Academic grading in Singapore

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Singapore's grading system in schools is differentiated by the existence of many types of institutions with different education foci and systems. The grading systems that are used at Primary, Secondary, and Junior College levels are the most fundamental to the local system used.

Primary schools[edit]

Primary schools in Singapore implement a grading system along an "Achievement Band", until the system disregarded the EM3 stream and concentrated on an "Overall Grade" scheme, which grades students as below:

Primary 1 to 4[edit]

  • Band 1: 85-100
  • Band 2: 70-84
  • Band 3: 50-69
  • Band 4: 50 and below

Primary 5 to 6 standard stream[edit]

  • A*: 91% and above
  • A: 75% to below 91%
  • B: 60% to below 75%
  • C: 50% to below 60%
  • D: 35% to below 50%
  • E: 20% to below 35%
  • U: Below 20%

Primary 5 to 6 foundation stream[edit]

  • Grade 1: 85% and above
  • Grade 2: 70% to below 85%
  • Grade 3: 50% to below 70%
  • Grade 4: 30% to below 50%
  • U: Below 30%

Secondary schools[edit]

Secondary schools are the first institutions in Singapore to have implemented the “Overall Grade” grading system for academic subjects. Since the 2000s, the education system allows more capable Normal (Academic) stream students to participate in the O Levels examination for Mother Tongue and Mathematics (Elementary) a year instead of taking the N Levels equivalents. This has resulted with a quasi-O Levels grading system used for such students, although their N Levels subjects are graded along the Overall Grade grading system, thus in their result slip, some subjects will be graded along the Overall Grade, and some with the O Levels grading system.

Express and Special stream students are graded along the Overall Grade grading system for the first 3 academic years in their secondary schools, and then graded along the O Levels grading system in their final secondary school year (year 4). Normal (Academic) students are graded for first 3 academic years and the N Levels year (year 4), and subsequently graded along the O Levels grading system in their final secondary school year (year 5). Normal (Technical) stream students are graded along the Overall Grade grading system throughout their entire education in secondary schools.

Non-academic subjects like Religious Knowledge, Civic & Moral Education and Music are graded with an alphabetical grading system of A, B, C or D.

Overall grade[edit]

  • A1: 75% and above
  • A2: 70% to 74%
  • B3: 65% to 69%
  • B4: 60% to 64%
  • C5: 55% to 59%
  • C6: 50% to 54%
  • D7: 45% to 49%
  • E8: 40% to 45%
  • F9: 39% and below

GPA and MSG[edit]

In some Secondary Schools, the Grade Point Average (GPA) grading system is used. The GPA is calculated by taking the Grade Point of each subject, adding them together, then dividing the total by the amount of subjects the student takes. This value is rounded to two decimal places, giving the student's GPA. A minimum GPA of 2.0 will usually be required for promotion.

For example, the GPA table for Raffles Girls' School and Raffles Institution (Secondary) is as follows:

Grade Percentage Grade point
A+ 80-100 4.0
A 70-79 3.6
B+ 65-69 3.2
B 60-64 2.8
C+ 55-59 2.4
C 50-54 2.0
D 45-49 1.6
E 40-44 1.2
F <40 0.8

The GPA table differs from school to school, with schools like Dunman High School excluding the grades "C+" and "B+" (meaning grades 50-59 are counted as Cs, and vice versa).

However, in other secondary schools like Hwa Chong Institution and Victoria School, a similar grading system called the Mean Subject Grade (MSG) is used. The MSG table is as follows:

Grade Percentage Grade point
A1 75-100 1
A2 70-74 2
B3 65-69 3
B4 60-64 4
C5 55-59 5
C6 50-54 6
D7 45-49 7
E8 40-44 8
F9 <40 9

The MSG is calculated by adding the points together and dividing the sum by the number of subjects. For example, if a student scored an A1 for math, B4 for English, and C6 for Chemistry, his MSG would be = .

This will be rounded to two decimal places, giving a final MSG of 3.67.

N(A) levels grades[edit]

  • 1: 75% and above
  • 2: 70% to 74%
  • 3: 65% to 69%
  • 4: 60% to 64%
  • 5: 50% to 59%
  • U: Below 50%, considered Un-graded, or failed. Considered 6 points.

N(T) levels grades[edit]

  • A: 75% and above
  • B: 70% to 74%
  • C: 60% to 69%
  • D: 50% to 59%
  • U: Below 50%, considered failed

O levels grades[edit]

  • A1: 75% and above
  • A2: 70% to 74%
  • B3: 69% to 65%
  • B4: 64% to 60%
  • C5: 59% to 55%
  • C6: 54% to 50%
  • D7: 49% to 45%
  • E8: 44% to 40%
  • F9: Below 40%
  • Grades D7, E8 and F9 are considered the failing grades. Students taking Mother Tongue Syllabus B may be awarded a Merit, a Pass, or an Ungraded grade.[1]

The results mainly depend on the bell curve.

Junior college level (GCE A and AO levels)[edit]

  • A: 70% and above
  • B: 60% to 69%
  • C: 55% to 59%
  • D: 50% to 54%
  • E: 45% to 49% (passing grade)
  • S: 40% to 44% (denotes standard is at AO level only), grade N in the British A Levels.
  • U: 39% and below

In addition, students offering Special Papers (offered for the last time in 2006) will be awarded either 1 (Distinction), 2 (Merit), or U (Unclassified). Grades 1 and 2 may only be awarded with a grade E and above in the main A level paper. Grade U will be awarded if a candidate fails to achieve at least a grade E in the main subject paper, and will not be reflected in the A level result certificate.

For students offering H3 Subjects (introduced for the first time in 2006), they will be awarded either Distinction, Merit, Pass or Ungraded.

Different JCs have different expectations and thus, the school reserves the discretion to moderate the marks when deemed necessary. For example, some JCs may regard 50% as the passing mark instead of 45% by others.

Note: AO level grades at Junior College level follows the O level system above.

All percentages with their corresponding grades shown here are just approximate guidelines because ultimately at the end of all major examinations (Primary School Leaving Examinations or PSLE in short, GCE N, O and A Levels) the Ministry of Education, Singapore, will moderate the results. Hence, an A grade for instance may no longer be at 70%. It could possibly be 68% or even 73% depending on the performance of the cohort. This is usually done to prevent grade inflation.

In addition, some schools are also offering the International Baccalaureate diploma program.

Polytechnic (diploma)[edit]

Note: Some polytechnics do not have grades such as AD with A being the highest grade such as Republic Polytechnic during 2007 to 2010.


  • AD: Distinction (Top 5% score in the subject for the cohort)
  • A: Excellent (>=80%)
  • B+: Very good (75%-79%)
  • B: Good (70%-74%)
  • C+: Above average (65%-69%)
  • C: Average (60%-64%)
  • D+: Pass (55%-59%)
  • D: Borderline pass (50%-54%)
  • F: Fail (<50%)

Grade point average

  • AD: 4.0
  • A: 4.0
  • B+: 3.5
  • B: 3.0
  • C+: 2.5
  • C: 2.0
  • D+: 1.5
  • D: 1.0
  • F: 0

For entrance into local public funded university, refer to the Indicative Grade Profile for each University. Generally, a good GPA is considered 3.5 and above and that does not guarantee that you will get the course that you want as certain popular courses requires extremely high GPA even as it may be considerable easier to study. Currently, only 8 percent of polytechnic students enter established local university like NUS, NTU and SMU. To cater for the increasing aspirations of polytechnic graduates, new Universities such as the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) have been established.

CCA was also taken into consideration for matriculation. However, from 2007 onwards, local universities have since scrapped the 5% CCA criteria. This means that polytechnic results would comprise 80% while the remaining 20% is made up of O Levels grade. Some secondary schools also use the Grade Point Average of the polytechnic Diploma system.