The Complete Guide to Direct School Admission (DSA)

Research contributed by Ng Chow Hui and Xue Quan.

For most children in Singapore, the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) is the first major academic milestone in their lives. It is also a huge source of stress and dissatisfaction for parents, especially those who know that their kids are intelligent and gifted – just not academically inclined. If you are looking for alternatives ways for your child to experience a holistic secondary school education that caters to his talents, the Direct School Admission programme is a route worth exploring.

What is the Direct School Admission Programme?

The Ministry of Education came up with the Direct School Admission programme in order to “provide students an opportunity to demonstrate a more diverse range of achievements and talents in seeking admission to a secondary school.” According to the MOE website:

DSA-Sec is an admission exercise to allow participating schools to select some P6 students for admission to Secondary 1 based on their achievements and talents before the PSLE results are released.

Common Questions about DSA

You mean we can get into top IP schools without going through PSLE?

No, life is not so easy (unfortunately). Your child will still need to take the PSLE and do well for it.

Then why would I want to go for DSA since it doesn’t exempt my child from the stress of taking the PSLE?

If your child has already secured admission to an IP school via direct school admission, the PSLE T-score requirement becomes lower. Instead of having to score 268 to get into School A, it could take just a score of 200 (the usual requirement) to get into School A after you’ve secured direct admission. Hence, the stress of taking the PSLE is effectively reduced!

Schools Participating in DSA

Much as DSA is a good opportunity to apply for entry into some of the purported “top” secondary schools or IP schools, the purpose of DSA is to allow children with specialized interests and abilities to further develop their talent in a conducive environment. Hence, parents should carefully go through the list of participating schools and try to enrol your child in the most suitable institution.


Free ebook: How your child can gain direct entry into IP schools even before taking the PSLEOur interns Ng Chow Hui and Xue Quan, who’ve been through the Integrated Programme at one of the top schools in Singapore, have written a complete guide on Direct School Admission. This free ebook discusses the pros and cons of entering an IP school, and includes tips such as 7 Strategies for a Highly Successful DSA Application.

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