Did badly for PSLE?

One thing I really hate about PSLE is the streaming exercise that comes after that.

I am all for getting the students to study hard to lay the foundation of their languages, Science and Maths- these skills will aid them in life. While putting the students in different schools based on their grades at 12 promotes elitism at a young age, I am more upset about the streaming of kids into different learning modes.

To be fair, there are benefits. The weaker students get to learn at a slower pace which may be more suitable for them. However, it also leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy where the student believes he’s not good enough and gives up trying.

Now, we can’t change the system, but we can change ourselves.

If you have been streamed into normal academic and you are devastated, here’s a few things to note:

1. You are sad now. I will console you. Your friends and family will too. However that’s not good enough.

You must remember this fall.

Next year, when school reopens, remember this fall.

When you decide to procrastinate and play phone games, remember this fall.

When you feel lazy, remember this fall again.

Don’t forget how sad you were and don’t let history repeat.

Study hard from now.

2. If you are determined to go to express stream, there are still ways. One is to work hard.

If you do well enough in year 1, you can be promoted to express.

Yes, you heard me right.

I have students who have succeeded in doing so. Even know of friends who moved to express and are doing very well in life now. One is even a much sought-after banker.


Don’t be too happy yet. There’s a catch.

These people really worked their a** off. They were single-minded and focused. You would need that too.

Can you do it?

3. Don’t label yourself.

I know- there’s a stigma. Normal academic=lousy?


Believe me- I have NA students in my secondary school classes. Many are smarter than those in so-called branded schools- they just haven’t fulfilled their potential because they didn’t study hard enough at PSLE.

If you want to rid the stereotype, prove others wrong.

Perform better than them.

That will teach them a lesson.

There’s no use crying over spilt milk.

I am not saying studies is the most important thing in the world. China’s Wu Shihong was a cleaner. She worked her way up to be country manager for Microsoft and IBM and was even voted as one of China’s most powerful woman. Three of ten billionaires don’t have a university degree, according to a billionaire census by Wealth-X.

I want to say, alright, so chill. Don’t worry.

However you know those examples are anomalies. Also, more importantly, they attain their success by sheer hard work. (Google Wu Shihong for her story.)

If you can’t even handle P6 language, how are you going to communicate with others properly/convincingly in future? If you are bad in P6 Science/Maths, how are you able to handle tougher logic in life? Moreover, we are in a paper chase society.

Go pursue your other interests- be it basketball, or even video games. It’s a new world out there where success is more than academics.

However, what I am saying is- if you are sad cos you didn’t do well, or you are fretting cos you understand in Singapore, there’s a high chance we still need qualifications to survive, then start studying hard and smart now.

Getting good grades is not everything. However now, while you are figuring what skill you have to win in life, study hard.

Turn this experience into something positive for yourself.

This applies to everyone who didn’t meet his expectations. Not just those who got into NA.

Life isn’t worth living if it’s smooth sailing. This is your first setback. Congratulations.

Now pick yourself up. You are luckier than others to learn resilience at a young age- this will be very handy in life.

Now forge forward.

You can do it.

And remember- only you can help yourself.