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Choosing your JC? - Ultimate Guide (2021)

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Congratulations! You are done with your 'O' Levels!

Take a moment to celebrate before reality dawn upon you that upon receiving your 'O' levels result on 11th Jan 2021, you will only have 5 calendar days to submit your application via JAE to the Junior Colleges (JC) of your choice.

Feeling stressed and unsure which JC to head to?

Not too sure what to look out for when choosing your JC?

Curious how your choice of JC affects your tertiary education?

Fret not because we are about to bomb you with the most comprehensive 'Choosing your JC' guide you will ever find on the internet!

Let's jump straight into it.


Knowing your L1R5

You can't choose your JC without knowing how your L1R5 works.

You can refer to our previous article 'How to calculate your L1R5 or L1R4 for your 'O' Levels' for a comprehensive breakdown on how to tabulate your 'O' Levels score.

Assuming you know your L1R5, the next step is to survey your options, eliminate those that are out of your L1R5 range and shortlist your top 5 most suitable JCs.

Junior College (JC) cut off points (2020):

*Typically, the cut off point will vary by +1/-1 but for most years, it stays constant.

You will need to apply through the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE), which will be from 3pm on Monday, 11 January 2021 and ends at 4pm on Friday, 15 January 2021.

It will run for 5 calendar days.

You may submit your application online through the JAE Internet System (JAE-IS).

After applying through the JAE & after eligibility is confirmed, all these factors will be taken into consideration.

  1. Your net aggregate score (L1R5 with bonus points)

  2. Your choice of courses

  3. Vacancies available in the courses


Factors for consideration - Choosing your JC

Picking your JC is not the easiest thing to do when it is going to drastically affect your next 2 years and how you might perform for your 'A' levels!

We have narrowed down the 5 most important factor for consideration!

1) L1R5 eligibility

2) School culture & resources

3) Distance

4) CCA

5) Friends

If you are not too sure what to expect in JC yet, check out our article on '7 Hard Truths of JC Life in Singapore."


1) L1R5 Eligibility

After calculating your L1R5, eliminate those JCs which are out of your eligibility range.

If you are just one point short from entering your dream JC, our most sincere advice is to NOT choose that as your first choice but rather, select the best JC that you can definitely enter and appeal to your preferred JC afterwards.

The goal here is to secure your placing in a JC that you can definitely enter first. If you choose to be overly optimistic and put your dream JC as your first choice, you risk not being able to secure a spot in the best JC you actually qualified for.

You do not want to end up in a dumpster fire where you get neither of the two JCs you wanted.

A simple tip for appealing: Ensure that you have something to contribute to the school, beyond just your L1R5 coming really close. There will be tons of students that are just like you, being 1-2 points short of making it. To really distinguish yourself from the rest, you need to showcase that you have other talents (CCA, leadership etc...) that makes you a good fit for the school. Sometimes, they also take into account your prelim results to evaluate your academic performance before 'O' Levels (in case you say you choked).

All appeals are done on a case-by-case basis so ensure that your 'case' has a good chance of standing out by highlighting areas outside of your academics that you are good at.

If you know the CCA teacher/coach/instructor of your CCA, it might be a good idea to speak to them and see if they are able to recommend you which will greatly improve your chances!

Make sure the CCA teacher likes you hoho...


2) School culture & resources

"Small fish in a big pond or big fish in a small pond?"

If you ever wondered whether to take the leap of faith and enter a top JC, even if you will be at the bottom of the barrel, if you are eligible for it, go for it!

Darrell (Founder of OVERMUGGED) and Emmanuel (OVERMUGGED H2 Physics tutor) went in depth to break down this debate on their weekly podcast. You can listen in on Spotify for free!

The understanding here is that the top JCs do have better resources to help their students excel. Putting yourself with high calibre students will also help to push yourself to work harder too. This will also be the group of friends you will grow up with in the future!

Surrounding yourself with high achievers and a school with a strong culture can push you out of your comfort zone and help you to excel further is never a bad choice!

The typical top 5 JCs include:

1) Raffles International

2) Hwa Chong Instituition 3) Nanyang JC

4) Victoria JC

5) National JC

Special mention to Eunoia JC too! New campus is always nice!

A word of caution though! While pushing yourself is good, learn to manage your stress! If you think that you are going to burn out at a top JCs, know that you can still do equally well in the JC of your choice!

Striving to enter a top JC is great but that does not mean that the other JCs are bad. Each JC has their own strengths and more importantly, it is up to the student to put in the effort in order to excel.

No school or teacher can save a lazy student =)

An additional point to note is that you should check whether the school offers the subject combination that you want to take! For that, please visit the respective JC's website for more information!


3) Distance

Distance is often an underrated factor when it comes to choosing JCs. Given that there are fewer JCs post merger, the choices are getting rather limited.

The golden rule is that travelling to school should not exceed 45 minutes. You might think that travelling time is not as important but you need to recognise that time is of the essence in your 2 years in JC.

Have you seen this triangle before?

The truth is, with CCA trainings often lasting till late at night, friend's birthday celebrations and meet ups, you will start wishing you had more than 24 hours.

Sleeping is very important not only for your body but for your mind to organise the information you have learnt throughout the day. A lack of sleep can lead to reduced response speed, particularly for alertness, attention and vigilance. It also affects creative function.

A recent study by Duke-NUS Medical School revealed that 80% of students from top secondary schools and junior college do not get enough sleep, with over half of the participants reporting that they slept less than six hours a night – lower than the recommended eight to 10 hours.

Therefore, that extra 15-30 mins of sleep every day can go a long way to ensure that both your body and mind remains in tip top condition. Don't go to a JC that is too far from your house, the nearer the better.


4) CCA

If you are an athlete or in a niche performing arts CCA, you might want to find out more about the CCA team/club in your prospective JC.

Ideally, you would want to go somewhere that you can continue to further your passion. A good culture is very important since many of your closest friends will be your CCA mates given the large amount of time you will be spending with them.

You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you hate your CCA and going through it becomes a chore. Given how stressful JC and 'A' Levels can be, you would want your CCA to be your safe space where you can have fun and unwind after a long day at school!


5) Friends

Lastly, you may want to consider going to a school where most of your friends are heading.

However, do not let this be the deciding factor as you will also be able to meet new friends in JC. While it is nice to be able to continue your friendship with your secondary school friends, you can still keep in touch even if everyone heads to different JCs. Some of my closest friends are from my secondary school and we are still as tight even though we headed to different places after we left secondary school.

But if you had a death pact clique that grinded through 'O' Levels together and everyone got similar results, it might not be a bad idea for the whole suicide squad to head to the same JC. (No guarantees that everyone will be in the same class though!)


Now that you have a better idea of what to look out for when choosing your JC, make sure that when you apply for your choice of Junior College via JAE, it is a choice that makes you happy.

The guide simply outlines a framework for you to think about the different factors to consider but the importance of each factor will vary on an individual basis. Do what makes you happy!

If you are still undecided between Science Stream or Arts Stream, do check out our article on subject combinations at 'A' Levels!

On our weekly Spotify podcast 'The Group Chat', Darrell & Emmanuel discussed this topic in greater detail and offered their valuable insights too! You can check it out on Spotify or watch it on YouTube.

If you have yet to join our 'A' levels Telegram Channel, please do so as we will be releasing high quality free notes across all subjects for 'A' levels!

The free chapter notes are designed and created by specialist tutors who have taught and worked with many students over the years. Quality assured!

All our tutors have been through the JC route and we understand how hard it can get. That's why we want to be here for you and to offer you a helping hand throughout your 2 years in JC!

Do follow us on Instagram and also tune in to our weekly podcast on Spotify as we intend to discuss various academic topics and also invite guests to share more insights on certain subjects!

Brought to you by OVERMUGGED.

By Tutors, For Students

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