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Visual Art DSA

In response to some parents’ requests (here), I decided to share here my experience about Visual Art DSA for secondary schools with Visual Art DSA and Portfolio preparation.

You can only DSA maximum to 3 schools, so choose the 3 schools carefully by looking at MOE website which school has Visual Art DSA.

Each Secondary School with Art DSA may request for specific things which it is best you refer to their website but generally they have very much common things that they look for and relevant information also can be found on their website too. If after reading the school’s website and you are still unsure, it’s best to call up the school to clarify.

For Art DSA, here are some pointers which I would like to share and things need to know / have,
1. Certificates of participation for Art Competitions (school and outside school) and it’s best if your child ever wins any competition prizes.
2. Certificates of passing some exams / tests, if you go to private schools that teach art that have some kind of “exam”, better if it is well known school.
3. Your child’s artwork collections (colour printed image of it will do), this is to show evidence of passion and also the quality of the art pieces drawn / done.
4. Compile (just the image of the original) the above items in point 1 to 3 nicely in an orderly manner (which we call it Portfolio) in a nice file and submit with the application form downloaded from schools’ website. For non portable art pieces, take a picture and colour print it out for compilation. All in the portfolio is to help your child to gain a place for the interview by the school.
5. Interview of students normally and surely that your child will be given a time slot which your child will need to draw / do an art piece “live” at the school usually with a “question” set by the teacher / interviewer of the school. This can be very stressful if your child has no formal training, unless your child is really very talented.
6. Ah ha, last but not least, you will be surprise school interview parents too besides interviewing students. Maybe to understand how supportive the family is for the child’s art journey. Be prepared yourself and not caught pants down too.

Hope the above helps, best to call up the school to clarify what they are really looking for.

If you get to see those Sec 3 and 4 students’ art pieces in their school’s gallery, you will be surprise of the high standard of the work.

For the certificate exam / test portion, maybe it’s good to start getting private lessons say in P4 to give 2 yrs of formal training with exams / tests to obtain certificates so that your child could have at least taken and pass 2 exams / tests and have some certificates.

As for which private lessons to go, just google for some art schools in Singapore, call them up and ask them.

We started to provide our child with private art lesson and competitions to build portfolio from P4. We look out for 3 schools in P6 prior DSA closing dates (note that different schools have differernt closing dates) which we think will match our child’s academic capability and we applied to the 3 schools, got 3 interviews and 3 offers.

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Hi JonC, can u pm me the

Hi JonC, can u pm me the private art tuition contact as well? TIA.

private art schools and which dsa schools

Dear JonC, thank you for taking time to share your dsa visual arts experience. Can you pm me on the private school your child went to, for dsa preparation? And also the dsa schools that have given your child the offers? Thank you!

How is the program


My girl is in P3 now and has shown a great interest in art. I have not start her on any formal art training yet as I find that most art schools in do not train their students from basic art e.g sketching. But I am considering Art Elective for her Sec school subjects. Are you able to share how intensive was your dc’s Visual Art program in her/his Sec school of choice?

I would appreaciate if you can also PM me the art schools that you have enrolled your dc to prepare for the portfolio.

Thank you


dsa art

Hi please pm me the private art schools that you’ve mentioned. Am interested to put my daughter in an art programme that can help with DSA. Thank you.

Private Visual Art Schools

I would not put my email for public viewing.

I have PM you the information about where my child goes for private art class.

Wish your child all the best in the pursue in art.


hi JonC

Your article is inspiring…can you PM me where u enrolled your child for Visual arts during P4…my daughter is also an aspiring artist and I think she would definitely be interested in taking up an arts course and pursue it as a career.Also do let me know if certificates are provided at the end of the course that can be used during sec 1 admissions.




For the start

For the start, you should first look at the whole list of the Singapore secondary schools’ each cut of point for Express, Normal Academic and even Normal Technical. You should only use the cut off point as a reference because it’s the batch before you child’s batch. Please don’t ask me where to find the info, it’s on the MOE SIS Website as DSA is in the middle of the year which you cannot wait till year end before the booklet is provided.

For Visual Art, there is only few schools which you can easily tabulate it out.

The next step, sometimes it’s the most difficult step which is to estimate the possible range of T-Score your child will likely to get based on his/her performance in school and maybe talking to the teacher, but reality will be how well your child perform during PSLE which sometimes can surprise you either way. Then tally it with the schools’ cut of point to see if you can get in and if your child is likely to cope when joining the Sec 1 class in that particular school.

If the school you are eyeing takes in Express at 188 and you think your child will be around 188 +- and very sure your child will not land in NT, than there is no point DSA for your intended Express or even unintended NA.

If the COP for Express is at say 200 (if they never specify say DSA must be above 200, which CHIJ Toa Payoh did specify for Visual Art) and you think that your child will be between 188 to 199, once you child is accepted in DSA, your child can choose to be in Express or NA after PSLE result is available. Same goes for those school which have higher Express COP and likewise if you move down to the NA/NT.

Of course if you think your child will be above 200 but below that school’s COP, you will be in Express. Do note that some schools DSA has minimum COP, like the one I mentioned above and some schools like Raffles which accept DSA well above 200 and just not too far from their school’s COP, etc.

It’s quite difficult to explain, hope you can understand above’s explanation.

I would preferred not to share which 3 schools we choose here online. They are all in the north (near our place and have Visual Art and we think our child can cope). But if you insists, I can share it offline via PM. As which school is our final choice, I think you should be able to find searching through this forum.

If you get 3 out of 3 offers, the choice is obvious that you will choose the school with the highest COP if near or far from your place, etc is not your other consideration.

About other consideration, do ask the schools during the interview what kind of Visual Art is / are offered in the lesson proper / CCA (Art CCA is compulsary for Visual Art DSA), do note that different school offers different Visual Art lesson.

Please advise

Hi. Could you also advise how we could gauge the academic capability and match it with the school? If DSA is successful, ddoes it mean your child has met the minimum cut off point or just enter express stream will do? Which schools did you apply and which one did you choose? Can you share your reasons? Thanks!! 🙂

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