GCE O Level Exam Format

Understanding the O Levels Examination Format

When it comes to preparing for an important paper, it is essential for students to have a clear understanding of the topics being tested, as well as familiarising yourself with the exam format. Over here, we have compiled a table of what you can expect from each subject.

English

Paper 1 (Writing)

Section A (Editing)
Students will need to identify and edit grammatical errors in a short written text.

Section B (Situational Writing)
Students need to write a short functional piece such as an email or a letter as per the given situation. Students will be assessed based on their ability to express and put forth situational ideas like writing emails/reports and compositional skills will be assessed.

Section C (Continuous Writing)
Students will need to write 350–500 words in continuous prose on one of four topics set. The topics may cover different types of texts such as narrative or exposition writing.

Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes
 

Paper 2 (Comprehension)

Students are assessed based on their ability to write grammatically correct language. They will be expected to comprehend visual and textual information. This paper has a mix of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and open-ended questions. Students will be tested on vocabulary, visual text comprehension, and the use of language for impact across various texts.

Section A
Students will need to respond to questions based on Text 1, a visual text.

Section B
Students will need to respond to a variety of questions based on Text 2, which is a narrative or a recount.

Section C
Students will need to respond to a variety of questions based on Text 3, a non-narrative text, and write an 80-word response to a summary writing task.

Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes
 

Paper 3 (Listening Comprehension)

Section A
Students will need to respond to a variety of listening tasks based on a number of audio recordings which the candidates will hear twice.

Section B
Students will need to listen to an audio recording and do a simple note-taking exercise. The recording will only be played once.

Duration: Approximately 45 minutes

 

Paper 4 (Oral Communication)

The two parts in this paper are thematically linked.

Part 1 (Reading Aloud)
Students are to read aloud a short text, presented on a computer screen.

Part 2 (Spoken Interaction)
Students will need to engage in a discussion with the examiners on a topic based on a visual stimulus in the form of a video clip.

Duration: 20 minutes (including 10 minutes of preparation time)

 

Mathematics

Paper 1 (80 marks)

There will be about 25 short answer questions. It is mandatory for students to answer all of the questions in the paper. The weightage of this paper is 50%.

Duration: 2 hours
 

Paper 2 (100 marks)

There will be 10 to 11 questions of varying marks and lengths. The last question in this paper will focus specifically on applying mathematics to a real-world scenario. It is mandatory for students to answer all of the questions in the paper. The weightage of this paper is 50%.

Relevant mathematical formulae will be provided for candidates for both papers. Candidates should also have gemoetrical instruments with them for both Paper 1 and Paper 2.

Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes
 

All information taken from SEAB Website

 

Additional Mathematics

Paper 1 (90 marks)

There will be 12 - 14 questions of varying marks and lengths, up to 10 marks per question. It is mandatory for students to answer all of the questions in the paper. The weightage of this paper is 50%.

Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes
 

Paper 2 (90 marks)

There will be 10 to 11 questions of varying marks and lengths, up to 12 marks per question. It is mandatory for students to answer all of the questions in the paper. The weightage of this paper is 50%.

Relevant mathematical formulae will be provided for candidates.

Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes

All information taken from SEAB Website
 

Physics

In the O Level examination, students will be required to sit for Paper 1, 2 and 3. Paper 1 and 2 are theory papers with multiple choice and structured questions.

Note: The O Level Physics syllabus will change from 2023 onwards. The information below is based on the examination syllabus offered to school candidates up until 2022. Information on the new syllabus will be updated after the 2022 O Level examination.
 

Theory Paper

Paper 1 (40 marks)

This paper will consist of 40 compulsory multiple-choice items.

Duration: 1 hour
 

Paper 2 (80 marks)

This paper will consist of two sections. Section A will carry 50 marks and will consist of a variable number of compulsory structured questions. Section B will carry 30 marks and will consist of 3 free response questions.

In this paper, it is compulsory for students to answer the first two questions, one of which will be a data-based question. According to the SEAB, this question will require students to interpret, evaluate or solve problems using a stem of information. The last question will be presented in an either / or form and will carry 10 marks.

Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

 

Practical Paper

Paper 3 (40 marks)

This paper will consist of 2 sections. Section A will carry 20 marks and will consist of 1–2 compulsory practical experiment questions with a total duration of 55 min. Section B will carry 20 marks and will consist of one compulsory 55 min practical experiment question.

Paper 3 will assess appropriate aspects of the course objectives in the following skill areas:

  • Planning (P)
  • Manipulation, measurement and observation (MMO)
  • Presentation of data and observations (PDO)
  • Analysis, conclusions and evaluation (ACE)

The assessment of Planning (P) will have a weighting of 15%. The assessment of skill areas MMO, PDO and ACE will have a weighting of 85%. The assessment of PDO and ACE may include questions on data-analysis which do not require practical equipment and apparatus.

Candidates would be allocated a specified time for access to apparatus and materials of specific questions. Candidates cannot refer to notebooks, textbooks or any other information during the assessment.

Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes

 

Chemistry

In the O Level examination, students will be required to sit for Paper 1, 2 and 3. Paper 1 and 2 are theory papers with multiple choice and structured questions.

Theory Paper

Paper 1 (40 marks)

This paper consists of 40 compulsory multiple choice items. A copy of the Periodic Table of Elements will be printed as part of this Paper.

Duration: 1 hour

Paper 2 (80 marks)

This paper consists of two sections. Section A will carry 50 marks and consists of a variable number of compulsory structured questions. Section B will carry 30 marks and consists of three questions.

It is compulsory for students to answer the first two questions, one of which will be a data-based question. According to the SEAB, students will need to interpret, evaluate or solve problems using a stem of information. This question will carry 8-12 marks. The last question will be presented in an either/or form and will carry 10 marks. A copy of the Periodic Table of Elements will be printed as part of this Paper.

Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

 

Practical Paper

Paper 3 (40 marks)

This paper consists of a variable number of compulsory practical questions.

One, or more, of the questions may incorporate assessment of Planning (P) and require candidates to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding from different sections of the syllabus.

The assessment of presentation of data and observation (PDO) and analysis, conclusion and evaluation (ACE) may include questions on data-analysis which do not require practical equipment and apparatus. Candidates are not allowed to refer to notebooks, textbooks or any other information during the assessment.A copy of the Notes for Qualitative Analysis will be printed as part of this Paper.

 Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes

 

Biology

In the O Level examination, students will be required to sit for Paper 1, 2 and 3. Paper 1 and 2 are theory papers with multiple choice and structured questions.
Theory Paper

Paper 1 (40 marks)

This paper will consist of 40 compulsory multiple-choice items.

Duration: 1 hour
 

Paper 2 (80 marks)

This paper will consist of two sections. Section A will carry 50 marks and will consist of a variable number of compulsory structured questions. Section B will carry 30 marks and will consist of 3 free response questions.

In this paper, it is compulsory for students to answer the first two questions, one of which will be a data-based question. According to the SEAB, this question will require students to interpret, evaluate or solve problems using a stem of information. The last question will be presented in an either / or form and will carry 10 marks.

Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

 

Practical Paper

Paper 3 (40 marks)

This paper will comprise two to three compulsory practical questions, based mainly on Experimental Skills and Investigations. One or more of the questions may incorporate assessment of Planning (P) and require candidates to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding from different sections of the syllabus.

Paper 3 will assess appropriate aspects of the course objectives in the following skill areas:

  • Planning (P)
  • Manipulation, measurement and observation (MMO)
  • Presentation of data and observations (PDO)
  • Analysis, conclusions and evaluation (ACE)

The assessment of Planning (P) will have a weighting of 15%. The assessment of skill areas MMO, PDO and ACE will have a weighting of 85%. The assessment of PDO and ACE may include questions on data-analysis which do not require practical equipment and apparatus.

Candidates cannot refer to notebooks, textbooks or any other information during the assessment.

Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes


Exam Resources
PSLE
GCE O Level
Resources
Important Dates
Scoring System
Exam Format
Syllabus
Exam Tips
Latest Articles
GCE A Level
Sample Papers
Resources
Latest Articles
Primary
Primary 1
Primary 2
Primary 3
Primary 4
Primary 5
Primary 6
Secondary
Secondary 1
Secondary 2
Secondary 3
Secondary 4
Sign up for a free demo
(P1 to S4 levels)
Submit
Our Education Consultants will get in touch to offer a complimentary product demo and Strength Analysis to your child.