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From PSLE to University

Quite a few people asked me. So thought I’d share here how I get my children prepared for university in 2 to 3 years after their PSLE. I’m just a mum who does not want my children to go through the sad Singapore system (PSLE is enough). If this helps you, I am glad. 

What I did was to select a Diploma course for my children when they finished their PSLE. Singapore’s Maths does give a good foundation to the children, so I make sure they learn that properly. In addition, my children do not go for tuition or anything throughout their Primary school years, but they read very widely. I don’t train them but I read to them alot, 4 of them started reading very early (at 4), my last child read later as I had very little time to read to him.

I am strongly against tuition because I believe that it kills the love of learning for most kids. Besides, tired kids cannot think and cannot excel. Done my research, all geniuses, from Einstein to Mozart, to Leonardo da vinci do not get ‘monitored’ 24/7. They are allowed to roam freely and learn at will. Most of them have only a notebook to keep their observations and learn from themselves. I believe in that.

Do your own bit of research…. how many kids who excel at PSLE top their "A" levels or in their uni? Safely, less than 1%. Don’t burn them out at such a young age.

With the love for reading and a good foundation for Maths, they are able to cope with very rigorous reading required at High School Diploma level.

After the PSLE, I give them these books to study (by now, they are very excited to start – as they see it a key to escape the choking system they are in). The course is modular, so they earn the credits as they finish each module. As they finish a module, I give them the next, I don’t really monitor and let them finish at their own pace. They then take the exams. I choose an online program so that I know when they have finished the module and pass them the next topic. Again, I don’t tutor. The self-learning skills they acquired through their primary school years without tuition and their passion I believe in instilling comes into work here.

My daughter, who ‘eats books’, finished the course in 1 year. My son took 2 years. Really depends on the propensity of the child.

After the recognized HSD, they can then sit for the SAT, all universities take that for admissions, including Singapore universities.

Key is, don’t push the child, let him/her develop the love for learning. That way, they actually go through the process faster… And, for my 2 children who finished, they actually thanked me for it, and did not detest it at all.

If you plan to hot house your child, forget it. He/She will probably be better off in the local system where everyone is hot housed anyway. Poor kids have a lot to handle already so don’t force them onto anything. To us, university is a way to pursue what you love earlier (I honestly don’t understand all the "basic" that we teach till "A" levels and then throw them all out later, basic should just be basic, then we allow our children pursue their dreams) – just my philosophy.

I did not have to opt out of the sec education. My children stayed in their schools and guay guay followed the school syllables. They did their HS studies only during holidays, or when they felt like it (remember, it is modular), when they were accepted by the universities, I simply enrol them in the university and then quit school. The RI headmaster was very nice, he promised to take my son back if uni does not work out. Again, he is a friend, but he has already stepped down! No more back up for my son in case he does not like uni!

My son actually likes uni a lot more than secondary school. He finds the autonomy and challenges in thinking fun. Just that his classmates are all so old…. His thinking also become soooo old. We keep him sane and connected through his sports and church.

Hope this helps you run from this system and still give your child a head start.


Pls let me know in greater

Pls let me know in greater detail the procedures you took, where to take this HSD and what the online classes are.

Modular studying does not sound stressful.  I am a working mum and i hate the competition.  So stressful.  And I have to keep up to this marathon.  Really detest it.

I do also think that your children inherited many good genes from you. 


Pls pm me and let me know.




Thank a lot.My daughter is going to nus high school next year.Does anyone have any advice?I heard that their maths and science is quite hard.

What online program

 Which online program did you use?


eye opening

i really agree with what u said…and yes the love of reading is so important


Hi 2ppaamm,

Again this article is an eye-opener for me! I also hope my son (still young lah just 2.5 yo) will eventually develop a thirst for learning and love for books (just like his mummy!) and can go "auto-pilot" without tuition.

Even at 2.5 yo, I am already resisting all suggestions and promptings from my KS friend to send him for this enrichment and that enrichment.  I heard that in her pre-nursery class, most of her daughter’s this year turning 3 classmates are already in some form of enrichment or the other.  Almost all taking Montessori Maths, some in those "right-brain training" kind of enrichment.

For my DS, I am waiting for his speech to come on and that he can go into mainstream Nursery and enjoy himself there! To have a normal kid is already something to be thankful for.  Am now reading through KSP articles and blogs like crazy to learn from you all so that I will be well-prepared for whatever circumstances!



How to find an accredited high school

O, thanks for the response, didn’t expect the interests… ha ha.  There’s a track on this.  Here it is:

A lot of bodies out there that monitors and accredits High Schools. The Americas have at least 4 of them. Surf the net, look for accredited high school programs. You will come across many, many.

The ones Singaporeans are used to include: EPGY (this is Stanford University’s program) – I have some experience with them – they very proud leh. But that’s a very recognized program.

Another very well known program is John Hopkins. They conduct tests to identify early high school students frequently. Check out all the high school programs conducted by the universities (also many – I can think of Maryland and Indiana), they are all accredited and recognized.

There are also those run commercially. Don’t write them off simply because they are commercially run.

One more thing, there are some you can attend a graduation, some without a gown graduation. See what your kids like. Also check the age criteria to start. Some states do not allow children below 14 to start a high school program. Write to these schools and check all these out. Choose one relevant to your child.

There may be tests they need to take. It is almost safe to say that if your child score A or A* for Math at PSLE, they will breeze through the tests. But note the gifted programs, these are hard to ace.

Most of these programs are also expensive, definitely more than your school sup fees. So calculate carefully here, and plan accordingly. They are still cheaper than international schools, and all your years of books and tuition add up!

Hope this helps! Very Happy


Thank you 2ppaamm for your candid sharing. Agree with you that each child is different and we need to nurture their strengths and interests.


Different folks different strokes

Hi bUds,

Nope, not all my kids go through the same process, or opt for the same thing.  My third kid wanted to do and has been pestering me for 2 years but I refuse to start her on the program until this month, after her PSLE.  Reason being I felt that she is too immature, I feel that some literature books need a bit more maturity to digest.

I started my 2nd daughter slightly earlier because she is very mature, and she is very independent.  Autopilot kind.

My oldest boy started the earliest because I used the algebra courses to guide him in his PSLE.  He scored the highest in prelims in the school and A* for PSLE.  It helped.

My other 2 kids?  A bit lazy leh.  The next kid is in GEP, so I want to see if he is interested first.  Only P4, also has autism.  The last kid is the slowest, and since he is the last, maybe I want to spend more time travelling with him (we travel 7 times a year for sports and recreation events).

So all different lah.

Blown away..

I’m blown away…

I would love to know in greater detail

the procedures you took, where to take

this HSD and what the online classes are.

Modular studying does not sound stressful.

I do also think that your children inherited many

useful genes from you. Are the rest of your children,

those in Primary Schools going through the same path

as their elder siblings too?


thanks for sharing your

thanks for sharing your experience.

Replying Sleepy

Hi Sleepy,

it’s EPGY.

Light at the end of the tunnel ...

Hi 2ppamm,


Thank you. 

You have indeed shown us the ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel. 



passes SAT at 9 yrs old & 10 yrs old

Quote fairy: Both also acquired their Degree in Mathematics via online studies with a renowned University for the gifted before they entered NUSH.

Hi fairy

Do you know which university?

Are these programmes

Are these programmes offered in Singapore? Distance-learning kind-of?

Great Post!! Cheers!

Great Post!!


I guess the most difficult

I guess the most difficult part are these:

1.  Make them interested in pursuing beyond their peers.  All kids can do it, but some psyche themselves into believing they cannot.  Can you psyche him/her into believing he can achieve beyond his peers?  This is the passion you need to put in him.

2.  Independence.  Can he study on his own without you breathing down his throat?  My son was hopeless in managing his own studies while in primary and sec school!  But when it came to the HSD, he didn’t need any reminder, he finished module after module without my prompting because he saw a light at the end of his ‘tunnel’.  He wanted to get out of our education system.  My daughter is always on automatic gear, it was a breeze for her.

3.  Single-mindedness.  If you are not sure, and turn from left to right and change your mind five times a day, then you’ll need the system to put you on track, don’t waste time on this.  If you are willing to commit 2 years of your life to help your child with this single-mindedly, you will succeed.

4.  The easiest part is the high school program.  The syllables is not difficult and the teachers are great (I’ve tried a few, they are all great). In some of the programs, you get even better learning support from the teachers than in our local schools.  They really teach and not wait for you to make mistakes then pounce on you.  In these programs, the writing part is normally better taught than our local system, while the Math is weaker.  If your kid wants to do Math in the U, then you must do the Advanced Placement to supplement that.  I found their music and art programs also stronger, you can really learn to draw and appreciate music.

As long as the mother/father is determined to make it work, the child will make it.  But the child must be the lead, the parent is there to guide only.  O, that’s just my belief again…

This is indeed an

This is indeed an interesting way of creating real options for alternative education.

Like most other queries above, can share some info on the HSD and the "recognised" status?


Which Dip course?

hi 2appaamm,

Just curious, may I know which HSD did your children accquire? Which area of studies? Business? Engineering? I know someone whose children passes SAT at 9 yrs old & 10 yrs old and still managed to be at the 90th percentile of those taking the test. I understand they both went on to NUSH. Not sure if they are still there. Both also acquired their Degree in Mathematics via online studies with a renowned University for the gifted before they entered NUSH.

Thanks for the sharings. My

Thanks for the sharings. My sentiments exactly and though I’m a tutor I don’t recommend tuition and have rejected students esp the bright ones whom I think should learn to cope on their own. I’m don’t know what Diploma courses available. Are you saying that the child take the Diploma course immediately after PSLE and don’t go through Poly or JC? Can you share more on this?

hi 2ppaamm, thanks for

hi 2ppaamm, thanks for sharing! 🙂 i guess the local system is not the best or only way, but the easiest way out, on the part of the parents. somehow the way u wrote it, it seemed to be very easy. but i’m sure there was a lot of effort on your part, to have to be ready to guide them, if needed. perhaps u can share if there was any preparatory work required on your part?


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