How Does O Level Ranking System Work

As you discover your passions and interests through your Secondary School journey, a certain course / school may call to you ✨

But the looming question remains, “Do I stand a chance?”

This is a very real concern! So here, the Paradigm team has collated an in-depth guide towards the behind-the-scenes processing of your 12 choices.

Paradigm Math School 64


  • the points are mentioned in the order that they are considered! meaning that point 1 is more important and considered above point 2 and so on
  • note that the goal is to get a score as LOW as possible


1. Net Aggregate Score

Your total score, after subtracting your bonus points, will be compared to your peers.


  • student A has a net score of 13
  • student B has a net score of 10

Student B will have a higher chance of being admitted

2. Identification in SG

Your admission to any course will also be dependant on whether you are a Singaporean Citizen or PR

The list of priority is in this order: Citizen > PR > International student


  • student A (SG citizen) scored net 12
  • student B (international student) scored net 12

Student A has a higher chance of being admitted due to the student being a Citizen

3. Raw Score

Your total score, before subtracting your bonus points, will be compared to your peers.


Both student A and B are Singaporean Citizens with a net score of 10

  • student A scored RAW 12 (-2 bp) = 10
  • student B scored RAW 14 (-4 bp) = 10

Although student A and B scored the same NET score student B will have a higher chance of being admitted because they have a lower raw score

4. Computer Ballot

If both student A and student B have all the same net score, raw score & identity, a computer system will decide who gets into the course.

This happens even when there is a difference in ranking!


  • student A ranks course X 4th
  • student B ranks course X 8th

The computer can still randomly generate student B to enter the course despite student B ranking the course LOWER!

5. Ranking

After going through all the variables from points 1-4, the computer system will post you according to the 12 choices you listed.

If the slots in your first choice is fully taken up, then your second choice will be considered etc.

Search up your course and school to view the respective class intakes for each year!

These are some things to note when ranking!

  1. Fill up your choices realistically
    Ensure that you check the historical COP of your course online!

    • eg. ranking course X (COP: 5) as your 1st choice when you have a net aggregate of 20 is not wise! the likelihood you’ll be accepted is very low and hence you waste that space!
  2. If you are 1 point off (don’t recommend any further deviation) from the historical COP but really want that course, it is better to rank it as your first choice as you may have a chance!

How cut off point (COP) works:

The COP given in the JAE Booklet refers to the net aggregate score of the worst performing applicant accepted into the course in the previous year’s exercise. It does not reflect the COP for the current year’s exercise!

Each batch is different! The current year’s COP will depend on the applicants from this year’s cohort (if you know your batch-mates aiming for same course are rly smart- 😰 here’s an encouragement cookie 🍪)

Basically, you wont know the exact COP of your year until AFTER everyone is posted into their schools! -you can only gauge

You can research on the Historical JC cut off point or Poly cut off point from the past few years and estimate how the trend will move. However, its best to be safe, and look towards courses where your net aggregate score is at least 1 point higher than the historical COP

When researching take note of:

  • the expected intake of your course for your year
  • the popularity of the course
  • your own expected / actual score for O-levels

Hope to see you happily placed in a school you love 🫶🏻

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