
6093 [45] Biology English Revised syllabus from 2018.
6123 [46] Art English For school candidates only.
6124 [47] Higher Art English For school candidates only.
7051 [48] Design and Technology English For school candidates only.
7155 [49] Computing English New subject from 2018. For school candidates only.
7175 [50] Principles of Accounts English

O-Level School Initiated Elective (OSIE) Cambridge Subjects

Subject Code Subject Language medium Notes
2286 [51] Economics English For school candidates only.
5999 [52] Drama English For school candidates only.
6080 [53] Physical Education English For school candidates only.
7017 [54] Computer Studies English Last year of examination in 2017. For school candidates only.
7085 [55] Business Studies English For school candidates only.

Note: The above electives are applicable only for candidates from schools approved to offer the subjects.

Applied Subjects

Subject Code Subject Language medium Notes
NP01 [56] Fundamentals of Electronics English Last year of examination in 2017. For school candidates only.
NP03 [57] Media Studies Chinese Last year of examination in 2017. For school candidates only.
NP04 [58] Biotechnology English For school candidates only.
NP05 [59] Design Studies English For school candidates only.
NP06 [60] Media Studies English Last year of examination in 2017. For school candidates only.

Note: The above Applied Subjects are applicable only for candidates from schools approved to offer the subjects. Candidates registering for Applied Subjects will be charged subject fees cited by the examining agencies.

Local Subjects Examined in Chinese

Subject Code Subject Language medium Notes
1116 [61] Higher Chinese Chinese
1153 [62] Chinese B Chinese Chinese B is not an O-Level subject.
1160 [63] Chinese Chinese
1166 [64] Chinese (Special Programme) Chinese
2093 [65] Literature in Chinese Chinese

Local Subjects Examined in Malay

Subject Code Subject Language medium Notes
1117 [66] Higher Malay Malay
1133 [67] Malay (Special Programme) Malay
1148 [68] Malay Malay
1151 [69] Malay B Malay Malay B is not an O-Level subject.
2080 [70] Islamic Religious Knowledge Malay For private candidates only.
2094 [71] Literature in Malay Malay Last year of examination in 2017.
2238 [72] Literature in Malay Malay Revised syllabus from 2018.

Local Subjects Examined in Tamil

Subject Code Subject Language medium Notes
1147 [73] Higher Tamil Tamil
1152 [74] Tamil B Tamil Tamil B is not an O-Level subject.
1157 [75] Tamil Tamil
2098 [76] Literature in Tamil Tamil

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "https://www.seab.gov.sg/pages/nationalExaminations/GOL". www.seab.gov.sg. Retrieved 2017-12-10.  External link in |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b hermes (2017-09-11). "Changes to Britain's GCSE and A-level exams won't affect Singapore students". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2017-12-10. 
  3. ^ "Ten years of the GCSE". BBC News. 26 August 1998. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  4. ^ "Release of the 2016 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) Examination" (PDF). Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  5. ^ "GCE O Level Examination: General Information". Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  6. ^ a b "INSTRUCTIONS FOR PRIVATE CANDIDATES" (PDF). SEAB. SEAB. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  7. ^ http://www.seab.gov.sg/privateExamInstructions/2010InstructionsForPrivateCandidates.pdf Page 21 and 22
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  9. ^ "404:Not Found- SEAB" (PDF). www.seab.gov.sg. Retrieved 19 April 2018.