What Makes Singapore Math So Special and Popular?

Written By: Cudy

14th April 2023

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Based on a study, Singaporean students are the best students when it comes to Science and Math subjects. However, for Singaporean students, mathematics is just mathematics itself, which is also offered in other countries. In the years of 1995, 1999, and 2003, an assessment for 4th graders as well as 8th graders were conducted by TIMSS (Trends International Mathematics and Science Society). This assessment showed the world that Singaporean students were on the top of the list – which is why educators along with mathematicians start to pay attention to the Mathematics of Singapore

Way back in the year of 1998, Dawn and Jeff Thomas, who were originally from the USA, established a certain company called Singapore Math™. This company distributes textbooks to different schools as well as the homeschooled students throughout the country of the USA. As years go by, other countries like Israel, Canada, and the United Kingdom use Singapore Math too. After using Singapore Math, schools claimed that there is a huge improvement in the test scores of each student. 

Does Singapore Math Work?

In most countries, math educators usually focus on theories without knowing if each student has proficiently learned key math skills. In Singapore, mathematical theories are taught once they already mastered the basic math skills through the help of three-step learning approach – the abstract, the concrete, and the pictorial. Using the three-step learning approach, students are given enough time to understand and master how different concepts of key math works. Furthermore, Singaporean students are also taught which certain math skill will be used for each concept. That said, they will have a strong understanding of how each concept works. 

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Three-Step Learning Approach

The first step is the concrete step, where educators use something which can be felt and touched by students such as blocks, pencils or popsicle sticks to better understand how the concept of subtraction and addition work. 

Once they have mastered the concrete stage, students will now master the pictorial and abstract stage, which goal is to strengthen the student’s knowledge for each concept through the use of a diagram, specifically the “bar-model,” which is in the rectangular form that represents numbers. This “bar-model” is not just useful for subtraction and addition but also for division, multiplication, decimals, ratios, and fractions. 

3 Reasons Why Singapore Math is So Special & Popular


Having a strong base or foundation is the main key to everything – and the education system of Singapore believes in it. Building a solid and firm foundation will help students go far in their education and reach their goals. 


In many subjects, especially math, thinking critically is important in solving questions and problems. In Singapore, educators trained students to be critical thinkers by having examinations and assignments. 


Through regular and continuous practice, Singaporean students will be able to master the Singapore Math. Additionally, students are provided with the right tools and resources to practice each concept and master it. 

Math is not a subject to be scared of. With the right approach in Singapore Math, students will eventually learn everything they needed to learn step-by-step. That’s why, we, at Cudy, want to help every student in Singapore to learn in the simplest way. We offer real-time online classes that will help students practice and learn more about Singapore math.

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Cudy is an online marketplace for real-time learning where students can achieve mastery over their subjects by learning live from educators who are passionate about providing the best learning experience for their students.

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