Academic Grading System

Singapore has categorized education system into various stages. These stages are:
  • Preschool
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Pre-University
  • University
With the exception of Preschool education, where no examination is being conducted, the other educational stages have their own examinations to judge student’s academic performance. Accordingly, grades are allocated. But since each educational stage has its own examination system, the grading system varies. The grading systems that are used at Primary, Secondary, Junior College and University levels are the most important to the education system.

Primary Level Grading System

Primary schools in Singapore earlier followed a grading system along an "Achievement Band". However, the system is discontinued and the grading system is followed on more favorable “Overall Grade" scheme. As per this scheme students are graded as follows:

Primary 3 to 4

 Grade Percentage
 Band 1  85% and above
 Band 2
 70% to 84%
 Band 3  50% to 69%
 Band 4  Below 50%

Primary 5 to 6 standard stream

 Grade  Percentage
 A*  91% and above
 A  75% to 90%
 B  60% to 74%
 C  50% to 59%
 D  35% to 49%
 E  20% to 34%
 U  Below 20%
Primary 5 to 6 foundation stream

 Grade  Percentage
 Grade 1
 85% and above
 Grade 2
 70% to 84%
 Grade 3
 50% to 69%
 Grade 4
 30% to 49%
 U  Below 30%

Secondary Level Grading System

At secondary level schools in Singapore various grading systems are used. However, majority of Secondary Schools follow the grading pattern of the Singapore-Cambridge GCE "O" level examination. Under this grading system, the highest achievable grade is A1 while F9 is considered to be the lowest one. Given below are the various forms of grading in Singapore secondary schools.

Singapore-Cambridge GCE "O" Level Examination

 Grade Percentage
 Grade Description
 A1  75% and above  Distinction
 A2  70% to 74%  Distinction
 B3  65% to 69%  Merit
 B4  60% to 64%  Merit
 C5  55% to 59%
 C6  50% to 54%  Credit
 D7  45% to 49%  Sub-Pass/Fail
 E8  40% to 44%  Fail
 F9  Below 40%  Fail


In some Secondary Schools in Singapore, Grade Point Average or as more commonly known as GPA is used for grading students in exams. It is calculated by adding the Grades obtained in all the subjects, and then dividing the sum by the number of subjects the student takes. The result is then rounded off to two decimal places to obtain the GPA. Generally, a minimum GPA of 2.0 is required for promotion.

The GPA usually differs from school to school. Following is the GPA table for Raffles Girls' School and Raffles Institution (Secondary):

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

Though GPA differs from school to school, but the difference is minor.

Normal (Academic) {NA} Levels Grades

 Grade  Percentage
 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.

Normal (Technical) {NT} Levels Grades

 Grade  Percentage
 A  70% and above
 B  65% to 69%
 C 60% to 64%
 D  50% to 59%
 U  Below 50%, considered Un-graded, or failed.

O Levels Grades

 Grade  Percentage
 A1  75% and above
 A2  70% to 74%
 B3  65% to 69%
 B4  60% to 64%
 C5  55% to 59%
 C6  50% to 54%
 45% to 49%
 E8  40% to 44%
 F9  Below 40%

The Grades D7, E8 and F9 are considered as the failing grades.
Students taking Mother Tongue Syllabus B may be awarded a Merit, a Pass, or an Ungraded grade.

Grading Method in Secondary Schools

Secondary schools in Singapore are the first educational institution in the country to implement “Overall Grade” grading system for academic subjects. The grading systems used in secondary schools vary from single grading system to mixed grading system.

The mixed grading system means that some of the subjects are of one grading system whereas the remaining subjects are of different grading system.

A point worth considering here is that Non-academic subjects like Religious Knowledge, Moral Education, and Music are graded as per the alphabetical grading system of A, B, C or D.

Junior College Level Grading System

 A  70% and above
 B  60% to 69%
 C  55% to 59%
 D  50% to 54%
 E  45% to 49% (passing grade)
 S  35% to 44% (denotes standard is at AO level only), grade N in the British A Levels.
 U  35% and below

In addition, students appearing in Special Papers (offered for the last time in 2006) are awarded either 1 (Distinction), 2 (Merit), or U (Unclassified).

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

Polytechnics Grading System

 Grade Description  Grade Point
 AD    Distinction (Top 5% score in the subject)  4.0
 A  80% and above  Excellent
 B  75% to 79%  Very good  3.5
 B  70% to 74%  Good  3.0
 C  65% to 69%  Above Average  2.5
 C  60% to 64%  Average  2.0
 D  55% to 59%
 Pass  1.5
 D  50% to 54%
 Borderline pass  1.0
 F  Less than 50%  Fail

For entrance into local university, the minimum GPA required is 3.5-3.8; however it varies from course to course. As for overseas university, the minimum GPA required is 2.0-3.0; the criterion is slightly lower than that of local university.

University Level Grading System

 Grade  Scale  Grade Description
 I  70% and above  First Class Honors
 II  65% to 69%  Second Class Honors, First Division
 II 60% to 64%  Second Class Honors, Second Division
 III  50% to 59%  Third Class Honors

Less than 50%

In Singapore varied Grading Systems are prevalent at different stages of education. Even at same stage, the Grading system may vary from stream to stream. This article provides an insight into different Grading Systems as applicable in Singapore Education System.
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