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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?

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 what Subjects they will take for Sec 3 and 4, 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.
Due to subject prerequisites, they are limited only to certain Courses in Polytechnic, and also Junior College (JC) Subject Combinations.

For Polytechnic, students have to obtain minimum B3/4 (depending on Poly, some allow up to C6) for relevant subjects in O Levels, to be able to apply to certain courses. 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. The ELR2B2 aggregate types each have different relevant subjects attached for the calculation – ELR2B2-C relevant subjects 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 for the courses – as seen above Ngee Ann Poly’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

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, Pioneer Junior College etc.).

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

Student A did not do well in Sec 2, and 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. Student A almost could not take H2 Chemistry, if A did not get A1 for Combined Science – any one small mistake made in either Phy/Chem paper would cost student A greatly.

Also, because student A took only Combined Science-level 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. (See Full story: How taking Combined Science Almost Ruined My Future)

Student A was me. My prospects and choice of courses were severely limited solely because of my subject combination in Secondary 2, irregardless of how well I did in O Levels. Many doors were closed once I took Combined Science, and even more would have been closed 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.

Then What Subject Combinations should my Child pick in Secondary 2?

If your Child has no specific subjects they are interested in, we recommend: Double Maths, Triple Science (Pure), Combined Humanities. (E/A Math, Bio, Chem, Physics, Combined Humanities)

If your Child be unable to make it to the Triple Science: Double Maths, Pure Physics and Chemistry, should be the very least. No Combined Science(See: 12 Lessons 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. This flexibility and freedom is only exercised when taking triple science.
  • Why Pure Phy & Chem over Pure Bio & Chem?
    Physics is considered a much more useful subject in Singapore, based on subject prerequisites for Universities. With people taking H2 Physics able to go into Medicine in NUS/NTU, it is a more flexible subject to be used in admissions or apply for subject/courses compared to Biology.
  • Why not Combined Science?
    We strongly believe Combined Science is meant to ruin lives. If you haven’t already heard the story: How taking Combined Science Almost Ruined My Future!


How do I prepare my Child for Secondary 2 Streaming?

If your Child is unmotivated to study at Sec 2 due to many distractions present and is unable to score well in Math/Science, get Private 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. It is very easy to score once you understand and memorise the key concepts. (See: 5 Reasons Why Home Tuition is Important in Singapore)

Lower Secondary (Sec 1 and 2), students are still learning only the basics/foundation of every subject. It is incredibly important to build a strong foundation for the core subjects; English, Mathematics, Science, so that they will not have much problems when they start learning the harder content 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“. (See: market tuition rates, 2018)

If your Child is already struggling with the basic foundations, it is time to look for a Home Tutor (See: Sample List of Tutor Profiles) to prepare for the Secondary 2 Streaming Exercise. (See: Guide on How to Request for Tutors)

CocoTutors: Home Tuition Agency – carefully reviews, select and interview potential Tutors before accepting them to join CocoTutors as a Tutor. Usually, we also do request Tutors to provide feedback/recommendations from their past/current students, hence ensuring that Tutors from CocoTutors only uphold the high standards and are able to provide quality and effective tuition for your Child. Our Undergraduate Home Tutors start from $25-50/h, depending on Qualifications & Experience. Start with a Free Tutor Search now!

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Miriam is part of the team that operates CocoTutors, a Home Tuition agency in Singapore. CocoTutors provides only well qualified and competent tutors for Home Tuition. You can try out our services at ( or by calling +65 9177 9055 directly.