S1 Option Form : Strategies for Secondary Schools Chocies - TheWackyDuo.com - Singapore Lifestyle Portal

S1 Option Form : Strategies for Secondary Schools Chocies

It is time to choose a Secondary School.

You must submit the S1 Option Form by 29 Nov 3 pm for Online submission and 30 Nov 12 pm at the child's primary school if submitted in person. 

Before you do that, you would have to put the school choices on the form. Candidates have a choice of up to 6 schools to select. The first choice is compulsory, while the remaining choices are optional. It is recommended to fill up all six choices.

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria are based on merit and dependent on your AL score. Each school will have a Cut Off Pint (COP) and your AL score is compared against them. Your AL score is akin to your queue number. For illustration, we will use the following example.

AL score: 12

For the selection of schools, those with AL 11 and below will be allocated their schools first according to their 6 choices if there are vacancies. After that, it will be your turn to for selection. The system will assess the vacancies and your school choice and will assess the vacancies against your school choices sequentially. It will be allocated if there is a vacancy on your first choice. Should there be a tie, the following tiebreaker will take place. 

Tie Breaker 

If students choose the same school with the same AL but limited vacancies based on the AL score, a tiebreaker will occur, and the following rules will occur.

Source: MOE

1) Citizenship

Citizenship will be next with Singapore Citizens, followed by PR and International Students

2 ) Choice Order of Schools

If the AL scores are tied, the choice order of schools WILL matter. This is unlike the old T-score system, where school choice will not be considered.

For Student A with AL 12, School COP AL 12 and place school as the FIRST choice, the student will get priority over Student B with the same AL but school choice as the SECOND choice.

3) Computer Ballot

In the event of a tie, they will go through computerised balloting to vie for the last remaining place.

Special Consideration  

For SAP Schools - the HCL grade is the tie-breaker. 

Distinction(D) will be considered first, followed by Merit(M) and Pass (P).

What happens after Tie-Breaker?

If you do not get the place for the first choice due to a tiebreaker, the system will reassess based on your second choice, and the process will be repeated. If you get a place subsequently, congratulations. If not, you will have to wait until the exercise is completed for the whole cohort and be allocated a school with vacancies.

To prevent this situation, it is advisable to add at least 1 or 2 schools with a COP of 2 to 3 points higher than the child's AL point. This is in the event of AL points shifting from previous years. While AL points should be stable from year to year, a shift in points cannot be ruled out.


Schools with affiliated primary schools will prioritise the primary schools to fill up to 80% of the school's allocated slots. Thus affiliated school scoring will differ for non-affiliated submissions. The school must be placed as the FIRST option to qualify for affiliation. Otherwise, it will be considered under non-affiliated submission.

Strategies for Choosing Choice of Schools

The strategies for choosing a school will depend on the child's AL score. The following are some examples that parents can consider.

1) Choosing a school with COP higher than AL as the first choice

For students who achieved a low AL, this could be a strategy they would use. This strategy could also be used for any AL scores.

Suggested School Selection Example

Choice 1  COP +2
Choice 2 COP +2
Choice 3 COP +3
Choice 4 COP +3
Choice 5 COP +4
Choice 6 COP +5

In this instance, The student would most likely get the first school choice.

2) Choosing a school with COP lower than AL as the first choice

This is a risky strategy as one hopes the COP of the chosen school would rise compared to previous years. It can be considered if it is within a -1 difference. Anytime more than that, it will most likely be futile, and you would waste your chances.

If you are going to do that, to secure a slot, the next choice should be one with COP + 1 or COP + 2 to secure a slot

Suggested School Selection Example

Choice 1  COP -1
Choice 2 COP +1
Choice 3 COP +1
Choice 4 COP +2
Choice 5 COP +3
Choice 6 COP +4

3) Choosing a school with COP the same as AL as the first choice

The chances of getting into a school would be higher than point 2. However, one would still expect balloting to occur due to the limited vacancies. However, with school choice as a priority for the tie-breaker, the chances will be higher than strategy 2. Thus, it is good to add schools with COP + 1 or COP +2 as the third or fourth choice. AVOID all choices with the same COP as AL, as you may risk not getting into any school despite meeting the COP.

Suggested School Selection Example

Choice 1 COP
Choice 2 COP
Choice 3 COP +1
Choice 4 COP +2
Choice 5 COP +3
Choice 6 COP +4

4) Choosing a school with COP lower than the First Choice for other choices

Some parents would opt to place the choices as follows

Choice 1 COP
Choice 2 COP 
Choice 3 COP +1
Choice 4 COP -1
Choice 5 COP -2
Choice 6 COP -2

In our opinion, this is a waste of choices for Choices 4-6. In reality, these are throwaway choices and will not be considered. For Choices 4-6, it will be better to consider COP +1 to COP +3 as a safety net in case of a shift in COP. If you already have a safety school ( COP +3) , by all means go ahead . 

COP should not be the only factor 

For selecting secondary schools, it is better to look beyond COP. Other factors such as CCA, student development programme, school culture and distance should be considered. Consultation with the child should be done since it will be them who will attend school for at least the next four years.

If you need some consideration, do refer to our post  ' How to choose a Secondary School: Guide

Good luck!

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