SINGAPORE - Bedok South Secondary student Dickson Tan had never encountered such "innovative" questions before, but he had no problems tackling them.
The 17-year-old Normal (Academic) student who took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) last year said most questions were "very easy".
"It was about applying concepts I learnt in school, and some of them were covered already in lower secondary."
Dickson was among the 5,546 Singapore students, mainly from Secondary 3 and 4, who took the test administered by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and were ranked among the top performers.
Singapore was second in mathematics and third in science and reading. Shanghai was first in all three categories.
Conducted once every three years, Pisa is designed to test the ability of 15-year-olds in applying skills and knowledge in mathematics, science and reading to real-life problems.
Education experts said the continued strong performance of Singapore students in the study is indicative of what the schools are doing right.
Pisa tests the very skills that the local curriculum teaches, said officials from the Ministry of Education (MOE).