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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).

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. 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.

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.

Syllabus

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).

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.

Grades

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: A1, A2, B3, B4, C5, C6, 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.

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.

L1R5

L1R5

(For 2-year Junior College Course)

L1 First Language English / Higher Mother Tongue
R1 Relevant Subject 1 Humanities / Higher Art / Higher Music / Malay

(Special Programme) / Chinese (Special Programme) / Bahasa Indonesia

R2 Relevant Subject 2 Mathematics / Science
R3 Relevant Subject 3 Humanities / Higher Art / Higher Music / Mathematics / Science / Malay

(Special Programme) / Chinese (Special Programme) / Bahasa Indonesia

R4 Relevant Subject 4 Any GCE ‘O’ Level subjects excluding CCA and Religious Knowledge
R5 Relevant Subject 5 Any GCE ‘O’ Level subjects excluding CCA and Religious Knowledge

L1R4

L1R4

(For 3-year Millennia Institute Course)

L1 First Language English/ Higher Mother Tongue
R1 Relevant Subject 1 Humanities / Higher Art / Higher Music / Mathematics / Science / Malay (Special Programme) / Chinese (Special Programme) / Bahasa Indonesia
R2 Relevant Subject 2 Humanities / Higher Art / Higher Music / Mathematics / Science / Malay (Special Programme) / Chinese (Special Programme) / Bahasa Indonesia
R3 Relevant Subject 3 Any GCE ‘O’ Level subjects excluding CCA and Religious Knowledge
R4 Relevant Subject 4 Any GCE ‘O’ Level subjects excluding CCA and Religious Knowledge

ELR2B2

ELR2B2 (For 3-year Polytechnic Course) ELR2B2-A ELR2B2-B ELR2B2-C ELR2B2-D
EL English English English English
R1
  • Art / Art & Design
  • Business Studies
  • Combined Humanities
  • Commerce
  • Commercial Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Higher Art
  • Higher Music
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Intro to Enterprise Development
  • Literature
  • Media Studies
  • Music
  • Elementary Mathematics
  • Additional Mathematics
  • Elementary Mathematics
  • Additional Mathematics
  • Elementary Mathematics
  • Additional Mathematics
R2
  • Additional Mathematics
  • Art / Art & Design
  • Business Studies
  • Chinese
  • Combined Humanities
  • Commerce
  • Commercial Studies
  • Creative 3D Animation
  • Design & Technology
  • Design Studies
  • Economics
  • Elementary Mathematics
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Geography
  • Higher Art
  • Higher Chinese
  • Higher Malay
  • Higher Music
  • Higher Tamil
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Intro to Enterprise Development
  • Literature
  • Malay
  • Media Studies
  • Music
  • Principles of Accounts
  • Tamil
  • Art / Art & Design
  • Business Studies
  • Combined Humanities
  • Commerce
  • Commercial Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Higher Art
  • Higher Music
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Intro to Enterprise Development
  • Literature
  • Media Studies
  • Music
  • Principles of Accounts
  • Additional Combined Science
  • Additional Science
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Combined Science
  • Computing / Computer Studies
  • Creative 3D Animation
  • Design & Technology
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Electronics / Fundamentals of Electronics
  • General Science
  • Human & Social Biology
  • Integrated Science
  • Physics / Engineering Science
  • Science
  • Additional Combined Science
  • Additional Science
  • Art / Art & Design
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Combined Science
  • Computing / Computer Studies
  • Creative 3D Animation
  • Design & Technology
  • Design Studies
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Electronics / Fundamentals of Electronics
  • General Science
  • Higher Art
  • Human & Social Biology
  • Integrated Science
  • Media Studies
  • Physics / Engineering Science
  • Science
B2 Any two other subjects excluding CCA