Disclaimer: This list is compiled based on the author’s own experience and is not representative of the views of Basecamp. 

1. Physics

If you do not take physics in secondary school, there is no way for you to take physics in JC. If you do not take physics in JC, you are effectively excluded from engineering in university. In other words, your decision at the tender age of 15 will affect your career choice when you reach the ripe old age of 20. So, if you have no idea what you want to do in the future, it is better to keep your options for now by taking physics. Even if right now, you want nothing to do with the 3 Newtonian laws, can you guarantee that you will share the same sentiments 5 years down the road?

Additionally, physics is a subject of possibility. Many of the products that we take for granted today are only possible because engineers combined physical laws with their creativity. This gave rise to engineering marvels such as the iPhone, cloud based computing, and drones, to name just a few.

What’s more, PM Lee recently announced that engineering is among the major professions with the most vacancies in the last few years, and that we need more engineering talents. This dearth of engineering students may be a reason why a university dedicated to solely technology and design (SUTD) was set up some time back. At the same time, to attract more talents into the industry, public sector engineers will get a pay raise and better advancement opportunities. This means that if you want to earn a comfortable living while bettering the world one product at a time, it is time to choose physics over biology. 

2. Maths

If the sciences are doors to new worlds, then Mathematics is the key that opens those doors.  You need to have a firm grasp of your Mathematical concepts before you can tackle the different scientific theories. It is no wonder then that Mathematics serves a prerequisite for many courses in university.

Not just sciences, mind you, but humanities too. University Economics deals with complex modelling and statistical testing. Accounting modules in business schools introduce the concept of present value discounting, and you will have no choice but to love compound interest. Mathematics is useful. Period.

While the same can be said for other subjects, Mathematics equips you with the mental faculty to go further, to think deeper and to aim higher. So if you aspire to be an engineer, an accountant, an economist, an IT expert, a chemist, a biologist, a businessman or even a doctor, take Mathematics and learn it well. You will thank yourself later.

3. General Paper

I know, I know, almost everyone has to take this subject. The only instance when you don’t have to is when you replace it with the harder H2 equivalent – Knowledge and Inquiry.

But there is a reason why this subject is compulsory – and for good reason. General Paper exposes you to the real stuff that is happening around the world. No longer can you just be a bookworm and still score an A. Instead, what will help you score well is an active and inquisitive mind. And that is arguably the kind of citizen that our nation needs in the future. If all you can do is regurgitate theorems and learn your ten-year series by heart, then I am sorry to say this, but you will find yourself being easily replaced by robots in the near future. In fact, Google is already better at performing the role of a student than you.

If you are purely learning for the sake of learning, General paper also gives you the best bang for your buck. It is a subject that touches on arts, science, the environment and even sports. You can be sure that after 2 years, you will emerge with a wholesome understanding of the world around you. That is, if you do more than sleep in class.

General paper is also in my opinion, the most interesting and relevant subject. Have you ever wondered why Trump is so popular and is close to being voted into power as the most influential man on earth? The answer can be found in the topic of politics. Are you amazed at the technological advancements that happened over the last 20 years? The topic on science and technology will give you a glimpse of what is to come in the next 20 years. And boy, I can confidently say I am excited. 

For me, I took these 3 subjects and I never looked back. If you are undecided about what subject combination to take in JC, I would recommend the above 3.