saint andrew’s junior college ranking

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

Course Requirements and Prerequisites at ‘A’-Levels
1. Besides General Paper (GP), Project Work (PW) and Mother Tongue Language (MTL) at H1 level, students are required to offer three H2 and one H1 content-based subjects, at least one of which is a subject from a contrasting discipline.

2. Students may offer 4 H2 subjects if they have attained an L1R5 (without bonus points) of 9 or lower.

3. To continue with 4 H2 subjects in JC 2, a student must pass all H2 subjects in the JC 1 Common Test and Final Examinations. Their status will be reviewed after the Common Test to determine whether they can continue with their 4 H2 subject combination. If a student taking 4 H2 subjects needs to drop a H2 subject, he or she must drop the weakest H2 subject to H1 level. Students who are eligible and keen to take a 4 H2 subject combination must still indicate a 3 H2 subject combination as their 3rd choice for subject registration.

4. Any H1 subject can be offered as long as resources allow. Subjects offered at H1-level (excluding GP, PW, MTL) are:

Humanities & the ArtsEconomics, Geography, History, Literature in English, China Studies in English
Mathematics & SciencesMathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

The various subject combinations available in our College are found on pages (8)  to (10) of the College Prospectus.

5. 2020 Indicative Grade Profiles

Based on the number of places that were available for the various subject combinations offered in 2020, the following were the Indicative Grade Profiles of the corresponding subjects at O-Level:

Subject OfferedCorresponding Subject at O-Level5th Percentile*
H2 MathematicsAdditional MathematicsB3
H2 BiologyPure BiologyB3
  Combined Science A2
H2 ChemistryPure ChemistryB3
  Combined ScienceA2
H2 PhysicsPure PhysicsB3
 Combined Science  A2

* 5th percentile refers to the bottom 5% of the 2020 Cohort who attained B3 or below for Additional Mathematics and Pure Sciences, and A2 or below  for Combined Sciences

6. In choosing your subject combination, it is critical for you to consider the course you would like to pursue in university and their minimum subject requirements. A summary of these are found on page (15) to (32) of the College Prospectus.

7. Students are required to obtain at least a D7 for Higher Mother Tongue subject at ‘O’ level Examinations in order to be exempted from MTL.

Students who offer MTB at ‘O’ level will continue with MTB at ‘A’ level.

8. H2 Art or H2 Chinese Language & Literature or H2 Tamil Language & Literature may be used to replace one H2 subject in certain subject combinations. Refer to page (8) and (9) of the College Prospectus for more information.

9. H3 subjects may be offered by outstanding students who score distinctions for all H2 subjects in the JC 1 Promotional Examination.

A H3 subject must be offered together with the corresponding subject at H2 level. Students can apply for H3 subjects offered by either SMU, NUS or NTU. H3 subjects have syllabi that are of much higher level of difficulty. Students offering H3 subjects must have the time and ability to manage a workload beyond the norm subject combination.

10. To repeat a course of study, only applications from students with at least a good conduct grade will be considered.

11. Repeating students may choose to re-take PW. Hence students should continue to attend PW classes until the PW results are released and they decide not to re-take the subject.

12. Repeating students are not allowed to take 4 H2 subjects.

Now that you have received your O Level results and are keen to apply to a Junior College, here is a guide on how to choose your JC Subject Combination. Life will not be easy in a Junior College.

Here are some factors you should consider:

  1. University Admission Criteria
  2. Indicative Grade Profile
  3. Ability to score well
  4. H1, H2 or H3
  5. Common Subject Combinations
  6. Hybrid Combinations

Your Junior College subject combination will ultimately determine how well you are able to do in the A Levels, as well as your career prospects. Choose wisely!

JC Orientation

During your orientation in JC, the first few days in your new School that will be your second home, you will be brought to a few lectures that will introduce you to the Junior College life.

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One of them will be talking about your Junior College Subject Combination – the subjects that you will be taking for the A Levels. 

Before you enter Junior College, you should already have a rough idea of what subjects you would like to take in JC, at a much higher level than in O Levels.

Most students choose subjects that they already did well in the O Levels, as their JC Subject Combination. For those students who are still clueless, here are some pointers to consider before making your decision:

1. University Admission Criteria

The big picture you should be looking at when you choose your Junior College subject combination is the Course you are aiming for in University.

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If you are aiming for Science courses (e.g. Engineering, Life Science), all courses require H2 Math and one, if not two H2 Sciences as a prerequisite (e.g H2 Physics/H2 Biology and H2 Chemistry).

Bridging/Introductory Modules

If you took a particular subject in A Levels and did relatively well, you can be exempted from certain introductory modules in your University course.

Similarly, certain courses allow you to take Bridging Courses/modules if you did not take the subject or did not do well enough in it. (e.g. taking a Chemistry introductory module for a Biomedical Engineering major).

However, courses that offer bridging modules for students who did not take the subject is almost uncountable. Most courses are oversubscribed (e.g Computer Science/Engineering) are really popular, and the University will almost always allocate the slots only to students that have met the subject prerequisites.

Hence, if you already have a specific course in mind, make sure you take up the necessary subjects or replace others. This will allow you to not only have a head start on the syllabus in university, but most importantly, ensures that you will be eligible for the course.

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Career Prospects

Some university courses are considered as general degrees, such as Life Sciences or Economics, and have a wide variety of career prospects. 

You may possibly end up doing something completely unrelated from your degree, such as entering Business with a Science degree.

For more specialised courses like Law or Medicine, you will be working in those fields upon graduation. Therefore, be sure that it is what you want to do especially given the rigour of those courses and its competitiveness.

2. Minimum Rank Points/ Indicative Grade Profile

For each course, the indicative grade profile for the 10th and 90th percentile are given (provided by NUS/NTU/SMU) as an indicator for the people that are admitted into the course for the previous AY (Academic Year). 

The representative grade profile can also be calculated to give the rank points required:

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Indicative Grade Profile – NUS

For the purpose of the IGP, Grade C is assumed for both General Paper (GP) and Project Work (PW) in determining the grade profiles. Certain courses may require grades higher than Grade C for GP. 

The table below shows the weightage and grade range for H1 and H2 subjects, H3 subjects are scored with a different grading system:

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For students who take 4 H2s, their worst H2 grade is downgraded and treated as a H1 subject.

For competitive courses such as Medicine, Law or Dentistry requires straight A’s (AAA/A) as well as an interview selection. 

Those keen in applying for Scholarships should also bear in mind that your grades must be excellent, usually at least around 87.5 UAS, to be even considered for scholarships. This applies especially to bond free scholarships like the Nanyang Scholarship offered by NTU.

3. Ability to Score well

Seeing the Indicative Grade Profiles provided by NUS, many students might feel dejected that they might be unable to enter their dream course. 

Ultimately, your chances of being admitted to courses are based on your rank points. If you have 90 rank points and you meet some subject prerequisites, you will definitely be able to enter into the course of your choice. 

I know of peers that took BCME and went into NUS and SMU Law, PCME students that went into Medicine. Students should choose subject combinations based on how well they did for O Levels, rather than for passion. 

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– For example, if you did not score well for Physics, it would be unwise to pick H2 Physics again for JC.

Most likely outcome would be bad grades for Physics, and in return causing your rank points to be pulled lower. Many students fail to enter Medicine as well, because of scoring B for General Paper (88.75 rank points). This shows how important it is to score well for all your subjects you pick.

4. H1, H2, or H3?

H1 subjects have the least breadth and depth, as well as lesser workload. For H1 subjects like Math and Chemistry, there is a great reduction in syllabus compared to its H2 counterpart.

H2 subjects are more condensed and have a wider scope, which will require more time to cover and makes up the bulk of the JC curriculum.

Project Work, Mother Tongue

H1 subjects like General Paper and Project Work are compulsory for all students, unless the student takes up Knowledge & Inquiry which can replace General Paper.

Those who did not obtain at least a D7 for their Higher Chinese in O Levels are also required to take H1 Mother Tongue, in which they will sit for the exam at the end of J1.

3 H2’s, 1 H1, and H3?

The most common combination in mainstream JC’s will be 3 H2 and 1 H1. In top JCs like Raffles Institution, most students take up 4 H2s, as they are able to handle the workload. However, in J2, there are still quite a number who drop their H2s to H1 as they find it difficult to cope. 

As mentioned before, the worst H2 subject is downgraded to a H1 in the end, so you are not at a losing end by taking 3 H2s. 

Do consider if it is worth taking up 4 H2s, especially in top JC’s where people tend to go with the flow. The most common H1 subjects are Economics and Math as they are viewed as less important and has much lesser syllabus.

H3 subjects (including H3 Research) are only offered to those who have outstanding results. It is not computed in the UAS and graded differently. It will be beneficial in terms of scholarships and earning a spot in competitive courses, but only take it if you have exceptional interest in it and are already coping well.

5. Common Subject Combinations in JC

The 2 main streams will be the Arts stream and the Science stream. The contrasting subject in the Arts stream is usually Maths and that for the Science stream is Econs. 

Large majority of the students in Science stream will end up taking:

– BCME or PCME (Biology/Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics).
Popularly viewed as the “safe choice” that grants eligibility for almost all university courses. 

For the Arts Stream, the most common JC subject combination would be: 

– HELM or GELM (History/Geography, Econs, Literature, Math).
Students also can take ELL (English Language and Literature), Arts, or even a 3rd Language.

However, it is not recommended to take both Geography and History together as the content itself would literally kill anyone. 

It is said that History is divided into International History and SEA History, which SEA History itself contains as much content as the whole of JC Economics.

6. Hybrid Combinations

Some may want to pursue hybrid subject combinations (2 Science, 2 Arts subjects) including a mixture of Arts and Sciences, such as Chemistry, Math, Literature, Economics. 

There are also others who take up more uncommon contrasting subjects, such as Knowledge & Inquiry that can be used as a contrasting discipline for both streams. 

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Although certain schools may discourage hybrid combinations, it is better to take up a subject that you have an interest in than going with the flow. 

Personally, I took English Language & Linguistics in JC instead of the popular Economics. Despite the cons of having an irregular timetable and lack of a homeroom, I liked the subject and was motivated to do well in it. 

However, do check with your JC if your combination is eligible, as there are certain restrictions differing from school to school and some that apply for all. For instance, H2 Computing has a fixed combination of H2 Math, H2 Physics/Chemistry and 1 contrasting Arts subject.


also known as ‘A-Levels’, are the most commonly recognised qualifications students can take to gain place at a UK university. A-Levels also have the benefit of being a well-respected global qualification, so universities outside of the United Kingdom will also accept A-Level students.

Typically, A-Level students will take 3 or 4 subjects over a period of 2 years, starting every September – although our college also offers an 18 month January start option. There are a wide range of A-Level subjects to choose from in subject areas including; science, humanities, business, languages, social sciences, and mathematics. With so many subject options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which combination of subjects to study to access your preferred university course.

Universities will often ask students to take a specific combination of A-Level subjects to gain entry to particular undergraduate courses, and will also ask students to achieve a qualifying UCAS ‘score’ for successful entry, which is derived from the grades across the subjects they have studied.

With so many subject options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which combination to choose to access your preferred university course, or perhaps you may not quite know which university course you want to study yet, and want to keep your options open. Let’s consider the best subject combinations to access a wide range of undergraduate courses at UK universities.

1. Mathematics, Physics, Further Mathematics

Mathematics is a highly regarded A-Level subject, giving access to a wide range of university courses. If you are a strong mathematics student, you could consider also taking the further mathematics A-Level in order to gain two prestigious subjects and target top ranked universities such as Oxbridge or LSE. Combining maths and further mathematics with physics A-Level demonstrates clear numeric and logical skills and gives the option to progress to a variety of engineering, computer science and data science related courses at top universities.

2. Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology

This is the key subject combination for students looking to study medicine or dentistry at a UK university. Many medical schools will ask students to have studied mathematics and one or both of chemistry and biology. Be aware that medicine is one of the most competitive courses at UK universities for international students, and you will probably need to achieve at least A grades in all of your A-Level subjects to be considered for a place.

3. Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry

If you are not interested in biology at A-Level, taking maths, physics and chemistry in combination will give access to a wide range of science related courses. Math and Physics deliver key skills and knowledge for engineering related courses, and are also great choices for students wanting to study computing courses. Adding chemistry to the mix also gives access to prestigious degrees such as chemical engineering, and also keeps the natural sciences undergraduate pathway open to you.

4. Art, Mathematics, Physics

This is the perfect A-Level combination for students looking to study architecture at university. Architecture applicants need to have good grades in maths and physics to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of architecture, such as how forces impact upon buildings, to accurately estimate the quantities of materials required in a build, and to work to and manage construction budgets. They also need to align these practical skills with an understanding of creative thought and process, different styles and eras of architecture, and skills such as drawing and painting and a grasp of scale.

5. History, Economics, Politics

This is a great combination of subjects that are closely related and complementary, meaning that the skills you gain will help you to improve your learning in each subject. These subjects also help access undergraduate courses that lead to high income, high demand careers such as law, finance and management and government, politics and leadership.

6. Business Studies, Economics, Maths

This combination is great for students looking to move into undergraduate courses such as finance, economics, accounting and management. This combination will also showcase student’s numerical skills alongside their ability to analyse, present and communicate, qualities which are highly valued by both universities and employers.

7. English Literature, History, Psychology

These subjects all require extended writing skills, teamed with an analytical mind-set, key qualities for students looking to study law at university. Throw in in Psychology to gain an understanding of how people think, and you will have a great basic skill set for law.

8. Art, Business Studies, Mathematics

Taking Art in combination in business and mathematics can lead to a wide range of creative and business related courses such as fashion or media management. The creative industries are already huge and are growing, so there are great opportunities for students who are able to combine creative flair with understanding of business and finance.

9. Geography, Biology, Physics

An unusual subject combination, but one which could lead to a wide range of environment related university courses such as geology, earth sciences, agriculture studies, environmental science and sustainability. Adding physics to the combination means students can also access environmental engineering focused courses and careers, including oil and gas, or minerals engineering.

10. Biology, Chemistry, Psychology

This is a good choice for students keen to study a broad range of science subjects at university, but who don’t want to take A-Level maths (but be aware that all of these subjects will still require some basic maths skills and knowledge). These subjects could lead to university courses such as pharmacy, physiotherapy, psychology, biomedical science, forensic science, or sports science.

So these are some interesting subject combinations that you can consider to access a range of undergraduate courses at UK universities. At Abbey College Cambridge we provide expert guidance to each of our students to help them select the right A-Level subjects to maximise their grades and gain access to their first choice university course.

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