Direct School Admissions (DSA) Preparation Course for Primary 5 students starting soon – Register today!

DSA Preparation Course – 10 Weeks

Direct School Admissions (DSA-SEC) – Overview

We offer a holistic DSA preparation for Primary 5 students with a focus on Integrated Programme schools (IP), Specialised Independent Schools (SIS), Express, and International schools. This course is developed to include a wide range of activities that will prepare students for the DSA selection process in the following talent areas:

  • Sports and games
  • Infocomm and Innovation
  • Debate and public speaking
  • Science, Mathematics, and Engineering (STEM, STEAM)
  • Languages and humanities
  • Leadership (for example, prefects)

This course is conducted by our founder, Jackeline Carter who has 12 years of experience coaching students successfully through the DSA-SEC selection process for IP, SIS, Express, and the 3 International schools- SJI International, ACS International, and Hwa Chong International. As an expert in communication skills, she has extensive experience training students to perform at their best during the selection trials and interviews. This course will cover the following areas and more:

  • Matching talent to schools and domains
  • Best practices for submitting online applications
  • Presentation skills
  • Impromptu speaking 
  • Group discussions
  • Problem-solving activities
  • Viewpoint essay writing
  • Creative Portfolio
  • Interview etiquette
  • Mock interviews

Jackeline Carter is the author of ‘Success Strategies for Direct School Admissions (DSA)’. One of the first books on DSA which was published in 2014, provides an easy-to-understand guide to preparing for DSA-SEC. Although this book is no longer in print, the updated version of the book will be given to students who enroll in the 10-week DSA Preparation Course.

Post-Course Materials and Support

  • Individualised feedback based on the participant’s performance during the course.
  • Guidelines and Interview list specific to school(s) and domain(s) selected by the student
  • Video recordings of student’s participation in the various activities including mock interviews
  • On-going support via email to parents and students if needed until the completion of the DSA selection process

For more information about our programmes or updates on vacancies, please email info@jcartercentre.com. You may also contact us at 67372700 during centre opening hours.

J Carter Centre for Public Speaking – March 2022 Workshops


DSA-SEC(Pri 6) Portfolio Workshop  (Zoom online)

This workshop will teach students techniques to prepare effective portfolios to highlight their strengths and achievements to school admission officers. The workshop will focus on different approaches which students can use to increase their chances of getting shortlisted for an interview during the DSA selection process. This workshop is catered to Primary 6 students attempting DSA in 2022.

The workshop will cover the following areas and more: 

  • Preparing a standard portfolio (Hardcopy)
  • Preparing creative portfolios (soft copy/online) 
  • How to highlight achievements on DSA application form using google suite

The methods taught in this workshop will be suitable for students applying to most domains except visual arts.

For the March school holidays, we will be offering the Portfolio Workshop only. Interview coaching workshops will be offered during the June holidays. All workshops will be conducted online using Zoom conferencing software. The details of the  workshops are listed below:

DSA Portfolio

  • Run 1 – 16 March 2022 – 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Run 2 – 18 March 2022 – 2 pm – 5 pm

Fee: $158
Reg: $40 (new student only)

PSLE Oral Examination Preparation Workshop (Zoom Online)

In these workshops, we share our proven oral techniques that have helped many students ace this challenging exam. The workshop will help your child improve their ability to read expressively and converse knowledgeably. Each workshop will focus on 2 themes commonly tested during Primary 6 Prelim and PSLE. There are a total of 4 different workshops that will cover 8 themes. The workshops do not need to be taken in sequence as each workshop will cover the oral techniques required to do well in this examination. Students can choose to register for all 4 different workshops to be fully prepared for the oral examination.

The workshops will offer the following benefits to the learner: 

  • Develop opinions while expressing them in a confident and succinct manner using good phrases and proper sentence structure.
  • Learn essential reading techniques using our special PAFER(P) method to deliver a well-paced, fluent reading of a passage.

The themes covered in the workshops are as follows:

  • Workshop 1 – Values, Personal/Family themes
  • Workshop 2 – Community-related, National issues themes
  • Workshop 3 – School related, Activities themes
  • Workshop 4 – Travelling/Transportation, Financial themes

For the March school holidays, we will be offering Workshop 1 only – Values, Personal/Family themes. The rest will be offered during the June holidays. All workshops will be conducted online using Zoom conferencing software. The details are listed below:

Workshop 1 – Values, Personal/Family

  • Run 1 – 16-18 March 2022 – 10 am to 1 pm
  • Run 2 – 16-18 March 2022 – 2 pm – 5 pm

Fee: $498
Reg: $40 (new student only)

Contact Information

If you have any questions or would like to register for the workshops, you may call 67372700 during centre hours or email: info@jcartercentre.com

Opening Hours
Wed – Fri: 3 pm – 7 pm
Sat & Sun: 10 am-4 pm   

Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and public holidays

DSA is the Abbreviation for …?


Everything you wanted to know about DSA but didn’t know what to ask.

The New Year has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Our children are back in school and this year more than 39 000 students will attempt the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in 2019. The race is heating up and parents and students have already begun the preparation. In fact, many of our own students started preparing during the second half of Primary 5 last year!

Why the rush some of you may wonder? Well for one, the PSLE results in 2018 turned out to be very good overall with many students achieving a high T-score. As a result, the same old rumour has already begun circulating.

You know the one where students claim that a school teacher or a tuition teacher say that PSLE is going to be more difficult in 2019 as MOE is going to set the paper at a higher level to reduce the number of high T-scores!

This may also explain why our June P5/P6 Oral Exam Workshops are already full and I have had to open up more workshops for June!

At this point, you may be wondering why I brought this up and how it concerns DSA 2019. Well, if parents and students are panicking over PSLE so early in the year, it is a premonition that the number of students who will attempt DSA this year is going to be even greater than last year. Couple with the new changes to the DSA registration process where it will be easier to submit an application and there will be no cost involved, competition is going to be tough.

So let me go ahead and answer some of the questions parents who are unfamiliar with DSA are constantly asking.

  • What does DSA stand for?

DSA is an abbreviation for Direct School Admissions and in the context of this article, I am referring to Direct School Admissions to Secondary 1.

  • When did Singapore introduce DSA?

Direct School Admission (DSA) is a program introduced in 2004 for students who are studying Primary 6 to be guaranteed a place in a secondary school. All secondary schools in Singapore are allowed to offer DSA. This includes Normal Academics, Express, IP and SIS schools.

  • Why are schools allowed to offer this option for admission?

MOE wants to allow secondary schools more autonomy in choosing their own students instead of accepting just students who have achieved the required T-score through PSLE. Students who participate in the DSA selection process may receive a “Confirmed Offer”, “Waiting List” or “Rejected” as an outcome. Students will be ranked base on their performance during the series of testing held by the school. “Testing” may involve, trials, auditions, half-day selection camps, written tests, and interviews. Schools are not required to give a reason why they “Waitlist” or “Reject” a student.

  • How does DSA works?

The first few number of students in the ranking determined by the school are given a confirmed offer. The student will then receive a School Preference Form from their primary school. The form will include the DSA-Sec Pin for you to log in online to submit your child’s preferences. This takes place in late October after PSLE. Once the form is submitted, your child will not participate in Secondary 1 Posting Exercise. However, eligibility will still be based on the T-Score achieved during PSLE. For SIS, IP and Express schools, students have to attain the lowest academic score to qualify for Express stream. For schools offering Normal (Academic), they have to attain the lowest score to qualify for Normal (Academic) and for schools that offer Normal (Technical), they have to attain the lowest score to qualify for Normal (Technical). If students do not achieve the minimum require scores they will lose the DSA offer and they will be returned to the Secondary 1 Posting exercise.

  • How do I apply for DSA?

From 2019, students and parents will submit their applications via a common online portal. All schools will have the same application timeline and applicants only need to fill in one online form for multiple schools. The details provided will be sent electronically to the schools selected. Certificates, transcripts or testimonial will no longer be required and only Primary 5 and Primary 6 academic results, CCA, and school-based achievements/awards will be entered into the online application. Application will be free-of-charge and can be made by logging in with a parent’s SingPass. Parents without SingPass can approach their child’s primary school for help. (SOTA and Sports School will not be participating in the online portal and applications will have to be made directly to the schools.)

  • How many schools can I apply to?

Each applicant can choose up to three schools and three talent areas in their DSA-Sec application. For students with multiple talents, there is flexibility for them to use up to two choices to apply for two different talent areas from the same school.

  • Please provide examples of DSA-SEC choice combination.

Example 1

The applicant can apply to three different schools, with no restrictions on the talent areas.

Choice (unranked) DSA school choice DSA talent area
1. School A Art
2. School B Art
3. School C Art

Example 2

The applicant can apply to only two talent areas from the same school. He will still be able to apply to another school and talent area if he wishes to.

Choice (unranked) DSA school choice DSA talent area
1. School A Art
2. School A Tennis
3. School B Art

Example 3

If the applicant only wishes to apply to one school, he can apply to two talent areas from that school and leave choice (3) blank.

Choice (unranked) DSA school choice DSA talent area
1. School A Art
2. School A Tennis
3. Blank Blank
  • What are the changes to DSA in 2019?

All secondary schools can now admit up to 20% of their non-Integrated Programme (non-IP) Secondary 1 intake via DSA-Sec. IP schools are advised to take in 30-35% via DSA. SIS schools will take in 100% of their cohorts via DSA. (SIS schools are NUSH, SST, SOTA, and Sports School).

MOE will now work with schools to refine the selection process and even co-develop a set of selection principles to support schools in selecting the students’ with potential. This means MOE is now controlling the DSA selection and not leaving it solely to the schools. However, this does not apply to SIS schools who will retain full control of the selection process.

All schools have discontinued the General Ability Test (GAT) and High Ability Selection Test (HAST), but this does not mean that the schools are not allowed to administer their own academic tests to replace these National Tests.

  • Whose eligible to apply through DSA?

It varies for every school as each school will choose their own DSA domains. However, the domains will fall into one of these criteria and students need to show a strong ability in one or two of the criteria:

Sports and games,
Visual, literary and performing arts,
Debate and public speaking,
Science, mathematics & engineering,
Languages and humanities,
Uniformed groups,
Leadership (e.g. prefects).

  • How long does the whole process take?

Preparation, application and the actual selection will take place from January to July and sometimes even to August of Primary 6 year when the results will be released.

  • Can I reject a DSA offer?

Yes, you can. Just do not submit the Preference form in October of Primary 6 year. If you have already done so, just log into the online portal and edit your submission before November dateline. Your child will then return to Secondary 1 Posting Exercise.

  • Why should my child attempt DSA?

DSA selection process is a good experience if your child prepares well for it and has a positive mind-set going through the process. This will not be the only selection process your child will undergo during their long academic career and every opportunity to participate in such a process will allow your child to gain the experience needed to do better in the future. If your child does not get a “Confirm Offer”, it is also a good opportunity to reflect on what could have been done differently and to not repeat the same mistakes in future selection processes. Such experiences are life skills that our children need to learn. It also includes handling disappointments and failures positively.

On the other hand, if your child chooses an SIS school, this is the only route available so there’s no choice in the matter. As for IP schools, the requirement for an extremely high T-score means that attempting DSA may be the only option to get into the schools unless your child is an extremely High Achiever academically and will certainly attain the high T-scores required.

Finally, students who managed to gain a place via DSA tend to be more relax during PSLE and end up achieving better than expected T-scores. The knowledge of having secured a place in a secondary school puts your child in a better frame of mind during PSLE which in turn allows them to perform better.

  • Where can I get more information about DSA?

You can check out this MOE website by clicking here or drop me a “Comment” and I will try to answer your questions.

  • I think I want my child to attempt DSA. Is there any preparation course I can send my child to?

I am glad you asked this question. I have been preparing students for DSA since 2010 and I have a very good and effective DSA Preparation Course which you can sign your child up for. Click here for more information about my course.  The 8-STEPS system I have developed to help your child excel during the DSA selection process will allow your child to master the strategies needed to get a Confirm Offer.  He or she will be able to display an incredible performance by being able to think, say and do what is necessary in front of the interviewers.

I hope that this extremely long blog entry has answered most of your questions about DSA. Whether you decide to attempt DSA or not, don’t wait till the last minute to make your decision. Every day that passes is one day less you’ll have to get your child ready for DSA.

To your success in DSA,
Jackeline Carter

Communication Skills and DSA Success Expert
Founder of J Carter Centre for Public Speaking PL
10 years in the business of inspiring students

Our DSA Successes