Little change in junior college entry scores this year

Despite the latest O-level results being the best in decades, there was little change in the minimum entry requirements for most junior colleges this year.

As in previous years, Raffles Institution (RI) was the toughest to get into, with cut-off scores of three and four points for its science and arts courses respectively. Hwa Chong Institution's entry score for both tracks was four points.

One school that continued its climb up the table is Nanyang JC, whose entry scores were seven and six points for its arts and science courses respectively. Seven years ago, its entry requirement for both courses was a score of 10.

The latest cut-off points for the 19 institutions were released yesterday when the Ministry of Education (MOE) notified students of the schools they were posted to for the new year.

About 27,600 students were allocated places in post-secondary institutions in the latest exercise, said an MOE spokesman. Of these, 36 per cent were posted to a JC or Millennia Institute, which offers a three-year A-level programme. This is slightly more than the 34 per cent who got into JCs last year.

This year, 56 per cent of students were posted to a polytechnic, compared with 58 per cent last year.

In both years, 8 per cent of the cohorts went to the Institute of Technical Education.

To enter a JC, a student's L1R5 score - based on O-level results for English and five relevant subjects - must not exceed 20 points.

To enter a polytechnic, a student needs a total score - based on the O-level results for English, two relevant and two best subjects - which does not exceed 26 points.

Last year's cohort of O-level students performed the best at the national exam in nearly four decades, going back to 1978. Close to 84 per cent attained five or more subject passes; before 2014, the figure had stayed below 83 per cent.

Amanda Gan, 16, secured a place in St Andrew's JC (SAJC). Its entry requirement this year was nine points, the same as last year.

"SAJC seems to be able to balance studying and having fun, such as in sports, quite well," she said. "I'm excited to go to JC but also nervous because it's a new environment."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2016, with the headline 'Little change in junior college entry scores this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe