PSLE Dates 2020, Cut-Off Points & The Cost of PSLE in Singapore: How Much Should Parents Spend?

psle tuition costs

The 2018 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 2020 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 13 & 14 Aug 2020
PSLE listening comprehension 18 Sep 2020
PSLE written exams 1 Oct to 7 Oct 2020
PSLE results Not revealed yet
Posting to secondary school Not revealed yet 

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 2019 (for 2020 intake) and their PSLE cut-off points:

Secondary School Ranking 2019 PSLE cut-off point
Hwa Chong Institution 259
Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) 259
Methodist Girls’ School IP 258
Nanyang Girls’ High School 258 (Affiliated: 250)
Raffles Institution 258
Dunman High School 256
CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School IP 255
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) IP 2546
Catholic High School 254
Methodist Girls’ School O- Levels 254 (Affiliated: 220)
Cedar Girls’ School IPCatholic High School 253
CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School O- LevelsSt Joseph’s Institution 253 (Affiliated: 230)253
River Valley High School 252
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School IP 252
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School O- Levels 252 (Affiliated: 220)
Victoria School IP 252
Catholic High School O- Levels 252 (Affiliated: 240)
Anglo- Chinese School O- Levels  250 (Affiliated: 235)
Cedar Girls’ School O- Levels 250
Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School\ 250 (Affiliated: 212)
St. Joseph’s Institution IP 250
Temasek Junior College 250
Anderson Secondary School 247
CHIJ Secondary 246 (Affiliated: 201)
Victoria School O- Levels 246
Anglo- Chinese School (Barker Road) 245 (Affiliated: 191)
Bukit Panjang Govt. High School 245
St. Joseph’s Institution O- Levels 245 (Affiliated: 238)
Nan Hua High School 245
Nan Chiau High School 244
Chung Cheng High School (Main) 242
Crescent Girls’ School 242
Fairfield Methodist School 242 (Affiliated: 200)
St. Andrews Secondary School 242 (Affiliated: 189)
St. Margaret’s Secondary School 242 (Affiliated: 201)
Swiss Cottage Secondary School 242
Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) 240
Anglican High School 239
Yishun Town Secondary School 239
Commonwealth Secondary School 239
CHIJ St. Theresa’s Convent 238 (Affiliated: 200)
Ngee Ann Secondary School 238 (Affiliated: 225)
CHIJ St. Joseph’s Convent 237 (Affiliated: 200)
Maris Stella High School 237 (Affiliated: 226)
Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School 236 (Affiliated: 200)
Zhonghua Secondary School 236
Fuhua Secondary School 235
Presbyterian High School 235
Tanjong Katong Girls’ School 235
Xinmin Secondary School 235
Clementi Town Secondary School 234
Riverside Secondary School 234
Temasek Secondary School 234
Holy Innocents’ High School 233 (Affiliated: 189)
Kranji Secondary School 233
Tanjong Katong Secondary School 233
Dunman 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) $4,800 ($400 per month)
Science camp during the holidays (Dr Seet Ai Mee’s Discovery Camp) $440
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 $10,018

 

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) $2,499
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 $47,176

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

 

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Image credit: Philip Cohen via Flickr