10 useful insights for choosing your JC subject combination

by | Jul 15, 2021

Stressing out over which subject combination to choose in JC?

At a loss of how the JC subject combination system even works?

As a JC graduate, I too went through the stressful decision of choosing my subject combination.

Thus, I wrote this article as an attempt to help you make a more informed decision on your subject combination!

Check out other articles on how to survive JC and excel in project work!

In JC, there are 2 streams, arts and science.

When choosing your subject combination, you would choose 3 subjects from your stream and 1 contrasting subject from the other stream.

Those 3 subjects that you chose will usually be taken at the H2 level, while you can decide whether to take the contrasting subject at the H1 or H2 level.

Apart from these 4 subjects, you usually have general paper, project work and mother tongue (if applicable).

Depending on your school, they may also offer a hybrid combination, where you take 2 subjects from your stream and another 2 from your contrasting stream.

What are the subjects In JC?

You might be wondering “How many subjects are there to choose from in JC”?

Here’s a list of subjects that you can take and are examinable at their respective level.

Do check if your school offers them as some offer only selected subjects based on their teachers and resources.

All JC subjects offered

What JC subject combination should I take? Here are 10 things to know

1.) University requirements

If you already have a university course in mind that you are aiming towards, search the requirements needed for that particular course on the university’s website.

Here are the minimum subject requirements for admission and specific courses for NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD.

From there, you can better decide which subjects to take.

If you are unsure or undecided on a course, you can decide to take the subjects, such as mathematics, that most courses would require so as to keep your options open.

2.) The difference between H1 and H2 content for each subject

For every subject, the difference between the H1 and H2 syllabus is varied.

Finding out the differences between them for the subjects you are considering taking may help you make a better decision.

If you are considering taking H2 economics for example, but are aware that you are not the best at writing essays, consider taking it at the H1 level where you only need to answer case study questions.

Another example is if you are considering taking H2 physics, but know that your weakness lies in laboratory work, consider taking it at the H1 level instead, where laboratory work is not tested.

Here’s a table detailing the differences between common H1 and H2 subjects people usually take:

Difference in content between H1 and H2 subjects in JC

3.) H3 possibility

The choice of taking up a H3 subject is usually offered towards the end of your JC 1 year.

However, should you have an aspiration to take a particular subject at the H3 level, you should check which H3s your school offers and their requirements.

Schools often require you to have taken up the same subject at the H2 level in JC1.

Although you should still check with your school, here are a compilation of H3 requirements I found from the respective JCs:

JC H3 requirements

4.) 4H2 vs 3H21H1

Taking a subject at the H2 level also means that there will be more lesson time dedicated to that subject.

This usually means that your timetable may be more packed and your days may be longer.

Choosing to take 4H2 means that you would be taking up a larger workload and it will definitely be more time-consuming.

Additionally, remember that when calculating your rank points, your weakest H2 subject will be counted as your H1.

However, taking 4H2 gives you the option to drop one of your subjects to H1 if you feel like you are unable to cope.

5.) Niche subjects

Apart from the usual subject combinations, you can also decide to take up more “niche” subjects. 

Such as knowledge and inquiry (KI) which is considered a H2 subject, further maths, or any other special electives that your school may offer.

Your school may hold entry tests for these subjects, be sure to listen out for any announcements during your orientation days.

6.) The department strength

In every JC, there are a few subjects that the school is known for excelling in.

Certain departments may offer more support and thus can help to ensure a better grade.

Besides that, you can ask seniors such as your orientation group leaders (OGLs) about the different departments’ styles of teaching or the support they provide.

You can take all these into account so that when you are studying, it will be easier to do well and be supported.

7.) Interest vs ease of scoring

Although subjects that seem relatively easier to score in may be a good choice, it may get difficult to continuously study that subject if you have no interest nor passion for it.

Ultimately, a passion or interest in the subject may motivate you to continue during tough times.

Choose subjects that you enjoy and are interested in learning about.

Lab practical in JC

8.) Entry requirements

The entry requirements for subjects for each school are different, so be sure to check the exact requirements!

Some schools may have bridging lessons for certain students in some subjects. For instance, combined science students in the science stream.

9.) Make your own decision

Make your own decision

JC is a new environment and you may be tempted to follow your friend’s decision for subject combinations, so that it is more likely you both end up in the same class.

Or perhaps your parents are strongly encouraging you to take a certain subject combination.

Listening to advice or opinions is good.

However, you know your strengths and weaknesses best, do your research and decide for yourself the subjects you want to study for the next 2 years.  

10.) Time-tabling

Timetables are usually set around the subjects that are mostly taken up by the cohort.

This means that if you take an uncommon subject combination, your timetable might be more irregular and you may end up having long days with more breaks than actual lesson time.

This may be a factor you want to consider when choosing subject combinations as this gives you less time after lessons to do other things like participating in school events or personal activities.

Final thoughts

All in all, try not to stress out too much over this decision.

Although deciding your subject combination is important, it does not determine your future.

Think carefully about this decision and remember to do your research before making it.

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