How To Study For O-Level As A Private Candidate In Singapore?

O-Level is one of the most important milestones in the education journey of students in Singapore. This is because the GCE O-Level certificate is important to move on to A-level or to progress on to Polytechnic. While most students would have enrolled into a secondary school through their PSLE grade and travelled in the conventional way, some students may not have the same experience.

o level exam

For some who had to drop out or had to take a year gap, or some students who have just gotten to Singapore from abroad, they can take the GCE O-Level examination as a private candidate. The examinations and assessment board has its own requirements and expectations of students. For private candidates, information may not be as accessible and candidates may not be sure of what to do. It is always good to seek the help of a O-Level tuition teacher or to do your own research to ensure that you fulfil the requirements.  

So, to make life easier for you, here are all the important information related to sitting for the GCE O-Level examination!


gce o level

In order to sit for the GCE O-Levels as a private candidate, one must fulfil the following requirements:

  • The candidate must be 15 as of January 1 of the year that the examination will be taken.
  • The candidate must not be enrolled in a school.
  • If candidate has taken science subjects with Practical paper requirements, the candidate must have either taken the subject previously or must be currently attending or should be attending in any school.
  • Only 9 subjects be selected for the test.


Candidates must be aware of how many papers they may need to sit for. This is because some papers do not have paper 1 and 2 while others may do so. For subjects with 2 papers, each paper may test predominantly on certain topics, the weightage of concepts may vary or the format of paper may vary.


This needs to be sorted out and clarified. So, it will be helpful for students to look up the syllabus for each subject on the official website to clarify misconceptions. SEAB updates syllabus or regulations every now and then, so it will helpful to keep a look out often.


The opening time for application is during March month of every year. So private candidates can apply for it every year online through SEAB official website. Make sure to fill in your particulars and every other detail that has been asked with accuracy.


The fees will vary according to the nationality of the candidate. The categories can be Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and international students. Every subject will vary in its fees and apart from the standard amount, students will also have to pay the Goods and Services Tax as well. For more information, you can visit the official website to find out more!


In the event that you need to withdraw from the examination,

  • You may withdraw from the entire examination if you complete the “Application for Withdrawal from Entire Examination Form ” and supporting documents reach SEAB before the start of the year-end written examinations.
  • The withdrawal form and supporting documents must be submitted via email to . SEAB will send you an acknowledgement within 5 working days upon receipt of the withdrawal form and documents.


A 50% refund of the subject fee(s) paid (inclusive of GST) may be provided if your withdrawal request is submitted to SEAB by the date that has been given in the official website. You will receive the refund approximately one month after your withdrawal request is approved by SEAB.

It is important to note that there will be no refund of your examination fees if you submit your withdrawal request after the deadline given.


Access Arrangements (AA) are examination arrangements granted to candidates with specific learning and physical needs, to enable them to sit the national examinations just like other candidates do.

These arrangements is to solely benefit students with special needs, it is not intended to give them an unfair advantage over other candidates. If you require AA due to specific learning and physical needs (which has to be diagnosed before the examinations), you may apply for AA by for it and your needs will be taken note of.


quality inspection

You may pay your examination fees via the different payment modes. Your registration will only be confirmed after the payment is successful. Your registration will be cancelled if you do not make your payment by before the deadline.

mode of payment

It is important to take note of all the requirements before you proceed with the registration and payment.


Make sure to be stress-free and healthy so that you can do your best on the examination. Be sure to bring your NRIC and entry proof for the examination as well!