At the crossroads – iPSLE or AEIS?

Open Primary Classroom Photo courtesy: The Open Primary

There are a number of factors that go into being placed in a Singapore school at secondary 1 level. Chief among them is the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results of the student or alternatively for international students it is the results from the international Primary School Leaving Examination (iPSLE) or the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS). As an international student applying for a Singapore secondary school, it is reasonable to expect that the Ministry of Education (MOE) will first ensure that all Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Resident applicants are guaranteed a place within the available vacancies across all schools. International students would then be allocated the remaining vacancies based on their performance in one of the PSLE, iPSLE and AEIS – we would have to think that students who wrote PSLE through a Singapore school would get some priority over iPSLE and AEIS candidates.

Thus an international student from outside the Singapore MOE school system has the choice of iPSLE and AEIS for their secondary school application.

Caption: Open Primary teacher with a student from the education service team

A fair amount of effort is required to undertake either the iPSLE or the AEIS, primarily by the student but parental support (and financial and time resources) also plays a key role. We at The Open Primary think that it is well worth considering the iPSLE option. Why you may ask? The main reason is visibility – as a minimum reward for all the effort expended. Students who complete the iPSLE will be issued a certificate (if minimum grades are achieved), indicating their T-score (and in future their Achievement Levels). With an iPSLE T-score, an international student’s parents can have a better understanding of the outcome of their child’s Singapore Secondary One placement application, filed directly to the MOE.

The outcome is either a placement or non-placement in a Singapore secondary school. The MOE website has some detail on the allocation of Secondary one places and will also publish high level data on the PSLE results which parents can compare to their child’s performance in the iPSLE.

The iPSLE is something that parents of international students in Singapore should definitely consider.

If parents are intending for their children to write the iPSLE or the AEIS for Secondary One placement, The Open Primary offers an education path that comfortably covers all the content of the Singapore curriculum, on which iPSLE and AEIS are centred on. The Open Primary provides your child and his/her 8 classmates a set of dedicated private teachers with experience teaching in MOE schools and also a conveniently located safe and secure permanent campus, for education under the Singapore curriculum from Primary 1 level through to Primary 6 level over a 36 week academic year.

Students are not expected to undertake the iPSLE or AEIS, an option independently exercised by the parents, but to enjoy the educational experience with sufficient time to deeply explore and understand each subject’s aspects in a low teacher to student ratio environment – 1:9. Furthermore with the option of campuses across the island your child can be educated close to home without having to endure long or early morning bus rides. You can check out The Open Primary’s website for more details and or schedule a call with us.

What is the iPSLE?

“The Singapore international Primary School Examination (iPSLE) is the international version of Singapore's Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), an examination offered to all pupils at the end of Primary Education. The iPSLE was introduced with the aim of providing benchmarking for overseas schools which are interested to benchmark against Singapore's standard.” - Singapore Examination and Assessment Board website. Learn more -…/internationalExa…/iPSLE/general.asp

Where and when can my child write the iPSLE?

For international students in Singapore, the nearest appointed overseas examination centre is in Johor Bahru – Pegasus International School (the SEAB website has details of approved centres in other countries). The iPSLE is conducted around late July each year.

Please note that an iPSLE candidate need not be a student of Pegasus International School, the candidate merely registers for iPSLE and undertakes examinations at the stipulated time.

What is the cost of iPSLE?

For 2016 iPSLE registration (which has closed) at the approved centre in Johor Bahru, the total cost for three subjects was RMB1,323.00 (approximately S$450.00) – RMB420.00 basic registration and RMB301.00 per subject. To obtain a T-score a student must register and write the examinations for Mathematics, English and Science at the minimum. These costs do not include any travel and accommodation costs for registration and examination period – see schedule for 2016 on

Does an iPSLE certification guarantee my child admission into a Singapore secondary school as an international student?

Unfortunately the iPSLE does not guarantee your child’s admission into a Singapore secondary school as an international student – guarantee only applies for Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Resident applicants. What the iPSLE does offer, is some insight and understanding into the outcome of your child’s application for secondary one which is not possible through the AEIS.

How do I apply for my child’s secondary one placement based on iPSLE?

The iPSLE results are released by the end of November each year. Parents will need to approach the Ministry of Education directly to process their application, as the applicant does not fall into the Singapore PSLE or AEIS based application processes.

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CtoI News Desk
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