Now 19, Vitria Depsi Wahyuno had lied about her age in 2009, saying she was 23 to meet the minimum age requirement, and landed a job in Singapore working for Sng Gek Wah, the Straits Times said.
Wahyuno, who had been employed for only five days when the killing took place, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to culpable homicide and prosecutors have asked for a 20-year-jail term.
The defence, pleading for leniency, said Wahyuno was of low intelligence and could not cope with a demanding employer who called her hurtful names like "bodoh", an Indonesian and Malay word for "stupid".
Neighbours told the Straits Times that Sng was a "fierce" woman who could often be heard scolding Wahyuno.
Other local papers said Sng had gone through seven maids, including Wahyuno, since 2003.
Sng's daughter and granddaughter described her in a statement delivered in court as a strong, resourceful and meticulous woman who was kind-hearted but could be impatient at times, the Straits Times said.
The victim suffered fractured ribs, cuts and bruises after being hit with a vase and smothered with a pillow before her neck was squeezed, according to autopsy results.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 7.
More than 200,000 maids, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, work in wealthy Singapore.