As many of us may know, 2021 is the first year that the new PSLE grading system will be used. This, naturally, can be a cause of concern for many. It means having to understand just how it works, and what the new entry points for each secondary school will be!
Needless to say, most students (and parents) strive to make sure that their PSLE results will be the best that they can put out, and consequently, enter the best schools!
Thus, this article serves to update readers about how the new PSLE grading system works, what the top 14 secondary schools in Singapore are, and a brief summary of each school.
How does the new PSLE grading system in 2021 work?
The new PSLE grading system is drastically different from the old one. In the past, the higher the score (out of 300 points), the better.
However, the new system is similar to that of secondary school grading, in the sense that the lower the score, the better.
From the image above, we can see that the PSLE scores are counted based on ALs (Academic Levels), which get lower the higher a student’s raw marks are for each subject paper.
Here is an example of what a student’s PSLE score will be calculated:
|Mother Tongue Language||AL2|
Total Score: 8
In the past, students who took a Higher Mother Tongue Language had an advantage, as it added points to their overall scores. The new PSLE grading system has also incorporated this into its system.
Students who scored a Distinction, a Merit or a Pass will not be given lower AL scores, but will be granted a posting advantage when applying to SAP schools.
It is also important to note that for students who wish to take up a third language in secondary school, there are certain requirements that must be met.
For those wishing to take up Foreign Languages (FL) (this includes French, German, Japanese and Spanish), they must score at least 8 points or lower to qualify. Students who wish to take up Japanese must also pass their Chinese Language or Higher Chinese Language in PSLE.
In order to qualify for Arabian Languages (this includes Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia), students must score 24 points or below to qualify. Students who wish to take up Bahasa Indonesia cannot be offered Malay Language or Higher Malay Language in PSLE.
Finally, for those who wish to take Special Programmes (this includes Malay Special Programme and Chinese Special Programme), they must score 24 points or below to qualify. Students must also not be offered Chinese Language or Malay Language in PSLE if they wish to take up Chinese Special Programme or Malay Special Programme respectively.
Now that we have clarified how the new PSLE grading system works, on to the top 14 secondary schools in Singapore!
The Top 14 Secondary Schools in Singapore
|Rank||School||Previous PSLE Scores||AL Grade|
|1||Raffles Girls’ School (IP) (Girls)||261||6|
|2||Raffles Institution (IP) (Boys)||259||6|
|3||Methodist Girls’ School (IB) (Girls)||257||6|
|4||Nanyang Girls’ High School IP SAP||261||7|
|5||CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School IP SAP||257||7|
|6||Hwa Chong Institution IP SAP (Boys)||257||7|
|7||Anglo Chinese School (Independent) 1B (Boys)||256||7|
|8||National Junior College (IP)||254||7|
|9||Dunman High School IP SAP||255||8|
|10||Cedar Girls’ Secondary School IP (Girls)||253||8|
|11||Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (IP) (Girls)||252||8|
|12||St. Joseph’s Institution IB (Boys)||251||8|
|13||CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School SAP (Girls)||253||8|
|14||Catholic High School IP SAP (Boys)||252||8|
The list above showcases the top 14 secondary schools in Singapore, their previous year scores and the predicted ALs needed in order to enter them.
While these schools are prestigious, it is important to note that at the end of the day, students entering the same stream will be sitting for the same national exam despite being from different schools.
So, ultimately, what the student ends up scoring for their O/N/NT Level exam or IB Diplomas is still largely up to their own efforts!
However, the school that they go to can definitely help by providing some good faculties! This next segment of the article will briefly introduce each of these 14 schools.
More on these Top 14 Secondary Schools in Singapore
Raffles Girls’ School (IP)
Raffles Girls’ School is one of the oldest secondary schools in Singapore, giving it a rich history!
Students enrolled in the school enter the Integrated Programme (IP) that lasts 6 years and graduate with an A Level certificate.
Here are some of Raffles Girls’ School’s values:
- People Centered
- We put people first. Respect, care and trust underpin all our interactions.
- We are fair-minded, take responsibility for our ideas and actions, and demonstrate integrity and moral courage in our behaviour3
- We believe that conviction, commitment and drive enable us to achieve excellence in all our endeavours.
- We take pride in our work, accept responsibility for our own learning and exercise discernment and open-mindedness in our interaction with others.
Raffles Institution is an all boys school and the oldest pre-tertiary education institution in Singapore! Like Raffles Girls’ School, students are also enrolled in IP and will graduate in 6 years.
RI students hold on to the motto: Auspicium Melioris Aevi, Latin for ‘Hope for a Better age’.
They also have a shared mission to create nurturing thinkers, leaders and pioneers of character who serve by leading and lead in serving.
Methodist Girls’ School
Methodist Girls’ School was founded in 1887, by Miss Sophia Blackmore, with the mission of giving girls an education in Singapore.
It had humble beginnings as a shophouse with just 9 students! Today, however, MGS has risen to become one of Singapore’s top schools, with approximately 2500 students enrolled in it!
The school’s mission is to educate every girl in a Christian environment in order that she may MASTER, GROW and SERVE in every phase of her life.
Students will be enrolled into an IB programme and graduate with an IB diploma!
Nanyang Girls’ High School
Nanyang Girls’ High School offers its students the IP route, and a unique Bi-Cultural Studies Programme that allows its students to learn more about international cultures!
The school’s motto is to nurture women of character and purpose with bilingual and bicultural perspectives, empowering them to make a difference in the world.
CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School
Established in the 1930s, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School has been providing girls an education and preserving traditional Chinese values in its students.
Their motto is: Simple in Virtue, Steadfast in Duty and values Truth, Justice, Freedom and Love.
Students enrolled in CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School will take part in the IP programme, which they can opt to take with an express route.
Hwa Chong Institution
Hwa Chong Institution is the result of the merger between Hwa Chong Junior College and Chinese High School back in 2005. Both schools have a rich history, with Chinese High School being first established back in 1917!
Students of HCI are put into the IP stream, and are offered both secondary and pre-university education. The school also offers a Humanities and Bi-Cultural programme that primes students to enter the best universities, be it in Singapore or overseas.
Anglo Chinese School (Independent)
Anglo Chinese School (Independent) has been consistently ranked among the top 3 schools globally that offer the IB Diploma Programme!
The school has its roots in a small shophouse in No.7 Amoy Street, where its founder, Reverend William Fitzjames Oldham first founded the school.
Now, the school has over 2800 students, of which many go on to enter prestigious universities all over the world!
ACS also maintains close ties with its alumnus through the Anglo Chinese School Old Boys’ Association.
National Junior College
National Junior College prides itself on claiming no affiliation with any secondary school. But instead brings in students from a wide spectrum!
NJC offers a wide range of academic opportunities for its students, such as Research@NJC. Students are given the opportunity to take up research in Mathematics, Science, Computing, etc and are also granted the possibility of working with international and local scientists.
Given such experiences, NJC students are primed to be great critical thinkers, articulate and effective academic collaborators.
Dunman High School
Dunman High School offers its students the IP route that allows students to bypass the O Level exams and move straight on to the A Level exams! It is also well known as one of Singapore’s largest government schools!
In 1979, it was also selected to be a SAP (Special Assistance Plan) School.
DHS also focuses on its students’ holistic development by offering them Talent Programmes and Career guidance and Higher Education help.
Students are also granted access to special programmes such as the Music Elective Programme, Thinking Research Programme, Dunman High Leadership Programme and Future Problem Solving Programme, amongst many others!
Cedar Girls’ Secondary School
This all-girls school offers its students both the IP and the express secondary education. It began as a single-session school back in 1957, and later became well known for its outstanding performance in track and field.
Students undergoing the IP will complete their secondary education in CGSS, and later continue their pre-university education in Victoria Junior College.
Aside from track and field, the school also excels in uniformed groups CCAs, so if students are keen on these activities, CGSS might be the right option!
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School
This school was founded back in 1899, making it one of the oldest schools in Singapore. A particularly notable alumni is Halimah Yacob, Singapore’s first female President!
SCGS has also won multiple awards, such as the School Excellence Award and Outstanding Development Award for National Education among many others.
To ensure that their students are well prepared to take on an increasingly globalised world, Global and National Education is infused in their curriculum.
Students’ leadership skills are also well-developed in SCGS, with the inclusion of programmes such as: General School Wide Programme, Emerging Leaders Track and Accelerated Leaders Track.
St. Joseph’s Institution
St. Joseph’s Institution is a Cathloic school that offers both secondary education and IP for boys in Singapore. It is the first Catholic school in Singapore and is the third oldest secondary school in Singapore!
Their IP track leads students to the Integrated Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). Once students have completed their O Levels, they have the option to continue in a JC or Polytechnic, or continue to apply to the IBDP in SJI.
SJI also has stellar alumni, such as Tony Tan, former President of Singapore and Christopher De Souza, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
Catholic High School
Students enrolled in Catholic High School also offered the 4 year Secondary education track or the 6 year IP track.
CHS is grounded in the philosophy of bilingualism and biculturalism and was registered as a SAP (Special Assisted Plan) School in 2004.
IP students will complete their secondary education in CHS before moving on to Eunoia Junior College for their pre-university education.
CHS is also well known for hosting the Catholic High Music Awards that allow their students to showcase their musical capabilities.
While these schools are some of the most prestigious in Singapore, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, the fate of a student’s grades is ultimately still in their hands!
It is also essential that students and parents should do more research into secondary schools in Singapore to really determine which school is best for them. Afterall, this is only a list of 14 secondary schools out of the 136 in Singapore in total!
All the best for your future endeavours!