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Secondary School Rankings: How To Choose A Secondary School in 2020 (COP 2019)

The PSLE results are OUT

Some children have performed very well while others could manage to stay above or near average. Do all have the same post-PSLE options for further studies in Secondary School? Of course not!

Every anxious parent and child who just went through PSLE exams are struggling with the same questions; “What are my options?”, “Which secondary school shall I pick?”, “I want to pursue my higher studies in a particular school. Will I get admission there with my score?” and many more.

If you are one such individual or parent of a child struggling to find the best Secondary school for your child, this blog post is for YOU.

With the hope that it would help you make the best choice, we have gathered certain data that can guide you as you begin your new academic journey. Your academic career largely depends on the choice of school. Hence, it is pivotal to pick the best.

But, is it available for one and all equally? The answer is ‘NO’.

You may wish for your child to be admitted to a certain school, but whether you’ll get it depends upon your PSLE score. Due to immense competition in education, PSLE cut-off point (COP) plays the major role in your decision. This cut-off limits your choice for a secondary school.

As a general consideration, the higher the COP of a secondary school, better is its rank and the more succcessful your child will be in academic terms. If you attained a high PSLE T-score, you have a wide range of choices available and of course, you can pick the school that is best for you.

While there are children who manage to get the school of their choice, yet others remain indecisive due to variety of reasons, some of which can be location, curriculum, fee structure, whether the school is for boys or girls or co-ed and many more that can further limit their choice of Secondary School.

If you have difficulties choosing the right school for your child, keep reading further and you may find some help in hand-picking the best option for yourself.

The very first thing that remains the decisive factor for the admission is the admission criteria through PSLE COP.

And, we have collected this data based on 2019 PSLE Cut-Off Points intake just to help you check your first eligibility.

Here is the secondary school ranking list and their cut-off points:

  1. Hwa Chong Institution , 259
  2. Raffles Girls' School (Secondary), 259
  3. Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) , 258
  4. Nanyang Girls' High School, 258
  5. Raffles Institution, 258
  6. Dunman High School, 256
  7. National Junior College, 256
  8. CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls' School, 255
  9. Anglo-Chinese School , 254
  10. Catholic High School, 254
  11. Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) , 254
  12. Cedar Girls' Secondary School , 253
  13. CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls' School, 253
  14. River Valley High School , 252
  15. Singapore Chinese Girls' School, 252
  16. Singapore Chinese Girls' School , 252
  17. Victoria School , 252
  18. Catholic High School , 251
  19. Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) , 250
  20. Cedar Girls' Secondary School, 250
  21. Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) , 250
  22. St. Joseph's Institution , 250
  23. Temasek Junior College , 250
  24. Anderson Secondary School, 247
  25. CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh), 246
  26. Victoria School , 246
  27. Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) , 245
  28. Bukit Panjang Govt. High School , 245
  29. Nan Hua High School, 245
  30. St. Joseph's Institution, 245
  31. Nan Chiau High School , 244
  32. Chung Cheng High School (Main) , 242
  33. Crescent Girls' School, 242
  34. Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) , 242
  35. St. Andrew's Secondary School, 242
  36. St. Margaret's Secondary School , 242
  37. Swiss Cottage Secondary School , 242
  38. Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) , 240
  39. Anglican High School, 239
  40. Commonwealth Secondary School , 239
  41. Yishun Town Secondary School, 239
  42. CHIJ St. Theresa's Convent , 238
  43. Ngee Ann Secondary School , 238
  44. CHIJ St. Joseph's Convent , 237
  45. Maris Stella High School, 237
  46. Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School , 236
  47. Zhonghua Secondary School , 236
  48. Fuhua Secondary School, 235
  49. Presbyterian High School , 235
  50. Tanjong Katong Girls' School, 235
  51. Xinmin Secondary School , 235
  52. Clementi Town Secondary School, 234
  53. Riverside Secondary School , 234
  54. Temasek Secondary School, 234
  55. Holy Innocents' High School , 233
  56. Kranji Secondary School, 233
  57. Tanjong Katong Secondary School , 233
  58. Dunman Secondary School , 231
  59. Edgefield Secondary School, 229
  60. St. Patrick's School, 229
  61. Ang Mo Kio Secondary School, 228
  62. Bukit Batok Secondary School , 228
  63. Geylang Methodist School (Secondary) , 228
  64. Jurong Secondary School , 228
  65. CHIJ Katong Convent, 227
  66. Evergreen Secondary School, 227
  67. St. Anthony's Canossian Secondary School, 227
  68. Bowen Secondary School , 226
  69. Gan Eng Seng School, 226
  70. Hua Yi Secondary School, 226
  71. St. Gabriel's Secondary School , 226
  72. St. Hilda's Secondary School , 226
  73. Pei Hwa Secondary School , 224
  74. West Spring Secondary School , 224
  75. Hai Sing Catholic School , 223
  76. Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School , 222
  77. Mayflower Secondary School , 222
  78. Deyi Secondary School , 220
  79. Queensway Secondary School , 222
  80. Pasir Ris Secondary School , 2119
  81. Unity Secondary School , 219
  82. Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School, 217
  83. Woodlands Ring Secondary School, 217
  84. Bedok View Secondary School , 216
  85. Chua Chu Kang Secondary School, 216
  86. Beatty Secondary School , 215
  87. Yuan Ching Secondary School , 215
  88. Compassvale Secondary School , 214
  89. Kent Ridge Secondary School , 214
  90. North Vista Secondary School, 214
  91. Orchid Park Secondary School , 212
  92. Bukit View Secondary School, 211
  93. Peirce Secondary School, 211
  94. Zhenghua Secondary School, 211
  95. Bedok South Secondary School, 210
  96. Greendale Secondary School , 210
  97. Hillgrove Secondary School , 210
  98. Meridian Secondary School, 210
  99. Woodgrove Secondary School , 210
  100. Jurong West Secondary School , 209
  101. Montfort Secondary School , 208
  102. Tampines Secondary School , 208
  103. Christ Church Secondary School , 207
  104. Yishun Secondary School, 207
  105. Seng Kang Secondary School , 205
  106. Admiralty Secondary School , 203
  107. Naval Base Secondary School, 203
  108. Hougang Secondary School, 202
  109. Punggol Secondary School, 201
  110. Regent Secondary School , 201
  111. Jurongville Secondary School , 197
  112. Westwood Secondary School , 196
  113. Greenridge Secondary School , 195
  114. Canberra Secondary School, 193
  115. New Town Secondary School, 193
  116. Juying Secondary School , 192
  117. Peicai Secondary School , 189
  118. Queenstown Secondary School , 189
  119. Assumption English School , 188
  120. Bartley Secondary School, 188
  121. Bedok Green Secondary School , 188
  122. Bendemeer Secondary School , 188
  123. Boon Lay Secondary School , 188
  124. Broadrick Secondary School , 188
  125. Bukit Merah Secondary School, 188
  126. Changkat Changi Secondary School , 188
  127. Damai Secondary School , 188
  128. Dunearn Secondary School , 188
  129. East Spring Secondary School , 188
  130. Fajar Secondary School , 188
  131. Fuchun Secondary School, 188
  132. Guangyang Secondary School, 188
  133. Junyuan Secondary School, 188
  134. Loyang Secondary School , 188
  135. Manjusri Secondary School, 188
  136. Marsiling Secondary School , 188
  137. Northbrooks Secondary School, 188
  138. Northland Secondary School, 188
  139. Outram Secondary School, 188
  140. Ping Yi Secondary School , 188
  141. Sembawang Secondary School , 188
  142. Serangoon Garden Secondary School , 188
  143. Serangoon Secondary School, 188
  144. Springfield Secondary School , 188
  145. Tanglin Secondary School , 188
  146. Teck Whye Secondary School, 188
  147. Whitley Secondary School , 188
  148. Woodlands Secondary School , 188
  149. Yio Chu Kang Secondary School, 188
  150. Yuhua Secondary School , 188
  151. Yuying Secondary School , 188

Learning is a journey. And secondary school journey depends largely on your choice of the school. 

Pupils who are in the top 30% of the PSLE cohort wishing to enter in SAP secondary schools will be given bonus points, added to the T-Score if they take the Higher Chinese subject. Bonus points will be 3 points for Distinction, 2 points for Merit and 1 for Pass. SAP secondary schools cater to learning in both languages, English and Chinese.

Though the same programs can be offered by a variety of schools, you may want to look into other contributing factors before arriving at the final decision.

Most of the schools in Singapore are either government schools or government-aided schools. Then, there are others like independent schools, specialized schools and specialized independent schools (SIS). 

Fee structure of a school is a big deciding factor. Most of the government and government-aided schools provide education at a subsidized fee

Government and government-aided schools follow the National curriculum as determined by the Ministry of Education (MOE). Autonomous schools have the liberty to choose their curriculum, programs and activities.

Fee structure of these autonomous schools is on a higher band as they charge the autonomous fee above the subsidized fee. 

Independent schools, as the name suggests have the independence to select their curriculum, set up special programs and activities. Hence, you can expect their fee to be higher even than the autonomous schools. 

Under the MOE financial assistance scheme, the monthly fees in Government and government-aided schools is maximum S$25, while in that of autonomous schools, it is S$43. And in independent schools, it can range from S$300 – S$600

There are certain schools that best suited for students with deep interests in sports, arts, applied learning, Mathematics and Science:

  1. NUS High School of Mathematics and Science
  2. School of Science and Technology
  3. Singapore Sports School
  4. School of the Arts

Specialised schools are the ones which take up students who could not manage to qualify for any secondary course. They are then educated by a hands-on-learning method by experienced teachers. Two such schools are:

  1. NorthLight School and
  2. Assumption Pathway.

Other specialized schools that can be taken up by students interested in the technical stream are:

  1. Crest Secondary School
  2. Spectra Secondary School 

These schools have a practice-based approach to learning where necessary skillset and training can be obtained.

Curriculum offered by the schools is yet another contributing factor to this major decision. What a child wants to take up as a career depends on the course he/she picks and the quality of education.

The three pathways for the courses are:

  1. Express: O-level and IP. O-level is a 4-year programme which ends with GCE-O level exams. And Integrated Programme (IP) students do not have to sit for GCE O-level exams. They study for 2 further years making IP a 6-year programme. After IP exams, students have the choice to go for GCE A-Levels, the IB Diploma or the NUS High School Diploma towards the end.
  2. Normal Academic: It is a 4-year programme for students appearing for GCE N(A)-Levels. It can be a 5-year programme for students who study further for GCE-O levels. 
  3. Normal Technical: It is a 4-year programme culminating at GCE N(T)-Level exams.

English Language, Mother Tongue Language and Mathematics are the compulsory subjects for all tracks. Students enrolled in the Express or Normal Academic Track have to study humanities and science. And students in the Normal Technical Track are required to study Computer Applications and Social studies

One other pathway is to embark on the international syllabus IB or IGCSE which also offers a route to a local or foreign university. You can read up in our Ultimate Guide to International (IB) Schools in Singapore.

The next deciding factor for the selection of a secondary school is the child’s interest. Ultimately, the best career is the one that can be enjoyed at work. If you have an interest in arts, music, sports or language, then you should develop it further.

For that, your criteria for the choice of secondary school can be the special programmes offered by certain schools in your area of interest. Some such programmes are the Art Elective Programme (AEP), Music Elective Programme (MEP) and Third Languages.

For those who are interested in Sports have certain choices and one of them could be The Singapore Sports School that can hone your sports skills if you wish to be a professional Sportsperson.

AEP and MEP can be availed at some other schools like Ngee Ann Secondary and St Andrew’s Secondary.

And the final contributing factor is the location of the school and availability of boarding or travelling facilities. For that, you can check each school’s prospectus or website or inquire at their helpline number. 


[Latest Update] The New Secondary Cut Off Points from 2021

The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore keeps on changing policies, or they amend existing. During this year, they have introduced new cut-off points for admission into your preferred secondary school. Effective next year, the students who will be taking be PSLE will receive Achievement Levels (AL) instead of grades.

These levels will range from 1 to 8 in each of the four subjects that your child has. The sum of all these subjects will be the final score and the final AL of your child.

Here is everything you need to know about the new cut-off points.

The New Secondary Cut-Off Points (COPs)

The COPs will differ every year. However, we can divide them into a few categories. First will be the government and government-aided schools. The second will be autonomous schools, and the third will be independent schools.

Let’s explore the different COPs for each school category.

#1. Government And Government Aided Schools

These schools are the backbone of the education system in Singapore. They offer an excellent education at a fee that does not break the bank of the citizens. You will find that these schools provide various subjects, electives, and other development programs for the students.

Here is the indicative AL COP range for different courses from last year’s PSLE:

  • Express (Integrated Programme [IP]): 7 to 9
  • Express (O-Level): 8 to 22
  • N(A): 22 to 25
  • N(T): 26 to 30

Of course, this is subject to change in the coming year, but this is what you can expect the range to look like.

#2. Autonomous Schools

These schools are another subset of the government and government-aided schools. They provide a wide range of electives and programs so that the children's learning experience can be broadened. They want to help children work on their skills and develop new talents.

Here is the indicative AL COP range for different courses from last year’s PSLE:

  • Express (IP): 7 to 9
  • Express (O-Level): 8 to 16
  • N(A): 22 to 25
  • N(T): 26 to 29

#3. Independent Schools

Last but not least, we have independent schools. They develop their own curriculum and program to cater to the students' needs that enroll in their schools. Such schools are much more diverse than the types of schools stated above.

Here is the indicative AL COP range for different courses from last year’s PSLE:

  • Express (IP): 6 to 8
  • Express (O-Level): 8 to 10

All these COPs will vary from year to year. That is because the COPs are dependent on the results of the PSLE and the preferred school choices of that year’s S1 Posting Exercise.

In the first half of 2021, the MOE will provide the indicative AL COPs for individual secondary schools. The COPs will be based on the 2020 PSLE results and the school choices during the S1 Posting Exercise of 2020.

This has been done to encourage parents to look beyond the COPs when deciding on their child's secondary school education. They want parents to consider other factors so that they can cater to the students' needs in the best way.

The Scoring System Of The COPs

Under these new AL COPs, the PSLE score will range from 4 to 32. However, four will be the best score possible. Before, the scoring system was based on T-scores. These scores had more than 200 possibilities.

On the other hand, the AL COP will only have almost 29 possible scores. Doing so will reduce the differentiation between students as they don't want to instill differences between children from an early age.

According to the new system, many of the students will now have the same scores. That is why the one thing that will be considered the most will be the order of preference of secondary schools that you will submit.

That is why you need to make an informed decision and think hard about the secondary school you want your child to get into.

Subject Banding Criteria

Recently, an eligibility criterion was also released for subject-based banding. It will allow the students to choose subjects at a variety of difficulty levels in secondary school. It will be based on their AL score.

Secondary schools with Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses will implement the new scoring system and the subject banding criteria. The students of this school will be eligible to take the same subjects at a more challenging level in Secondary 1 (S1).

However, this eligibility will be based on their AL scores for their individual subjects. These include:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English Language
  • Mother Tongue Language

If a student has an AL score of 5 or more, they can take the subject at Express Level. On the other hand, students with an AL score of 6 or better in a standard subject or AL A in a Foundation level subject can take it at the Normal (Academic) level.

The MOE has introduced these new guidelines so that students can have the opportunity to take challenging subjects based on their previous performance in school. Doing so will allow them to work on their skills and talents even further.

Planning Secondary School Choices With New COPs

Many parents wonder how they will decide on choosing a secondary school for their child. The new COPs that have been introduced means that you will have to look beyond the scores. You need to take a holistic approach and consider other factors before making a list of school options in order of your preference.

Here are some things you need to take into account before you make an informed decision:

#1. The Travel Distance

Yes, that is right. Even travel distance is essential when it comes to choosing the right school for your child. That is because school buses are readily available and easily accessible for Primary Schools.

However, this isn't the case for secondary schools in Singapore. That is why you need to consider the school's route as well before you decide to put it on your list. No one wants to spend too much time traveling, dropping, and picking their kids up.

So, consider the route, look at travel options, and then decide whether you want that school to be on your list or not.

#2. Subjects Offered

Not every secondary school offers all subjects. Some may provide science courses, while others may provide humanities courses. Some schools will not let you take certain subject combinations.

So, think about what you want for your child and what you want them to study during their time at secondary school. Choosing the right school defines the future roadmap for your child.

Make sure you choose a school that offers the program you want your child to study later on. It will help them build a solid base that they can continue to work on in the future.

#3. Visit Schools When They Have Their Open House

Almost all secondary schools offer an open house so parents can physically come and see the school. Doing this allows them to have a broader sense of the environment and culture.

If you want to know more about a school, you should visit their open house before making your decision. It will help you understand if it is the right fit for your child, as you will talk to the teachers and understand their teaching styles.

You need to understand your child's learning style and then make choices accordingly so that they can be somewhere that suits them the best. Going to the open house and talking to teachers will help you understand what is more suitable.

#4. Have A Discussion With Your Child

Don't decide without consulting your child first. They will be the ones who will be going to school, and they need to have some say in where they want to go.

Let your child voice his/her opinion, and then you can provide your insights as well. Doing this will help you have a healthy discussion with your child whose needs will be your priority.

They will feel included, which will help them look forward to secondary school experience. Many parents don't consider involving their children in such decisions. Still, it would be best if you gave them this sense of autonomy early on so that they can have better decision making abilities in the future.

Final Words

That was your complete guide to the new AL COPs indicated by the MOE and what you need to do to choose the right secondary school for your child. The stage of transitioning from primary to secondary school is an important one in every parent's and child's life.

It is up to you to make the transition easier for your child and include them in their education decisions. Instilling this sense of responsibility early on will help them in the future. Follow this guide to make your list of preferred schools so that your child can experience the best secondary school that suits their needs well.


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5 Key differences between Cambridge O levels and Cambridge IGCSE
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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.