FAQs on Retaking O Levels

1.     I did not do very well for my GCE O Levels. Should I retake my O Levels?

​Well, the final decision is yours to make. But if you think that the results are not a true reflection of your potential, then there is no harm in giving yourself a second chance. If you do retake you might end up getting better grades and qualifying to a polytechnic course that you want to.

2.   But all my friends have qualified to the poly. I feel so embarrassed to waste another year.

​You are at a stage in life when peer pressure is significant. But think about it this way, it is your life and you must make decisions that will give you a brighter future. There is nothing wrong in telling your friends that you are going to give yourself a second chance. In fact, this shows that you have a strong character. Did you know that Albert Einstein failed the entrance exam for the Swiss polytechnic in Zurich when he was 16 years old? But what made him the greatest scientist of our time? He had the guts to give himself a second chance. Don't think of retaking your O levels as a wasted year, think of it as investing another year for a brighter future. Do NOT waste your entire life trying to save one year!!!

3.     I am very confused. Can I talk to someone who retook their O Levels before?

​Penciltutor is a private O level school, founded in Singapore by Dr Ananda, that has been helping N level students take their O levels and guiding other students to retake their O levels for 18 years. We know it is a difficult time and this may even be the first major setback in your life. It is natural for you to feel confused but what you need right now is a clear mind to make a strong decision. We are unable to provide contact details of our ex-students but we have videos of the interviews we had with them.

4.     How do I retake my O levels as a private candidate?

​To retake your O levels as a private candidate it is best that you find a private school that offers full-time GCE O Level courses. Registration for private candidates can be done online via in mid March, but it is not advisable to wait till March to enrol at a private school as your 2021 GCE O Level exams will be in October 2021!!! We have come up with some tips on retaking your O Levels. You can read it HERE.

5.     There are so many private schools, which private school is best for me?


There are basically two types of private schools. Those that specialise in only private O levels and others who offer private O levels in addition to private diploma programmes.

If your aim of doing private O levels is to enter a Singapore Government polytechnic or a Junior College to take the A levels, it is best to choose a private school which offers only private O level programmes (and not private diploma programmes) as the school (in terms of notes, examinations and teaching methodologies) will be more specialised in O levels.


Alternatively, if your aim of doing private O levels is to take a private diploma, then you should choose schools which offer such diploma programmes. Such schools will give you more details about their private diploma programmes when you are studying for your private O levels, so that you may choose the private diploma programme best suited for you. It is also noteworthy that such schools may enrol international students with varied learning capabilities. 


Whichever private school you choose, always insist on a small class size. The smaller the class size, the more time a teacher has to focus on your weaknesses. Also, you will have more time to clarify your doubts.  At Penciltutor, our class size is 8 students for Graphite and 16 students for the O Level Programme. This small class size is our secret recipe for producing amazing results.