Once past the PSLE hurdle, your child is now ready to face a new life event: Secondary school. You will notice the physical, psychological, and mental growth they have gone through and their interest in exploring options for the future. The next 4-5 years will be a crucial building block in their lives. So, the choice of their secondary school will have to be made carefully.
What to Do After PSLE
The PSLE T-scores have now been replaced with Achievement Levels, or ALs. 8 ALs are set per subject. Scores will be the sum of scores in the four PSLE subjects. Students score between a 4 - 32 range, with 4 being the highest achievable score. Those with the same AL will be placed together in a particular subject.
Understanding Post-PSLE Options
With PSLE scores in hand, your child can pursue any one of the following post PSLE activities:
1.PSLE Score <22: O-Level (Express) Track with a Secondary School
The O-Level is the most common choice of students in Singapore. Students are eligible to sit for the GCE O-level examination through this avenue after they finish four years of secondary school. Subjects like mathematics, sciences, humanities, and languages are tested, and the student receives an L1R5 score. They may qualify for junior college or polytechnic studies, depending on this score.
2. PSLE Score 21 - 30: Normal Academic or Normal Technical track with a Secondary School
Many secondary schools under government funding offer the Normal Academic (NA) or Normal Technical (NT) courses. When students choose this course, they take the NT and NA examinations at the end of four years of secondary education and pursue ITE. If they can perform well, they have the option to extend their secondary studies by one year and take the GCE O-levels. With this path, they could qualify for polytechnic or junior colleges. The MOE is changing secondary school examinations on a similar plane as the primary school PSLEs. According to this plan, a unified national exam will replace NA, NT, and O-level examinations. Students can opt for subjects based on interests and ability. There are three levels of difficulty to choose from: G1, G2, and G3 - these are in increasing order of difficulty and correspond to NT, NA, and O-levels.
To achieve success in PSLE exams, your child needs in-depth knowledge and intense practice. Using StudySmart's PSLE module, students can learn the PSLE syllabus, practice exam strategies, and attempt challenging questions. You can also browse our apps here:PSLE English, PSLE Maths, PSLE Science.
The revamping plan is already underway, with a select number of schools conducting pilot studies with this Subject Based Banding (SBB) system. It mainly affects students in the NA and NT streams for now. It allows students to choose subjects that are usually restricted to them by their stream. Under SBB, the restrictions are removed, and students who show a superior aptitude for certain subjects are allowed to take these at the higher O-levels. They may be allowed to sit for the GCE O-Levels at the end of the study period.
3.PSLE Score <10: The Integrated Programme Track (IP) with Secondary School
The IP track is for the highest academic achievers who can handle greater rigour and academic challenges.
A student who has shown exceptional academic skills in the PSLEs will be eligible for the secondary school IP track. This track is a "through train" programme - students bypass the GCE-OLevels and fast-track right through to affiliated junior colleges for IB diplomas or GCE A-level examinations.
Since students in the IP program are on an accelerated programme, they can forego the GCE O-levels. The A-levels or IB exams are the only points of reference for them. When opting for IP schools, students and parents must be sure which junior colleges these IP schools lead to.
4.IGCSE Track with a Secondary School: Private Funding
Some parents and students prefer to pursue their education in an international environment. They have the option to apply to privately funded institutions. Each of these has its eligibility criteria for admission. Singaporeans can apply to these schools without prior permission from the MOE.
Students write the International General Certification of Secondary Education exams at the end of secondary school studies with the IGCSE schools. The IGCSE certificate is greatly valuable abroad but is not recognized by many junior colleges in Singapore. So, most students continue until their 6th year in the IGCSE school until they can take the IB diploma examination.
The MOE encourages students and parents to choose secondary schools based on more than just academics. They ask them to look for:
A "dream school" could turn into a nightmare if you don't consider that long commutes could take a toll on children's health and performance. When looking at the school's distance from your home, there are several things to consider, including the time spent on commutes, mode of transport to be used, etc. The long commute hours together with extended time in school and increased load of academics will together take a heavy toll on the student. It can negatively impact student life and performance.
It will be wise to get a feel for the school atmosphere and culture. This can start with the school website, where you can learn what they have on offer. Most schools conduct open house events for this purpose. Parents and students will be able to understand what values, facilities, programmes, teachers and culture they will encounter there.
Available co-curricular activities or CCAs :
CCAs are a crucial part of the learning journey. They enable children to explore different parts of their personalities and those of their peers. Guided pursuit of co-curricular activities teaches children valuable life skills, social-emotional competencies, and strengths they will require in the future.
These activities bring students of various backgrounds to interact with each other on a different scale. It develops a sense of confidence and belonging in each of them.
Things to After PSLE: the Conclusion
The above points may feel overwhelming when you begin looking at secondary school options for your child. But a step-by-step plan will help you make a wise decision so that your child can have an unforgettable secondary school experience.