GEP may be a familiar term to those in Singapore, but do you actually know what the programme is about? Most people will know that GEP stands for the Gifted Education Programme, which are where some of the ‘brightest and smartest’ Singaporean students get streamed to as early as primary 4.
However, there are many details about the GEP that most people don’t know. For example, do you know what percentage of each cohort is in the GEP? Do you know what curriculum GEP students study? Well, if you’re a parent of a child who may be sitting for the GEP screening or selection test soon, you may want to know these details to make a better informed choice for your child.
GEP in Singapore
The history of GEP in Singapore dates back to 1984 when it was first set up. Initially, only those who scored amongst the top 0.25% in the selection tests were considered for the programme. Over the years, this percentage of eligible students has been expanded to allow the top 1% of students to join the GEP today.
This select group of students are sifted out using two rounds of tests, dubbed the Screening Test and Selection Test, which are based on verbal (English language) skills, mathematical skills, and spatial abilities.
Students who join the GEP will then be transferred to GEP schools, if their current school does not have the programme. GEP students in GEP schools will be sorted into GEP classes.
During the programme, GEP students will undergo a curriculum that is more rigorous and in-depth than the mainstream syllabus. Instead of textbooks, they make use of notes prepared by GEP teachers. Students also get the opportunity to embark on research projects, such as the Individualised Research Studies (IRS), Innovation Programme (IvP), or Future Problem-Solving (FPS).
What most parents want to know is how the selection process for GEP goes. Basically, there are two rounds of tests, starting with the Screening Test, then followed by the Selection Test.
Round 1 Screening Test: All primary 3 students, except those who opt out, will take the GEP Screening Test, which includes an English and Math paper. The top 10% will be invited to the 2nd round.
Round 2 Selection Test: The Selection Test comprises 2 General Ability papers. From here, the top 1% will be invited to join the GEP.