How to Enrol in Local Primary Schools in Singapore for International Students?

Singapore, a bustling metropolis in Southeast Asia’s heart, has long been a beacon of educational excellence. Its public school curriculum, renowned for its rigour and holistic approach, attracts families from around the globe. But for international students, navigating the intricacies of the Singaporean education system can be a tad daunting.

The allure of Singapore’s local schools isn’t just about academic prowess. It’s about immersing oneself in a melting pot of cultures, gaining exposure to a blend of Eastern and Western philosophies, and preparing for a globalised world. However, enrolling in these esteemed institutions isn’t always straightforward. From understanding the significance of English proficiency to grappling with centralised admission tests, foreign students must contend with a myriad of requirements and challenges.

This guide aims to demystify the process, offering step-by-step insights into the world of Singapore Local School applications. Whether you’re a parent seeking the best for your child or a student eager to embark on an enriching educational journey, this guide is your compass, pointing you in the right direction.

The Significance of the Familiarity with English Language

Singapore is a testament to the harmonious blend of diverse cultures, and its lingua franca, English, plays a pivotal role in this unity. For students aspiring to study in Singapore’s local schools, a solid grasp of English isn’t just a recommendation—it’s a necessity.

Why is English So Crucial in Schools in Singapore?

English is more than just a subject in the curriculum; it’s the medium of instruction in schools in Singapore. This means that subjects like Mathematics, Science, and Humanities are all taught in English. Hence, a sound understanding of the language ensures that students can keep pace with lessons, participate actively in class discussions, and excel in their examinations.

The Centralised Admission Tests: An English Endeavour

One of the first hurdles international students might encounter is the centralised admission tests. Conducted predominantly in English, these tests assess a student’s proficiency in the language, ensuring they’re equipped to thrive in a Singaporean classroom environment.

Requirements and Eligibility Criteria to Enrol in Singapore Local Primary Schools for International Students

Starting with the 2023 intake, international students who want to join Singapore mainstream primary schools are to take a Cambridge English Qualification (CEQ) test, in place of the AEIS English test.

(A) The Cambridge English Qualifications (CEQ) Test 

Students must meet the required Cambridge English Scale (CES) score in their CEQ test in order to apply to take the AEIS Mathematics Test appropriate for their age.

(B) AEIS Mathematics Test

The AEIS, or Admissions Exercise for International Students, is a pivotal gateway for international students seeking admission to Singapore’s local primary and secondary schools. It’s a comprehensive examination designed to assess a student’s academic abilities and ensure they align with the standards expected by Singapore’s education system. To apply for primary schools, students who meet the CES score can apply for the AEIS Mathematics Test.

Navigating the Application Process for AEIS

The application for AEIS Mathematics Test is straightforward but demands meticulous attention to detail:

  1. Apply Online:
    -Start by filling out a quick online application form for local school admission.
  2. Upload Documents and Make Payment:
    -Easily upload the Cambridge English Qualifications (CEQ) result and necessary documents.
    -Make secure online payments to complete the process.
  3. Receive Entry Proof:
    Get an official Entry Proof from the Ministry of Education (MOE) once the documents are verified.
  4. Attend AEIS Mathematics Test:
    -Your child will take the AEIS Mathematics test in Singapore on the scheduled date.
    -Ensure readiness for this comprehensive exam aligned with Singapore’s education standards.

Other Details You Need to Know

Singapore’s education system, while globally acclaimed, comes with its unique set of protocols and requirements. Understanding these nuances is crucial for international students to ensure a smooth transition into the local academic landscape. Here’s a breakdown of some pivotal details you should be aware of:

Basic Mainstream Education Levels

Singapore’s education structure is methodically tiered:

  • Primary Education: Spanning six years, this foundational phase culminates in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
  • Secondary Education (4 years): Starting from 2024, local secondary schools in Singapore will no longer be streamed, and subject-based banding will be fully implemented in secondary schools. There will be three levels for each subject, namely G1 (General 1), G2 (General 2) and G3 (General 3). The levels are equivalent to the existing Normal Technical, Normal Academic and Express streams. Students will study subjects appropriate to their ability, and those entering secondary school in 2024 will be the first group of students to make use of the subject grouping system, and they will sit for the new examination system corresponding to the subject grouping system – the National Examination in 2027, with no distinction between N and O levels. Their transcripts will reflect the results of the G1/G2/G3 subjects they have taken, and they will be awarded the Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate.
  • IP Programme (6 years) – Certifications offered varies across schools (GCE A-Level, IB Diploma, NUS High School Diploma). Students’ next education level will be university.
  • Tertiary Education: Students may choose to enter Singapore Junior College, Polytechnic, Institute of Technology Education (ITE), private universities or apply directly to universities in other countries based on the results of the National Examinations.


ℹ️ Importance of being well-prepared for the CEQ and AEIS-Primary Mathematics Test 

  • To improve the chances of successful admissions, it’s strongly recommended to study the relevant content for the level preceding the one that they’re applying for or even engage a tutor to prepare for the tests.
  • Eg: Student who wishes to seek admission to Primary 3, he or she should be familiar with Primary 2 content.

    👉 Make an inquiry with us today to find out how we can customise a roadmap for you to achieve your goal. Or you can kickstart with our AEIS Practice Papers for a quick level check.


Immigration Requirements

Students need a Student’s Pass to study in the local schools unless they hold a Dependant’s Pass or Immigration Exemption Order. 

Vaccination Requirements

Health is paramount, and Singapore takes it seriously. International students must adhere to specific vaccination requirements, protecting them against certain diseases. It’s advisable to check the latest guidelines and get the necessary jabs before admission.

Caregiver’s Particulars

For younger international students, details of a local guardian or caregiver are mandatory. This individual, typically above 21 years of age, acts as a local point of contact and assumes responsibility for the student’s well-being.

Taking the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE)

The PSLE is a significant milestone in a student’s academic journey. International students in Primary 6 must sit for this examination to determine their placement in secondary schools.

Exemptions from Offering Mother Tongue Languages

While Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) like Chinese, Malay, or Tamil are integral to the curriculum, certain exemptions are available and will be considered case-by-case.

School Fees

It’s essential to be financially prepared. International students, not being Singaporean citizens, might encounter different fee structures. Checking with individual schools or the Ministry of Education for precise fee details is advisable.


🇸🇬 To sum up, while the allure of Singapore’s education system is undeniable, the finer details ensure a seamless academic experience. By acquainting yourself with these nuances, you’re not just preparing for school; you’re gearing up for a fulfilling and enriching educational journey in the heart of Asia.


Sprouts Lab: Your Trusted Education Partner in Singapore

Sprouts Lab: Your Trusted Education Partner in Singapore

A Spectrum of Services

From breaking the language barrier to guiding you through the complexities of applications to helping students pass CEQ and AEIS  tests, Sprouts Lab provides a comprehensive suite of services to support you and your child throughout the academic journey in Singapore.

Your Future Awaits!

The world of opportunities is vast, and with Sprouts Lab, you’re poised to seize them all. Whether you’re a parent seeking the best for your child or a student eager to carve a niche in the global arena, Sprouts Lab is your key to unlocking a brighter, more promising future. So, why wait? Reach out to Sprouts Lab today and embark on an educational journey that promises academic excellence and holistic growth. With Sprouts Lab by your side, the future isn’t just bright— it’s dazzling!

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