top of page

What Subjects Should I Choose for Secondary Two Streaming?

Secondary Two Streaming is the most important part of our secondary school education in Singapore. At last you have a chance to choose the subjects you prefer to study!

happy students in a tuition centre in Singapore

This is a very important decision as it will affect your future path (post-secondary education, tertiary education and ultimately your future career). Naturally, it seems daunting to make such a BIG decision at a tender age where most are still unsure where their futures lie.

This article aims to provide parents with the information they need to help their children, as well as some must-know tips to help students make the best decision for themselves.

What is Secondary 2 Streaming?

The Secondary 2 Streaming Exercise occurs at the end of Secondary 2, after the students have received their end-of-year results. It is conducted in all secondary schools in Singapore. This Streaming Exercise determines the subjects that they will sit in for the O-Levels.

In this process, all Secondary 2 students have to choose their subject combinations for Upper Secondary. Students are given a chance to choose the subjects they would like to take for their O-Level and N-Level examinations. However, whether or not they get the subject combination of their choice will depend on their academic results relative to the whole cohort’s performance.

An Important Decision

Regardless of how well you do for the O-Levels, your future (education and career path) depends on the subjects you chose in Secondary 2. You may be scoring A1s for all your subjects but still not qualify for some courses.

home tutor explains physics to student in Singapore

Deciding on which subject combination to take in Upper Secondary is important as it can affect what you are eligible to take in Junior College and Polytechnic due to subject prerequisites.

Junior College

For example, if you would like to take H2 Physics in Junior College (JC), you will have to take Physics at the O-Levels. In most JCs, students are required to have a good grade for O Level Pure Physics in order to take up H2 Physics in JC.


For Polytechnic, in general, students have to obtain a good grade for relevant subjects in O-Levels. Relevant subjects are subjects directly related to the Polytechnic Course, such as Math and Physics for Engineering courses. If you would like to apply for Business Management in Polytechnic, your Humanities subjects will be more important than your Science subjects at the O-Levels.

Different courses use different ELR2B2 (EL=English, R2=Relevant 2, B2=Best 2) as their cut-off points. You have to get good grades (A1-B4) for relevant subjects to be able to meet the Cut-Off Point.

Tips on choosing your subject combination

1. Think about where you want to go after Secondary School

This is the most practical way to help you choose your subject combination. If you already know what you want to pursue in Polytechnic or University, do some research on their subject requirements to ensure that you are able to meet them. This will prevent an event where you realise that you are not able to go through with your desired post-secondary courses due to your subject combination.

You may be thinking, “But I still do not know where I want to go!” Don't worry, this does not mean that you will not be able to decide on your subject combination. You can choose a more common combination that allows you to get into most courses and take most subjects.

Student conduct experiments in their chemistry laboratory in Singapore

Suggested subject combination for those w ho have no interest in specific subjects:

E.Math, A.Math, Triple Science, Combined Humanities

If you do not hit the mark for Triple Science: E.Math, A.Math, Pure Physics, Pure Chemistry

Why Triple Science?

Taking all 3 Sciences will leave all doors open for you since most 14-16year olds do not know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. If you are unable to cope with one of the Pure Sciences, you can choose to drop that subject (do not sit for that subject at the O-Levels).

Choosing Pure Physics over Pure Biology?

Physics is considered a much more useful subject in Singapore, based on subject prerequisites for Universities (eg. Engineering, Computer Science). You do not necessarily need Biology to get into Medicine, a good H2 Physics and Chemistry grade would suffice.

How about Combined Science?

Only weaker students who are unable to cope, and students who have no plans to go to Junior College or science-related courses in Polytechnics, should take Combined Science. With proper help, every student can excel.

If you need help in content mastery and studying techniques, fill up this simple form by clicking the button below and request a tutor now! MindWork's team of highly qualified and dedicated coordinators work around the clock to find the best tutor who meets your needs.

2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Now is the opportunity for you to drop the subjects which you are weak at. Choosing your subject combination is important because it is an opportunity to choose the subjects you like or excel in to make your secondary school education more fun and enriching for you. It is an opportunity to customise what you are going to learn.

It is difficult for many to excel in all subjects. Naturally, some students may be more inclined towards the science subjects while others are more inclined towards the humanities subjects. You should evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses to decide on the best subject combination for yourself.

MindWork Tuition's infographic on how to conduct SWOT Analysis for enhancing Academic Performance for students in Singapore

Knowing your weaknesses can prevent you from taking a subject that you may end up struggling with. Choosing a subject you are strong in can help you further develop your skills and interests in the subject. This can also help you decide on the best combination for yourself to score well in the O-Levels.

If you want to take a deeper look at how to analyse your strengths and weaknesses, click here to read how a SWOT analysis can help!

3. What do you enjoy learning?

Having said that, scoring well for O-Levels is not the only factor to consider. Excelling during the examinations and learning can be two very different things. With so much emphasis on getting good grades, sometimes we forget the whole point of receiving an education: the joy of learning, the quest for knowledge.

Student walking in a park in Singapore

At the end of the day, we attend school in order to learn and broaden our perspectives. It is to equip us with the necessary knowledge needed for us to lead our lives. Different people have different interests. Listening to your own preferences and choosing what you enjoy learning can help you reap longer-term results and direct you on the path towards a future and career that is the most suited for you.

4. What are your academic results like?

While we are finally given the opportunity to choose, we are still bound by our academic results. Whether or not you get the subjects you have chosen will depend on the demand for the subject and your results relative to other people who have opted for the same subject combination as you.

Not only does taking your results into consideration help you evaluate your chances of getting the subject combination, but it is also a way to distinguish which subjects you are better at. This can be an indication of what you are more inclined towards which helps you to choose the best subjects for yourself.

5. Do not take the combination just because your friends are

Singaporean IB Students study together in a cafe

Do not aim to take the “best” combination or the one that “everyone wants” because you are going to have a hard time if it just is not your cup of tea. You may feel good about being in the same class as your buddies but if that is not where your interests lie, the next two years will be painful for you. (True story! I made this mistake, so please do not do the same.)

Therefore, aim for the things that you like or are good at.

There is no “right” or best combination to choose. Just listen to your own heart, have a clear gauge of your own ability and make the right decision for yourself.

Preparation for Secondary 2 Streaming

In Lower Secondary, students are still learning the foundation of every subject. It is of utmost importance to build a strong foundation for the core subjects so that you will not face more problems as you progress further in your education path. (That’s another story for another day.)

If you are already struggling with the basic foundations, it is time to get help. Allow MindWorks to help you succeed by clicking the button below and requesting a tutor now!

I hope these tips will help you to make the best decision for yourself!

5,384 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page