How to retake A levels in Singapore as a private candidate?

The idea of sitting for a retaking A levels in Singapore can be a little depressing and it might take a toll on the confidence of students because not everyone ends up in such a situation. Being lagged behind in studies is something that is always looked down upon and hence the idea of retaking an important examination is considered as an embarrassment for many.

However, this mentality is slowly being broken down because schools emphasise that everyone is unique and have their own way of learning with different learning pace. Instead of getting emotional (crying over spilt milk never helps!), it is essential to be practical and look towards the next step in getting yourself back up. 



There are a few requirements that the students must meet to be able to register as a private candidate. The student must be aged at least 17 years old as of January 1st of the year he or she is sitting for the examination. To be registered as a private candidate, the student must also not be a school candidate. If the student is registering for a Science subject with a practical paper, they must have sat the same science subject previously or be currently attending or will be attending a course of instruction in Science practical at any institute. 


Without fulfilling this requirement, the student will not be accepted for the Science subject. When registering for them, students will have to declare that the requirements are fulfilled and if any false declaration is made, the registration will be liable to be cancelled without refund of examination fees. If the student had sat for a Science subject with a practical component previously, the result will not be carried over and they would have to take the practical again.


Students should check the latest examination syllabuses offered for examinations to private candidates. This is because some subjects that are offered in government schools are not offered to private candidates and so subjects that the students used to take in school may not be offered.

Thus, it is necessary to check online if the subject is offered before spending time studying for it. Moreover, the syllabus content of certain subjects may have changed over the years and thus students may have to study to a different extent as compared to when they were in school. 


Students should know when they can register as a private candidate. Registration for GCE A level examinations will be available in March and can be made online on The price of the examination will depend on whether they are Singaporean Citizen, Private Resident or Foreigner. There will be basic fees that students have to pay along with their examination fees per subject. The exact amount can be found online.

The payment for their examinations can be paid online via credit/debit card payment or at any Singpost office or Self Automated Machines. The entry proofs for the examinations will be mailed out by July for the end of year examinations and will be mailed out by May for mid-year examinations.

Students will need their entry proof and their NRIC in order to sit for their examinations. The entry proof will also contain information on where the candidate should take his or her examinations which would have been allocated by the Ministry of Education.


Private candidates can choose to sit for multiple GCE examinations in the same year if they want to as long as they meet the requirements. There is also no limit to how many times they can take the examinations. They can register up to a maximum of 5 H1 subjects and 3 H2 subjects or 3 H1 subjects and 4 H2 subjects.


If the students have missed the private candidate registration period, there is no need to panic as there is a late registration period in April. However, the student must be prepared to pay the late fee in addition to the usual registration fee. Finally, students will receive their results in March. The Ministry of Education will reveal the actual dates a few days in advance.


It is certainly not an easy journey however; candidates need to gather their courage and work hard to accomplish their goals. Some may take a longer route and there is nothing wrong with that; what’s most important is tenacity and the determination to never stop and keep going.