Physics is a fascinating subject that studies the natural world, matter, motion and energy. It is an important subject for students who wish to pursue a career in fields such as engineering, medicine, or research. In Singapore, secondary students can choose to take either O Level Physics or O Level Combined Science Physics. While these two streams have some similarities, they also have significant differences that students need to be aware of. In this blog, we will explore the similarities & differences between O Level Physics and O Level Combined Science.

Depth of Knowledge

The primary difference between O Level Physics and O level Combined Science Physics is the depth of knowledge required. O Level Physics is a single-subject course that covers topics such as mechanics, thermal physics, waves, electricity, and magnetism. It is a more in-depth and specialized course that requires a thorough understanding of physics principles and concepts.

In contrast, Combined Science is a broader subject that covers Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. The depth of knowledge required in Combined Science Physics is not as great as in O Level Physics, and students may not be required to have a deep understanding of certain physics principles.

Exam Format

The exam format for O Level Physics and Combined Science Physics is similar. Both have 3 papers: Paper 1 tests MCQ on fundamental knowledge, Paper 2 tests short and long structured free-response questions, and Paper 3 tests on Practical Experiments. 

However, Combined Science’s format of exam is more general and does not focus solely on physics, but rather involves Chemistry or Biology too.


The weightage of the physics component is also different in O Level Physics and Combined Science Physics. In O Level Physics, the entire course is dedicated to physics, and the subject carries a weightage of 100% in the final grade. In Combined Science, the physics component only carries a weightage of 32.5% for structured and free-response questions and 10% for multiple-choice questions.

Paper Type of Paper Duration Marks Weighting
1 Multiple Choice 1h 40 20%
2 Structured and Free Response (Physics) 1 h 15 min 65 32.5%
3 Structured and Free Response (Chemistry) 1 h 15 min 65 32.5%
4 Structured and Free Response (Biology) 1 h 15 min 65 32.5%
5 Practical Test 1h 30min 30 15%


Join the Combined Science Physics Tuition

While O Level Physics and Combined Science Physics share some similarities, they are fundamentally different subjects. At Physics Academy, we provide professional O Level Physics tuition to help students achieve their academic goals. However, we understand that it can be hard to find Combined Science tuition in Singapore, which is why we also offer expert guidance via Combined Science Physics tuition classes as well. Contact us today to find out more about our tuition services and get a 7-day free trial lesson to see how our Physics tutor helps students ace in Physics!