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PSLE 2018: How Much Do Parents Spend To Help Children Make the PSLE Cut-Off Points of Top Schools?

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The ongoing campaign Life Beyond Grades wants to tell parents: PSLE results and PSLE cut-off points are not everything. But will parents listen? If the sudden influx of pious parents at temples and churches during exam season is any indication… no.

So if your child is about to go through PSLE preparation rites soon (or not so soon), we’ve put together a guide to important PSLE dates, top secondary schools’ PSLE cut off points and how much you can expect to spend on preparing your kid for PSLE.

 

PSLE 2018 exam dates & results dates

For quick reference, here’s a table with the key dates you need to know: PSLE 2018 exam dates and the PSLE results release schedule.

PSLE exam Dates
PSLE oral exams 16 & 17 Aug 2018
PSLE listening comprehension 14 Sep 2018
PSLE written exams 27 Sep to 3 Oct 2018
PSLE results 22 to 26 Nov 2018
Posting to secondary school 19 to 21 Dec 2018

PSLE has 3 major components: the PSLE oral exams (mid-August), listening comprehension (mid-September), and the big one – PSLE written exams (between end September and early October).

After the exams, you’ll have over a month of waiting time before the PSLE exam results dates (end November). Thereafter, you will have 7 calendar days to apply to a secondary school. Your child will then be posted to a secondary school in late December.

So if your child is waiting for his or her PSLE results and secondary school posting, make sure you’re not away on holiday during these periods of time.

 

PSLE cut off points for top secondary schools

So, why is PSLE such a big milestone and why are parents so hung up on it? That’s because whether your kids can make it to top secondary schools depends on the child’s PSLE T-score and the secondary school’s PSLE cut-off points.

For the uninitiated, the PSLE cut-off point is the lowest you must score to get to the school of your choice. It changes yearly – the more in-demand the school is, the higher its cut-off point. Therefore, it’s often taken as a measure of how good the school is. (Note that some secondary schools have lower cut-off points for affiliated primary schools.)

This is the secondary school ranking for 2017 and their PSLE cut-off points:

Secondary School Ranking 2017 PSLE cut-off point
Nanyang Girls’ High School 264 (Affiliated: 250)
Methodist Girls’ School 260
Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) 260
Hwa Chong Institution 258
Raffles Institution 257
CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School 256
National Junior College 256
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) 256
Dunman High School 255
Cedar Girls’ School 254
Catholic High School 253
St Joseph’s Institution 253
Victoria School 252
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School 252
River Valley High School 250
Temasek Junior College 249
Anderson Secondary School 245
Bukit Panjang Govt High School 244
Nan Chiau High School 243
Nan Hua High School 243
CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) 243 (Affiliated: 201)
Chung Cheng High School (Main) 242
Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) 240
Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) 241 (Affiliated: 200)
Crescent Girls’ School 241
Swiss Cottage Secondary School 239
Anglican High School 238
Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) 238
Commonwealth Secondary School 237
Yishun Town Secondary School 235
Maris Stella High School 235 (Affiliated: 226)
CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent 235
CHIJ St Joseph’s Convent 232 (Affiliated: 200)
Fuhua Secondary School 232
Presbyterian High School 232
Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School 232 (Affiliated: 200)
Temasek Secondary School 231
Tanjong Katong Girls’ School 231
Tanjong Katong Secondary School 231
Clementi Town Secondary School 231

Source: MOE 2017 Secondary Posting Exercise

 

How much should you spend on tuition for PSLE?

Technically, the cost of PSLE is $0 – the exams are free. But prepare to get peer pressured and judged by fellow mamas if you intend to spend that amount. This kind of hands-off parenting in Singapore is as rare as a unicorn sighting.

For most Singaporean parents, tuition represents a big bulk of PSLE spending. Here’s a selection of 6 tuition agencies to give you an idea of the tuition fees (though this of course varies depending on subjects):

Subject Tuition centre Cost per 4 lessons (excluding GST)
Chinese Tien Hsia Language School $109
Chinese Berries World $220
Math & Science SmartLab Education Centre $170
All Mavis Tutorial Centre $163
All True Learning Centre $180
All Learning Lab $400

In general, tuition centres can cost as “little” as $170 per month and as much as $100 per SESSION, if you send your kid to an elite tuition centre. Alternatively, you can also hire an affordable home tutor at around $20 per hour (roughly $120 a month).

Need recommendations? Here are 17 top tuition agencies in Singapore.

By the way, spending these amounts on your child’s tuition is totally normal in Singapore. Quartz found that a “startling” 80% of primary school age students receive private tuition, but most Singaporean parents would probably find the other 20% more startling…

But tuition fees are not your only cost when preparing your child for PSLE. Aside from tuition, there are also incentives, supplements, and assessment books and past-year papers.

Here are 3 potential scenarios of how much PSLE may cost you if you have a kid that will go through it soon.

 

Scenario 1: No-frills parents (less than $4,000)  

No-frills parents are like that bear in Jungle Book – only providing the bare necessities. If you’re a no-frills mum or dad, you probably believe your child’s PSLE is his own responsibility.

If you consider yourself to be someone like that, we applaud you here at MoneySmart! Don’t talk to anyone about your PSLE prep plans (or lack of) and stay steadfast and unshakeable.

Item Cost
Tuition for the weakest subject only $2,640 ($220 per month)
Assessment books and past-year papers $300
Incentive trip to Bangkok $500
Grand total $3440

 

Scenario 2: Kiasu parents (around $12,000)

Kiasu parents are likely the bulk of Singaporean parents – you’ve succumbed to peer pressure and feel the need to “up your game”. Think: tuition for almost all the subjects, chicken essence and tantalising rewards. Balking at the number? See the breakdown:

Item Cost
Chinese tuition at Berries World  $3,520 ($880 per term)
Maths home tuition with a super tutor (tutorchen) $6,720 ($560 per month)
Science camp during the holidays (Dr Seet Ai Mee’s Discovery Camp) $485
PSLE math final preparation camp (Speed Math Centre) $120
Assessment books and past-year papers $500
“Reward”: iPhone XS with a reasonable telco plan $638
Grand total $11,983

 

Scenario 3: Tiger parents ($40,000 to 50,000)

Tiger mums and dads adopt a no-expenses-spared approach to PSLE. Without a question, the child HAS to go for tuition for all 4 subjects. At least one parent will also take no-pay leave to ensure that someone is there with the child every step of the way (yes, people actually do that). They’ll even hire a study coach to teach the child time management skills and better study techniques. Excessive? They’ll tell you they’d rather avoid any potential regret later on.

Item Cost
Chinese tuition at Berries World $2,585
Math tuition at SmartLab Education Centre $5,800
Science tuition at SmartLab Education Centre $5,800
English tuition with a super tutor (Ann Tutor) $8,640 ($720 per month)
PSLE Preparation Heuristics Math Camp (Speed Math Centre) $100
Exam Strategies Holiday Workshop (MindChamps) $392 ($98 per subject)
PSLE English Intensive Synthesis & Comprehension Workshop (Lil But Mighty) $260
Assessment books and past-year papers $500
Study coach (Daniel Wong) $1,599
Time taken off work (4 months no-pay leave) $15,000
Health supplements (brain boosters, multi-vitamins, chicken essence, bird’s nest) in the last few months $600
A trip to Paris Disneyland $5,000
Grand total $46,276

Experienced parents, how much did you spend on your children’s PSLE prep? Tell us in the comments! 

 

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3 Dangerous Beliefs the Singapore Education System Instills in Students

3 Ways Singaporean Parents Can Save Money on Their Kids’ Education

Image credit: Philip Cohen via Flickr

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