Blog General Singapore Education News O-level Class of 2020 Secured the Best Results Despite Circuit Breaker and School Closures

O-level Class of 2020 Secured the Best Results Despite Circuit Breaker and School Closures

The year 2020 has certainly changed how students prepared for their O-levels because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Several changes were introduced by the government regarding the announcement of the test results and the safety standards applied during the exam to ensure that the examinees were safe from the virus.

Students were also forced to prepare at home since schools were shut down due to the pandemic, and although there was some leeway provided for the exam takers, their time in school was still limited. Some students even have to contend with the problems of online learning during their preparation.

Results via Online

For the 2020 results, the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) and the Ministry of Education announced that the secondary schools were sending the results to those who took the test via post and these can also be accessed through SingPass. Safety protocols were followed by students who directly asked their secondary schools regarding their examination results.

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Previously, the SingPass access to O-Level results was only open to private candidates.

Better O-Levels Result Than Previous Years

Thanks to the pandemic, at least 85.4% of the examinees were able to achieve five passes and more for their exams. This percentage is considered the best rate recorded for the O-levels for the past three decades despite the school closures and the circuit breaker period imposed by the government. In the previous year, the record was 85.2% from the 83.4% recorded in 2017.

The two agencies also said that 99.9% of the 23,688 examinees, with 1,116 of them private candidates, passed at least one subject for O-levels and at least 96.8% of them passed more than one. At least 92% were given certificates for their achievements.

What’s Next After Obtaining O-Levels

With the results now released, these students will now be able to access the Joint Admissions Exercise Internet System to apply for their chosen junior college, polytechnics, Millennia Institute, and the Institute of Technical Education facilities. The site is expected to stay on until Friday at 4:00 pm to help students with the next step after their O-Levels.

For those students who need guidance regarding the next steps for their education, they can ask and consult their teachers or career guidance counsellors from schools. They may also use the MySkillsFuture online portal to see what options are available and to help them match their skills to the appropriate courses they can take.

The MOE is also opening its Education and Career Guidance Centre in Grange Road and its hotline to students who wish to get advice from a counsellor until January 20. They may set up an appointment online by emailing the MOE or calling the hotline.

Where Will They Go from Here?

When it comes to where these students will go, the MOE said that there is a growing trend that most of the 2020 examinees may enter polytechnics.

In the last year’s Joint Admissions Exercise, 52% of the 20,300 candidates who took the O-Levels were given slots to the five polytechnics in the country. The others went to junior colleges, Millennia Institute, and the Institute of Technical Education.

The MOE said that at least 45% of last year’s O-level students also qualified for junior colleges, which required an L1R5 score that won’t go beyond 20 points. L1R5 score is determined on their English results as well as five related subjects. Meanwhile, polytechnics only require students to have grades in English and four subjects not to go over 26 points. If they went for popular courses, they will need to score lower than 12 points.

MOE’s Education and Career Guidance Programme

In a recent article from The Strait Times, they explained that the reason for this trend is due to the MOE’s effort to provide students with all the information they need about their options with the help of the Education and Career Guidance Programme. The programme enabled students to make an informed decision as to what they wants to do in the future. Parents are also given a more thorough explanation about polytechnics because most of them are unsure where a polytechnic tenure would bring in their future.

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Polytechnic schools enable students to learn their subjects with a hands-on approach, which is crucial for many popular courses. This may be attractive to students with different learning styles.

Many opportunities are also open for polytechnic degree holders such as work-study programmes and available slots in universities. The government has also made several avenues for students to work on shifting their diplomas into a degree, making it more appealing for parents and students to take on the polytechnic route.

Prepare Early!

If your child will be taking their O-level examinations this year, it is best to help them prepare early considering the lingering pandemic. The current protocols may still be enforced in the incoming exams and further changes may be added in the process should the pandemic remain rampant in the country.

Check the information regarding the examinations this year and ensure that they also understand all the safety protocols to be imposed during the exams. Give them the right resources for review and if they plan to use past exam papers, make sure that they only use it as reference and not use it judiciously to practice.

Encourage them to start planning early regarding their career and courses they want to take and set them up with career counselling appointments. You can start the conversation with your child by getting them to do a personality test here to help determine the best career path for him.

As parents, you can engage SmileTutor to assist in doing revision and mock O-Levels exams with your children to ensure that they are well-prepared before the time comes.

To catch up recent updates on education in Singapore, check these articles:

Polytechnics in Singapore: Overview, Courses, Admissions
PSB Academy: A Great Option After Your N/O-Levels

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.