change subject combination or not?

So you’ve decided to retake A-Level as a private candidate. The next step is to submit your application to Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB)… but wait, are these the subjects you want to take? Perhaps you are considering a subject combination change.


Why You Might Decide To Change Subject Combination

There are many reasons why you may be considering a switch in subject combination when retaking A-Level as a Private Candidate. Here are some of the more common reasons why others may have decided to change subject combination:


1. Previous subject is not offered for private candidates

There are certain subjects that can only be taken as a school candidate. If you decide to retake A-Level as a private candidate, subjects like H2 Art or H2 China Studies will not be available to you. Unfortunately, this usually means a subject combination change is inevitable. Here is a list of subjects offered by SEAB in 2019. Take note to check the subject code as well; your A-Level year might be the last year before a syllabus change.


2. Unable to handle amount of content

For those who took 4 H2 subjects previously, one surprising way to change subject combination will be to drop one of them down to H1. As one commenter on Quora puts it, “H1, H2 and H3 levels refer to the how in depth a JC subject will be, H1 being the lowest and H3 being the highest”. Therefore, a drop from H2 to H1 for a subject will reduce the amount of content you have to revise for before A-Level.


3. Did not enjoy previous subject taken

Sometimes the reason for considering a subject combination change is simply a lack of enjoyment in what you’re currently studying. If you did well for all other subjects, it might even be the only reason you need to retake A-Level in the first place!


What You Need To Consider Before Making Changes

Everyone has different circumstances. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to whether you should change subject combination as a private candidate. However, there are some very important things to consider before submitting your new subject combination to SEAB.


1. Availability of subject

There are certain subjects that cannot be taken as a private candidate without prior background either. According to SEAB’s Frequently Asked Questions, in order to take Science subjects with a practical paper component, students must a) have sat for the subject at A-Level previously OR b) be currently attending or will be attending a course of instruction in Science practical at any institute/school. If you don’t fulfil the requirements, then your desired subject combination will not be available to you.


2. Feasibility of subject combination

Some subjects combinations are not recommended as they contain multiple content-heavy subjects. One very important thing to keep in mind is that you are no longer situated in a structured school environment. It’s likely that most of your revision will be done alone or with a few study buddies. Are you able to handle the heavy content load without constant pushing and guidance from school teachers?


3. University application

The reason you’re retaking A-Level is to qualify for a good university of your choice. When making a subject combination change, you must therefore place close attention how it will affect your university applications as well. For example, if you decide to drop H2 Mathematics, you will not be eligible for most science or engineering courses. Here are the subject requirements for courses in NUS and NTU.


Subject Change Regarding Economics

As AceYourEcons specialises in coaching Economics on both H1 and H2 level, here are some advisable course of action we usually offer to any student looking to change subject combination.


1. Taking H2 Econs as a new subject

This is strongly not recommended. The main reason behind this is the amount of content you need to cover. Remember that as a private candidate, you have to cover the same amount of content in a single year as compared to two years for other JC students. Generally speaking, H2 subjects will take up a great amount of time, especially if you’re learning it for the first time.


2. Taking H1 Econs as a new subject

This is still not recommended, but it is definitely feasible. H1 Economics has a smaller scope than its H2 counterpart and is less taxing for private candidates. In fact, our centre offers a H1 Programme as tailored to fit the study needs of private candidates (2019 application currently open)!


3. Dropping H2 Econs to H1 Econs

This is a highly recommended course of action, especially if this subject change does not affect any of your prospective university course applications. Many of the students currently in our H1 Programme mentioned above agree that this subject combination change is a good decision as they have more time to cover other subjects now.


Ultimately, whether you decide to take a leap of faith and opt to change subject combination or keep your old one, remember to keep in sight your original goal of getting into university. If you find yourself in need of help for Economics, do remember to take a look at what we offer below. All the best and good luck!