S'poreans share PSLE scores on Instagram to show that it doesn't define them

It's that time of the year again.

Fasiha Nazren| September 15, 12:35 PM

The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) written papers will officially start on Sept. 27.

This is the period where a lot of 12-year-olds will be buried deep in their revision books and cramming as much information they can because, to some of them, this national examination can be a pivotal and defining moment in their lives.

But is it really all that?

Life Beyond Grades initiative

Life Beyond Grades is an initiative started earlier this week by five parents - Tjin Lee, Dolores Au, Aarika Lee, Derek Ong and Charmaine Seah.

In a report by The Straits Timesthis movement stemmed from the concern with rising rates of depression in children and aims to bring about "a mindset shift away from the relentless pursuit of results".

To show their support for the #LifeBeyondGrades movement, the following local personalities shared their PSLE grades on Instagram.


Royston Tan, filmmaker

PSLE score: 168

At a young age, Tan's teacher told him that he would be a nobody if he didn't excel in his studies.

Years later, he directed critically-acclaimed feature film 881.

However, Tan stresses that it doesn't mean that studies aren't important:

"It does not mean that studying is not important. You just have to give your best in whatever you do and believe that the dots will connect in the future."


Joakim Gomez, radio deejay

PSLE score: 197

The Singapore Idol alumni was a go-getter even all the way back in secondary school, participating in various school activities.

He also never let his PSLE score of 197 define him but instead, had the courage to do his best:

"I’m not saying don’t study. I’m saying have the character to give whatever you do – whether studies or in life – your best."


Andie Chen, actor

PSLE score: 219

Chen cried for days after receiving his PSLE results.

As a 12-year-old, he felt that those results meant that he was a "mediocre human being that would never amount to anything".

But now as a father, he doesn't understand why he was so fixated on his results and just wants his children to be free and happy.

"I want them to understand that success comes in many forms and it should not be determined by anyone but yourself."


Ahmad Syarifullah, entrepreneur

PSLE score: 183

Better known as Syarif, the former member of Malay hip-hop group SleeQ shared that his PSLE score helped him to realise that numbers will never determine his failures, success and future.

If anything, he believes that in order to achieve his goals it had to start with him.

"If you're passionate about something, be hungry for it."


Jamie Yeo, radio deejay

PSLE score: 263

Scoring above 260 may have been an amazing feat for anyone.

But it didn't really matter for Yeo, who had to move to the U.S. by the end of her first year in secondary school.

To her, that was when her, "real education" began.

"Going to school there taught me the confidence to speak up and be heard. We were taught to question everything. Even the occasional racism taught me useful life lessons."


Top image from @syarif.ig, @joakimgomez and @filmr on Instagram