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Education News: No more O-levels and N-levels exams in Singapore?


One of the biggest news in Singapore education sector this March is the transformation in secondary education. For the past four decades, students leave primary school after taking a major exam. The exam result will determine whether they will go to Express Stream (4 year in secondary school), or Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical). The latter two will take 5 years to complete in secondary school. The N in N-level exams stands for Normal and the O in O-levels stand for Ordinary.


One of the hallmark of Singapore’s education is to stream students according to their academic capabilities and then educate them differently so as to be more effective and efficient. In early March, the Ministry of Education announced that the streaming practice will be phased out and all students will take four years to complete secondary school. Based on their individual strengths, they will take different levels of maths, English and other subjects. At the end of four years, there will be no more N-level and O-level exams. Instead, there will be another general exam for all students.


Perhaps it works, perhaps it will not work. At the end of the day, the seats in local and overseas good universities are not increasing much over the years, so naturally we could expect the academic race to continue to heat up.


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