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To GEP or Not To GEP – Perspectives From A GEP Parent

Congratulations to all kids who’ve been selected. As my son has benefited greatly the last 3 years, I would like to share his experiences to parents who’re having doubts.

  1. It’s not a fluke. Have faith in yr child’s ability… unless your child has attended GEP preparation courses… then seriously reconsider your decision.  Mine wasn’t in the top 50 of his cohort in P2, and yet he was selected. We had our doubts then. Looking back, I’m glad we’ve made the right decision; instead of doubting him just because he’s never top his cohort.  He’s had a challenging but very mentally enriching 3 years. He’s had opportunities to go to RI/NUSH/NUS for some enrichment programs.
  2. Is it really stressful? Mine stops his work by 9:30pm every night..unless due to last minute work. No afternoon naps though. He hates them. He takes leisurely meals, long breaks to read his books. Yet, he’s able to clear his work, meet his deadlines on time. He’s not the hardworking type; You don’t see him doing more than is necessary. Chinese takes up so much of his time..cause he’s so SLOW in doing anything chinese.  Though there’re stressful times, he copes well. He doesn’t sigh or ever regret joining the program. The kids aren’t competitive; though they always strive to do better than one another…friendly competition perhaps. but not the stressful, unhealthy kind.
  3. Do I help him? Yes, stuffs like guiding him how to draw straight lines/boxes/write on vanguard sheets, how to use movie editor. I was also his cameraman in his Science project. I don’t teach him academic stuff like maths n science. But I do point him the way if he needs more looking up his sis’ sec books, internet etc. Help him with stuff like Eng grammar, Chinese words. Other than that, I’m rather hands off with him. More like his driver. If he’s stuck, there’s also his teachers, his friends or the internet to help him.  Some of the projects submitted by his peers are of such high quality, it’s very obvious it’s done by the parents. While I guide him sometimes, I don’t do his work for him.
  4. With a class size of 18 and dedicated teachers, your child is in good hands. The teachers are just an email or a phone call away.
  5. No worries if you’re a parent who find GEP maths tough. It IS very tough. If your child is weak, there’re remedial classes; or sign him up for tuition. If your child excels in Maths, stretch him further by signing him up for competition training…unless of course, you’re able to teach him or you found some excellent olympic maths guide so your kid can self-learn.  Note, however, that some schools only allow students of Maths club to take part in the check. These competition can beef up the portfolio.  I don’t agree that GEP kids, to prove that they’re worthy of the program, shouldn’t be seen in tuition centres.
  6. You don’t need to join sports cca to be successful in dsa. Mine didn’t and neither did most of his friends.
  7. You don’t need to score more than 80% to apply for dsa. For app to nush, it makes no diff if you’re gep or not. You still need to go for selection test then camp.  For RI, if you score more than 80% in P6 SA1, you can skip the GAT and go straight to interview. For HCI, it’s just a writing segment and interview.  As for DHS, you don’t even need to pay to apply and no interview required either.
  8. Higher chinese. Textbooks same as that used by mainstream higher chinese. Exams are different from mainstream but doesn’t imply they’re any tougher…unless you’re in the BICEP program.  In the recent PSLE exams, my son commented that HCL is easier than CL.  Mine goes for tuition as we don’t speak the lang at home. Then again, he also goes for Eng tuition.
  9. Continue to participate in the annual ICAS papersagain for beefing up his portfolio.
  10. If there’re opportunities for other events like Mind games olympics (ACS), RISA etc, go for it..again for the experience and his portfolio. 
  11. As for reading list, I reserve them from the NLB, paying $1.55 per book. He doesn’t read all of them…but he also reads beyond that list.
  12. Being in GEP does give your child a higher chance of being selected for IP schools. In son’s class, out of 14 boys, 6 will be going to RI. Only 1 doesn’t have an offer. That’s because he only applies for 1 school.
  13. Assessment books. Mine didn’t do any mainstream assessment books. He’ll be so bored. Time is better spent pursuing his other interests or relaxing. However, in p4, I bought the andrew er maths to let him do the level 3 and creative thinking sections. But he didn’t have time for it. So we left the book mostly untouched. Then in P6, I bought a synthesis n transformation book, which turned out to be useless as we became more confused than ever. That book doesn’t explain the rules, simply gives you the answers which at times, leave us  more confused than ever.
  14. Mainstream syllabus. Don’t worry about catching up with mainstream syllabus. With the psle drill starting in Jun P6, they’ve enough practices.

PS: Though I’m not keen to be drawn into another controversy, I hope that by sharing my son’s experiences, I’m able to convince some doubtful parents/kids to go for it.

The child can always join back the mainstream if the program isn’t suitable. But why give up without putting up a decent fight? At least you will not look back years from now and regret your decision.

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Thanks! Finally Read This

hi Mathsparks

Thanks for sharing your experience. Finally I have read it as DS is P3 this year.

I was told by someone that Tao Nan advised parents to think twice about sending their GEP child for enrichment as the GEP work load is already very heavy.

Your DS is really great! Being able to finish all GEP work, attend tuition and still find time to read. My DS will probably complain of lack of playtime. 🙁


 Hi srilakshimi, Have you

 Hi srilakshimi,

Have you read thru’ this? There maybe some info there. Though I strongly believe that kids should take the GEP selection tests without any prior preparation, as the program is very rigorous. For those who’ve been drilled, they may not "survive" the program later on.


GEP Preparation


My daughter is in P2 this year and would like to prepare her for GEP Screening test next year.

Is there any one to share your experience preparing your child for GEP test? Any good assessment & General ability books? How to encourage the child for GEP?

Appreciate your sharing.


Hm... yep, I am one who does sometimes wonder...

I did not sign up all my kids for the GEP tests.  I didn’t want them to be branded, I liked my kids to mix with the crowd.  Now that the older ones are in Sec school, and having been through 3 PSLEs, I start to wonder if I had done the wrong thing…. perhaps they could have benefitted from the program, the Singapore system really brand people too young, and I’m in it!

I did sign my 4th kid for GEP tests, mainly because I wanted to get out of the old school, I didn’t see eye to eye with the new principal.  He did get into GEP.  New experiences!  And honestly, the small class is something I look forward to, since he is a special needs child as well.

Thanks for sharing, it does encourage me to give it a good go!  I do look forward to a different kind of experience!

don't be lost

Hi treenymph,

dont be lost, k? GE selection starts in P3. If selected the child will join the program from p4. check yr pmail.

mathsparks, I'm lost.  the


I’m lost.  the selection of GEP is in P3?  Not P4?

Hi mlr, As long as yr

Hi mlr,

As long as yr nephew is determined, he’ll do fine as he takes ownership of the decision. hope my post can convince yr sis. (that’s the reason for my convince the doubtful ones). Remind her the part about looking back and regretting the decision.

The selection process is stringent, so she need not worry unduly abt her child being unable to cope. Kids are surprisingly resilient. Throw them into the deep end, they struggle..but they’ll survive…with support from teachers and parents. Hope yr sis will come round.


Thanks for sharing

My sis and brother-in-law having disagreement over this issue for the past months.  Nephew was selected for 2nd round and now awaiting result.  My sis is against nephew going for the program, bro-in-law is totally happy and proud for the chance as he said why give up where others are trying hard to get in?  Nephew is determined to get in but my sis is worry about stress, cos she and stress don’t agree.

I will definately get her to read this to help ease her mind about it.


School Location

It is advisable to choose a school that is near your house as GEP students have to stay back after sch about 2-3 times each week. And sometimes their homework load is heavy esp if there are projects to be done. The time used on computer research is extensive. I always feel that if time used to travel to and from sch is more than 30 min is very tiring. As for Tao Nan relocation, maybe you could call up the sch and check with them.

GEP Tao Nan school

My son has successfully passed his GEP examination. I would like  to send him to Tao Nan. But I’m staying at Pasir Ris, Tao Nan is far from my place. I have heard that Tao Nan will be relocated to Bedok South. Is that true? Anyone, please advice. 

Own experience

My son has completed 2 years of GEP. I like the small class. Although his languages are not as strong, he managed to meet the passing mark of 65%. I think PSLE should be ok. No regrets in choosing GEP, though it may be more relax if he was in mainstream.




Hi tutormum,

Hopefully by relating yr experience will "wake" some parents up. But don’t cry can" I’ll cross my fingers and say prayers for yr child too. Take care.

virus.diana,good luck to you too. Hope you’ve got the results you wanted.

amylqf, You’re most welcome!


Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Learn GEP For Preparation

Yes my kid next year then enter P1. Just want to know more what is this GEP is all about.

still no news from my DS's school

congratulations to all who get a seat in GEP! i am still waiting for the results of my son…. waiting……. either pass or not… need to know…though no much confidence… haa….i surprised he passed the 1st round….

I totally agree. Why give

I totally agree. Why give up the chance and regret later? Life has too many ‘should have been’. Now I regret didn’t let DS3 try for DSA to RI cos I didn’t know he can do it since he’s got over 80% for his prelims. I thought he needs some competitive sports or something to get in. Now I’m crossing fingers and hope he can get in NUSH or RI (DS3 went for camp but was not selected and he prefers NUSH to RI now) through PSLE results. Two more weeks to revelation day!

  Hi titank, Choice of


Hi titank,

Choice of school is decided by parents/kids. I think if the school doesn;t have enuf vacancies, then it’s by distance.

I thot yr kid’s only go to p1 next year? you also peeking at gep thread? 




Buds..buds..buds….peeking at p6 and gep threads. 

Erm…hope you don’t get too freak out before your time comes.

I didn’t really stay away. Loitering and hanging around. Can’t resist posting when I come across some mistruths (got such word)? But I’ll stay away from potential hot potatoes. Don’t wanna get burned. scared liao.

Anyway,  buds..for welcoming me back. and chief for putting this up here. Nice title, eh chief..To gep or not..if only it was a simple decision like to market or not.


Have a great sunday afternoon all!

GEP Schools!

Hi Mathssparks,

So the GEP schools do we have a choice or it is being decided by the school? Imagine if I stay in Bukit Merah then the school said posted to Tao Nan how? Able to op for nearer distance like Henry Park or Nanyang?


Good to know..

Heyya mathsparks, glad to see you round again.

Though i try to avoid GEP threads, i am guilty of taking

peeks on and off.      No choice mah, it appears on

the Kiasu Forum column so fast that i accidentally click

on it!      Aniwaes, mathsparks….. what you have just

shared definitely puts one at ease… Uhmmm… me larr at

least (so to speak). And yes, i do agree and it feels truly heart

warming to know that WE shouldn’t give up without a decent fight.

In my case, a decent try wud be good enuf. Dun think got fight one lar..


Cheerios, mathsparks.

Have a great Sunday ahead!  



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