Where Can I Study A Levels in Singapore?

WhichSchoolAdvisor rounds up your options for where to study A Levels in Singapore, ranging from a large all-through international school to smaller private schools.
Where Can I Study A Levels in Singapore?
By Carli Allan
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A Level film students at Tanglin Trust School

As your child heads towards the college years, it’s time to consider the best curriculum to prepare your teenager for a top university or career path. While the majority of international schools in Singapore offer the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP), there is a small number offering A Levels. WhichSchoolAdvisor looks at where you can study A Levels, why you should choose this qualification, and what to expect once you get in the classroom.

International schools can offer either the GCE A Level (the most common UK qualification used for university entry) or the International A Level – and sometimes both within the same school. Those with higher numbers of students from the UK tend to offer the GCE A Level. Those whose demographic is more international tend to offer International A Levels, which are offered by exam boards including Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge.

What are A Levels?

A Levels focus on three or four academic subjects, which are studied in depth. There are no compulsory subjects, and schools can offer a choice of more than 50 different subjects in any combination. They are studied across two years, which includes the AS year (Year 12) and A2 year (Year 13). You can study a subject for one year to achieve an AS Level, or for two years to work towards an A Level.

If studying an International A Level, AS marks can be carried forward to a full A Level in most subjects; this is not the case for the UK’s GCE A Level, where AS marks no longer count towards an A Level grade.

Students can select A Level subjects that might not have been an option at GCSE, such as psychology, photography and economics. Also, some schools offer the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), alongside A Levels. Similar to the IB’s Extended Essay, the EPQ involves choosing a topic, carrying out research, writing a 5,000-word dissertation, and delivering a 10-minute presentation.

A Levels are graded by letters A-E, with A* being the top grade. The standard admission requirement for UK universities is three A Levels. Following changes introduced to GCE A Levels in 2017, no subject has more than a 20% coursework component and most courses are assessed entirely through exams.

A Level students sit their exams at the end of two years of study, rather than taking modular exams throughout the course. This can vary for International A Levels. When applying to university, A Level grades are converted into points; for example, each UK university course requires a certain number of UCAS points.

Where can I study A Levels in Singapore?

The largest international school offering GCE/International A Levels is the hugely popular all-through Tanglin Trust School (which also offers the IB Diploma Programme).

Smaller private schools include Insworld Institute and SSTC International Academy (SSTC-IA). Other schools offering A Levels follow a January to December academic year, sit their exams in November, and receive their results in January. These include DPS International School, Ascensia International School, Dimensions High School, and Furen International School (FIS). 

Read more: Choosing your A Level options

Tanglin Trust School

Annual tuition fees: £41,067
Entry: To study three A Levels, students should have an average B grade in Mock (I)GCSE exams, with at least an (I)GCSE Grade B in the subjects to be studied. (An MYP grade of 5 or above is generally regarded as equivalent.) To study four A Levels, students should have an average A grade at (I)GCSE
Academic year: August - July
2020 A Level results: 38% of all grades were A*; 68% were A*-A; 98% were A*-C
Exam boards: Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge

Tanglin Trust School offers students the widest choice of A Level subjects in Singapore, with a list of more than 20 subjects to choose from. As well as the core subjects, Tanglin’s A Level options include psychology, art, PE, music, film, drama, design and technology, economics, philosophy, computer science, business, and politics; languages include Spanish, Chinese and French.

As an all-through school with around 2,800 students – and one that also offers the IB Diploma Programme – Tanglin has the facilities and specialist teachers to deliver a wide range of A Levels. Facilities include a Foley pit for sound editing, a screening room, a film studio with green screen, 25m swimming pool, sports field, gymnasium, climbing wall, sports courts, design and technology suite, science lab, libraries, cafeteria, and ICT suites.

It’s the most well-rounded A Level programme in Singapore, with students actively encouraged to work beyond the curriculum. They must also complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) (an in-depth research and dissertation project) and Creativity, Activity and Service (a core part of the IB programme); many students also take the opportunity to complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Around two-thirds (approximately 120) of the students at Tanglin take A Levels in the Sixth Form, and most study three A Levels.

Insworld Institute

Annual tuition fees: $22,500
Entry: Must have completed the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE programme or equivalent
Academic year: Varies
2020 A Level results: Not published
Exam board: Pearson Edexcel

This small private school offers a more flexible approach to studying A Levels; it enrols students year-round and starts EITP, IGCSE, and A Level courses in January, March, July, and September. Students typically study their A Levels over a two year period, but because it is flexible in its enrolment dates, delivery of programmes and exam dates there are opportunities to complete the qualifications in a shorter time.

Insworld is a small but centrally located school with basic classrooms and no outdoor or specialist facilities. There’s a very academic focus here, and there are free one-to-one extra tuition sessions for all students who need it. The school teaches A Levels provided by Pearson Edexcel to small class sizes of four to 12 students; it enrols both local and international students.

As well as the core subjects, Insworld’s A Level options include accounting, art and design, business studies, economics, psychology, applied information communication, and Chinese.

DPS International School

Annual tuition fees: $25,423
Entry: Must have completed the Cambridge International GCSE programme or equivalent
Academic year: January - December
2019 A Level results: 50% of students were graded A* to B
Exam board: Cambridge

DPS International School is a leading Indian school in Singapore’s North East region with more than 10 years’ experience in delivering an Indian and international education. DPS offers student the option of the much broader Indian School Certificate (ISC) exam or the more focused A Level qualifications. Students study either the Indian or UK curricula from Grade 8, where both the academic year and the fees are different. For those taking the ICSE/ISC, the academic year remains as April to March and A Level students switch to a January to December year.

A Level subjects include English, physics, biology, chemistry, computer applications, maths, accountancy, business studies, or IT. Built on the reputation of the Delhi Public School – one of the largest chains of private schools in India – the school has a centrally located campus that may look older and slightly 'tired' next to Singapore's newer schools. However, it does have the advantage of space and green land and specialist teaching facilities. The majority of faculty are recruited from India, and there is a dedicated head teacher for the UK stream in Grades 8 to 12.

Ascensia International School

Annual tuition fees: $21,186 (international students); $12,711 (local students)
Entry: Must have completed Secondary Four or equivalent level
Academic year: January - December
2020 A Level results: Not published
Exam board: Cambridge

Ascensia International School is a small school that’s popular with students who have attended a local secondary school. It specialises in programmes ranging from IB PYP & MYP, Cambridge Primary Courses and IGCSE Secondary Courses to O Level and A Level exams.

All A Level students must take English, and have a choice of options including accounting, business, Chinese, economics and maths. Facilities include computer and science labs, libraries, art and music rooms, sports courts, football pitch, an outdoor climbing wall, and playgrounds.

Dimensions High School

Annual tuition fees: $18,600
Entry: Must have IGCSE qualifications or equivalent
Academic year: January - December
2020 A Level results: Not published
Exam board: Cambridge

Open to both primary and high school students, Dimensions is popular with international students looking to follow the local curriculum at an MOE school or an affordable pathway to studying IGCSEs and A Levels. Dimensions offers a two-year Cambridge International A Level course for students aged 16-25 years with options including maths, physics, chemistry, accounting, business, economics, biology, and further maths.

Located on the site of a former government school just five minutes’ walk away from the Kovan MRT Station, Dimensions has large classrooms within low-rise buildings. Facilities include a library, music room, technology centre, an auditorium, art room, and physics and chemistry labs, as well as basketball court and an open field

Furen International School

Annual tuition fees: $20,280
Entry: Must have completed at least Singapore Secondary Four and obtained a pass in an English subject at Singapore Secondary 4 level or equivalent in country of origin
Academic year: January - December or July - June
2020 A Level results: Not published
Exam board: Cambridge

Furen International School offers secondary students a choice of UK and Singapore curricula. Programmes include preparatory courses for Singapore MOE government schools, including O Levels and A Levels, as well as international IGCSEs and A Levels.

The school has a campus in northern Singapore, with many lessons taking place in a charming colonial house. Facilities include 23 classrooms, two lecture halls, event hall, counselling room, two basketball courts, two tennis courts, and two swimming pools.

SSTC International Academy

Annual tuition fees: $16,535
Entry: Must have completed the Cambridge International GCSE programme or equivalent
Academic year: October to July
2020 A Level results: Not published
Exam board: Cambridge

SSTC International Academy (SSTC-IA) is an all-through school offering a UK-based education. It is the international branch of four schools owned by the SSTC Institute, which offers a range of preparatory, English language, business, tourism and hospitality, and other higher learning programmes.

All A Level students take English, language, maths and economics courses, and then choose the Science Stream (chemistry and physics) or Business Stream (business and accounting). The teacher to student ratio is 1:25.

Facilities at the school’s small campus in City Square Mall include modern classrooms, library, science laboratory, computer laboratory, auditorium, and student lounge.

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