Introduction to the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP)


What if I tell you the quickest way to enrol in a Polytechnic is NOT through the ‘O’ Levels? Did I get your attention? If you think that you can only go to  Polytechnic after’O’ Levels, then you really have to continue reading this blog about the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP).

What is the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP)?

The PFP is a one-year programme, taught by polytechnic lecturers, to better prepare N(A) students for entry into relevant Polytechnic Diploma courses. You can apply for it after you get your ‘N’ level results. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has set aside 1,500 places in all five Polytechnics and more than 80% of all courses are available. To make the PFP more enticing, MOE has stated that if you get into a course, you are certain to move into Year 1 of the same course, provided you pass the programme. MOE has also published studies to show that PFP students perform better in Polytechnics compared to students who enter via ‘O’ Levels (70% of PFP cohort score GPA 3 vs. 55% of students from the traditional route).

Eligibility to PFP

Unfortunately, entry into the PFP is not so easy. MOE has stated that based on the criteria, only the top 15% of the NA cohort is eligible for PFP. So what are the criteria?

The courses offered in PFP can be divided into two groups. Group 1 courses are usually more technical in nature while Group 2 courses are more language-based. In addition to achieving the grades in the chart below, students need a raw aggregate score of 12 points or better (excluding CCA bonus points):


Please note that eligibility does not mean a position is guaranteed . Entry into courses will be subject to competition based on merit and  availability of places. In other words, a student needs to do much better for popular courses.

Advantages of PFP

Why do so many students want to join PFP? Let us examine some of the perks

1. Motivated Students

If you are eligible to join the PFP, it means that you will be grouped together with equally motivated students who want the best for themselves. In this environment where the best inspire each other, you can be sure that the cohort will be able to help each other do well in PFP.

2. Getting Comfortable

If you have already decided that you want to join a Polytechnic rather than a Junior College, you should take this opportunity to join it as early as possible. In addition, as you have been in the Polytechnic a year earlier than the ‘O’ level cohort, you will be more prepared to do well in Year 1 rather than needing the time to settle down in a new environment.

3. Guaranteed Courses

If you are able to join the course that you want in PFP, it is a guaranteed path into the Year 1 programme. There is no further examination nor stress for you do compete with the rest again. All you need to do is to pass, which historically has been 100% for the PFP course. As mentioned earlier, being in a very motivated cohort would certainly help you to excel.

4. No ‘O’ level stress

No mater how you analyse it, ‘O’ levels is tough. At ‘N’ levels, around 10k students take the examination. For ‘O’ levels, there are around 30k students taking the examination. Thus, it is more competitive. Not to mention the fact that when you are in Secondary 5, you have to study new topics, which may or may not help you in the Polytechnic. So, save yourself the stress and join the PFP!


As you can see, there are many advantages of joining the PFP after your ‘N’ Levels. Can you imagine going to one of Singapore’s five Polytechnics in clothes you have chosen for yourself, motivated to work hard with your peers and moving closer to your dreams? You should take this opportunity to do as well as possible for your ‘N’ level examinations in order to qualify for the programme. Not convinced yet? Let me put it this way, you should take the PFP as your first opportunity to join a Polytechnic. Even if you do not get into your desired course, you can always try again in Secondary 5. This time you would stand a better chance as you have established a firm foundation at the ‘N’ levels examination. Best of luck to all!

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