PSLE results: Singaporeans share why their scores don't define them

Reta Lee
·Editor-in-Chief, Lifestyle
·5-min read

SINGAPORE – The 2020 PSLE results were just released last week. We’ve all been there; letting our nerves get the best of us and thinking that our Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scores would determine the outcome of our life. It’s important to remember that the PSLE result will not determine your future happiness.

We get that PSLE is an important exam to grade students and check how well students have grasped subjects in primary school before moving on to the next step, but don’t despair if the results did not live up to your expectations.

These determined individuals in Singapore shared with Yahoo Lifestyle SEA their PSLE scores, thoughts and advice on overcoming obstacles.

Benjamin Tan, founder of entertainment company B Events Network

PSLE score: 243

“I was a psych major in NUS and was planning on going into special ed due to my work with special needs children,” said Tan. “During my time as a resident in NUS Kent Ridge Hall, I was also heavily involved in Dance & Competitive Cheerleading. In my third year, after directing and producing my own original dance production, I decided to drop my Honours’ year and graduate from NUS, going into showbiz and entertainment.”

Tan’s first job was on a movie set for Jack Neo’s The Lion Men, where he choreographed the cheer and dance scenes. He went on to develop his own entertainment company in 2018 and has since worked on national events such as National Day Parades and Singapore Formula 1.

Working hard and networking pays off, we must say.

Bryan Goh, fashion editor

PSLE score: 209

“I scored 209, but I didn’t think it was the end of the world owing to the fact that I knew from a young age that I was never the academic type,” said Goh. “And perhaps I recognised too, at the age of 12, that the upper-middle-class life I lived could mean that my future was not dependent on an education.

But the great thing about working in fashion is, while it is very true that it’s easier to last in the industry if you’re middle class and above, you’re only as good as the last interview you did, story you wrote, or a fashion spread you’ve styled. It’s quite democratic in its little insular way. I do take it into consideration when I hire people; I’d rather one have an open mind and a cultured view of the world than education.”

Goh worked on Her World magazine before moving on to Men’s Folio, where he continues to write and style celebrities and personalities.

(PHOTO: Dominic Tan)
(PHOTO: Dominic Tan)

Dominic Tan, founder of Ajumma Restaurant

PSLE score: 233

“Your PSLE score is only secondary to more important factors that will impact your future, both personal and professional: optimism, hard work, empathy and a bit of luck will get you where you want to be!” said Tan.

With a storied background in classical music, Tan was initially all set to head over to the United Kingdom to pursue further studies in music, but changed his mind during National Service. Instead, he spent a year experimenting with concepts before finally setting up the first Ajumma’s outlet at Cathay.

Founder Ashly Lou of Yoga Inc. (PHOTO: Yoga Inc.)
Founder Ashly Lou of Yoga Inc. (PHOTO: Yoga Inc.)

Ashly Lou, founder of Yoga Inc. studios

PSLE score: 225

“I ended up choosing a neighbourhood school nearest to my home anyway, so [the results] didn’t really matter,” said Lou.

“I didn’t even think my degree with NUS affected my career growth at all.”

Lou worked as a flight attendant before pumping her own savings into opening several yoga studios.

Chef Sujatha Asokan (PHOTO: Botanico at The Garage)
Chef Sujatha Asokan (PHOTO: Botanico at The Garage)

Chef Sujatha Asokan

PSLE score: 230

“I remember not being very concerned about the score when I took the exam – although I did well enough,” said Sujatha. “Then and now, I believed that it would never limit what I could do. Ultimately, what mattered most to me was that I could pursue my interests. Of course, it helped that my parents were also quite relaxed and supportive! Keep pushing on with your goals in mind, and it will take you so much further than a ‘good’ PSLE score will.”

Larry Yeo, beauty educator

PSLE score: 209

“Obtaining a PSLE score is the first step to enrolling in a better school and yes, it gives you a good step ahead in life – that we cannot deny,” said Yeo. “But what is the point of a good school if you do not have support and love from your parents/family?

Besides, at PSLE stage, it is too early to mould your thoughts on what you can do in the future. Not all of us are good in taking information wholesale and regurgitating for national exams.”

During his early growing years, Yeo mentioned that his family told him to put more effort into studying, and "be less talkative. "Even in secondary school, teachers told students in his art stream class to try and "pass with three O levels."

Yeo went on to study Biotechnology in Singapore Poly and in 2012 he returned to SP again to continue his studies and graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Cosmetic Science.

Today, he is known as a skilled make-up artist who shares about beauty information in the industry.

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