What is SPERS


SPERS is an acronym for The School Placement Exercise for Returning Singaporeans. It is a centralised placement exercise which takes place annually mostly at the end of the year for Returning Singaporeans (RS).

Due to the Covid-19, situation, there are over 200,000 Singaporeans who have return home. Amongst these Singaporeans, many are back with their children and looking to return permanently to Singapore.

At The Learning Space, we have received an overwhelming number of enquiries from parents, particularly from Hong Kong and China – Beijing, Shanghai asking for SPERS tuition for their children immediately. In view of that, we would like to share some quick tips on SPERS.

Who can sign up for SPERS?

Children of Singaporean parents working abroad can look forward to easier re-entry into the mainstream school system for their children when they return to Singapore.

Returning children of Singaporean parents will only need to sit for one set of centralised SPERS tests for school admission,” said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on their website.

There are generally two main SPERS admission tests. SPERS-SEC which is designed for those who wish to enter a secondary school at Sec One or Sec Three. Your child cannot re-join a secondary school at Sec 4 or JC/Pre-U 2 as these years are national examination year. The School Placement Exercise for Returning Singaporeans (SPERS-SEC) for Sec One allows your child to seek entrance to a secondary school without taking the PSLE. Older children generally around 14 or 15 years of age, can take the entry admission for Sec 3. SPERS-JC/MI designed for students usually 16 who are looking to enter Pre-University (JC or MI).


What are the dates for SPERS 2020?


The SPERS-Sec tests are conducted within 1 day and will be held around mid-September.

Your child has to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the tests and sit at your assigned desks at least 15 minutes before the tests begin.

What will be tested? Two core subjects, English and Math,

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

Part 1: Writing

2 topics are set for Secondary 1, while 4 topics are set for Secondary 2 and Secondary 3.

Your child has to choose 1 topic for composition writing. The word limits for the different academic level are as follows:

  • Secondary 1: 200 to 300 words
  • Secondary 2: 250 to 350 words
  • Secondary 3: 300 to 400 words

Part 2: Comprehension and language use

Compulsory multiple-choice questions

  • Comprehension (based on 2 passages): 15 items
  • Comprehension cloze (based on 2 passages): 15 items
  • Vocabulary: 10 items
  • Grammar: 10 items

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


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, writing their answers in the spaces provided.

Generally, open-ended questions require longer and more complex method of solutions as compared to short-answer questions.

For SPERS-JC/MI, your child will be tested on English and Math, he or she will need to be familiar with the O’levels requirement, although the paper format differs slightly. Your child will be tested on three parts, a General Ability Test, English and Mathematics.

Test 1: The general ability test assesses your child’s general reasoning ability.

You child will be provided with all the information they need to respond to the test questions, and clear instructions will also be provided. 


The duration of the paper, including instruction and familiarization, is 45 minutes.

Test 2: English

The English test comprises two parts:

Part 1: Writing (1 hr 50 min)

  • Section A: Editing.
  • Section B: Situational writing.
  • Section C: Continuous writing.

Part 2: Comprehension (1 hr 50 min)

  • 3 visual texts and comprehension passages, including comprehension, vocabulary and summary sections.

Test 3:

The Mathematics test comprises 2 sections. Your child will only be assessed on Elementary Mathematics and will be given 2 hours to complete the paper.

Section A

  • Short answer questions (no options) – To test on fundamental skills and concepts.

Section B

  • Problem-sum questions (no options) – To test on higher order thinking skills.

To help you get started, our team of former MOE Teachers and professional tutors are ready to help you and your children for any enquiries on SPERS Tuition. You can start having tuition online or when you return to Singapore.


1 thought on “What is SPERS and how can you prepare your child for the exam?

  1. Mr Derek Tay says:

    Thanks for the useful information. I emailed you an urgent.request for math tuition for my child. We would like to start immediately. Please respond.

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