Should I Change Subject Combination as a Private Candidate? (Updated as of 2024)

Should I Change Subject Combination as a Private Candidate

So you’ve decided to retake A-Level as a private candidate. The next step is to submit your application to SEAB. But wait, are these the subjects you want to take? Should you change subject combination?


Why You Might Decide To Change Subject Combination

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 in school. Subjects like H2 Art or H2 China Studies will not be available to you. Generally, subjects that require coursework cannot be taken up by private candidates. Unfortunately, this usually means a subject combination change is inevitable. Here is a list of subjects offered by SEAB in 2023 for private candidates. Take note to check the subject code as well; there is a possibility of a syllabus change.

  1. Unable to handle amount of content

For those who took 4 H2 subjects previously, another 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 how in depth a JC subject will be,”. Therefore, a drop will reduce the amount of content you have to cover.

  1. Did not enjoy previous subject taken

Sometimes the reason for considering a subject combination change is simply a lack of interest in the subject. 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 to whether you should change subject combination. However, here are some things you can consider:

  1. Availability of subject and materials

There are certain subjects that cannot be taken as a private candidate without prior background either. Especially for Science subjects, pre-requisites are present which can be found on SEAB’s Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t fulfil the requirements, then your desired subject combination will not be available to you.

Likewise, certain subjects will undergo a major revamp in syllabus. Whatever notes and exam papers you have obtained from carousell may be out of syllabus. We recommend you to check with SEAB for any syllabus change. 

  1. Feasibility of subject combination

Some subjects combinations are not recommended as they contain multiple content-heavy subjects. One very important thing to note 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 without support. Are you disciplined enough to handle the heavy content load?

  1. 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 consider how it will affect your university applications. For example, if you decide to drop H2 Math, 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

We specialises in coaching both H1 and H2 Econs. Here are some courses of action we usually offer to any student considering to change subject combination.

  1. Taking H2 Econs as a new subject

This requires a great deal of consideration. The main reason behind this is the amount of content you need to cover. 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, H2 subjects will take up a greater amount of time, especially if you’re learning it for the first time.

However, we understand that certain subjects like Art cannot be retaken as coursework cannot be resubmitted. In such cases, H2 economics as a replacement may not necessarily be a poor choice, especially if you are pursuing an arts combination. 

  1. Taking H1 Econs as a new subject

Relative to H2 Economics, this is definitely feasible. H1 Econs has a smaller scope than its H2 counterpart and is less taxing. In fact, we’ve a H1 Programme tailored to fit the needs of private candidates, which applications are currently open!

  1. Dropping your 4th 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 agree that this subject combination change is a good decision as they have more time to cover other subjects now.

Please note that with effect from 2025, there will be a recalibration of how UAS is tabulated. This change will render this option less effective as only your 3 H2s + 1 GP will be considered for UAS. All the other H1s will be only considered if they improve your UAS. 

Lastly, we’ve also interviewed a former private candidate on his experience, strength and hope for retaking A-levels. We hope his journey can sufficiently motivate you all to persevere in this tough journey:

Ultimately, whether you decide to take a leap of faith and opt to change subject combination or keep your old one, remember your original goal. 

If you would like to find out how our Private Candidate Econs Programme can help you to secure your ‘A’ in the second try, click here or the button below!

Register for Private Candidate Programme