Eligibility Phase

Returning Singaporean children who have lived and studied overseas and do not have a place in a local school are eligible to participate in the Supplementary Placement Exercise (SPE) for admission to Secondary 1, 2 and 3 in the following academic year. RS children who have secondary school places reserved under the Leave of Absence (LOA) scheme can approach their former secondary school for re-admission. There is no need for these RS to take part in SPE.

If your child has sat for the 2018 SPERS-Sec tests on 19 September 2018, he/she is not eligible to take part in the SPE. Otherwise, you may apply for your child to sit for the SPE tests at the level appropriate for his/her age cohort, based on the permissible age range below.

Level of Admission

Permissible Age Range (as at 1 Jan of the year of admission)

Sec 1

12 to 16+

Sec 2

13 to 17+

Sec 3

14 to 18+

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. All applications are subject to approval. 


Application Process

Key Events and Dates


Key Dates

Application for SPE

2 Oct 2018 – 28 Nov 2018

Conduct of SPE Tests

11 Dec 2018



Fees (Inclusive of GST)

Singapore Citizens

Waived for first application*

(*An administrative fee of $12 is applicable)

Singapore Permanent Residents


SPE fees for subsequent applications for Singapore Citizen is S$125. Fees are non-refundable and you are advised to consider your child’s availability for the exercise before applying. Applicants may make payment via one of the following modes.

Payment Mode


Debit/Credit Card

Applicants can enter your debit/credit card details online as part of the online application process.

Cash / NETS

Applicants can make payment in person at MOE’s Customer Service Centre.

SPE Tests

You will receive an official notification from the Singapore Examinations & Assessment Board (SEAB) if your application is approved. The official notification will include your child’s SPE Entry Proof (with Index Number, timetable for the tests, test venue) and instructions for your child.

The SPE tests, comprising English and Mathematics, will be conducted on 11 December 2018 (Tuesday). Your child has to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the tests and be seated at his/her assigned desk at least 15 minutes before the tests’ commencement.

The timetable for the tests is appended below:

Level Mathematics English
Start Time Duration Start Time Duration
Sec 1 09:00 2 hr 15 min 14:00 2 hr 10 min
Sec 2 09:00 2 hr 15 min 14:00 2 hr 10 min
Sec 3 09:00 2 hr 15 min 14:00 2 hr 10 min

Preparing for the SPE Tests

You child will sit for English and Mathematics tests to determine the schools he/she would be eligible for. The tests include non-content-based questions that assess your child's English literacy, numeracy and general reasoning skills, which will more holistically assess applicants who have attended overseas schools with curricula different from Singapore's. 

Your child needs to know and be familiar with the Singapore syllabus of the subject at the level preceding the SPE tests. For example, if your child is seeking admission into Secondary 2, he/she will be assessed on the topics covered in Singapore schools in Secondary 1. If your child is seeking admission into Secondary 1, he/she will be assessed on topics in Primary 6. You may refer to the following Subject Syllabuses website for more information about the subject syllabuses.

SPE Schedule


Events for Applicants


2 Oct - 28 Nov 2018

Application for SPE tests

Online application and submission of payment

By 4 Dec 2018

Receive entry proof


11 Dec 2018

Sit for SPE tests

In person

15 Jan 2019

Receive eligible school list


16 Jan - 18 Jan 2019

Submit school options

Online submission

31 Jan 2019 (Tentative)

Release of posting results — Sec 1 - 3

View results online

1 Feb - 15 Feb 2019

Report to posted school

In person

Information on Tests

English Test

The English test comprises two parts. Your child will be given 2 hours and 10 minutes to complete it.

  • Part 1: Writing

Two topics are set for Secondary 1, and four topics are set for Secondary 2 and Secondary 3. Your child has to choose one topic and write a composition on it. The word limits for the different academic level are as follows:

  • Secondary 1: 200 – 300 words
  • Secondary 2: 250 – 350 words
  • Secondary 3: 300 – 400 words
  • Part 2: Comprehension and Language Use
  • Compulsory Multiple-Choice Questions
    • Comprehension (based on two passages) – 15 items
    • Comprehension Cloze (based on two passages) – 15 items
    • Vocabulary – 10 items
    • Grammar – 10 items

Mathematics Test

The Mathematics test comprises two parts. Your child will be given 30 minutes to complete Part 1, and 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete Part 2. He/she will not be allowed to use a calculator.

Format Items
Part 1 Multiple-Choice Questions 34 items
Part 2 Short-answer Questions 20 items
Open-ended Questions 10 to 15 items

For both short-answer and open-ended questions, your child has to show the method of solution (working steps) clearly and write the answer in the space provided. Generally, open-ended questions require longer and/or more complex method of solution as compared to short-answer questions.

Use of Optical Answer Sheet (OAS)

For multiple-choice questions, your child is required to use a pencil to shade the answers on the Optical Answer Sheet (OAS) provided together with the papers. You may click on the image below for a sample of the OAS and instructions on the use of the OAS.