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PSLE 2021: Guide to PSLE Dates, Secondary School Cut off Point, Marking Days, Scoring System & More

PSLE 2021: Guide to PSLE Dates, Secondary School Cut off Point, Scoring System Marking Days & More

Table of Contents

Interested in finding out whether details on Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) 2021 such as PSLE Cut off Point, PSLE Date or PSLE Marking Days? Fret not, we got you covered! We know that many of you want to find out when, how and the amount you are entitled to under PSLE!

Update in Jan 2021: We have refreshed and updated our guide for the new year PSLE 2021! This includes the latest guideline on new PSLE Banding 2021.

For many parents—if not all—the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) is one of the most important examinations and milestones of their child. Enrolling a child into a good school for some parents, might be seen as paving the way for future successes. 

This guide on PSLE 2021 will be updated on a regular basis based on official announcement by the Singapore Ministry of Education. Keep checking this page for the latest updates! 

We take an evidence-based approach, by basing our answers purely on official government announcementcredible news sources.

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Read on to get all your burning questions answered now!  

New PSLE Scoring System

Comparison of NEW PSLE 2021 Scoring System and Old PSLE Scoring System

NEW PSLE 2021 System

From 2021 onwards, there is no longer a total score for PSLE. Instead the PSLE T-Score will be replaced with wider scoring bands, known as Achievement Levels (ALs). 

Note: The new PSLE 2021 scoring system is similar to existing O’level and A’level band-based grading – which gives a singular grade to students who have achieved a certain range of score.

Under the new system, there is no difference in grade between a student who scores 93 vs another student who scores 95 because both students will be awarded the same Achievement Level grade “AL 1”.

A pupil’s total PSLE score will be the sum of the AL of each of the four subjects, with the best possible total score being 4.

See below for full details of the new Achievement Level Grade system. 

Old PSLE Scoring System

Previously, PSLE adopted a T-score system based on four subjects. Maximum theoretical achievable T-score for each student is 300, and a student can achieve any score below 300 .

individual T-score is calculated based on overall student performance, standard deviation of cohort and other cohort factors. Under the new PSLE Scoring system, there is no such granular scoring. For example, the best students will all achieve the same maximum AL 4 Grade.     

As announced by MOE – with the new scoring system, PSLE scores are now less finely differentiated – there are only 29 possible PSLE scores compared to more than 200 aggregate scores under the previous T-score system. This means that schools are now less differentiated by cut-off points.

The new 2021 PSLE scoring changes aim to achieve this by:

  • Reducing fine differentiation at a young age
  • Recognising children’s level of achievement, regardless of how their peers have done

Note: You might be interested to check out our coverage on how to study better.

PSLE Cut-off Point and Banding

Update 28th April 2021: The Ministry of Education (MOE) has released details of Secondary School PSLE Cut off Point.

Please use the official MOE search tool (click here) to find the respective PSLE cut-off points for individual secondary schools in Singapore. 

Scoring for top schools: The entry scores released show that top schools such as Raffles Institution and Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) have entry scores ranging from 4 to 6, while entry scores for other popular schools such as Anderson Secondary School range from 4 to 10, and 6 to 11 for Crescent Girls’ School. 

Gan Eng Seng School has an indicative range of 7-15 for the express course, 21-23 for the normal academic course and 25-26 for the normal technical course. Singapore Chinese Girls’ School has an indicative range of 8-17 points for affiliated students and 5-9 for non-affiliated students entering its express O-Level course. The range for its Integrated Programme is 4-8.

Previous Update

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will release indicative cut-off point ranges for schools by mid-2021.

This will include indicative Achievement Level (AL) Cut-Off Point (COP) ranges for different school types and the Subject-Based Banding (SBB) eligibility criteria under the AL scoring system.

PSLE Grading and Achievement Levels

Ministry of Education had earlier announced the upcoming changes to the PSLE scoring and Secondary One (S1) posting systems, which will take effect from 2021 (see Annex A). Watch the above video from MOE for a brief overview of the changes to PSLE 2021 Grading.

Under the new PSLE 2021 grading and scoring system, students will receive AL scores instead of T-scores and be graded based on their individual performance in the subjects, regardless of how their peers have done. 

Primary motivation 

Shift in PSLE grading for 2021 is to reinforce efforts to shift away from an over-emphasis on academic results by reducing fine differentiation at a young age – providing students with more flexibility and space to nurture their strengths and interests in order to develop them to their fullest potential

Grading System

Each PSLE subject will be scored using 8 Achievement Levels (ALs), with AL 1 being the best. 

The 8 ALs are designed to reflect broadly different levels of achievement, and are set based on the learning objectives of the curriculum. Each AL is defined by the scoring band below:

AL Reference Raw Mark Range
1 ≥ 90
2 85-89
3 80-84
4 75-79
5 65-74
6 45-64
7 20-44
8 < 20

So with 4 PSLE subjects, total achievable score of a single student ranges from 4 (Best Grade) to 32 (Worst Grade).

PSLE Foundation Subject Grading

Students taking Foundation level subjects will be graded AL A to AL C. For the purpose
of S1 posting, Foundation levels AL A to AL C will be pegged to AL 6 to AL 8 of Standard level subjects respectively, as listed below, to derive a student’s overall PSLE Score.

Achievement Level -A will be equal to AL Score 6, Achievement Level B will be equal to AL Score 7 and Achievement Level C will equal to AL Score 8. 

PSLE Dates and Timetable

The 2021 Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) is going to be held in year end, with the first upcoming exam scheduled tentatively around September. Here’s the PSLE 2021 dates for your easy reference:

PSLE Timetable

Note that the full PSLE examination timetable for 2021 will only be made available by 23 February 2021 according to Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board here.

PSLE 2021 Exam Date Updates – 10 March: The PSLE 2021 Examination timetable has been released. See SEAB Source here.   

PSLE Oral examination

Aug 12, 2021 (Thursday), 8 am to 1.15 pm

  • English Language
  • Foundation English
  • Chinese/Malay/Tamil

Aug 13, 2021 (Friday), 8 am to 1.15 pm

  • English Language
  • Chinese/Malay/Tamil
  • Foundation Chinese/Foundation Malay/Foundation Tamil
  • Bengali/Gujarati/Hindi/Panjabi/Urdu Foundation Bengali/Foundation Gujarati/Foundation Hindi/Foundation Panjabi/Foundation Urdu

PSLE : Listening comprehension examination 

Sept 17, 2021 (Friday)

9 am – 9.35 am *: Chinese/Malay/Tamil

9 am – 9.40 am *: Foundation Chinese/Foundation Malay/Foundation Tamil

9 am – 9.30 am *: Bengali/Gujarati/Hindi/Panjabi/Urdu Foundation Bengali/Foundation Gujarati/Foundation Hindi/Foundation Panjabi/Foundation Urdu

11.15am – 11.50 am *: English Language/Foundation English

PSLE Timetable: Written examination

September 30, 2021 (Thursday)

  • English Language Paper 1: 8.15 am – 9.25 am (Duration: 1 h 10 min)
  • English Language Paper 2: 10.30 am – 12.20 pm (Duration: 1 h 50 min) 
  • Foundation English Paper 1: 8.15am – 9.25 am (Duration: 1 h 10 min)
  • Foundation English Paper 2: 10.30 am – 11.50 am (Duration: 1 h 20 min)

Oct 2, 2021 (Friday)

  • Mathematics Paper 1: 8.15 am – 9.15 am (Duration: 1 h)
  • Mathematics Paper 2: 10.30am – 12 pm (Duration: 1 h 30min)
  • Foundation Mathematics Paper 1: 8.15 am – 9.15 am (Duration: 1 h)
  • Foundation Mathematics Paper 2: 10.30am – 11.30 am (Duration: 1 h)

Oct 4, 2021 (Monday)

  • Chinese/Malay/Tamil Bengali/Gujarati/Hindi/Panjabi/Urdu Paper 1: 8.15 am – 9.05 am (Duration: 50 min) 
  • Chinese/Malay/Tamil Bengali/Gujarati/Hindi/Panjabi/Urdu Paper 2: 10.15 am – 11.55 am (Duration: 1 h 40 min)
  • Foundation Chinese/Foundation Malay/Foundation Tamil Paper 1: 8.15 am – 8.55 am (Duration: 40 min)

Oct 5, 2021 (Tuesday)

  • Science: 8.15 am – 10 am (Duration: 1 h 45 min)
  • Foundation Science: 8.15 am – 9.30 am (Duration: 1 h 15 min)

Oct 6, 2021 (Wednesday)

  • Higher Chinese/Higher Malay/Higher Tamil Paper 1: 8.15 am – 9.05 am (Duration: 50 min)
  • Higher Chinese/Higher Malay/Higher Tamil Paper 2: 10.15 am – 11.35 am (Duration: 1 h 20 min)

PSLE Marking Days

The PSLE 2021 Marking Days or Exercise is tentatively scheduled on Oct 18 – 21, 2021. This PSLE 2021 date is confirmed on Singapore Examination and Assessment Board (SEAB) website here.

PSLE Results Date

Tentative date of result release: Between Nov 25 to 27, 2020. PSLE results will be released at 11am.

*The actual date of the results release can only be confirmed when all processes have been completed. 

PSLE Results Release: How to Collect and View Your Results 

PSLE 2021 Update: Below content covers PSLE 2020 Results Release and Collection. We will update the guide again once further details on PSLE 2021 results are released by official sources. 

Students who took the 2020 national PSLE examinations will be able to view and collect their results in two ways.

(1) Online via Singpass on the day of the respective results release, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Candidates can access SEAB’s results release system with a system-generated password issued by SEAB, or with their SingPass. PSLE candidates will received a system-generated password issued by SEAB through their schools from Nov. 12, 2020.

Candidates who are not eligible for SingPass will receive a system-generated password from SEAB via email a few days before the results release.

(2) In-person: For those who prefer to receive their results in person, the collection of results will still be possible, although it will be done in individual classrooms, rather than large crowded venues such as school halls.

One parent or guardian will be allowed to accompany candidates to school to collect their results, although they will have to wait at the designated common areas in schools, while the candidate receives the results in the classroom.

Note: You might be interested to check out our coverage on Practice Tips to Study without feeling tired.

PSLE : Secondary School Posting Date

Tentative Date of final school posting date is late November or early December. Submit preferred secondary school choices online or at your child’s primary school by 3pm.

PSLE : Secondary School Posting Results Date

PSLE 2021 Update: Below content covers PSLE 2020 Results Release and Collection. We will update the guide again once further details on PSLE 2021 results are released by official sources. 

The posting results will be released tentatively between Tuesday, 22 December 2020 and Thursday, 24 December 2020 via online, SMS and through child’s primary school.

Your child will then report to their secondary school tentatively on the following working day.

The dates above are confirmed to be accurate as reported on MOE website.

PSLE : Eligibility for Express and Normal Subjects (Subject-based Banding)

Under the new PSLE system, students in the Normal course will continue to be eligible to take subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 1, based on their AL scores for individual subjects. This recognises and develops students’ subject-specific strengths. Table 4 shows the SBB (Sec) eligibility criteria based on AL scoring.

AL 5 or better in a Standard level subjectExpress level
AL 6 or better in a Standard level subject
AL A in a Foundation level subject
N(A) level

Table 4: SBB (Sec) eligibility criteria for students in the N(A) and N(T) courses.

8. Regardless of the academic course a student enters in secondary school, the student will be eligible to take English Language, Mathematics, Science and/or Mother Tongue Language at the Express level, if the student scores AL 5 or better in a Standard level subject at the PSLE. The student will be eligible to take the subject at the N(A) level, if the student scores AL 6 or better at the Standard level or AL A at the Foundation level in that subject at the PSLE.

9. Beyond the start of Secondary 1, as students progress in secondary school, they will continue to have more opportunities to take subjects at more demanding levels based on their performance in school, to further pursue their strengths and develop to their fullest potential.

PSLE : Eligibility to take Higher Mother Tongue

Eligibility for Higher Mother Tongue Language in Secondary Schools
Under the new PSLE scoring system, students will be eligible to take Higher Mother Tongue Language (HMTL) in secondary school if they receive:

(a) An overall PSLE Score of 8 or better; or
(b) An overall PSLE Score of 9 to 14 (inclusive); and attain AL 1 / AL 2 in MTL or distinction/merit in HMTL.

For students who do not meet the above criteria, secondary schools will continue to have the flexibility to offer HMTL to students if they are assessed to have high ability and interest in MTL, and able to take HMTL without affecting their performance in other
subjects. This is similar to the existing practice.

PSLE Cut Off Points for Secondary Schools

PSLE 2021 Update: The official PSLE 2021 Cut off point is not out yet and will be released by the middle of 2021 as confirmed in MOE announcement here. Below is an indicative cut off point based on 2019 cohort shared by MOE.

Express [Integrated Programme (IP)]7 – 9
Express (O-level)8 – 22
Normal (Academic)22 – 25
Normal (Technical)26 – 30

Table 1: Indicative AL COP ranges for Government & Government-aided schools.

Express (IP)7 – 9
Express (O-level)8 – 16
N(A)22 – 25
N(T)26 – 29

Table 2: Indicative AL COP ranges for Autonomous schools.