PSLE Results Survey Report

by Education Cube, posted on Mar 5, 2016



By using and analysing past years’ PSLE results, this survey aims to help students sitting for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), and their parents, obtain a more accurate picture of their academic performance, and the result they want to achieve.

Parents with children who have taken or are taking the PSLE are naturally curious about how the PSLE Aggregate Score is calculated.

While the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) has published a formula to calculate PSLE subject scores, a student’s aggregate for each subject is ultimately dependent on how the cohort for that exam year does for each subject.

Nobody can predict how a cohort will perform until the results are released. Often, it seems one can only second guess. Some parents, on receiving the results, are shocked to see a low aggregate score even though their child achieved straight As.

We hope this survey will help to shed some light on such areas. It aims to reassure both students and their parents by offering one possible way to benchmark their current school performance better. Students can then work more realistically towards a PSLE result that they want, and can achieve. Parents can also use the survey to assist in their considerations for secondary school choices.

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In Singapore, students in Government, Government-aided, or approved institutions in Singapore are eligible to sit for the PSLE when they are in Primary 6. Students select various streams to take in secondary school based on their PSLE aggregate score.

39,286 students sat for the PSLE in 2015. The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that a total of 38,610 students (98.3 per cent) were eligible for secondary school. 66.2 per cent of them qualified for the Express stream, 21.7 per cent for Normal (Academic), and 10.4 per cent qualified for Normal (Technical).

The grades for each Standard Subject are A* (highest grade) A, B, C, D, or E (lowest grade). For Foundation Subjects, the grades awarded are Grade 1, 2, 3 or 4. Higher Mother Tongue Subjects are awarded Distinction, Merit, or Pass.

The Grade Mark Range is:


A subject’s T-score is derived from, the following formula, where x is the candidate’s mark for the subject, m is the average mark (mean) scored by all the candidates, and s is the spread of marks around the average mark (standard deviation).

The PSLE aggregate score is then calculated by adding all the T-scores for the examinable subjects taken by the candidate.

The cut-offs in PSLE aggregate scores to qualify for the different secondary school streams are:



We received a total of 2,951 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results spanning the years 1987 to 2015. Of these, 314 students took their examination in 2015. From these 314 students, we focussed our analysis on 264 of them for passing all four standard subjects – English, Mother Tongue, Mathematics, and Science.


While it may be true that it appears easier to score an A* for Mathematics, more students also scored an A in the other three subjects. When we look at the percentage of students who scored either A* or A for individual subjects, we find that a greater number of students scored either an A* or A for Mother Tongue (68%) than in Mathematics (44%). 

In general, having good grades does not necessarily translate into having good aggregate scores. From the data, we can see that students with lower grades have achieved better aggregate scores than others with better grades. For example, a particular Student X scored 233 with grades of 2As and 2Bs, bettering a Student Y who scored 221 with 4As.

To understand why, we can assume the following rationale:
a) Student X had lower grades but scored at the higher end of the grade mark range for each subject.
Scores per subject: 90(A), 90(A), 74(B), 74(B)
Total score: 328
Average score: 82

b) Student Y had higher grades but scored at the lower end of the grade mark range for each subject.
Scores per subject:  75(A), 75(A), 75(A), 75(A)
Total score: 300
Average score: 75

Averaging these results will show that Student X with the lower grades ended up with the higher overall average score.

In general, those looking to join an Integrated programme (IP) will need to be prepared to attain a minimum grade combination of 3A*1A, or obtain scores on the highest end of the grade mark range of 2A*2A.

Students with grades poorer than 2A2B will most likely received aggregate scores that are below 200.

While most students with 4Bs or better received aggregate scores above 188, qualifying them for Express stream, a minority of students with 4Bs had aggregate scores lower than 188, which meant they had to take up Normal courses.

Students with less than 4Cs have a high chance of being streamed into Normal (Technical) courses.

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This report summarises the findings of the ad hoc online survey conducted by The Rolling Cube Private Limited, which owns and operates and is based on information voluntarily provided by individuals. We make no guarantees about the accuracy of the results, and you should not rely on the survey report to provide any definitive outcomes other than that they reflect the outcomes of the responses by individuals who participated in the survey.

 All information provided in this report and/or on the website is for non-commercial educational purposes only. The Rolling Cube Private Limited will not accept liability for any inaccuracies or errors in the report or liability for any loss, damage, or other problems, including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage arising from or in connection with the use of this report.


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