The results of students who sat the A-level exams last year are the best since the curriculum was revised a decade ago.
Results released yesterday showed that 93.1 per cent of the 13,582 students who took the exams scored at least three H2 passes, and a pass in General Paper or Knowledge and Inquiry - a benchmark set by the Ministry of Education (MOE).
The results surpassed the previous high of 91.4 per cent last year.
In response to queries, MOE said the solid showing could be due to good teaching programmes, teachers' deep commitment, and the students' motivation to excel.
It added that it will build on the strengths of Singapore's education system, such as putting in place appropriate assessments to identify students' learning needs and providing them with the necessary support, and encouraging parents to be involved in their child's education.
National University of Singapore lecturer Kelvin Seah, who teaches education economics, said the improvement may be due to factors such as increased access to tuition, better school resources, and an improved curriculum that encourages greater critical thinking, as opposed to rote learning.
The A-level curriculum was revised in 2006 to allow students to take a wider range of subjects. Candidates select subjects from three levels of study between H1 and H3, with the higher number indicating a greater depth of study.
Students must take at least three H2 subjects and one H1 subject. They can also choose to take subjects at the H3 level.
Among those who did well in the exams was Raffles Institution student Justin Tan, 18, who scored distinctions for all his nine subjects. He said: "I wanted to push myself... and see what I can achieve.
"The stakes are high, which translated to some pressure during the actual exam, but regular work through junior college helped."
Some schools, such as Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), recognised their top scorers yesterday and also celebrated those who have excelled in other areas, such as sports.
At HCI, nearly 200 students who performed well in academic and non-academic areas were asked to go on stage. Among them was 19-year-old Joshua Lim, who scored seven distinctions and hopes to go to law school.
Joshua, who said he was a quiet and reserved student at the start of his six years at HCI, said the school provided him with leadership opportunities, such as his appointment as Community Involvement Programme Council president.
He said: "These opportunities helped me to open up."
Anglo Chinese Junior College also recognised students who showed tenacity in overcoming personal adversity. Principal Beatrice Chong said: "Regardless of their results, we always tell the students that their worth and identity in life is not determined by what appears on a slip of paper. There is still much more for them ahead in life."
• Additional reporting by Sheryl Lee