Unfair Comparison of 'O' Level Results

As we are all aware, the 'O' Level results were recently released, and it's time for students to decide which junior college to apply to. A former school teacher who goes by the online moniker JetGrey is significantly troubled by the manner in which many of these choices were made-solely on the numeric L1R5 score. He offers valuable advice:

" It bothers me when I noticed that a lot of students are thinking of going JC just based purely on L1R5.

I have advised some who got a good L1R5, eg. 12, and some not so good, eg. 17. Based on L1R5 face value, you would say that the one with 12 points did better than the one with 17 points. But L1R5 does not provide an accurate indication of whether one is suited to a JC or not.

The 12 pointer might have done very well in the subjects he/she took. But the subjects may be English, Maths, Combined Science, Combined Humanities, POA and D&T. Getting 12 points for these 6 subjects mean NOTHING if you're going to apply to a JC. What subjects will you be taking in JC?

1) Maths? You'll struggle like hell without A Maths knowledge. H2 Maths is a continuation of the 'O' Level A Maths syllabus. Even if you take A Maths and you get anything below B4, you will still struggle with it.

2) Any of the 3 sciences? You'll struggle without pure science. There is a huge difference between combined science and pure science. There is another huge difference between pure science and H2 science. If you want a rough gauge, try getting a pure science O level paper and see how much of it you can do. Then, imagine the H2 paper being even more difficult than that. You might probably be able to cope with 1 H2 science subject if you got A1/A2 for your combined science, but that will be the limit. However, if you took pure science in sec 3 and dropped to combined science in sec 4, it's something you can consider.

3) Any of the 3 arts subjects? Same with the sciences. You will probably be able to cope with one H2 arts subject that is the same as your humanities elective. I believe there's no minimum requirement to take an arts subject at H2 level, but if you didn't take it at O level, then I would assume that you did not have the interest in it or that your school feels that you were not good enough to handle another humanities subject.

If you can form a subject combination based on the above, then go ahead to JC. If you can't, then forget about going to JC. JC is not just for people who don't know what course they want to do, like I've seen quite a number of people saying. If you can't form a subject combination that is comfortable for you, you are likely not be able to do well and get into a university, which is the main reason you go to a JC. An 'A' Level cert means nothing if you can't go to university. It's even lower than the lowest of diplomas.

On the other hand, someone might get 17 points, but the subjects he/she took satisfied all the requirements for a particular JC course.

For example, English, Maths, A Maths, 2 Pure Sciences and Combined Humanities. With this combination, he/she may have gotten B3 for all the subjects, but this person is well prepared for JC as he/she has a baseline foundation for all the subjects in the science stream. How fair is it to compare someone who got A1 for combined science and someone who got B3 for two pure sciences? Totally unfair and incomparable, in fact.

Similarly, someone who took a pure humanities subject in addition to his/her combined humanities will also have more subjects to choose from in the arts stream. Those 2 humanities, economics (compulsory for arts stream) and one of the sciences or Maths as a H1 subject. That will be a comfortable combination.

For all those who are considering your next step, just because you got 10 points doesn't mean you're better than someone who got 15 points. That person may have gotten 15 points because he/she took the harder subjects, eg. A Maths, Pure Sciences, Pure Humanities, while you scored 10 points because you only took the easier ones. That person who got 15 points will be able to do much better than you in a JC. Much much much better than you. While you are struggling to catch up with the syllabus, he/she will be right on track with it. So, do consider your option properly. It's not just your L1R5, but it's also the subjects that you took and the results for each one of them individually."

Thank You JetGrey; your sharing is most appreciated.

The Czar (Site Founder)

Dated 16 January 2014


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