GEC O-Level stands for the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level. It is an annual national examination available to private and school candidates in Singapore. Only qualified students are allowed to sit for the exam.
The exam is conducted jointly by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), and the Singapore Ministry of Education,. It has the same qualifications as the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
Secondary school students take the exam at the end of the fourth year for the Express Stream and fifth year for the Normal Academic Stream students. It is also open to private students who meet the eligibility criteria.
Eligibility for GEC O Level Examination
Private candidates registering for the exam have to meet a minimum age requirement. They must be at least 15 years old as of the 1st of January of the examination year. Anyone older than that can also apply as a private candidate.
Private candidates have no minimum requirements for subjects they can register for. However, they can only register up to nine subjects for the exam. The subjects should be part of the O-Level curriculum and can involve practical subjects.
There is no compulsory subject to register for so students can choose whichever subjects they want to learn.
A private candidate does not have to be enrolled in a school to apply. They can either be homeschooled or enrolled in a private institution to qualify for registration. No document submission is necessary during registration.
Those who wish to sit for science subjects with practical components, e.g., science practical papers, must have done the exam for the same subject the previous year. They must also be slated to attend or are attending an instruction course in science practical at any school or institute.
Students should also meet the payment deadline after registering for the exams. You will not be able to pay if you miss the deadline and must wait for the following year’s exam. You can write to SEAB if you have valid reasons with supporting documents showing why you couldn’t make the payment before the deadline.
Syllabus of GEC O-Level
The GEC O-Level syllabus includes Cambridge, applied, and local subjects.
- NOTE: Subjects with:
last year of exam in 2023: for repeat 4E and 5N students only
- Have their last exam year in 2023
subjects are only applicable for candidates who attend schools approved to offer the subjects
The Cambridge subjects available in the syllabus are:
- Additional Mathematics
- Literature in English
- Arabic as a 3rd language
- Bahasa Indonesia as a 3rd language
- Humanities (Social Studies and Geography)
- Humanities ( Social Studies and History)
- Humanities ( Social Studies and Literature in English)
- Humanities (Social Studies and Literature in Malay)
- Humanities (Social Studies and Literature in Chinese)
- Humanities (Social Studies and Literature in Tamil)
- Science (Physics and Chemistry)
- Science (Chemistry and Biology)
- Science (Biology and Physics)
- Higher Music
- Higher Art
- Nutrition and Food Science
- Business Studies^
- Design & Technology
- Principles of Accounts
- Higher Chinese
- Literature in Chinese
- Chinese (Special Programme)
- Higher Malay
- Malay (Special Programme)
- Literature in Malay
- Higher Tamil
- Literature in Tamil
- Exercise and Sports Science
- Design Studies
Note: these subjects are only applicable to candidates coming from schools approved to offer these subjects. Students registering for applied subjects also need to pay the subject fees quoted by the examining agencies.
O-Level School Initiated Electives (OSIE)
The OSIE subjects offer flexibility for O-Level students. They can be taken as replacements for or in addition to the current syllabus. The subjects are examinable, and the grades can be computed in the aggregate scores.
Students can use these to apply to junior, polytechnics, and centralized institutes. Candidates can register for OSIE subjects as long as they are approved by the Curriculum Planning and Development Division.
Mother Tongue Language Syllabus B (MTL B)
The MTL B is not considered a GCE O-Level subject. Students can do them, but the grades are not included in the final grade computation. Candidates who pass the MTL Syllabus B exams are considered to have fulfilled the Mother Tongue Language subject requirement and can use them to apply to junior colleges.
The grade for an MTL Syllabus B subject is indicated on the certificate and result slip as Merit, Pass, or Ungraded.
How to Apply
Students wishing to apply for GCE O-Level exams can register through https://www.seab.gov.sg/
You can find changes and announcements for the exams on the SEAB website. Students will also find all registration details and procedures. You must meet the minimum age requirements and the maximum number of subjects allowed to apply.
Note: students enrolled in Government Aided/ Government/independent or Specialized schools should not register as private candidates. School candidates who apply as private candidates are invalidated, and their paid examination fees are forfeited.
Students should also sit for all parts of the registered subjects, including the Oral, Coursework, Listening Comprehension, written, and Practical papers. They should do this even if they sat for the papers in past years.
Those who fail to sit for the exams will be marked absent and will not receive a grade. This applies if they miss even one component of a subject.
The amount of examination fees payable depends on a student’s citizenship status at the point of registration. Those changing their citizenship status after registration will not get a refund of their fees.
The fees are also not transferable from one candidate to another nor from one examination year to the next. A 7% Goods and Service tax applies to all students’ basic and respective subject fees. Students can check their respective subject fees for examination fees at the SEAB website.
You can withdraw from the exams by sending an email to [email protected]. You will receive an acknowledgment from SEAB within five working days. Include result slips and certificates for the subjects you sat for before withdrawing.
You will get a 50% refund of subject fees if you send your request before the withdrawal deadline. You, however, will not get a refund if you sat for a component of any subject you registered.