Secondary School Cut-Off Point and Choosing Suitable Secondary Schools
Welcome to this article on “Secondary School Cut-Off Point and Choosing Suitable Secondary Schools” in Singapore. As a parent, there are several factors to consider when selecting a suitable secondary school for your Primary 6 child, one of which is the Secondary School Cut-Off Point. This refers to the minimum score that a student needs to secure a place in a particular secondary school, and it can vary every year based on factors such as the school’s popularity, the number of applicants, and their PSLE scores. Here, we will discuss the importance of PSLE, preparing for PSLE, the new PSLE Scoring System, school choice submission and tie-breakers, the use of Higher Chinese Language (HCL) for admission to SAP schools, admission to Integrated Programme (IP) schools, admission to affiliated schools, and factors to consider when choosing a suitable secondary school for your child.
You need to consider various factors while choosing a suitable secondary school for your Primary 6 child. They include key conditions like PSLE Score, the secondary school cut-off point, tie-breakers, as well as any intended special admissions to SAP schools, Affiliated schools, or IP schools.
The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a national placement examination administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore. PSLE is taken by all Primary 6 students at the end of their final year of primary school education. The PSLE examination system which is kept at a “consistent standard of difficulty levels” over the years, was first initiated by the Singapore government to standardise the various education systems in Singapore through a common academic syllabus and content.
There are 4 main subjects tested in the PSLE, namely English Language, Mother Tongue Language, Mathematics, and Science. Primary 6 students taking the PSLE must attempt all of them. Technically, the PSLE exams are free.
The PSLE is an important placement exam that helps gauge a student’s foundation and understanding of key concepts and their academic strengths or weaknesses. Based on the student’s educational needs and secondary school cut-off point of entry, the useful PSLE system will determine the most appropriate course and subject level for students, allowing them to learn at a suitable pace when they progress to secondary school education. Secondary school education is compulsory for all Singaporeans aged 12 to 16. A student’s secondary school path is greatly influenced by their PSLE results and the secondary school cut-off point of entry.
Study smart. Keep in mind the secondary school cut-off point and establish clear academic goals. Develop a study plan to facilitate consistent practice. Understand and learn from mistakes. These are key pointers towards establishing effective learning and achieving good PSLE academic results. Practice makes perfect. Don’t forget to practice the popular Ten Year Series for PSLE, in which examination questions from the past 10 years are compiled in yearly and topical formats for more effective practice!
First announced in 2016 and effective from 2021, the PSLE Achievement Level (AL) System is a new scoring system implemented by the Singapore government to replace the original PSLE T-score system.
Under the new AL system, Primary 6 students will be given ALs from 1 to 8 for each subject instead of grades like A* to E that were previously under the old PSLE T-score system. Students who scored 90 marks and above will earn an AL1 for a subject; 85 to 89 will earn an AL2; 80 to 84 will earn an AL3, and so on.
|AL 1||≥ 90|
|AL 2||85 – 89|
|AL 3||80 – 84|
|AL 4||75 – 79|
|AL 5||65 – 74|
|AL 6||45 – 64|
|AL 7||20 – 44|
|AL 8||< 20|
A student’s total PSLE Score will be the sum of the AL of each of the 4 subjects, providing a range of scores from a possible best of 4 to the worst of 32.
Students taking foundation subjects will be graded AL A to AL C.
|AL A||75 – 100|
|AL B||30 – 74|
|AL C||< 30|
Over the years, the Singapore MOE government has been fine-tuning the education system. Instead of overly emphasising academic results and peer competition, Singapore education’s dynamic has shifted to focusing on progressive learning and helping the students discover and develop their strengths and interests through the current AL scoring system. Considering the secondary school cut-off point, parents of primary 6 pupils can utilise the useful PSLE Score Calculator to find out the most appropriate Secondary school course their children would be eligible for.
Primary 6 students who achieve a PSLE Score of 4 to 20 would qualify for the Express course. Students with a PSLE Score of 21 to 22 would be offered an option between the Express and Normal (Academic) courses, whereas students with a score of 23 or 24 would qualify for the Normal (Academic) course. Students with a PSLE Score of 25 would be offered an option between the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses. Students who scored between 26 and 30 and achieved AL7 or better in both English and Mathematics are eligible for the Normal (Technical) course.
Based on the student’s PSLE Score and the secondary school cut-off point, parents of primary 6 pupils can shortlist the suitable secondary schools and submit the school choices to MOE.
|School||IP/IB||SAP school||Express||Normal Academic||Normal Technical|
|Hwa Chong Institution||Boys||IP||✔||4-7||-||-|
|Raffles Girls' School||Girls||IP||4-6||-||-|
|Methodist Girls' School||Girls||IP||4-6||-||-|
|Nanyang Girls' School||Girls||IP||✔||4-8 /4-7||-||-|
|Dunman High School||Co-ed||IP||✔||4-8||-||-|
|National Junior College||Co-ed||IP||5-7||-||-|
|CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School||Girls||IP||✔||4-7||-||-|
|Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)||Boys||IP||4-7||-||-|
|Catholic High School||Boys||IP||✔||5-8||-||-|
|Methodist Girls' School||Girls||-||6-8 /7-17||-||-|
|Cedar Girls' Secondary School||Girls||IP||4-8||-||-|
|CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School||Girls||-||✔||5-8/5-14||-||-|
|River Valley High School||Co-ed||IP||✔||4-9||-||-|
|Singapore Chinese Girls' School||Girls||IP||4-8||-||-|
|Singapore Chinese Girls' School||Girls||-||5-9 /8-17||-||-|
|Catholic High School||Boys||-||✔||6-9/6-12||-||-|
|Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)||Boys||-||6-9/7-13||-||-|
|Cedar Girls' Secondary School||Girls||-||4-9||-||-|
|Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School||Girls||-||8-11 /4-20||21-23 /21-25||25-28 /26-28|
|St Joseph's Institution||Boys||IP||4-8||-||-|
|Temasek Junior College||Co-ed||IP||4-9||-||-|
|Anderson Secondary School||Co-ed||-||4-10||21-24||25-28|
|CHIJ Toa Payoh||Girls||-||6-10/7-20||21-24/21-25||25-30/27|
|Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road)||Boys||-||6-11/7-22||21-21/21-24||25-26/25-28|
|Bukit Panjang Government High School||Co-ed||-||6-11||21-22||25-26|
|Nan Hua High School||Co-ed||-||✔||6-11||-||-|
|St Joseph's Institution||Boys||-||5-10 /8-12||-||-|
|Nan Chiau High School||Co-ed||-||✔||4-11||-||-|
|Chung Cheng High School (Main)||Co-ed||-||✔||6-11||-||-|
|Crescent Girls' School||Girls||-||6-11||-||-|
|Fairfield Methodist School||Co-ed||-||8-11 /8-20||21/21-24||25-27 /25-28|
|St Andrew's Secondary School||Boys||-||7-10 /7-22||21-23 /21-25||25-26 /25-29|
|St Margaret's Secondary||Girls||-||9-11 /9-20||21-22 /22-25||25-27 /25-28|
|Swiss Cottage Secondary School||Co-ed||-||4-11||21-22||25-26|
|Chung Cheng High School (Yishun)||Co-ed||-||6-11||21-23||25-27|
|Anglican High School||Co-ed||-||✔||5-12||-||-|
|Commonwealth Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-12||21-23||25-28|
|Yishun Town Secondary School||Co-ed||-||6-13||21-23||25-27|
|CHIJ St Theresa's Convent||Girls||-||11-13/8-20||22-24/21-25||25-29/25-28|
|Ngee Ann Secondary School||Co-ed||-||5-12 /12-16||21-22 /21-25||25-26 /26-28|
|CHIJ St Joseph's Convent||Girls||-||9-13/8-29||21-23/21-25||25-27/25-29|
|Maris Stella High School||Boys||-||✔||7-12 /8-16||-||-|
|Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-13 /11-20||21-24 /21-25||-|
|Zhonghua Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-13||21-23||25-27|
|Fuhua Secondary School||Co-ed||-||6-13||21-23||25-28|
|Presbyterian High School||Co-ed||-||8-13||21-23||25-27|
|Tanjong Katong Girls' School||Girls||-||5-13||-||-|
|Xinmin Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-14||21-23||25-27|
|Clementi Town Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-14||21-24||25-28|
|Riverside Secondary School||Co-ed||-||6-14||21-23||25-27|
|Temasek Secondary School||Co-ed||-||7-13||21-22||25-27|
|Holy Innocents' High School||Co-ed||-||10-15 /11-22||21-23/21-25||25-26 /25-28|
|Kranji Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-14||21-23||25-27|
|Tanjong Katong Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-14||-||-|
|Dunman Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-14||21-23||25-27|
|Edgefield Secondary School||Co-ed||-||7-14||21-22||25-27|
|St Patrick's School||Boys||-||10-14/12-20||21-22/21-24||25-27/26-28|
|Ang Mo Kio Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-16||21-24||25-28|
|Bukit Batok Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-15||21-23||25-28|
|Geylang Methodist School||Co-ed||-||11-15/13-21||21-23/21-25||25-26/25-29|
|Jurong Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-16||21-23||25-28|
|CHIJ Katong Convent||Girls||-||11-15/11-20||21-24/21-25||25-30/26-28|
|Evergreen Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-15||21-23||25-27|
|St Anthony's Canossian Secondary School||Girls||-||11-15/10-22||21-24/21-25||25-27/25-28|
|Bowen Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-16||21-24||25-27|
|Gan Eng Seng School||Co-ed||-||7-15||21-23||25-26|
|Hua Yi Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-16||21-23||25-29|
|St Gabriel's Secondary School||Boys||-||10-17/13-22||21-23/22-25||25-28/26-27|
|St Hilda's Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-15/13-22||21-23/21-25||25-28/26-28|
|Pei Hwa Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-16||21-24||25-26|
|West Spring Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-17||21-23||25-26|
|Hai Sing Catholic School||Co-ed||-||10-16||21-24||25-28|
|Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-17||21-24||25-28|
|Mayflower Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-17||21-24||25-28|
|Deyi Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-17||21-25||25-28|
|Queensway Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-17||21-24||25-27|
|Pasir Ris Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-18||21-24||25-28|
|Unity Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-18||21-24||25-28|
|Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-17||21-25||25-28|
|Woodlands Ring Secondary School||Co-ed||-||14-19||21-24||25-28|
|Bedok View Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-18||21-24||-|
|Chua Chu Kang Secondary School||Co-ed||-||216||171||137|
|Beatty Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-18||21-25||25-27|
|Yuan Ching Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-19||21-25||25-28|
|Compassvale Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-18||21-24||25-27|
|Kent Ridge Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-19||21-24||25-30|
|North Vista Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-18||21-24||25-27|
|Orchid Park Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-19||21-24||25-28|
|Bukit View Secondary School||Co-ed||-||14-19||21-25||26-30|
|Peirce Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-19||22-25||26-29|
|Zhenghua Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-20||21-24||25-27|
|Bedok South Secondary School||Co-ed||-||14-19||21-25||25-28|
|Greendale Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-18||21-23||25-27|
|Hillgrove Secondary School||Co-ed||-||14-19||21-24||25-28|
|Meridian Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-19||21-24||25-27|
|Woodgrove Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-20||21-23||25-27|
|Jurong West Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-18||21-24||25-28|
|Montfort Secondary School||Boys||-||15-20/13-21||21-25/23-25||25-28/26-28|
|Tampines Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-19||21-25||25-28|
|Christ Church Secondary School||Co-ed||-||207||166||109|
|Yishun Secondary School||Co-ed||-||207||164||109|
|Seng Kang Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-19||21-24||25-27|
|Admiralty Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-20||21-24||25-28|
|Naval Base Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-20||21-24||25-28|
|Hougang Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-20||21-25||26-27|
|Punggol Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-20||21-24||25-27|
|Regent Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-21||21-25||-|
|Jurongville Secondary School||Co-ed||-||16-20||21-25||25-30|
|Westwood Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-22||21-25||25-28|
|Greenridge Secondary School||Co-ed||-||195||156||126|
|Canberra Secondary School||Co-ed||-||11-22||21-24||25-29|
|New Town Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-20||21-25||21-25|
|Juying Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-21||21-25||25-28|
|Pei Cai Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-22||22-25||26-29|
|Queenstown Secondary School||Co-ed||-||16-22||21-25||25-28|
|Assumption English School||Co-ed||-||10-22||22-25||25-29|
|Bartley Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-22||21-25||25-28|
|Bedok Green Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-20||21-25||25-28|
|Bendemeer Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-22||21-25||25-29|
|Boon Lay Secondary School||Co-ed||-||188||152||101|
|Broadrick Secondary School||Co-ed||-||7-22||21-25||25-27|
|Bukit Merah Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-22||21-25||25-28|
|Changkat Changi Secondary School||Co-ed||-||13-22||21-25||-|
|Damai Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-22||21-25||25-28|
|Dunearn Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-22||21-25||25-30|
|East Spring Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-22||22-25||25-28|
|Fajar Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-22||21-25||25-30|
|Fuchun Secondary School||Co-ed||-||188||152||100|
|Guangyang Secondary School||Co-ed||-||16-21||21-25||26-29|
|Junyuan Secondary School||Co-ed||-||17-22||21-25||25-28|
|Loyang View Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-21/13-22||22-25/23-25||26-28/26-28|
|Manjusri Secondary School||Co-ed||-||15-21/13-22||22-25/23-25||26-28/26-28|
|Marsiling Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-22||21-25||25-30|
|Northbrooks Secondary School||Co-ed||-||12-22||21-25||25-28|
|Northland Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-22||22-25||26-28|
|Outram Secondary School||Co-ed||-||4-22||22-25||26-30|
|Ping Yi Secondary School||Co-ed||-||188||152||108|
|Sembawang Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-22||21-25||25-28|
|Serangoon Garden Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-22||21-25||25-28|
|Serangoon Secondary School||Co-ed||-||16-21||22-25||25-28|
|Springfield Secondary School||Co-ed||-||10-22||21-25||25-28|
|Tanglin Secondary School||Co-ed||-||188||152||100|
|Teck Whye Secondary School||Co-ed||-||6-22||21-25||25-29|
|Whitley Secondary School||Co-ed||-||7-22||21-25||26-29|
|Woodlands Secondary School||Co-ed||-||9-22||21-25||25-28|
|Yio Chu Kang Secondary School||Co-ed||-||16-21||22-25||25-28|
|Yuhua Secondary School||Co-ed||-||14-22||21-25||25-30|
|Yuying Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-22||21-25||26-28|
|Yusof Ishak Secondary School||Co-ed||-||8-17||21-22||25-26|
Primary 6 students will continue to have 6 choices in selecting their secondary schools and will be posted based on academic merit. This means that the PSLE Score will still be the first criterion for secondary school posting. For example, the student with the better PSLE Score that met the secondary school cut-off point will be posted first.
However, if there are two or more students with the same PSLE Score competing for the last available place(s) in a school, tie-breakers will be applied in the following sequence:
1. Citizenship: Singapore Citizens will have priority over Permanent Residents, and Permanent Residents will have priority over International Students.
2. Choice Order of Schools: A student who ranked the school higher on the list of choices will get priority.
3. Computerised balloting: Balloting may come into place for more popular, oversubscribed schools.
First introduced in 1979, the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) is a programme dedicated to nurturing academically strong, effectively bilingual, and bicultural students skilled in both Chinese and English. It is implemented as a long-term initiative to preserve the best Chinese-stream schools as well as the Chinese language and culture in Singapore. Hence, only secondary schools focused on Chinese as a mother tongue language offer the Special Assistance Plan. For this reason, SAP schools are often called “Chinese” schools. SAP schools are, therefore, uniquely positioned with a school environment rich in Chinese culture and language.
As with the previous T-score system, students who achieve Distinction/Merit/Pass in HCL and a PSLE Score of 14 or better will receive a posting advantage to SAP schools. If multiple students with the same PSLE Score are competing for limited places in the same SAP school, those with better HCL grades (in the order of Distinction, Merit, and Pass) will be allocated a place ahead of other students. This posting advantage applies before the tie-breakers for Secondary school posting.
Unlike the usual GCE O-Level programme which is a 4-year course leading to the GCE O-Level examination (O-Levels), the Integrated Programme (IP) is a 6-year programme focused on the top 10% of the students who have taken the PSLE.
Students on this scheme bypass the O-Levels for a direct route toward the GCE A-Level examination (A-Levels), the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB), or NUS High School Diploma. This means that students under this scheme do not need to take the GCE O-Level examination in Secondary 4.
Several secondary schools are affiliated with one or more primary schools. For example, Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH) is affiliated with Nanyang Primary School, which is part of the Nanyang family of schools.
To obtain priority admission to the affiliated secondary school, your child must put that school as their first choice. However, admission is not guaranteed. In addition, affiliation considerations will only be given for the O-Level Programme, not the Integrated Programme (IP) programme.
Every child has different strengths and abilities. Hence, shortlisting suitable secondary schools for your child is a vital step. Beyond academic results, parents are encouraged to talk to their children and learn about their strengths, interests, and learning styles. Based on your child’s educational needs and PSLE results, parents should then consider other various key factors such as secondary school cut-off point, secondary schools’ programmes, Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), ethos and culture, as well as home-school distance.
As a parent of a primary 6 student in Singapore, you’re likely thinking about your child’s transition to secondary school. One of the key considerations is the cut-off point for admission to various secondary schools. However, once your child is enrolled, it’s important to ensure they receive the best possible education. One area where many students can benefit is English tuition or enrichment. Secondary school English standards are often high, and a solid foundation in the language can set your child up for success in all their subjects. Therefore, it’s worth considering investing in secondary tuition in Singapore to give your child the best possible start.
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