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DSA Interviews: How to Set Your Child Up for Success


What are ‘DSA interviews’ in Primary School?

They are interviews that your child goes through during the Direct School Admissions (DSA) for their secondary school admission process. Usually, it is done before Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE).

It allows your child to enter their desired secondary school based on accomplishments that are not reflected in academic results. But much weighs on this one interview since it decides your child’s future, so here are some ways you can set your child up for success!

Include Areas Outside Your Child’s Talent Area


Although your child is applying for DSA using their talent area, it is good to talk about skills or experience in other areas like volunteer work, hobbies and leadership.

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This gives the interviewer a better idea of your child’s personality, values and strengths. You can compile your child’s experience into a portfolio which they can show to their interviewers during the interview too!

Look Up Possible Questions and Help Prepare for Them

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In the days leading up to your child’s DSA interview, look up possible questions and help your child prepare answers to them. This makes them more confident and prepared for questions meant to put them on the spot.

Here are some common questions asked in a DSA interview:

1. “Why did you choose this particular school?”
2. “Have you applied anywhere else?”
3. “If you get accepted in both places, which one would you choose?”
4. “What are your goals in life, and how do you think this school will help you towards it?”
5. “What can you contribute to this school if you’re accepted?”

Teach Your Child to Organise Their Thoughts


Children often struggle with interviews because they’re unable to organise their thoughts properly. This makes their answers very unsure, redundant and sometimes irrelevant.

This is why teaching your child to organise their thoughts properly is important. Here are some ways you can do that:

1. Engage in active conversations with them
2. Ask them to present their views on various topics to you every day
3. Get them to write out lists if they have difficulty organising their thoughts.

Conduct Mock Interviews


The best way to ensure a successful interview is by practising, so conduct mock interviews with your child! Just prepare a few questions and pretend to be their interviewer.

This lets them get used to the pressure, the environment and the questions, making them less prone to anxiety during the actual interview.

If you don’t have time to conduct mock interviews with your child, you can ask friends and other family members for help, or you can even search online for educational sites that conduct mock interviews.

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Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Them


Going for their first DSA interview can be extremely stressful for your child, so don’t add on to it. Instead, encourage them, motivate them, and most importantly, show them that no matter the outcome, they did their best and that you’re proud of them for trying.

This will lower their stress levels and make them more confident on the day of the interview. Not to mention that it also strengthens your bond and relationship with your child.



Tackling the DSA interview is just one part of your child’s DSA journey. But, it is safe to say that it is the most crucial part of the DSA process since it can make or break your child’s DSA application.

This is why ensuring that your child prepares well for the interview is important. Make sure to keep them calm, encourage them and be there for them in the days leading up to the interview. Good luck!

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.