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Recrafting of PSLE questions to promote learning

As part of the continuing effort to further improve the education system in Singapore, PSLE or Primary Six Leaving Examination was revised to further challenge students to show what they have learned.

The minor alteration was made public by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Facebook account last Friday when he confirmed that the questions were designed to guide student’s thinking.

Recrafting of PSLE questions to promote learning

Recrafting of PSLE questions to promote learning

Approved by the ministry, the questions were refined in a way where points are given to each of the steps completed and not just to the final answer. This change allowed students to gain points even if they don’t get the right answer in the end.

It has also been announced by Mr Heng that the refinement has made a great difference to several exam takers and that the education ministry was very pleased with the positive outcome. The aim is to allow students to become more passionate about learning, ultimately increasing their motivation.

According to Mr Heng, students working on the questions are utilizing every minute to get to the right answers rather than simply skipping the test questions or give up. Teachers also report the same positive behaviour of the students and their improved confidence while taking the exam.

With the positive results acquired through changing PSLE questions, the ministry is happy to see the education system on the right track. The students have found a more effective inspiration to obtain high scores and continue with confidence.

It is Mr Heng’s hope to get support from everyone especially the parents who are concerned about their children’s education.

Indeed, PSLE’s change of questions promotes better results to the performance of examinees and constitutes a big stepping stone to creating quality students.

An Overview of PSLE

PSLE or recognized as Primary School Leaving Examination is a Singapore national examination founded by the Ministry of Education. This compulsory exam is taken by all students at the end of their sixth year in primary school. As an important requirement, no one will be allowed to move on to secondary school without taking the PSLE test.

The examination gives primary focus on student’s proficiency in English language along with their native language which includes Chinese and Tamil, science and mathematics. The test would approximately run for 2 hours and within these hours, students are expected to complete each subject paper.  Questions are arranged in multiple choice and students would pick the best answer through shading the item. PSLE uses a standardized optical answer sheet that features an optical mark recognition to identify the student’s answers.

Due to its reliable and high-standard format, PSLE materials have been exported to other countries. Some schools abroad have seen PSLEs potential and relevance to measuring the student’s thinking as well as verbal skills and with that, an international version of the exam, referred to as iPSLE has been released for use.

There have been a couple of revisions made to the format of PSLE throughout its history in order to keep up with the improving standards of Singapore Ministry of Education. The recent update was this year’s change on the questions to allow students to show what they have learnt and to allocate based on understanding rather than focusing on his or her final answer.

Moving forward

The recent revision on PSLE questions empowers students not only to analyse but also to gain the confidence that is helpful on their overall learning development. The never-ending effort of the ministry is now producing good results as Singapore students are coming out to be among the best in the world.  As the worldwide competition is becoming more intense, it helps to produce quality students who are equipped with great knowledge and advanced skills who truly understand what they are learning.


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