PSLE: Primary School Leaving Examination 2023

If you’re a parent in Singapore, the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is probably a topic that has been on your mind for a while. 

As one of the most significant exams in your child’s academic journey, PSLE marks a crucial milestone in his education. 

But, with so much information out there, it can be challenging to know where to start. 

That’s where this PSLE ultimate guide comes in. 

In this article, we’ll cover only the essential information you need to know about the PSLE.

So, let’s dive in and get started on your journey to PSLE success!

What Is PSLE?

The PSLE is a national examination taken by all Primary 6 students in Singapore at the end of their primary school education. 

The exam aims to assess students’ proficiency in English, Mathematics, Science, and Mother Tongue languages. 

The PSLE is conducted by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board, and is usually held in October.

The PSLE is a high-stakes exam that determines which secondary school a student can attend. 

Students are allocated an overall Achievement Level (AL) score based on their performance in the exam. 

This score is then used to assign students to different secondary schools. 

What Is The Latest PSLE Scoring System?

In 2021, Singapore’s PSLE grading system was revamped! 

The old PSLE scoring system, which used T-scores, was replaced with a system of Achievement Levels (ALs).

PSLE Scoring System: Standard Level Subjects

Now, each standard level subject is graded on a scale of 1 to 8, with 1 being the best grade available and 8 being the worst grade available. 

Standard Level Subject Scoring System Table:

This new PSLE scoring system is designed to be more transparent and fair, and it will help students to focus on their own learning goals.

PSLE Scoring System: Foundation Level Subjects

With the implementation of the new AL system, if your child is studying Foundation level subjects, their grades will be categorized as AL A to AL C. 

Similar to ALs for Standard level subjects, the ALs for Foundation level subjects will indicate the individual student’s level of accomplishment, rather than their performance compared to other students. 

In the context of Secondary 1 posting, Foundation level AL A to AL C will be converted to AL 6 to AL 8 of Standard level subjects, respectively, in order to determine a student’s overall PSLE Score.

Foundation Level Subject Scoring System Table:

PSLE Score Calculation

The overall PSLE score is calculated by summing the AL scores for all four subjects. 

Below is one example on the computation of the overall PSLE score!

You may want to play around with MOE’s PSLE Score Calculator to easily generate the PSLE score for any combination of grades!

How Can I Gauge My Child’s PSLE Standard Using His Pre-PSLE Results?

Is your child currently studying in either Primary 5 or Primary 6?

If so, we have some exciting news!

All students in these grades will now receive their school examination results using the AL format.

By considering the individual weighted assessments, end-of-year exams, or even the combined AL results, you can effortlessly assist your child in calculating his overall score and assessing his level of achievement in preparation for the PSLE!

Here is an example of how the AL grades are reflected in your P5 or P6 child’s report book: 

(Image Credit: Ministry of Education)

What If My Child Is Exempted From Taking Mother Tongue Language During PSLE?

In the new scoring system, students who are exempted from Mother Tongue Language (MTL) will receive an assigned MTL score, ensuring that their PSLE score comprises four subjects for Secondary 1 Posting purposes. 

The assigned MTL score will be determined based on the performance of peers who have similar scores in English, Mathematics, and Science. This ensures fair treatment and consistency with students taking Foundation MTL, who will receive scores of AL 6-8. 

Consequently, students exempted from MTL will receive an assigned MTL score of AL 6-8 in their PSLE.

Does Taking Higher Chinese During PSLE Put My Child In An Advantageous Position?

Generally, yes!

Students who achieve Distinction/Merit/Pass in Higher Chinese Language (HCL) and a PSLE Score of 14 or lower will qualify for a posting advantage to SAP (Special Assistance Plan) schools

In cases where multiple students with the same PSLE Score vie for spots in the same SAP school, priority will be given to those with higher HCL grades during the allocation process. This criterion is applied prior to considering tie-breakers for Secondary 1 posting.

(Infographic Credit: Ministry of Education)

How Does PSLE Score Affect My Child’s Secondary Life?

Choice Of Secondary Schools

PSLE grades can affect the secondary school that your child is eligible to be admitted to.

In general, students with better (lower) PSLE AL scores are more likely to be admitted to secondary schools with lower PSLE cut-off points.

See: Secondary School Ranking Based On PSLE Cut-Off Point 

Choice Of Subject Level

PSLE grades can affect the difficulty level of the subjects your child can take.

Students with higher PSLE grades may be able to take subjects at a higher level, such as G2 or G1, when they first enter Secondary 1. 

In some instances, students may have flexibility to offer some subjects at a less demanding level from Secondary 1.

The table below shows the respective posting group and subject level (for most subjects) for each range of PSLE scores. 

Mixed Form Class

After transitioning to secondary school, your child will be placed in mixed form classes that consist of students from various Posting Groups (3, 2, or 1). 

This arrangement allows them to engage and learn alongside peers who possess diverse backgrounds, strengths, and interests. 

Interestingly, your child’s individual subject scores and overall PSLE score will play a role in determining the composition of their peer group.

To read more about the Full Subject-based Banding in secondary schools, click here.

Final Words

The PSLE holds immense significance in shaping your child’s secondary school journey and beyond. 

As a parent, your guidance and support are crucial in ensuring your child’s success in his PSLE journey. 

By actively engaging in his preparation and offering assistance, you can greatly enhance his chances of achieving better grades. 

If you find that your child would benefit from additional academic support, consider requesting for a home tutor with us. 

At FamilyTutor, we provide access to experienced PSLE home tutors who can offer personalized guidance, helping your child excel in their studies and perform well in the PSLE.

With your involvement and the assistance of a reliable tutor, you can empower your child to confidently tackle the challenges of the PSLE and pave the way for a promising academic future!



Radiance Is FamilyTutor's Client Success Officer. She understands the importance of keeping parents & students well-informed about Singapore's education system.

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About FamilyTutor!

FamilyTutor is an established home tuition agency in Singapore! We match suitable home tutors for our clients not just to improve the students' academic grades, but also to build a strong rapport and meaningful relationship with the students and even the their whole family. FamilyTutor put every student in good hands!

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