PSLE Primary Math Syllabus Changes to Look Out For in 2018

primary math syllabus

Certain changes would be made to the PSLE Mathematics syllabus requirements with effect from 2018. This means those who are in Primary 5 this year would be the first batch to be affected. The key changes (certain minor changes are not shown) are listed below.

Changes in Primary 3 Syllabus

Students will now have to learn how to construct parallel and perpendicular lines using a set square and a ruler (Ref 1). Previously, this was taught in Primary 4.

Ref 1


Changes in Primary 4 Syllabus

As stated, construction of parallel and perpendicular lines using a set square and a ruler would be shifted to the Primary 3 syllabus. Tessellations have been completely removed from the syllabus (Ref 2). Instead, students are expected to know how to draw rectangles and squares within a grid and manipulate the orientation of the shape (Ref 3). Multiplication of fractions to whole numbers has been shifted to Primary 5.

Ref 2


Ref 3



There are also changes in the PSLE Science Syllabus starting from 2017.

Changes in Primary 5 Syllabus

Students are no longer required to learn division of fractions in Primary 5. New additions include the calculation of rate (Ref 4), as well as drawing different perspectives of 3D solids against a dotted background (Ref 5).

Ref 4

If 3 men take 9 hours to complete a task, how many hours do 6 men take?

Ref 5


Changes in Primary 6 Syllabus

The change in syllabus does not affect the Primary 6 students this year. More updates might be released in 2018.

Changes in Presentation

Arrows – Percentages and Rate

Certain standards in the presentation of mathematical workings should be adhered to. They mainly involve the use of arrows vs equal signs.

Use arrows to express workings when doing questions involving percentage (Ref 6) and rate (Ref 7). Arrows are not allowed in other situations.

Ref 6: Percentage


Ref 7: Rate


Equal signs: Units

Use equal signs to express values when doing questions involving units (Ref 8). The word ‘unit’ must be spelt fully instead of using the letter ‘u’ as representation.

Ref 8: Units


Changes in Assessment Objectives

There is a shift in the assessment objectives to applied learning. The change will involve more real life examples.

Changes in Exam Format

There have only been minor changes made to the score breakdown of the math paper. Basically, the weight assigned to short answer questions of paper 1 has increased at the expense of paper 2 structured questions. The duration of each segment has also been altered correspondingly. The full score remains the same as shown in the table below.


Primary Math Syllabus Changes

It is crucial to take note of the changes detailed above. Your child will prepare better for the examinations if you guide them with these updates. In addition, your child will need to take note of the way they present workings so as not to lose any marks carelessly.


Do take note there are some changes to PSLE Science starting this year.

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