Singaporeans share past exam scores and achievements to prove results ‘don’t necessarily determine your future’


As more and more Singaporean kids are pressured to obtain top scores in exams and are made to feel that their success in life hinges on their test results, those who have since left behind their schooldays are telling them otherwise.

After the results of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) came out recently, Syed Khairudin Aljunied, who is currently an Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), decided to write a Facebook post sharing his average PSLE score, which went viral.

In the post, Khairudin encouraged others to join in to “give hope and motivation to the young ones that PSLE scores don’t necessarily determine your future”.

The PSLE is the examination taken by all sixth-year primary school pupils to determine whether they qualify for secondary school.

Pupils are given an aggregate three-digit score across subjects, and a score below 200 is widely considered poor.

Khairudin’s post has since received over 3,400 reactions, and shared over 3,700 times.

Singaporeans from all walks of life, including business owners, engineers, athletes, and musicians all shared their stories and words of encouragement to pupils feeling discouraged over their PSLE results.

Even Ronny Xin, who is now a correspondent on popular U.S. talk/satire news program The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, chimed in.

Like many Asian nations, Singapore is known for its competitive education environment, where parents compare their children’s test scores, and anything less than the best is considered “disappointing”.

However, Singaporeans are pushing back against traditional expectations, and are calling for a more flexible education system.

In response, the government has revamped how the PSLE is scored to make it less rigid, which is planned to be implemented by 2021, and has gotten rid of the tradition of publishing the names and results of top scorers.


Some ultra-competitive parents are still determined to compare their children’s results, though, which led to the creation of (“Kiasu” is a Chinese word in the Hokkien dialect meaning “afraid to lose”.)

On the day the PSLE results were released, thousands of parents swarmed to the site to check the highest scores by school, causing it to crash, reported Today Online.

In October, locals were shocked after news that an 11-year-old boy allegedly committed suicide by jumping out the window of a high-rise apartment due to poor test results and concern over his parents’ reaction.

Image via Shutterstock

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