As the academic year rolls on, Singapore students and parents eagerly anticipate the release of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results.

This is a crucial milestone for young children, as the PSLE is a reflection of their academic abilities as well as a determining factor of their educational future.

The release of the PSLE results signifies the next stage for parents and students alike – secondary school admissions.

Follow us as we compile a comprehensive guide for students and parents for secondary school selection.

Understanding the PSLE Cut-Off Point

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The PSLE COP is a school’s cut-off point for admitting students into their institution. It’s a score that varies from one secondary school to another and is determined by factors such as:

  • The school’s historical performance

  • Popularity

  • The number of available vacancies

The COP range typically comprises the PSLE scores of the first and last student who have been posted into each school.

That’s to say, parents should research thoroughly and consider schools with COPs that complement their child’s PSLE score, aside from considering the school culture and other specialised programs that are offered to students.

What is the new PSLE scoring system?

The new system implemented by the government is referred to as the PSLE Achievement Level (AL) system.

Instead of using the modified bell curve, students will be graded ALs from 1 to 8 for each subject. The sum of all the AL scores will be the student’s final PSLE score.

Under this system, students who performed similarly will likely receive the same PSLE score.

For more information, read our Parents Guide to the New PSLE Scoring System!

What about Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Schools?

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As SAP schools primarily focus on the Chinese language and culture, they usually have their own admission criteria and COPs, which can differ from regular secondary schools.

While the PSLE score remains a priority requirement, students who perform well in the PSLE Chinese language exam or have garnered achievements in endeavours related to the Chinese language and culture carry more weight in the admissions process.

That said, Higher Chinese Language (HCL) is not a requirement for admission into SAP schools, nor is it a compulsory subject for students once they are posted to a SAP school; only Chinese Language is required at both stages.

2023 Secondary School Cut-Off Points (COP)

How can you effectively use the COP guide?


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Study the list of schools and their corresponding COP ranges. Prioritise schools based on your child’s strengths, interests, and aspirations.


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While it’s good to aim high, it’s also important to consider schools with a COP range that your child can reasonably achieve. Apply to a mix of schools with varying COPs to increase the chances of securing a placement.


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It might be prudent to consider including schools with COPs historically slightly below your child’s PSLE score in the application. This will ensure that your child gets an opportunity to still be posted to a school of their choice should competition for his or her top choices prove to be intense for the year.


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Don’t just focus on the COPs! Take note of the school’s programs, culture, and teaching approach. An ideal fit goes beyond just numbers.

Join Joyous Learning for A Fulfilling Academic Journey!

english tuition centre - Joyous

Feeling overwhelmed?

Don’t worry; you’ve come to just the right place where we help you and your child navigate these new waters!

At Joyous Learning, our team of nurturing and passionate educators offer a successful pathway for students aspiring to enter the choice of secondary school.

They are great at creating a conducive and positive classroom environment that fosters not just academic growth but also captures young minds with an engaging curriculum.

From primary to secondary school, our goal remains unwavering: to provide quality education that inspires and empowers.