You have finished your O level exams, and you have also decided to go to JC for your next step in your education. (Click here if you want to read on tips in choosing between JC and Poly).
You must be excited to start a new chapter in your education journey. At the same time, you need to remember that it would not be an easy journey ahead and you must not take this lightly. As you start JC, one of the most important decisions you would be making is selecting the subject combinations that you will be learning and eventually taking A level exams on.
Let’s first go through some basics:
H1, H2, H3 subjects
Subjects in JC are offered as H1, H2, and H3 subjects. The H stands for Higher, and each of these differs in the depth/difficulty of the subject. H1 is worth 1 point, and H2 is worth 2 points. The same subject in H1 would cover fewer topics compared to the H2 subject.
On the other hand, H3 is offered on top of H1 and H2 subjects, and only for students who are academically capable of handling the extra workload. Students taking H3 subjects may be exempted to take certain introductory modules in university.
Requirement of the subjects in JC
Admission to the university is based on the University Admission Score (UAS) and course-specific pre-requisites. The University Admission Score is calculated based on student’s performance in:
3 H2 Subjects
1 H1 Subject
H1 General Paper
H1 Project Work
Instead of the 3 H2 subjects + 1 H1 subject combination, students may also opt to take the 4 H2 subject combination. In which case, the lowest H2 subject score would be computed as an H1 subject.
There are of course pros and cons in considering to take 4 H2 subjects combination as compared to the 3 H2 + 1 H1 subjects combination. Taking 4 H2 subjects can also mean that it can be sort of a preventive measure in case you do not do well in one of your H2 subjects. However, it will also mean that you would be having a heavier workload. You will need to carefully decide if you are able to handle the workload to take this combination.
Arts, Science, and Hybrid combination
In JC, you could choose your stream based on the subjects you decide to take. Taking Science stream means you are taking 3 Science subjects and 1 Arts subject while taking Arts stream means you are taking 3 Arts subject and 1 Science subject.
Usually, the science subjects in JC have some pre-requisites, such as having to take the same subject and obtaining certain grades in o level. For Arts subjects, typically there are no pre-requisites from your O level subject. But this requirement may differ between different JCs, so do check your school requirements to be sure.
There are certain subjects only offered by some JCs, so if you plan to take these subjects, do take them into consideration when you are deciding to apply for certain JCs.
Other than Science and Art stream, you could also choose to take Hybrid combination, which consists of 2 science subjects and 2 arts subjects respectively.
Moving on, we will go on to the key points you need to take not in making the decisions on your subject combinations
1. University Admission Requirement
If you have chosen to go to JC to further your studies, most probably you plan to continue to university afterwards. Hence this is one of the most important factors you have to take into account when you are making your subject combination decision.
Each major has specific subject requirements for their admission. Hence, you’d need to make sure that you are taking the subjects required for the major you are aiming for.
If you are undecided on which major you would like to go to later in university, here are some common subject combinations to give you some options to consider:
PCME or BCME: Physics/Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics
A lot of students may choose this because this is considered a “safe choice” for the Science stream. This is because you would be eligible for almost all university courses
HELM or GELM: History/Geography, Economics, Literature, Mathematics
This is another most common subject combination, for students in the Art stream,
2. Your interest and personal preference
At the end of the day, your subject combinations should depend on what you want and what you are good at. Choose the subjects/streams you are more inclined to. If you are interested in both, you could consider taking the hybrid combination.
Generally, the hybrid combination may not be encouraged, as you would not be eligible for a number of university courses (for example, you would no longer be eligible for any courses that require three science subjects). However, if you do have a major in mind that you want to apply to, and you are eligible to do so with this combination, I don’t think there is any reason for you not to take it. Rather than going with the most “common” choice, it would be better to make choices that you are most comfortable and confident in.
3. What are your academic results like?
It is important to emphasize that you should not just take the “best” combination subjects other students take. You need to take into account your strengths. If you were struggling when you were taking combined physics during secondary, you may not want to take H2 Physics in JC as you would most likely be struggling for your A levels. Instead, take subjects that you like and are confident in.
4. Do not just follow the subject combination your friends take
There is no “right” subject combination you must take. Do not just take a certain combination because everyone else is taking it. You need to think long term, as your subject combination would affect your university course which will, in turn, affect your career after graduation.
Lastly, as you start your journey in JC, you would soon realize that there is a big leap between secondary and JC. Especially since you are expected to be a more independent learner in JC. At first, it may seem difficult, and you may be discouraged.
Don’t worry as we all went through this and one thing that I could tell you is that you would be able to adjust eventually!