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Singapore Education System

The PSLE Examination is the Primary School Leaving Examination that students in Singapore take in the 6th year of Primary School studies.

The Singapore-Cambridge GCE O Level Examination is internationally recognised examination set by the University of Cambridge. Students from many Commonwealth countries usually sit for this examination at the end of Secondary 4. The results students attain are recognised by many colleges and institutes of higher learning in USA, UK, Australia and elsewhere as an admission requirement. In Singapore, the GCE O Levels results can be used for admission into Junior Colleges or Polytechnics. Students need to be aged 16 – 23.

The Singapore-Cambridge GCE A Level Examination is an internationally recognised examination set by the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The results students attain are recognised by many universities and institutes of higher learning in USA, UK, Australia and elsewhere as an admission requirement. In Singapore, the GCE A Levels results can be used for admission into Singapore Universities. Students need to be aged 18 – 23.

Age Criteria for Admission of International Students

Level Permissible Age Range (as at 1st January of Year of Admission
Primary 1 6 to 8+ years old
Primary 2 7 to 9+ years old
Primary 3 8 to 10+ years old
Primary 4 9 to 11+ years old
Primary 5 10 to 12+ years old
Primary 6 No direct admission is allowed to this critical level as the students will not have sufficient preparation time for the Primary School Leaving Examination held towards the end of the year.
Secondary 1 12 to 14+ years old
Secondary 2 13 to 15+ years old
Secondary 3 14 to 16+ years old
Secondary 4 No direct admission is allowed to this critical level as the students will not have sufficient preparation time for the GCE ‘N’ or GCE ‘O’ Level Examinations held towards the end of the year.
Secondary 5 No direct admission is allowed to this critical level as the students will not have sufficient preparation time for the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination held towards the end of the year.
GCE ‘O’ Levels 15 years old and above
Pre-University 1 16 to 18+ years old
Pre-University 2 No direct admission is allowed to this critical level as the students will not have sufficient preparation time for the GCE ‘A’ Level Examination held towards the end of the year.
Pre-University 3 No direct admission is allowed to this critical level as the students will not have sufficient preparation time for the GCE ‘A’ Level Examination held towards the end of the year.
GCE ‘A’ Levels 17 years old and above
Polytechnic 17 years old and above
University 18 years old and above

Admission to Government Primary Schools and Secondary Schools
The AEIS exam is held every October. The result of the exam is final and students will be notified in December of their success or failure to get into school. Application date is in August.

The S-AEIS is held every year in February. The result of the exam is final and students will be notified in April of their success or failure to get into school. Application date is in January.

Preparing for the entrance exam
Applicants should be familiar with the English and Maths syllabi of the level preceding the one they are applying for. For instance, an applicant who wishes to sit for Secondary 3 should be familiar with Secondary 2 content. Students need to spend time to prepare for the entrance exam, especially students from countries where English is not the main medium of instruction.

Students should take the Preparatory Course for Admission into Government Schools to prepare for the level of entry that is suitable for their age.
NOTE: Students can only take either the AEIS or S-AEIS once per year of entry.

Admissions to Junior College / Polytechnics
Students are admitted into Junior College / Polytechnic courses based on their GCE O Level results.

For entry into Junior College – 6 GCE O level credits are required.

For entry into Polytechnic – 5 GCE O level credits are required. Students who do not pass their GCE O level English are required to re-take the English examination during their first year of study.

Students should take the Preparatory Course for Singapore-Cambridge GCE O Level Examination to prepare for Junior College or Polytechnic entry.

Admissions to University
Every year 20% of university places are allocated to foreign students. As such, only the brightest students who are scholars in their home country are able to secure a place.
For Singaporeans, application to university is based on their A level results or diploma results. A good pass in 3 A level subjects is sufficient to make a competitive application. Foreign students who apply using GCE A levels join the 80% of applicants in applying for university entry. As such, the chance of successful entry is very much improved.

Students should take the Preparatory Course for Singapore-Cambridge GCE A Level Examination to prepare for University entry.

Singapore Government School Monthly School Fees

Primary, Secondary School and Junior College / Centralised Institute

The school and misc fees payable by SPR and IS in 2012 and 2013 are as shown in the table below.

Level Nationality 2012 2013
School Fee (S$) Misc Fee* (S$) Total (S$) School Fee (S$) Misc Fee* (S$) Total (S$)
Primary Singapore PR 40 11 51 90 13 103
IS (Non-ASEAN) 345 11 356 500 13 513
IS (ASEAN) 235 11 246 350 13 363
Secondary Singapore PR 55 16 71 120 20 140
IS (Non-ASEAN) 470 16 486 650 20 670
IS (ASEAN) 325 16 341 450 20 470
Junior College / Centralised Institute Singapore PR 80 22 102 160 27 187
IS (Non-ASEAN) 750 22 772 1,000 27 1,027
IS (ASEAN) 530 22 552 700 27 727

* Maximum which schools can charge

You may like to know:

The rates of school and miscellaneous fees payable are reviewed by the Ministry of Education and individual schools from time to time.

Students studying in Autonomous Schools are also required to pay additional miscellaneous fees. Please check directly with the schools on the actual amount of miscellaneous fees payable.

The school fees payable for Independent Schools vary from school to school. Please check directly with the schools concerned for the fees payable.

Tuition Grant Scheme for Non-Singaporean Students Admitted To Institutes of Higher Learning
Singapore’s Ministry of Education’s Tuition Grant scheme is for students enrolling in institutes of higher learning which are polytechnics and universities. It covers approximately 65-80% of the full rate tuition fees. These include:

  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  • Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • Singapore Polytechnic
  • Nanyang Polytechnic
  • Temasek Polytechnic
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic
  • Republic Polytechnic
  • LASALLE College Of The Arts
  • Nanyang Fine Arts Academy (Nafa)

Requirements
If you are a Foreigner or Singapore Permanent Resident, you will be bonded to work in Singapore-registered companies for a period of 3 years upon your graduation. You are to provide 2 sureties for the Tuition Grant Scheme.

Benefits

  • Students in these institutes can work during their school holidays to gain some income.
  • Students who are bonded do not need to pay back the tuition grant if they serve out their 3 years bond.
  • This scheme also means that you have a high chance of employment after graduation as compared with other foreign graduates. Starting salaries range from S$2,000 – $2,500.
  • You can apply for Singapore Permanent Residence 6 months after you start work.

Tuition Fees for Higher Education

Polytechnics
Tuition fees after government grant: S$6,000 / year (not inclusive of other fees eg. exam fees, book fees etc). Full fee paying students: S$19,000 – S$21,000/year

University (Public)

Tuition fees after government grant: S$12,350 – S$15,570 / year (not inclusive of other fees eg. exam fees, book fees etc). Full fee paying students: S$26,000 – S$29,000/year

University (Private)
Tuition fees: S$12,000 – S$25,000/year (not inclusive of other fees eg. exam fees, book fees etc).

Tuition Fee Loan
The Tuition Fee Loan covers up to 90% of subsidised tuition fee amount of Singapore Citizens. Requirements: 1 guarantor (aged 21 – 60 years old). Non-Singaporean can be guarantor. Tuition loan needs to be repaid after graduation.