The PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) is a momentous event in the Singapore education system, where all Primary 6 (12 year old students) sit for the national exam that will determine their future secondary school (or even beyond, in the case of Integrated Programme).
PSLE is not everything
Despite the overall importance of PSLE, it has to be noted that PSLE is not everything. There are countless stories of late developers who later pursued successful careers, despite a bad PSLE Score.
Read about the miracle story of a student who scored 181 for PSLE (technically still a pass grade, but considered not so good), but later entered NUS Medicine, the most prestigious course in Singapore.
PSLE fail go where?
This seems to be a frequently asked question. There are still many options, one of them is NorthLight School, which was featured in the Straits Times. NorthLight School is a specialized school that takes in students who fail their PSLE. Each year, the intake of NorthLight School is around 200 students.
In 2009, Assumption Pathway School was also set up to take in students who fail PSLE, ensuring that students have a place to go to further their education.
After graduating from NorthLight School or Assumption Pathway School, around 45% of students go on to enter Institutes of Technical Education (ITE). After that, they can move on to Polytechnics.
What happens if you fail one subject in PSLE?
Unlike O levels, where there are quite severe consequences for failing critical subjects like ‘O’ level English or Maths, there is no penalty specifically for failing a certain PSLE subject.
According to experienced parents at Kiasuparents, the only problem of failing one subject in PSLE is that it will drag down the overall PSLE T-score. It has been estimated that failing one subject in PSLE would most likely cause the overall score to be below 200 (which can still enter many neighborhood secondary schools).
PSLE takes into account all 4 subjects. So even if you failed English or Chinese or any subject, it doesn’t matter. what matters is your combined score that determine whether you go express or normal academic.
Hence, if the student does well for other subjects, it is not a big problem for failing one subject in PSLE, be it failing PSLE English, failing PSLE Chinese, or failing PSLE Math.
Bad PSLE results
It is actually quite rare to fail PSLE outright (around 98.4% of students pass and make it to secondary school). However, it is quite common to get a ‘bad’ PSLE results or a lower score than one expects.
When one gets a bad PSLE result, or fail PSLE (one or all subjects), the important thing for the student is not to get overly disheartened. It could well be the case that the student is a late developer, or that certain negative events out of the student’s control have impacted the student’s family, which resulted in the bad PSLE results.
Do check out this other inspirational story, of a student who scored 105 for PSLE, but later graduated from NUS with a Master of Architecture degree. The important thing is not PSLE grades (PSLE is not everything), but rather the character traits of a student such as being determined and hardworking.