Guide: How Secondary 2 Streaming Affects your Future

subject combination Secondary 2 streaming sec 2 affect future find home tuition singapore
Secondary 2 Streaming exercise at one of Singapore’s Secondary Schools.

Secondary 2 Streaming – What is it?

The Secondary 2 Streaming Exercise occurs at the end of Sec 2, after they have received their overall results in Sec 2. 

It is conducted in all Secondary Schools in Singapore, except some IP and IB Schools.

The Streaming Exercise determines the Secondary 3 Subject Combination, and subjects they will sit for the O Levels.

How does that Affect my Child’s Future?

Irregardless of how well your Child does for the O Levels, their Future (career path) depends on the Subjects they chose at Secondary 2.

They may be scoring all A1’s for all their subjects, but still not qualify for some courses.

Sad student - How Secondary 2 Streaming Affects Your Future, home tuition, tuition agency, private tutor

Subject Prerequisites

Due to subject prerequisites, they may be limited only to certain Courses in Polytechnic, and also Junior College Subject Combination. (See: JC or Poly?)

(a) Polytechnic

For Polytechnic, students have to obtain minimum B3/4 (some Polys allow up to C6) for relevant subjects in O Levels. 

Relevant subjects being subjects directly related to the Poly Course – such as Maths and Physics for Engineering courses.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic - Subject Prerequisites for taking Courses. Secondary 2 Streaming affect Polytechnic courses, home tuition singapore, home tutor, tuition agency singapore
Image taken from Ngee Ann Polytechnic - Course Entry Requirements

From above, you can see different courses use different ELR2B2 as their cut-off points. (EL = English, R2 = Relevant 2, B2 = Best 2)

The ELR2B2 aggregate types each have different relevant subjects attached for the calculation – the R2 (relevant 2 subjects) for ELR2B2-C are the Sciences, whereas ELR2B2-B are Arts/Humanities.

You have to get good grades (A1-B4) for relevant subjects to be able to meet the COP – as seen above Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s courses are quite competitive. (See: Should I Send My Child for Tuition?)

Eunoia Junior College - Subject Prerequisites for taking H2 subjects. Secondary 2 Streaming affect JC subject combinations, home tuition singapore, home tutor, tuition agency singapore
Image taken from Eunoia Junior College - Subject Combinations

(b) Junior College

For JC, students have to obtain minimum B3 for Pure subjects, A1 for Combined subjects to be able to take up H2 subjects in Junior College. 

– For example: you have to get A1 in Combined (Phy/Chem) to be able to take H2 Chemistry in JC.

You will also have a compulsory bridging module in JC to attend. 

Some Junior Colleges are more lenient on this, allowing up to B3 to take up H2 Sciences (Yishun-Innova Junior College, JPJC etc).

Personal Story on How Secondary 2 Streaming Almost Ruined One’s Future:

Student A did not do well in Sec 2. 

The School did not allow student A to take 2 Pure Sciences. A was offered either Pure Biology and Combined Sci(Phy/Chem), or just Combined Science.

Student A went on to do well in the O Levels, getting 5 A1’s for 7 subjects – only B3 for English and Chinese. 

(a) Junior College Subjects

Student A almost could not take H2 Chemistry in the JC he went to. 

If student A did not get A1 for Combined Science – any small mistake made in either Phy/Chem paper would not allow student A to take H2 Chemistry.

(b) University Courses

Also, because student A took Combined Science (Physics) instead of Pure Physics, he was unable to apply to ALL Engineering Courses in NUS and NTU due to subject prerequisites. 

All engineering courses in NTU require at least a Pass in O Level Pure Physics, or H1 Physics in A Levels. (Full story: How taking Combined Science Almost Ruined My Future)

The universities I applied to did not even offer a place for the course – so there was not even an option to attend the bridging modules.

Secondary 2 Streaming Exercise

Student A was me. My prospects and choice of courses were severely limited solely because of my subject combination in Secondary 2, irregardless of my results for the O/A Levels.

Many doors were closed once I took Combined Science, and even more if I did not get A1 for Combined Science.

As seen above, all of NTU’s Engineering courses require at least an O’Level pass in Pure Physics – all Combined Science students do not qualify.

Recommended Subject Combinations

If your Child has no interest in any specific subjects, we recommend:

EMath, AMath, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Combined Humanities

If your Child be unable to make it to the Triple Science:

EMath, AMath, Pure Physics, Pure Chemistry

Should be the very least. No Combined Science – even if you are interested in pursuing Arts/Humanities. (See: 12 Study Tips from an A Levels Top Scorer)

Why Triple Science?
Taking all 3 Sciences will leave all doors open for you, since most likely 14-16 year olds don’t know what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
If your Child is unable to cope with one of the Pure Science, they can choose to drop that subject – meaning they will not sit for that subject at the O Levels.

Why Pure Physics over Pure Biology?
Physics is considered a much more useful subject in Singapore, based on subject prerequisites for Universities – Engineering, Computer Science, etc. 
With people taking H2 Physics able to go into Medicine in NUS/NTU, there is not much need for students to take Biology anymore.

Why not Combined Science?
Only weaker students that are unable to cope, and students with no plans to go to Junior College; should take Combined Science. 
We believe every student can excel with content mastery and proper studying techniques through tuition.

Preparation for Secondary 2 Streaming

Lower Secondary (Sec 1 and 2), students are still learning only the basics/foundation of every subject.

If your Child is already struggling with the basic foundations, it is time to get home tuition

Home Tuition will allow tutors to teach your Child the skills and techniques in answering questions, allowing your Child to score well in Math & Science. (See: market tuition rates, 2019)

University Graduate - How Secondary 2 Streaming Affects Your Future, home tuition, tuition agency, private tutor

It is incredibly important to build a strong foundation for the core subjects, so that they will not face problems in Upper Secondary or Junior College. It is said the jump from Secondary School to JC: “Combined Science is level 1, Pure Chem is level 2, H2 Chem is level 10“.

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