Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Below are the top 4 questions parents have asked us over the years as shortlisted by our GEP teachers.
1. Is my child suitable for GEP?
If we had to choose two qualities in a child that are good predictors of admission into the GEP, they would be 'aptitude' and 'attitude'. Aptitude refers to the ability to learn and apply knowledge, while attitude refers to how much interest a child has in learning. In our experience, children who are selected for the GEP typically exhibit the following qualities:
In our experience, children who are eventually selected for the GEP typically exhibit the following qualities:
Is able to pick up new ideas and concepts and apply them to novel problems readily
Has good memory
Enjoys solving challenging problems
Likes learning for the sake of learning (as opposed to being purely 'grades-driven')
If your precocious youngster exhibits these qualities to a significantly higher degree than his or her peers, then there is a good chance that your child is suitable for the GEP.
Parents who wish to find out how their children fare against their peers on the scale of intelligence typically send them for intentionally-recognised standardised IQ tests such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). Click here if you wish to find out more about the WISC IQ test.
2. What are tested in the GEP Screening and Selection Tests?
English, Mathematics and General Ability.
The greatest area of similarity between the GEP Selection test and standardised IQ tests such as the WISC is in the General Ability papers (paper I and paper II).
For English and Mathematics, the questions are based on what children have learnt from Primary One to Primary Three, where the level of difficulty is calibrated to the national standard. As such, unlike standardised IQ tests which can be administered equitably to children in the same age bracket across countries, the GEP Selection Test is in a sense applicable only to children who are in the Singapore education system.
3. Should I prepare my child for the GEP Screening and Selection Tests?
This really depends on the parents' perspective.
Some parents feel that children should take the tests without any additional help while others feel they should not deprive their children of any opportunity for additional exposure. Yet another group of parents think that preparation is necessary to 'even the playing field'.
In a separate article, we noted that parents who find out about the test late in the year frequently lament about not having a fair chance to prepare their children.
This begs the next question - does preparation really help?
4. Does preparation really help?
The difference between the GEP Identification Exercise and a regular school exam is that questions for the former are not easily found in the public domain, unlike the latter. You can find the three-year-series for past year PSLE papers, but not for past year GEP Screening and Selection Test papers. For this reason, parents who wish to prepare their children for the GEP tests rely on experienced teachers who have sound knowledge of the questions that have appeared throughout the years.
And as with every test, the more you work on the practice questions, the better the result you'll inevitably obtain over time. In other words, preparation increases a student's chance of acing the GEP tests. Whether it increases it to an extent sufficient for a child to pass the GEP test though depends on a host of other factors, not least of which include the child's natural aptitude and attitude.
Over the years, we have learnt that nurturing a child's natural inquisitiveness by challenging them to solve problems creatively is more beneficial than drilling them to answer past year questions using prescribed methods. Under the guidance of an experienced teacher, a child's potential can really blossom.