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Old uncle here wants to take private A level exam

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Old 28-08-2017, 09:45 AM   #1
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Old uncle here wants to take private A level exam

Went to poly after O level. After getting a diploma, went to work in CBD. Got married and had kids. Now thinking of studying further for my academics. So I am thinking of getting an A level cert as private candidate, for interest and also for the sake of my kid so that I can help out with him.

My question is : Can I self study A level ? I have no idea what the subjects are about. I took English, Chinese, E maths, A maths, Pure Physics, Pure Chem, History, Geography, Literature during my O-levels. Now I basically forgotten most of the contents. I am thinking of studying for A levels GP, Chinese, H2 Maths, H2 Physics and maybe another subject.

I don't even know what is H1, H2, H3. Totally lost and alot of revision need to be done.

What should be my first step ? Buy textbooks or enrol in a tuition centre ?

Appreciate your help in guiding old uncle like me.
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Old 28-08-2017, 10:05 AM   #2
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Depends. You planning to go local uni us it? What course you aiming for?
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Old 28-08-2017, 10:13 AM   #3
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Depends. You planning to go local uni us it? What course you aiming for?
If I can get in, that will be great. I am aiming for Mathematics. That is, just if I can get in. If not, I am not so specific about any course so long I can get an A Level Cert.
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Old 28-08-2017, 11:17 AM   #4
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Hello there, I'm presume you are registering for next year Alevel. You can definitely self study a level, but is wiser to sign up with a private school given that you have lost touch with studies and with external aid, is much required. The first step would be reading up on the subject requirements for the course u want in uni, which then further narrow to the subjects you will be taking.

Usually subject combination would include h1 GP, 3H2 + 1H1, of which one must be a contrasting subject. For eg 3 science subject and 1 arts. H2 is "usually" supposed to be twice amount of content H1. Don't bother about h3..

For a start u can purchase some JC lecture notes from ppl selling online and start reading.. It's heartening to know that there are parents out there who's willing to go through the path of education alongside their children.. So respects for that.
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Old 28-08-2017, 11:31 AM   #5
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I was a arts student so I can't say for sure about the sciences, some of them may have lab sessions?

However for the arts, I think you can do the humanities as a private candidate, with the exception of China Studies.

Instead of buying textbooks, you could look at buying school notes of carousell, but make sure to see if the syllabuses match (there are changes in some years). For GP, you could look at HCI's " For & Against", RJC's "KS Bull" and the magazine - "Broader Perspectives". For math, can get an assessment book and probably school papers. The rest of the subjects I would suggest school notes (of your choice...)

The H1,H2,H3 is something like the "difficulty" banding of the subjects. H1 is worth 10 rank points, H2 20 rank points and so on. The current rank points needed to get into a decent university course is 80+. Needless to say, the popular courses such as Medicine, Accounting see students with perfect scores.

From what I know, based on SG Uni entry requirents, a student is required to take GP (H1), Chinese (H1/H2 depends, for those with HCL we could forgo Chinese totally) and Project Work (Not sure how this would work out for you, as it's a school based module)

Apart from the "compulsory subjects" above, you have to take at minimum another 1 H1 and 3 H2, of which one must be a contrasting subject (so no taking of all science and math modules, or all humanities modules) Usually, the contrasting subject would be that of the H1.

Many other students would opt for a 4 H2 combination, but the score computation would still be 1 H1 and 3 H2, whereby their lowest scoring H2 would be relegated to the standing of a H1.

I think in your case, H3 would be irrelevant, as this one is something that not many students take. But generally, it just means that they are very good in a certain subject, have been approved by the school to take "H3", usually they have to attend some uni level modules. Roughly something like that.

All the best!
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Old 28-08-2017, 05:39 PM   #6
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1) I am a parent too. I don't think you will be able to help your child cause syllabus will change between now & your children time. So I will recommend you not to take GCE A if this is your reason is to help your child.

2) As working professional, having a GCE A may not help you to enter part time Local University compare to a Polytechnic Diploma. A Polytechnic Diploma may help you to get promotion or salary increment if it is relevant. So I will recommend you not to take GCE A if this is your reason is to enter University.

3) It is not recommend to self study because you have lost touch and syllabus may change compare to the past. Some more I believed Science subjects may require Lab Test which you may not be able to study on your own due to lack of resources like tools.

4) I will advice you to study in a private school where there are Facility like Lab to prepare yourself for Science Exams. The rest like theory base exams such as Math, you can look for private tutor to focus on your studies.

5) It will be recommended for you to take a look or buy textbooks & 10 years series for GCE A before you decided if you want to commit time & money on GCE A exams.


Went to poly after O level. After getting a diploma, went to work in CBD. Got married and had kids. Now thinking of studying further for my academics. So I am thinking of getting an A level cert as private candidate, for interest and also for the sake of my kid so that I can help out with him.

My question is : Can I self study A level ? I have no idea what the subjects are about. I took English, Chinese, E maths, A maths, Pure Physics, Pure Chem, History, Geography, Literature during my O-levels. Now I basically forgotten most of the contents. I am thinking of studying for A levels GP, Chinese, H2 Maths, H2 Physics and maybe another subject.

I don't even know what is H1, H2, H3. Totally lost and alot of revision need to be done.

What should be my first step ? Buy textbooks or enrol in a tuition centre ?

Appreciate your help in guiding old uncle like me.
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Old 28-08-2017, 06:00 PM   #7
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If u want do maths

Do this subject combi

Maths, F maths and physics + GP can liao...

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Old 28-08-2017, 06:02 PM   #8
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Threads merged. Please keep it to 1 thread. Thanks.

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Old 29-08-2017, 11:02 AM   #9
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Hi Sir,
I agree with Kyoji. You may wish to take a diploma instead of A levels as a diploma would be more practical. The entire primary school to A levels syllabus have changed a lot compared to 20-30 years ago.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:50 PM   #10
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1) I am a parent too. I don't think you will be able to help your child cause syllabus will change between now & your children time. So I will recommend you not to take GCE A if this is your reason is to help your child.

2) As working professional, having a GCE A may not help you to enter part time Local University compare to a Polytechnic Diploma. A Polytechnic Diploma may help you to get promotion or salary increment if it is relevant. So I will recommend you not to take GCE A if this is your reason is to enter University.

3) It is not recommend to self study because you have lost touch and syllabus may change compare to the past. Some more I believed Science subjects may require Lab Test which you may not be able to study on your own due to lack of resources like tools.

4) I will advice you to study in a private school where there are Facility like Lab to prepare yourself for Science Exams. The rest like theory base exams such as Math, you can look for private tutor to focus on your studies.

5) It will be recommended for you to take a look or buy textbooks & 10 years series for GCE A before you decided if you want to commit time & money on GCE A exams.
Hi, I am already a polytechnic diploma holder and has been working for 10 over years. I am studying for interest sake and also to help my kid as and where possible.

I am not talking about ditching my diploma and job and plunge into A levels as full time student and then go take a degree. This is not my intention.

I can use my diploma to study a degree but I am not studying for the sake of just getting a degree. I can even apply for admission anytime soon but not when I know I am going to study the same ol' topics I literally have no interest in.

And of course, which syllabus doesn't change ? I could be lost, but that does not mean I don't know what I am doing.
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Old 02-09-2017, 03:33 PM   #11
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Just curious. How come you have interest to study GCE A that is similar to GCE O but you have no interest to take similar polytechnic modules in university? Does not sound right to me.

As for your children, maybe they don't even take GCE A & end up in polytechnic or ITE. With your competency, you should be able to help them in their primary school education & if you do some refresher, you may even be able to help them in their secondary school education. So to 'help my kid as and where possible' also does not sound right to me too. Might as well study a degree to 'help my kid as and where possible' & be able to advance my career.

By the way, I am a degree holder with more then 10 years of working experience. I am married with children too.


Hi, I am already a polytechnic diploma holder and has been working for 10 over years. I am studying for interest sake and also to help my kid as and where possible.

I am not talking about ditching my diploma and job and plunge into A levels as full time student and then go take a degree. This is not my intention.

I can use my diploma to study a degree but I am not studying for the sake of just getting a degree. I can even apply for admission anytime soon but not when I know I am going to study the same ol' topics I literally have no interest in.

And of course, which syllabus doesn't change ? I could be lost, but that does not mean I don't know what I am doing.
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