How to choose Secondary School for your PSLE Child? - - Singapore Lifestyle Portal

How to choose Secondary School for your PSLE Child?


This question has been posed by many parents.

We will share our thought processes and how we pick the secondary school for our child.

The Process

For the majority, choosing a secondary school will come after the PSLE results. You would have a list of 6 schools to choose. The child will get into the school if he/she meets the COP in order of choice.

Eg If your child scores 250

School 1 COP: 255

School 2 COP: 251

School 3 COP: 248

The school that will provide a space will be School 3.

If 2 students have the same score, Singapore citizens will have priority. Between the two students, a tie is resolved by a computerised ballow with an equal chance for each student. For the 2020 P6 cohort, the order in which a student lists their school DOES NOT give them priority in determining who gets a space.

Another lesser-known fact is that PSLE scores have decimal points. The score your child has is rounded off. Thus there will be cases when your child may hit the COP but am unable to get into the school.

Points to consider when choosing a school

Cut Off Point ( COP)

The first thing to see would be the cutoff point. To qualify for the secondary school of choice, you would have to see if you have met the COP

Refer here for 2020 COP for secondary schools

If your child has met or exceeds the COP, the chances of getting to school are very good. However, do note that COP changes every year. If this year's cohort does better than the last year, COP may increase for some schools. If your child just makes it for the COP of their choice, it would be safer if you choose at least one school with a minimum 5 points buffer to be safe. 

Do not choose the same school for all 6 choices or attempt to choose all schools with a higher COP.  These are very risky strategies that will leave no wriggle room at the end of the day.

Your Child's Ideal School

Remember he/she will be the one attending school for the next 4-5 years. They would have to like the school chosen, otherwise going to school might be a torturous affair. There will also be times when they want to stick with their friends and classmates. Do take that into consideration when discussing the options with them.

The best school is the one they chose, not the one you choose for them. 

IP vs Express, NA vs NT

There are different course formats in secondary school. Do explore them especially if your child is given the option to do so with the PSLE scores.  For those with an interest in Higher language, SAP schools could be an option. However, for those weaker in languages, going to SAP school may be a disadvantage even if COP is met.


CCA may take up to 20% or more of secondary school students' life. Choose a school with the CCA that the child would enjoy and excel in. For example, if sports are their passion, you might want to choose a school that has that particular sport as CCA. CCA differs from school to school. 

School Culture

Consider the school's culture, ethos and environment before making a choice. With Covid19, there are no open houses. Instead, head to the school's website to have a feel of what the school is like.

Affiliated schools

Some schools have affiliation with primary school, making it easier to get in. There are also secondary schools with JC affiliation, so that could be a consideration for those planning it on a longer term.

List of secondary schools with JC affiliation


The location is as important as the other factors. Do note that Secondary School hours tend to be longer than primary schools, especially with CCA. Travelling an hour plus to school per way could be tiring for the child in the long run. Consider that when it comes to choosing a secondary school.

The closing date for submission is Dec 1 Tuesday, 3pm online. If you miss that, you will have to submit the school choice through primary school from 9am-12 pm on Wednesday 2 Dec 2020.

Do submit earlier to avoid any last-minute incidents.

Results will be released on Tuesday 22 Dec 2020 via online, SMS and child's primary school.

PS: It is usual for parents to consider tuition for kids in the preparation for secondary schools. English is a subject that most students struggle with. Want to ensure your child gets into the right secondary school? Be sure to check out DoAppliedLearning's English tuition in Singapore to ensure your child excels!

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