The option of a fifth year will continue to be available for students entering Secondary One N(A) in 2023. Students will sit for the GCE N-Level examination in 2026 and those who are eligible for and wish to take up the fifth year in 2027 can do so. They will then sit for the common national examination, the Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) in 2027.
The provision for students to offer all their subjects at a more demanding level, or what is currently known as "lateral transfer", will continue to be available. Schools will guide students on their subject and subject level options based on a holistic consideration of their individual circumstances, strengths and interests in different subjects, overall ability to cope and well-being.
Students will continue to take the GCE O- and N-Level examinations until 2026.
Under Full SBB, the GCE O- and N-Level will be replaced with the new Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) examinations. This will apply from the 2024 Secondary One cohort onwards. From 2027, the national certification will reflect the subject level at which each subject is taken.
Today, admissions to Post-Secondary Education Institutions (PSEIs) recognise the efforts of students who take relevant subjects at a more demanding level through the provision of SBB(Sec).
For example, students in the N(A) course can use their O-Level subject grades to apply for the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) or the Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP). Similarly, students in the N(T) course can also use their O-Level or N(A)-Level subject grades to apply for ITE Nitec and 3-year Higher Nitec courses.
This will continue for all students who take subjects at a more demanding level.
As students will offer a more diverse combination of subjects at different subject levels, under Full SBB, MOE has reviewed the admissions criteria for post-secondary pathways to recognise a wider profile of learners and provide students with more options, while ensuring students have the necessary fundamentals to thrive in their chosen pathway.
- The existing Junior College admission criteria will be retained to ensure that students are right-sited to cope with the academic rigour of the A-Level pathway;
- The option of a fifth year in secondary school will continue to be available for eligible students to pace their learning and take subjects at a more demanding level to access more post-secondary pathways;
- Students who wish to pursue courses in the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education will enjoy more flexibility.
- Admission criteria to Polytechnic Year 1 will be reviewed to better recognise the different subject levels taken by students, and updates will be provided in due course.
The use of Posting Groups under Full SBB is fundamentally different from today’s stream-based system and signals a shift to a more flexible and customised approach. Posting Groups are only used for the purposes of admitting students into secondary schools and to guide the initial subject levels students offer at the start of Secondary One. Once in school, students will be grouped in mixed form classes comprising of students from different Posting Groups. They will spend about a third of their curriculum time taking a set of Common Curriculum subjects together i.e. Art, Character and Citizenship Education (CCE), Design and Technology (D&T), Food and Consumer Education (FCE), Music, and Physical Education (PE).
Under Full SBB, eligible students will also have more flexibility to take subjects at different subject levels depending on their subject-specific strengths and learning needs, and have access to a wider range of subject offerings and programmes. While the three Posting Groups will map to the PSLE Score ranges of the existing N(T), N(A) and Express streams, they will not shape or define students’ secondary and post-secondary experiences and pathways, unlike the existing academic streams.
Having three Posting Groups ensures schools remain accessible and continue to have a good mix of students across diverse learner profiles, and students have opportunities to interact with other students with different interests and backgrounds.
MOE has studied alternative posting models as part of our review, but the alternatives are not tenable as they would result in an unbalanced school landscape with a stark hierarchy across schools.
For example, if we only had one Posting Group, every school would have a single Cut-Off Point (COP) for entry. This significantly limits the range of schools that students can access, and narrows the diversity of student profiles that schools admit. Some schools may end up admitting only students offering subjects at G3, while others may admit only students offering subjects at G1. Students would have fewer school choices and limited opportunities to interact with other students with different interests and backgrounds in secondary school, potentially compromising their social-emotional development.
With three Posting Groups, students will have a wider range of school choices and each school will have a more diverse set of learner profiles across a range of PSLE Scores. This ensures schools remain accessible and continue to have a good mix of students across diverse learner profiles, and students have opportunities to interact with other students of different strengths, interests and backgrounds.
With the implementation of Full SBB, students will be able to offer subjects at different subject levels, based on their strengths and learning needs. As such, it would be possible that students within the same school but posted through the different Posting Groups could access the same subjects at the same subject level as they progress through secondary school. This is in line with the intent of Full SBB to allow students to better customise their educational experiences, without being constrained by their academic streams.
Under Full SBB, Posting Groups will not shape or define students’ experience in secondary schools and their post-secondary pathways. Students’ eligibility for the various post-secondary pathways will be determined by whether their subject and subject level combinations allow them to meet the admission criteria of the respective post-secondary pathway, rather than which Posting Group they entered secondary school through.
For example, students admitted to secondary school through Posting Group 2 will take most of their subjects at G2 at the start of Secondary 1. As they progress through secondary school, they will have the flexibility to take more subjects at a more demanding level (i.e. at G3 instead of G2) at appropriate junctures, based on their performance in the subject in secondary school and a holistic assessment by the school to ensure that they can cope with the subject and overall workload. By the end of their secondary school journey, these students can qualify for admission to Junior College if they take a sufficient number of G3 subjects to compute L1R5 and achieve an L1R5 gross aggregate score of 20 or better (in addition to meeting the grade requirements for specific subjects).
Increased Subject Level Flexibility
The guidelines for students to offer various subjects and subject levels are calibrated to balance between greater customisation for students while ensuring that they continue to benefit from a broad-based education that develops strong fundamentals and stretches them to their fullest potential. Schools will take into consideration the students’ holistic development and optimise their learning experiences, as well as the school’s resourcing constraints.
- At the start of Secondary One, students may offer the PSLE subjects at a more demanding level based on their individual AL score. For example, a student with PSLE score of 23 (scoring AL5 for Mathematics) will be admitted through Posting Group 2 and take most subjects at G2 at the start of Secondary One. He/she can also take Mathematics at a more demanding level (i.e. G3 instead of G2) at the start of Secondary One.
- At the start of Secondary One, students who offered English, Mathematics and/or Science at Foundation level at PSLE but are offering most of their subjects at G3 may offer these subject(s) at a less demanding level, in consultation with their secondary schools.
- Beyond the start of Secondary One, students may offer subjects at a more demanding level based on their performance in the subject in secondary school and a holistic assessment by the school to ensure that the student can cope with the subject and overall workload.
- Students may also offer elective subjects at a less demanding level in upper secondary if they wish to, based on their strengths, interests, and post-secondary aspirations
- To offer compulsory subjects at a less demanding level beyond the start of Secondary One, schools will holistically assess student’s aptitude and attitude towards learning, socio-emotional well-being, and impact on post-secondary progression options.
Schools will guide and advise students on their eligibility to offer subjects at a more or less demanding level.
At the start of Secondary One, we encourage all students to offer subjects at a subject level suited to their learning needs based on their PSLE Score to ensure they are exposed adequately to the demands of the subjects at the subject level.
In line with the intent of Full SBB to allow greater customisation of learning, eligible students may be allowed to offer selected subjects at a less demanding level. This would allow them to build stronger foundations in the subject and better manage their learning load. They may offer the subject at a more demanding level subsequently if they meet the eligibility criteria.
This calibrated approach allows us to ensure academic rigour and broad-based learning, while providing students with a more customised learning experience according to their strengths and interests, and empowers students to have greater ownership of their learning.
Upper secondary elective subjects are subjects that students can choose to offer in addition to the five compulsory subjects, English Language, Mother Tongue Languages, Mathematics, Science, and Humanities. They allow students to explore their interests and pursue greater depth of learning in domains that are deemed essential for holistic education and post-secondary articulation.
There is greater flexibility for upper secondary elective subjects to be taken at more or less demanding levels as students may choose to offer these subjects based on their strengths, interests and aspirations. The flexibility provides students the opportunity to pursue their interests and passion in an additional subject even if they do not wish to take on the subject at a more demanding level due to the higher curriculum and assessment load.
Shifting Away from Stream-based Subject Offerings and Programmes
G1 Humanities is introduced to broaden students’ knowledge, interest and understanding of society and the world by exposing them to the different Humanities disciplines of Geography, History, Literature in English and Social Studies. The introduction of G1 Humanities in place of the Social Studies [N(T)] is aligned with the intent of Full SBB to remove stream-based provisions by providing students access to the humanities, regardless of their Posting Groups.
The learning load of G1 Humanities will be calibrated and pitched appropriately to suit the interests and abilities of students offering the subject. The Humanities Exposure Modules, which give students exposure to Geography, History and Literature in English, will be taught through a short, bite-sized modular approach to manage the learning load.
G1 Humanities will continue to be a non-examinable subject.
The learning objectives of G1 Humanities Exposure Modules will be largely similar to those of G2 and G3 Humanities electives.
- In Geography, students explore places, people and geographical phenomena in their everyday lives to develop an understanding of the interconnectedness between humans and the environment and a desire to contribute towards building a sustainable future.
- In History, students learn how key individuals, groups, events and ideas had shaped Singapore, the region and the world in the past, and understand how these developments continue to influence the world we live in today.
- In Literature in English, students explore short literary works, make connections to their own lives and the world, and in the process learn to empathise with others and appreciate different perspectives.
Unlike the G2 and G3 Humanities electives, the G1 Humanities Exposure Modules are non-examinable and are designed as bite-sized modules to be taught within a term at both lower and upper secondary levels. The learning load for G1 Humanities Exposure Modules will be differentiated in terms of the scope of content and skills to cater to the learning needs of the students offering G1 Humanities while ensuring that they benefit from the exposure to the Humanities.
For students in schools currently implementing Full SBB, where students will also be able to offer Humanities subjects (Geography, History, and Literature in English) at a more demanding level from Secondary Two:
Schools typically communicate the eligibility criteria and considerations to Secondary One students via briefings, e.g. at the start of the new academic year or other platforms like school websites. This will help students and their parents make informed choices of taking up the offering of subjects including Humanities subjects at a more demanding level. Please check with the respective schools for more information.
Students can continue to take the Humanities subject at a more demanding level as they transit into upper secondary, so long as they meet the eligibility criteria and are deemed suitable by the school.
This will apply to both students taking the N(T) course offering N(A) Humanities, as well as students taking the N(A) course offering Express Humanities.
Mother Tongue Language (MTL)
The MTL 'B' Syllabus is pegged at a standard between the N(A)/G2 and N(T)/G1 MTL.
While both MTL 'B' and N(T)/G1 MTL curricula share a common focus on developing oral communication skills, MTL 'B' has more emphasis on reading and writing compared to N(T)/G1 MTL. The 2021 Secondary MTL curriculum incorporates writing in the form of technology-aided text input into both the N(T) MTL and MTL 'B' curriculum.
N(A)/G2 MTL emphasises more broadly on the development of students' listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
For students who take G1 or G2 MTL, the minimum MTL requirement for entry into JC/MI will be a pass grade for these subjects (i.e., Grade D and Grade 5 respectively).
This requirement is similar to the previous criteria of a 'Pass' in MTL 'B'. Students who were able to attain a 'Pass' in MTL 'B' should not face significant difficulties in meeting the new minimum MTL requirement.
For students who take G3 MTL, the minimum MTL requirement for admission to JC/MI will continue to be D7.
The discontinuation of CPA as a standalone subject for students from the N(T) stream is in line with our shift away from stream-based subject offerings and programmes.
We recognise the importance of developing digital competencies and skills in all our students. With increasing digital adoption and the availability of Personal Learning Devices, it is timely to make the learning of these skills more authentic and meaningful by folding the skills into learning activities found across the various subjects. For example, lower secondary students will have opportunities to develop digital competencies through tasks like using spreadsheets and word processing tools and making PowerPoint presentations in the learning of subjects such as Mathematics and Languages.
Starting from the 2026 Secondary Three cohort, G1, G2 and G3 Computing are made available as an elective subject at the upper secondary levels to further develop students' interests and strengths in computer education. GCE N-Level CPA will be replaced by G1 Computing, G2 Computing will be introduced as a new upper secondary elective subject and GCE O-Level Computing will be replaced with G3 Computing.
Mixed Form Classes and Common Curriculum
Students will be in mixed form classes in lower secondary.
At upper secondary, students have more diverse subject combinations. Schools will assess if the mixed form class experience should be extended to the upper secondary levels, taking into consideration the building of form class identity, the school's ability to customise support for the students and resource capacities.
Schools have the autonomy to decide how best to structure their form classes at lower secondary level to comprise students of different learner profiles, based on the school’s unique offerings, programmes, their student’ profile and needs.
Students will thus have more opportunities to interact with peers who have different strengths and interests, and are taking subjects at different subject levels.
Students may not opt out of mixed form classes as mixed form classes provide students with more opportunities to learn from, interact, and bond with peers of different backgrounds, strengths and interests. This is a key feature of the secondary school experience under Full SBB.
In terms of their academic learning, students can decide if they wish to offer subjects at a more or less demanding level based on eligibility, interest, and ability to cope with their overall curriculum load and their aspirations. School will also assist to guide students in customising their learning based on a holistic assessment of students’ development and well-being.
There are six Common Curriculum subjects that students attend together in their mixed form classes, i.e. Art, Character and Citizenship Education (CCE), Design and Technology (D&T), Food and Consumer Education (FCE), Music, and Physical Education (PE).
While the learning outcomes will be common for all students, teachers will differentiate their teaching to meet the learning needs of different learner profiles to ensure that they continue to be sufficiently supported and challenged in their learning. This will allow students to learn at a suitable pace while ensuring that a high level of quality and rigour in teaching is maintained.
Our teachers are trained to cater to students' learning needs. They are provided with resources and professional development opportunities to hone pedagogical practices for classes with more diverse learner profiles. These include using differentiated instruction to engage diverse learners, designing and enacting effective assessment practices, and creating a positive classroom culture.
Mixed form classes allow students to take six Common Curriculum subjects, i.e. Art, Character and Citizenship Education (CCE), Design and Technology (D&T), Food and Consumer Education (FCE), Music and Physical Education (PE), in an environment with different profiles of learners bringing more diverse perspectives and strengths to the lessons. This provides opportunities for students to build their communication, collaboration, and cross-cultural skills, which are important educational outcomes for all students, regardless of their subject level.
Teacher-student interactions take place both during and outside of classroom teaching time. Form teachers and co-form teachers work as a team with students' subject teachers to take care of students' well-being and learning needs. For instance, form teachers engage students through Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons and other school activities such as learning journeys, Values-in-Action (VIA) programmes and school camps.
In planning the school's curriculum, schools take extra care to ensure that form teachers and co-form teachers have contact with all the students in the form class. For instance, some schools have carved out dedicated timetabled slots for form teachers to have regular check-ins with their form class.
Collectively, these measures enable the form teachers and co-form teachers to get to know and understand each student under their care.
For examinable Common Curriculum subjects, students will be assessed at a common level and standard. While the learning outcomes will be common for all students, teachers will differentiate their teaching to meet the learning needs of different learner profiles in the class to ensure that they continue to be sufficiently supported and challenged in their learning.
Changes to Post-Secondary Admissions
Option of a Fifth Year in Secondary School
The eligibility criteria for the fifth year balances between ensuring timely progression and providing students with more time to improve their understanding of subjects, where meaningful. The criteria will also identify students who are able to pursue their subjects at a more demanding level, based on their strengths, interests, and aptitude. Students who were able to access the fifth year previously would continue to be able to do so today. More information about the eligibility criteria will be shared through schools.
Junior College Pathway
Given the rigour of the A-Level curriculum, MOE has assessed that relaxing the Junior College admission criterion is not advisable as students admitted via the relaxed criterion would likely struggle to complete the course in two years. The current criterion ensures that students in general have (i) sufficient academic foundations to cope with the A-Level curriculum and (ii) meaningful outcomes upon completion of the GCE A-Level course.
PFP is a one-year programme that offers a practice-oriented curriculum to prepare polytechnic-bound students from the N(A) course for entry into the relevant polytechnic diploma courses. This is an alternative to the Secondary Five year, which caters to the top 15% of Secondary Four N(A) students each year.
The PFP currently has about 1,500 places set aside each year and is offered by all five polytechnics.
All five polytechnics offer the PFP, and more than 80% of the polytechnic diploma courses are offered under the PFP. The exceptions are courses with highly specialised entry requirements such as SP's Diploma in Nautical Studies, which requires applicants to go through a series of tests and interviews with the Singapore Maritime Academy before they can be considered for admission. These are due to minimum qualifications beyond the N-Level certification set by the relevant regulatory boards.
Currently, to qualify for the PFP, Secondary Four N(A) students are required to obtain a raw ELMAB3 aggregate score of 12 points or better for their N-Level.
- For Group 1 courses, students need to score at least Grade 3 or better in five subjects, including English Language, Mathematics, one relevant subject, and two other subjects excluding CCA.
- For Group 2 courses, students need to score at least Grade 2 or better in English Language, and at least Grade 3 or better in four subjects, including Mathematics, one relevant subject, and two other subjects excluding CCA.
From the Academic Year (AY) 2024 intake, the minimum grade requirement of two 'Best' subjects will be relaxed to Grade 4.
Details of the PFP eligibility criteria are in the table below.
|Subjects||Minimum Required N(A) Level Grade for Courses featured in Group 1 (Science & Technology)||Minimum Required N(A) Level Grade for Courses featured in Group 2 (Non-Science & Technology)|
|English Language Syllabus A||Grade 3||Grade 2|
|Mathematics (Syllabus A / Additional)||Grade 3||Grade 3|
|B3 ('Best 3') subjects||Grade 3 in one of the following relevant subjects:
||Grade 3 in one of the following relevant subjects:
|Grade 3 in any two other subjects excluding CCA*
*Grade 4 from AY 2024 intake
|Grade 3 in any two other subjects excluding CCA*
*Grade 4 from AY 2024 intake
Secondary 4 students in the N(A) stream who offer GCE O-Level examination subjects may use the following grade conversion table for computation of their ELMAB3 aggregates.
|GCE ‘O’ Level Grade||Converted N(A) Level Grade|
|Note: If a student has taken the same subject at both the GCE N- and GCE O-Level examinations, the better grade will be used to compute his/her ELMAB3 aggregate to determine PFP eligibility|
In line with the implementation of Full SBB, we are adjusting the admissions criteria for various post-secondary pathways to increase access for students of different profiles, while ensuring that students are able to cope with the academic rigour in their selected pathways.
With the expansion of the PFP, the PFP intake for Academic Year (AY) 2028 could reach around 2,600 students per AY, if all newly eligible students choose to progress to the PFP. This would be an increase from about 1,700 students per AY admitted to the PFP today.
Yes, MOE is reviewing post-secondary pathways and admissions, to build on the changes arising from Full SBB, and ensure students can progress into pathways suited to their interests, strengths and pace of learning. The review strives to improve porosity of pathways, while ensuring students are able to cope with the rigour of the education pathway. Details will be released when ready.