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Your Teen is in Secondary 4 and Needs CCA Points? It’s Not Too Late!

Feeling clueless or confused about co-curricular activity (CCA) points, even though your teen is already in Secondary 4? It’s perfectly normal, and many parents — as well as teens — share your sentiments.

However, CCA points could benefit your teen when it comes to school applications after the O-Levels, and that’s why it’s worthwhile to understand how the scoring system works. Below, we’ll try to answer some questions that you might have, but if your teen needs help to secure CCA points, do get in touch with the school as soon as possible!

What Are Bonus Points & Why Do They Matter for the O-Levels?

For the O-Levels in Singapore, your teen will be awarded a “raw” score, which is a sum of the individual scores from your teen’s best five or six subjects, depending on where he or she is applying to. But this will not be the final score if one also has “bonus points,” which can be deducted from the raw score to give a better “net” score

Bonus points are awarded for school affiliation, as well as for your teens’ efforts in CCA and language studies. For more information on bonus points, do visit the Ministry of Education’s website.

Of course, if your Secondary 4 teen is not in a school with affiliations, or part of a language programme, you can’t take any steps to change this now. However, if your teen has not met the requirements to qualify for one or two CCA bonus points, there is still time to rectify this.

Is it worth the effort? We think so — CCA bonus points can be used for entry to junior colleges, polytechnics, and the Millennia Institute. They will also be considered when students select courses at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

But what if your teen is expecting to ace the O-Levels? Will CCA points still make a difference? Yes they will! If you look at the cut-off points for top junior colleges such as Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution, they are typically at 4 or 5. You can’t get such scores without help from bonus points.

In any case, with the greater emphasis on an all-rounded education in recent years, many students would be able to secure at least one CCA bonus point, and not having any at all could be a disadvantage, especially if your teen intends to apply for a popular school or course.

How Are CCA Points Earned & How Do I Check My Teen’s CCA Points?

The quickest way to check on your teen’s CCA points is to send an email to the school’s CCA teacher to find out! 

Your teen can also enquire with the CCA teacher in school, but you may prefer to have confirmation in writing. If your teen has not secured the full two points yet, you should seek advice directly from the school. 

For parents who don’t mind doing some personal research, refer to the MOE’s LEAPS 2.0 document, which will explain exactly how CCA points are awarded. 

LEAPS is actually short for Leadership, Achievement, Participation, and Service — these are the four domains that students are assessed on. This next bit might seem complicated, but each domain has five levels, with Level 1 efforts being quite minimal, and Level 5 efforts considered outstanding. This information is also covered in detail in the LEAPS 2.0 document.

To secure one CCA bonus point, an easy number to remember is 1, 2, 2, 2. This means your teen would need to fulfil Level 1 requirements in one domain, and Level 2 requirements in three domains. An example of this could be:

  • Participation (Level 2): Participated in a CCA for at least three years, with 75% attendance each year.
  • Achievement (Level 2): Represented school (or external organisation) at an event in one year.
  • Leadership (Level 1): Completed two leadership training modules of at least three hours each — check if this has already been done by the school.
  • Service (Level 2): Completed 30 to 35 hours of service to the school or community in four years. (Typically, a school will ensure that students carry out at least six hours of service per school year.)

Please note that there are other ways to get one CCA bonus point, and the above is just one example.

For two CCA bonus points, the number to remember is 4, 3, 3, 3. This means your teen would need to fulfil Level 4 requirements in one domain, and Level 3 requirements in three domains. An example of this could be:

  • Participation (Level 4): Participated in the same CCA for 4 years with at least 75% attendance for each year.
  • Achievement (Level 3): Represented the school at a local competition, conference, festival, or exhibition for two years.
  • Leadership (Level 3): Upper secondary CCA committee member
  • Service (Level 3): Completed at least 24 hours of service, and at least one Values in Action project that impacts the school or community.

Once again, there are other ways to attain two CCA bonus points, so do read the LEAPS 2.0 document, or consult your teen’s school for the full picture.

Are There Any ‘Hacks’ for CCA Bonus Points?

One can’t game the system, and anyway, we wouldn’t want to encourage that! 

However, we can say that the Participation domain is the easiest to ‘score’ in — the mere act of committing to one CCA and meeting the 75% attendance requirements each year would already have ensured a Level 4 score.

Fulfilling the requirements for the remaining domains is more challenging, as it will need some initiative on your teen’s part. But what you should know is that your Secondary 4 teen does not have to be an award winner or school team superstar to get one or two CCA bonus points. There is still ample time this year to volunteer with a charity, initiate a community project, or step up to a leadership position in school — CCA points aside, these are all growth experiences that will benefit your teen. If your teen is keen to pursue any of these opportunities, do get in touch with the school early in the year, so that they can support you.

One of our KSP members shared with us how her daughter, who is in Secondary 4 this year and not part of a school team, managed to secure two CCA bonus points by the end of Secondary 3:

  • Volunteered with a family service centre for half a day in Secondary 1
  • Participated in the SYF Pixel Perfect photo competition in Secondary 2
  • Took a CCA leadership role in Secondary 3
  • Worked on a church-initiated service project in Secondary 3
  • Participated in the Singapore Mathematical Olympiad competition in Secondary 3 — there was no barrier to entry and training sessions were held in school

We would also appreciate more parents sharing how their teens have managed to get one or two CCA bonus points, for the benefit of the KSP community. If your teen has done this, do tell us more in the comments!

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