NUS High School of Math and Science
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|NUS High School of Mathematics and Science|
Sekolah Tinggi NUS bagi Matematik dan Sains
20 Clementi Avenue 1
|Motto||Experiment. Explore. Excel.|
|Established||1 January 2005|
|Principal||Ms Soh Lai Leng Magdalen|
|Student to teacher ratio||10:1|
|Houses||Nobel, Fleming, Faraday, Fibonacci|
|Affiliation||National University of Singapore|
The NUS (National University of Singapore) High School of Math and Science is a specialized independent high school in Singapore offering a six-year Integrated Programme (IP) leading to the NUS High School Diploma.
The school offers a highly accelerated mathematics and science curriculum integrated with language, arts, humanities, sports, in a modular system. Over 70% of its graduates have pursued Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine-related courses in University.
Though NUS High School is an Integrated Programme school, which allows students to bypass O-levels, it does not offer A-level or International Baccalaureate programmes, unlike other Integrated Programme schools in Singapore. Instead, it offers an NUS High School Diploma, which is recognized by all universities in Singapore, as well as top universities worldwide; its academic rigour is comparable to the above-mentioned qualifications.
The diploma's curriculum is based on a modular system similar to NUS, where core modules are compulsory, elective modules help deepen the student's knowledge and may be compulsory for a major in a particular subject, and enrichment modules are purely for the student's interests. The school uses the cumulative average point (CAP) system, a 5-point system similar to the grade point average used in the United States. This is unlike most other schools in Singapore, where subjects are graded according to the British GSCE System.
Most notably, the school's mathematics and science curriculums are accelerated. Topics are usually covered earlier than normal; for example, the mole is introduced in Year 2 rather than in Year 3, some kinematics in Year 1 and Year 2 instead of Year 5, and molecular biology and genetics in Year 4 instead of Year 6. Examples of accelerated curriculum on mathematics include sections on solutions of equations in Year 1 rather than in Year 3, three-dimensional vectors and matrices in Years 2 and 4 instead of Year 5.
The school also offers honours courses in the Specialization Stage for mathematical and scientific disciplines, to further stretch the abilities of able students beyond the already-accelerated curriculum. The curriculum in these honours courses usually covers university material, such as linear algebra in mathematics, calculus-based electromagnetism in physics, organic synthesis and spectroscopy in chemistry, and proteomics in biology.
Students are also exposed to humanities and the arts, where the flexible modular system allows for sampling across this discipline. Mother tongue is compulsory in the school, and complies with the Ministry of Education's guidelines and curriculum, and the English curriculum teaches students practical skills such as reading, writing, and public speaking.
To graduate with the NUS High School diploma, students must take mathematics and at least two science subjects (which includes computing studies as well) at the major (basic) level in the Advancement Stage. Students may also choose to take a fourth subject from any subject group (sciences, humanities & the arts), and take any math/science subject at the honours level. In addition, students must complete an Advanced Research Project under the school's Da Vinci Research Programme. Finally, students must have a CAP above 2.5 (C+). Students are also encouraged to take Advanced Placement and Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) examinations in their senior years for credits for admission into foreign universities, though these are not necessary for graduation.
To further develop talented students, NUS High School offers the following special academic programmes:
- Internationalisation Programme (exchange programmes with other math and science schools, Summer Academic Programmes)
- Einstein+ Programme (academic mentorship by NUS Professors, Olympiad training programme)
- Socrates Programme (for talented students in the humanities)
- Aesthetic Appreciation Programme
Exceptionally talented students are allowed to accelerate in their curriculum after being assessed, giving them an opportunity to take higher-level modules at an earlier year.
The rate of exception is relatively low, but increasing over time. For example, in 2013, from year 1 only three students accelerated above their level in math, 2 to year 2 and 1 to year 3. About a third of students finish the curriculum early and would go on to take NUS modules.
However, over the years, the rate of exceptions have been steadily increasing. In 2017, 10 students accelerated above their level in math, all to year 2, while in 2018, slightly more than 10 students accelerated in math to year 2, and 2 students even accelerated in math to year 3 that year. As of 2019, more than 15 students accelerated in Mathematics to year 2, with several intending to accelerate further to take Y4 Math in 2020. Over 10% of the first-year cohort accelerated in Mathematics in 2020.
All students must go through a research curriculum called the Da Vinci Programme, which is planned and managed by the Office of Research, Innovation and Enterprise. The program is structured as follows:
In Years 1 and 2, students participate in activities that stimulate creative thinking. They undergo rigorous training, accompanied by continual assessment, to simulate the hectic work life where one must often face challenges and trials.
In Years 3 and 4, students take part in Independent Research Studies, which are structured to give students flexibility in conducting research. Students are required to complete a Research Methodology module and are encouraged to work on a research project under the guidance of a teacher-mentor. Students are also able to participate in external research programmes at institutions of higher education.
In Years 5 and 6, students must embark on a capstone project, an Advanced Research Project in an area of Math or Science. Typically, a graduation research project will take nine to eighteen months to complete, depending on the research topic, and it usually comprises at least two weeks of full-time research. Research projects are generally mentored by full-time academics at leading research institutions, universities or polytechnics. All students showcase their research at the school's annual Research Congress held in March, where they receive grades of Distinction, Merit, Pass or Fail.
There are a total of 24 CCAs currently offered in the school, in four categories, performing arts, Clubs and Societies, Sports & Games, and Uniformed Groups. It is compulsory for every student to take part in a CCA. They may take part in 2 CCAs.
|Art Club||Clubs and Societies||Dissolved in 2018 due to it being a subject-based CCA|
|Astronomy Club||Clubs and Societies||Takes place after normal CCA hours, at around 8pm as the sky is then dark enough for stargazing.
Sessions usually last 3 hours. Meals not provided
|Badminton||Sports & Games||Boys only|
|Basketball||Sports & Games||Boys only|
|Chess Club||Clubs and Societies|
|Chinese Orchestra||Performing Arts|
|Dance Club||Performing Arts|
|Drama Club||Performing Arts|
|Football Club||Sports & Games||Boys only, Girls team dissolved|
|Gamelan Ensemble||Performing Arts||Dissolved in 2017|
|Gavel/Debate Club||Clubs and Societies|
|Infocomm Club||Clubs and Societies||Dissolved in 2017 due to it being a subject-based CCA|
|Journalism Club||Clubs and Societies|
|Media Club||Clubs and Societies|
|NCC Land||Uniformed Groups|
|Netball||Sports & Games||Girls only|
|Outdoor Adventure Club||Sports & Games||Year 5 & 6 only|
|Robotics Club||Clubs and Societies|
|School Orchestra||Performing Arts|
|St. John's Brigade||Uniformed Groups|
|Table Tennis||Sports & Games||Boys only|
|Tennis||Sports & Games||Boys only|
|Track & Field||Sports & Games|
|Water Sports||Sports & Games||Year 3 and above only|
|Youth Flying Club||Clubs and Societies|
Students are required to live in the NUS High Boarding School for the duration of their fifth year of study (Year 5). This arrangement is meant to train independence and, more pragmatically, facilitate work on the Advanced Research Project, which usually takes place in science laboratories close to school. This scheme also increases accessibility for students taking modules at the nearby National University of Singapore.
Campus facilities and features
The NUS High campus sits on 4.67 hectares of land off Clementi Ave 1, a few minutes walk from the outskirts of the National University of Singapore. The school shifted operations there from its holding site at the former Raffles Junior College at Mount Sinai Road where it had held classes in 2005. NUS High received an Honour Award from US-based DesignShare Awards programme for the innovative design of its affiliated NUS High School. The award is given to projects that exemplify "best practice innovation from around the world in designing for the future of learning".
The campus comprises 15 science laboratories, over eighty classrooms, a 700-seat auditorium, a 150-seat theatrette, and the NUS High School Residence (Boarding School), in 6 levels. Sports facilities include tennis courts, a 400 meter track, Netball and Basketball court.
The most notable of the school's facilities include a scanning electron microscope, which is housed in a science research lab called the "SEM room". Considering its high cost, it is rare for an institution of this size and level to have such a piece of equipment and as such it can only be accessed by teachers and students who are doing their research experiments. The school also has an observatory located on the roof of its Boarding School building that is often used by astronomy enthusiasts.
The school also has a Science Research Complex on the top floor. Six specialised research laboratories are located there (a life sciences lab, an analytical chemistry lab, a synthetic chemistry lab, an applied technology lab, a clean energy development lab and an infocomm technology lab). This is in addition to an IP video conferencing room, seminar rooms, and additional classrooms. The advanced facilities and scientific equipment, which are comparable to those available in universities, complement the 9 basic science laboratories located on the third floor (concourse) of the school.
In addition, the campus has many publicised facades like the DNA nucleotides, the Nano-Tube, pi wall, Math Walk, and the Periodic-Table. Other facilities include a field with a 400 m running track, one basketball court, two tennis courts, a netball court, a badminton court, a multi-purpose hall, environmental and eco-garden features, an exhibition concourse, a student lounge, five computer laboratories, a media resource room, and a library and canteen running alongside each other under the running track. The campus also has art and music studios and co-curricular activity rooms, as well as facilities for the disabled.
NUS High School Residence (Boarding School)
The campus includes a boarding school (NUS High School Residence) consisting of two blocks that can accommodate some 500 residents. Facilities include studying areas/rooms, library, gym, pantries, media rooms (TV and relaxation), multi-purpose function rooms and laundry rooms. The Residence is also open to scholars studying within or outside of the school and serves as the site for the school's boarding programme.
The formal attire consists of a white collared shirt, together with light green long trousers for male students or skorts for female students. This is worn together with the school tie and badge on Mondays, assemblies, public speeches, school functions, and any events where the students represent the school. Student Leaders, on special occasions or official school functions, as well as students who represent the school for any competition or events, may be required to don black blazers with the embroidered school logo on top of the formal attire.
The informal attire consists of a white collared polo T-shirt, together with either light green bermuda shorts or long trousers for male students, or skorts for female students. This is worn on days when students are not required to wear their formal attire. On Fridays, students can wear their house shirt instead of the polo shirt.
During Physical Education lessons, students wear their P.E. attire, a green tee with black shorts.
During Co-curricular activities (CCA), students wear their CCA T-shirts with school pants/skorts or PE shorts. Students in sports CCAs may wear their PE attire instead.
"Fun Friday" is a weekly event where students are encouraged to come in their House T-shirts or their CCA (Co-Curricular Activities) T-Shirts to show pride for their CCA (though not all CCAs have house T-Shirts) and their respective houses (Nobel, Fleming, Fibonacci, or Faraday)
During holidays or weekends, students can wear school-based attire, together with shorts/long trousers/skorts when going back to school for activities.
The symbol is made up of a test tube, symbolizing science, combined with 'π', symbolizing mathematics. A third element- the 'sparkle' shows the dynamism of bringing the two disciplines together and the creativity that is to be found in the school. The green colour symbolises growth and a nurturing environment, whilst the grey colour symbolises the solid base upon the institution is built.
The White-bellied sea eagle is localised mainly in Singapore, with it being featured on the Singapore $10,000 note bird series. It is the fastest bird in Singapore, which represents the school's fast-growing influence in math and science.
Affiliations to the National University of Singapore (NUS)
NUS Non-Graduating Programme
Only NUS High School students are eligible for the NUS Non-Graduating Programme. Under this programme, NUS High School students are allowed to read any NUS modules and courses from Faculty of Science (including Office of Life Sciences), Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Literature, History, Geography and Economics), and School of Computing, provided that students meet the minimum academic competency level as endorsed by a teacher.
Completed NUS modules are reflected in the student's transcript but are not included in the computation of their CAP. Should these students be admitted to NUS after graduation from the NUS High School, the module grade and module credit associated with the completed NUS modules can then be included in the computation of their NUS graduation degree/certification requirements and components. Students may also claim course credit for these modules at American universities.
The library at NUS High School is part of the NUS Library system. This avails the considerable loaning, catalog and transaction resources of NUS Libraries to NUS High School affiliates; NUS Teaching staff can request books located in any other NUS Library and have them transferred to the Library in NUS High School. All NUS High School students are able to obtain and have full electronic access to all journals available at NUSH Libraries.
- Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
- DSO National Laboratories
- Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA)
- Science Centre Singapore
- 2005 – 2007: Associate Professor Lai Yee Hing
- 2007 – 2015: Dr Hang Kim Hoo
- 2016 – 2019: Mrs Lee Bee Yann
- 2020 – Present: Ms Soh Lai Leng Magdalen
- 2005 – 2007: Mrs Jennifer Phang
- 2005 – 2006: Mr Lim Ee Tuo
- 2006 – 2011: Mr Suresh s/o Balakrishnan
- 2008 – 2018: Ms Lim Hui Wen
- 2010 – 2018: Mr Chang Weng Fatt
- 2011 – Present: Mr Goh Hock Leong
- 2018 – Present: Mr Clifton Koh Siew Boon
- 2019 – Present: Mrs Doreen Gan
School organised events
National Mathematical Olympiad of Singapore (NMOS)
The National Mathematical Olympiad of Singapore is a national mathematical olympiad competition organized by the school in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Singapore Mathematical Society. Through this competition, the school aims to test the pupils attending the test's interest for maths.
Singapore Primary Science Olympiad (SPSO)
The Singapore Primary Science Olympiad (SPSO) is an annual national competition which has been organized by the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science since 2009. This competition, which is open to Primary 5 pupils in Singapore, comprises the Theory round and the Practical round. Selected participants from the Theory round will be invited to the Practical round held on a later date.
NUS High School Annual Research Congress
The annual research congress organised by NUS High School Office of Research, Innovation and Enterprise is held in collaboration with the research programme (Da Vinci Programme). Every year, parents and guests from research organisations (Such as A*STAR, DSTA, DSO, NIE, NUS, etc.) are invited to this event where students' research works are showcased. The school also invites outstanding research projects from other Integrated Programme schools to be showcased alongside those of its own students, to promote collaboration and networking.
Singapore International Mathematics Challenge (SIMC)
SIMC is a mathematical modelling competition co-organised by the NUS High and the Ministry of Education (Singapore), held every two years. In addition to the competition for students, symposiums and workshops are held for participating teachers and principals. Mathematical talents from around the world visit NUS High School for one week in May to sit for a mathematical competition paper, and to showcase their results to a panel of judges.
Singapore Amazing Machine Competition
SAMC is a science competition jointly organised by the school, DSO National Laboratories, and the Science Centre Singapore. Teams construct a complex machine (the Amazing Machine) that performs a seemingly simple task in as many steps as possible. Teams will be judged on their creativity and the incorporation of scientific concepts in the machines.
Sustainable Development Youth Convention (SDYC)
The SDYC is a student-initiated event, running since 2009, which aims to raise awareness of social, economic, political and environmental issues revolving around the central theme of sustainable development. The three day convention brings together Secondary 2 to JC2 students across Singapore, providing a platform for students to raise their concerns and share their insights, as well as to foster cooperation among teams in reaching a resolution on these global issues. In 2019, SDYC committees included UNFPA, UNWTO, AU, USS, UNSC, UNCOPUOS and a Joint Cabinet Crisis Committee. This was complemented by a novel intra-conference press system where delegates role played as journalists from international news agencies. Participants will be exposed to and encouraged to ponder about the interplay between scientific developments and public policy. In 2019, an eminent diplomat, Mr Bilahari Kausikan, was invited as the Guest of Honor.
National Primary 4 Mathematics Carnival
In collaboration with MOE Gifted Education Programme Branch, the school organizes the annual Primary 4 Math Carnival. It aims to generate interest in mathematics amongst Primary school students. Around 2000 Primary 4 students from all primary schools around Singapore participate. The theme of the Carnival is “Math Alive!” where the use of mathematics in science and everyday life is highlighted. A Mathematics Project Competition is given to all schools who participate.
The school has a large Chinese majority, because Singapore's population is largely Chinese. The Primary School Leaving Examination scores of students admitted from primary school through the examination via the PSLE admission phase are mostly in the 260-285 range whereas those admitted through Direct School Admission have more varying PSLE scores, but still largely in the 270s range. There are also many foreign students, mostly from Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea or China from Year 3 as the school aims to have a 20% foreign enrollment.
Students are admitted to the school at Year 1 or Year 3 after a selection process comprising tests and group activities in which they are assessed for their understanding and passion in mathematics and the sciences. The school attracts the top 10% of Singapore's national cohort of primary school students. Annually, it receives around 2000 applications for 170 places from both local and international students for its Year 1 admissions. Competition for the 20 Year 3 places is equally strong with an acceptance rate of about 6%.
Pupils are assessed by one or more of the following indicators:
- Academic performance in school, particularly in Mathematics and Science
- Teachers’ recommendations on pupil's learning aptitude and academic potential
- Performance in activities during the Mathematics and Science Camp organized by the NUS High School
- Performance in admission test or interview
- Performance in Mathematics and Science competitions
- "NUS High School celebrates 10 years of math and science education". TODAYonline. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
- "Home". www.nushigh.edu.sg. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- "CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES". NUS HIGH. Nus High School of Math and Science. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
- "Science Centre hosts inaugural S'pore Amazing Machine Competition" (PDF). 4 July 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
- "Conference | SDYC | Sustainable Development Youth Convention | Model UN Conference". SDYC. Retrieved 2019-09-01.