Russian Math Vs Singapore Math: Which One is Better?

The Russian curriculum introduces complex problems to build a better understanding and reasoning for the solution. But Singapore math follows a slow concrete-pictorial-abstract process to develop a better understanding of concepts before solving problems.

The former generally includes advanced and analytical math problems to improve students’ critical thinking. But, the latter one is just applying the learned concepts to find solutions. In common, both of them enhance students’ problem-solving abilities.

Here, in this article, we will show a comparison between Russian Math and Singapore Math so that you can decide which one is better. Therefore, if you are a teacher or have children, this article will be helpful for you. So, tag along till the end.

Russian Math Vs Singapore Math

Table: Differences Between Russian And Singapore Math

Here are several key differences between these two math curricula:

Criteria Russian MathSingapore Math
Conceptual UnderstandingGetting a clear conceptual understanding while solving math problemsApply conceptual understanding of math solving
Curriculum ContentIncludes advance mathCoherent curriculum
StrategiesCombine concrete and abstract methodStep-by-step concrete-pictorial-abstract process
MemorizationEliminate rote memorizationNeed to memorize principles
ComplexityMore complexLess complex
PaceFast-pacedSlow process
Costing$2,000 per year$260-$360 per year

Read Also: 10 keys for your child to enjoy math

Russian Math Vs Singapore Math: In-Depth Comparison

We have already mentioned the key differences between these two math programs. Now, let’s compare the criteria of these two math programs in detail.

Conceptual Understanding

The Russian math program, you will find that it focuses on logical thinking. It will provide the students with math problems and will let them explore different theorems and build an understanding of those theorems.

After applying those to math, they will understand better how those theorems work. Thus, this will build an ability to justify their answer with logical reasoning.

Contrarily, Singapore math mostly focuses on building a strong foundation for mathematical concepts. Hence, your students or children will have a good grip on the principles before trying to solve any problem.

Curriculum Content

Singapore math follows a coherent curriculum prioritizing the depth of concept over breadth. It covers a small number of topics but in greater depth so that students have a crystal clear idea about the concept.

Generally, the textbooks are also based on prior knowledge. And, after completing a level, your children won’t have to relearn it in the next semester.

On the other hand, Russian math also includes advanced-level math in its curriculum. This introduces students to different levels of math every day.

Generally, this curriculum focuses on encouraging students’ critical thinking. Also, the students will have to return to their concepts again and again to strengthen their learning.


The main strategy of Russian math is logical reasoning, whereas in Singapore math it’s a CPA approach. Generally, this concrete-pictorial-abstract or CPA strategy refers to 3 step by step processes.

At first, your student or children will use physical objects on their hands to understand the problem. Then they visualize the problem and will proceed to the abstract symbol.

In this process, they will follow a “word” strategy, focusing on which information is available and which isn’t. Then, students need to divide the problem into small portions to solve it accordingly and efficiently.

But, in the case of Russian math, teachers will provide their students with mathematical problems. All the students will use their critical thinking and reasoning ability to solve that problem.


In Singapore Math, your children will need to memorize their learned concepts to apply them in their problem-solving. Though, this math curriculum mainly focuses on understanding a concept deeply.

On the other hand, in Russian math, the basic point is understanding, eliminating rote memorization.


If you compare the complexity of the math level between these two curricula, you will find Russian math more complex. According to the TIMSS 2019 international result in mathematics, here is the top score of these two math curricula:

Curriculum 4th Grade8th Grade

The Russian curriculum will introduce critical problems at an early age to let the students think about the solutions. Thus, they need to work with an abstraction of the problem instead of focusing on specific qualities.

Yet, in Singapore math, students will face the problem at the linear complexity level. After acquiring the proper understanding of any concept, they will practice math problems on those concepts. Then the teacher will introduce them to more complex mathematical problems.


Russian math is more fast-paced than Singapore math. In the latter one, the teacher will build up students’ understanding explicitly of a concept. Then they will proceed to problems.

Normally, your children will face arithmetic problems first, then geometry, and eventually algebra as they move to upper grades.

But, in Russian math, students need to use concrete and abstract processes all together to solve problems.

Your children will face challenging math problems at an early age which prepares them for further complex math problems. Teachers introduce them to thought-provoking complex problems from the start. Generally, children face geometry and algebra alongside arithmetic at an early age.


If you compare the costs between them, the Russian one is a bit costly. If your children get admitted into a Russian math school, you need to pay around $2,000 per year. In this case, your children will attend classes once a week.

On the other hand, Singapore math costs $140 per year. For textbooks and guides, you need to spend an extra $120-$220 per year.

Which One is Better Between Russian and Singapore Math?

Both of these math curricula follow high standards and achieve success in international math competitions. They emphasize enhancing students’ math problem-solving abilities. Thus, which one is better will depend on your personal preferences and factors. For example:

  • Budget: If you think about the cost, Singapore Math is a better choice for you with reasonable pricing.
  • Student’s ability: If your children have any learning complexity, memorizing the concept in Singapore math will be tough for them. Yet, as it is slow-paced, they can adapt to it eventually.

    Besides, as Russian math will introduce complex math problems from the start, your children may get overwhelmed. Thus, choose this curriculum only if your children are fast in learning.

  • Efficiency: As Singapore math follows less complex strategies, it becomes easier for students to crack a problem. Thus, they do better in their exams. But, if you want your children to face challenging math problems without fear, choose Russian math for them.


Both Russian and Singapore math develop the conceptual understanding of math, but they differ in their strategy. Generally, the first one is fast-paced and focuses on triggering critical thinking. But, the latter follows a slow and step-by-step process to crack down on the math problem.

As both programs are best at their places, before choosing one, you need to consider factors like budget and students’ ability. Singapore math is better for achieving better marks in exams, but for facing an unknown and complex problem, Russian math is better. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to