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Introduction to the AEIS Examinations

Over the years, Singapore has become an increasingly popular destination for expatriates, including their families, to settle down in. This acclimatization to the new environment may be tricky as their children would need to bridge the differences between their original education curriculum and the curriculum adopted in Singapore.

Thus, as according to the Ministry of Education (MOE), international students need to take the AEIS examinations to gauge their competencies in the local curriculum for primary and secondary schools in Singapore. Admission to a local primary or secondary school is dependent on the candidate’s performance in the AEIS examinations. Hence, the AEIS papers play a crucial part in a child’s educational transition and general development in the local education system. With these admissions in mind, it is also important to note that if the candidate is successful, school placements are dependent on the availability of vacancies and the candidates’ housing area.

In general, the AEIS consists of 2 components (English and Mathematics) to evaluate the candidate’s literacy, numeracy and reasoning capabilities. This will be further explored below.


AEIS Process

Source: MOE AEIS Process Outline


Common Obstacles Candidates Face During the AEIS Examinations

  1. English Literacy

With Singapore’s education system using English as its means of communication for all non-language subjects (Mathematics, Science, History and etc), it is essential that the potential student’s comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing skills and language use are up to standard. For candidates originating from non-English speaking countries where English may not be one’s first language, these expectations may be difficult to meet.


  1. Lack of Familiarity with the Method of Questioning

Question phraseology and the way questions are asked in Singapore may differ in presentation when compared to questions asked in the originating country. This may cause confusion to the candidate when they are unsure of the examiners’ expectations of their answers, resulting in wrong or poorly written answers.


  1. Unfamiliarity with the Syllabus and Curriculum

Both content and skills from the candidate’s particular age group will be tested according to the Singapore education system’s curriculum. When foreign candidates take the AEIS examinations, the tested curriculum may differ from one’s original curriculum, resulting in the candidates’ failure to recognise the topics being tested due to this lack of familiarity in content and skills.


Benefits of AEIS Tuition

  1. Strengthening of English Language Skills

A private home tutor will be able to engage with the candidate personally and create an encouraging environment for personalised teaching according to the pace and standard of the child, directing assistance to the child’s specific linguistic needs. In order to improve one’s English literacy skills, books, readings, exercise books and writings are key components to success in English comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing skills and language use as tested by MOE. Not only can an AEIS tutor teach these theoretical skills, skills of application through execution from speaking and communicating with the tutor can also help improve the candidate’s standard.


  1. Introduction to the Types of Questions Asked

With a lack of knowledge and familiarity of the types of questions to expect from Singapore’s curriculum during the AEIS examinations, an AEIS home tutor can introduce, practice and prepare the candidate for the examinations. This way, the candidates will not be taken by surprise and will be prepared to answer all types of questions.


  1. Strengthening Content Foundation

Not only will a private AEIS tutor introduce the curriculum content to the candidate, they are able to establish a strong foundation of the curriculum tested, allowing the child to do well beyond the AEIS examinations and be more prepared for school examinations if they are accepted in a local school. This introduction to the content rigour of the local education system allows the child to establish literacy, numeracy and reasoning abilities as tested for during the AEIS examinations.


Formats for the English AEIS Examinations

Generally, across all the English tests on the different levels, the AEIS tests the candidates’ comprehension skills, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing skills and language use. In order to do well in these areas, students need to ensure they are confident in both the breadth of questions asked and the quality of their own responses. Furthermore, given the need for speed, creativity and a holistic mastery of the English language, an AEIS home tutor can provide important assistance and guidance.


Primary 2/3 English Test 

Source: MOE AEIS Primary 2/3 English Test Format


Note: for the Primary 2/3 English Test, it is important to note that despite the test comprising of MCQ questions, the time limit of 1h is a short amount of time for a candidate to answer 34 questions. Thus, leaving no room for second thought, it is necessary that the child is well versed in the English language and is confident answering English questions quickly.


Primary 4/5 English Test

Source: MOE AEIS Primary 4/5 English Test Format


Note: to be completed in a single sitting that lasts for 2h, the Primary 4/5 English Test has a writing component in Part 1 that not only assesses writing skills and language use but also requires the child to embrace a creative mindset in order to expand on the topic well. In Part 2, more technical aspects of the child’s English literacy are tested.

Secondary English Test

Source: MOE AEIS Secondary English Test Format


Note: given 2h 10mins in a single sitting, the Secondary English Test comprehensively assesses the candidates’ writing skills and technical abilities in the English language. In order to do well in all areas, candidates are expected to be knowledgeable and master these aspects.


Formats for the Mathematics AEIS Examinations

In general, across the different levels of AEIS Mathematics tests, multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions and open-ended questions are the methods of questioning. Additionally, it is important for the candidate to know the local curriculum well and to master the content at the specific level they are attending the test for. Not only can an AEIS home tutor help in these content driven areas, they will also provide step by step guidance and teachings of mathematical processes which are graded in the working steps for short-answer questions and open-ended questions.


Primary 2/3 Mathematics Test

Source: MOE AEIS Primary 2/3 Mathematics Test Format


Note: given that calculators are not allowed and taking note of the short examination time period for the Primary 2/3 Mathematics Test, the candidate needs to be skilled in manual calculations and familiar with the content tested.

Primary 4/5 Mathematics Test

Source: MOE AEIS Primary 4/5 Mathematics Test Format


Note: without the use of calculators for the Primary 4/5 Mathematics Test, candidates need to be versed in long and complex manual calculations especially for the short-answer questions and open-ended questions where working steps are needed for grading.


Secondary Mathematics Test

Source: MOE AEIS Secondary Mathematics Test Format


Note: without the use of calculators for the Secondary Mathematics Test and a diverse number of items to attend to during the test, candidates need comprehensive knowledge of the content and require strong mathematical skills to calculate manually.