The Ultimate Guide to the HELM Subject Combination

HELM Subject Combination

The HELM subject combination, comprising History, Economics, Literature and Mathematics as core subjects, is one of the most common humanities subject combinations you will find in Junior College. 

As someone who has taken this subject combination (and survived), I will be sharing my experience with the HELM subject combination as well as our University prospects. 

What is the HELM subject combination?

The HELM subject combination comprises four main subjects – History, Economics, Literature and Mathematics. You will have the option of taking these subjects at either H1 or H2 Level. 

Apart from these subjects, you would also have to take H1 Project Work, and H1 General Paper or H2 Knowledge and Inquiry. 

You can check out my guide on KI here.

An important thing to note while considering the HELM subject combination is that it lies under the Arts Stream in JC.

This means that you would not be able to take on any science subjects like Physics or Chemistry!

If you are interested in a hybrid subject combination, you should apply via the science stream instead, and you would not be considered a HELM student. 

My Subject Combination

Personally, I took 4 H2s and 1 H1, with my H2s being History, Economics, Literature and Knowledge and Inquiry, while my H1 subject was Mathematics. 

I took H1 Mathematics because I was particularly interested in learning KI and would be unable to take that subject if I opted for H2 Mathematics. Additionally, as Mathematics was not my strongest subject, it seemed like a much better option to take it at a H1 Level, which was much easier than H2 Mathematics. 

However, you do not necessarily have to take four H2 subjects. You can always choose to take 3 H2s and 1 H1 subject, out of the four core subjects mentioned earlier. 

I have observed that many people tend to take either H1 Economics or H1 Mathematics as their H1s.

I would advise you to play to your strengths while considering your subject combination, and remember that you will always get an opportunity to drop subjects in the later parts of J1 or even in J2!

Cohort Size

For the Arts Stream in Junior College, I would estimate that HELM students took up around half of the Humanities cohort. Depending on your cohort size, this could mean that the HELM population would range from 100-300 students. 

As I was in a Junior College that was better known for its Arts Department, particularly the History and Literature department, I would say that this combination was quite popular. 

Do note that this might differ for each Junior College, so I suggest researching a little bit before committing yourself to a Junior College or even a subject combination. 

What was my timetable like for the HELM combination?

If you take a HELM combination, your timetable would be pretty regular, as HELM is an extremely common subject combination. 

However, if your combination varies from the basic HELM combination, for example if you took Knowledge and Inquiry like me, or if you took China Studies, Translation, Music, Art etc, do expect to have longer school hours, and irregular break times. 

Attached below is an example of a regular HELM timetable from when I was in Junior College.

As you can see, a normal day begins anywhere from 8am to 9am, and I usually ended my day around 3pm to 4pm. The average day usually comprised of around 2hrs of breaktime. 

I would consider this to be a pretty decent schedule as oftentimes people with hybrid or elective subjects would have to stay in school up to 6pm for classes. 

Furthermore, compared to my science stream friends who had to come to school early to conduct practical lessons, I would say the HELM timetable has the better end of the stick

Overall, I found this timetable suitable for my needs, providing me with sufficient breaks to eat and play in school. Additionally, the earlier ending times of 3-4pm gave me enough time to study or complete my homework for the day without being too exhausted from lessons. 

Hence if you are like me and you prefer a shorter timetable but with sufficient break times, I am sure you would enjoy the HELM combination. 

What are the university prospects for a HELM student?

Apart from the University courses that require you to have taken science subjects, you would be eligible for most of the courses at University. 

Some popular courses for students with the HELM subject combination include:

CourseUniversities Offering
LawNational University of Singapore, Singapore Management University
BusinessSingapore Management University, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore
Mass CommunicationsNanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore
Social Sciences(broad)Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University
PsychologySingapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore Institute of Management, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University
LinguisticsNanyang Technological University, Singapore University of Social Sciences, National University of Singapore
Education (Arts)Nanyang Technological University
HistoryNanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore
LiteratureNanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore
EconomicsNational University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, Nanyang Technological University


In this article, I have gone through the HELM subject combination, some variations to the combination, the cohort size, timetabling and university prospects for this combination. 

If you are a prospective student looking to take up HELM, I hope this article has cleared some confusion and helped you gain a better understanding of this subject combination.

Gabrielle Chua

Hello ~~ I'm Gabrielle and I've recently graduated from Eunoia Junior College. I'm someone who thrives on gaining new experiences and constantly challenging myself. Some things I'm currently occupied with are -- spin classes, my full time job and kdramas ! >_<

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