The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a major national examination that determines which secondary school a student will attend. As a milestone for all primary 6 students in Singapore, it also marks the end of their primary school education journey and signals the start of their secondary school life.
A key component of the PSLE is the Science exam, which tests students’ knowledge of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. However, the PSLE Science exam, in particular, has gained a reputation over the years for being extremely challenging and tricky. This makes it extra tough for students to excel without proper preparation and many of them may seek extra help through tuition or coaching programmes. However, for the parents who would also like to support their child in sailing through this exam with more ease and confidence, here are five tips to keep in mind:
1. Maintaining a Balanced and Healthy Lifestyle
Your child’s learning capacity is inherently linked to their overall health, therefore, to ensure that they are at optimum concentration levels in class and during revision, it is crucial for them to possess a healthy lifestyle. Preparation for examinations can only fully take effect when the child’s health is in good condition.
As a piece of general advice, children should get quality sleep of at least eight hours a night so they can focus better. Well-balanced and nutritious meals should also be eaten three times a day to give your child energy for learning. Additionally, having sufficient leisure time or rest between study sessions is also essential to avoid information overload and excessive stress. By balancing their needs with studies well, parents can ensure their children are in a prime condition to learn deeply.
2. Being Familiar with the Exam Format and Question Types
Another tip is for parents to get their children well-acquainted with the exam format and questions.
Under the current PSLE science syllable, within a total of 105 minutes (1h 45min), primary 6 students taking the exams are expected to complete 2 booklets. Booklet A is filled with multiple-choice questions with 28 questions worth 2 marks each (total score of 56). Booklet B is meant for open-ended questions, with around 12 questions carrying up to 5 marks each (total score of 44).
Through frequent timed practices with past years’ papers or papers from other schools, children can get a better feel of the flow of exams and be more familiar with the format. This familiarity can help them feel more prepared and less intimidated during the actual test days. By being more exposed to different questions set by different teachers, children can also discover various modes of questioning so they will not be caught off guard as easily.
Throughout this process, parents should pay attention to the way their child may be answering the questions; if they are skipping multiple questions about a particular topic, perhaps more targeted revision on that topic is required; if they are taking too much time to ponder over the questions, perhaps new habits such as highlighting important information can be learned. Practising in exam-like conditions can also acclimate children to the level of focus needed to complete the papers.
However, as every child has different ways of learning, parents should never force them to conform too strictly to one style of revision.
3. Staying Curious about the Content with a Positive and Open Mindset
This brings us to the next tip, which is to create a nurturing environment that fosters curiosity about the wonders of science. As children reach primary 6, they may start to feel a lot of pressure from their school and peers to perform according to the requirements of the syllabus and be masters of the topics tested.
While a certain amount of stress can help children see the importance of the PSLE examinations, excessive pressure may cause them to lose motivation to truly learn about science as something that is relevant in their lives and future. Furthermore, too much stress can also make children develop a sense of fear or anxiety towards exams which could hinder the development of their potential.
To mitigate these risks and better prepare children for the exams, parents should ensure that they maintain a positive attitude towards learning. While taking the exam syllabus into consideration, parents can try to have more open-ended discussions about science with their children. This creates opportunities for children to cultivate a deeper and more analytical application-based understanding of the subject topics, thus obtaining a firmer grasp of these concepts.
After all, there are no weaknesses in learning, only unrealised strengths. By modelling this open mindset and attitude, parents can empower children to actively learn from their mistakes while encouraging enduring curiosity about the subject.
4. Practicing Active Recall to Improve Memory Retention
One more way parents may prepare primary 6 children for PSLE Science papers is via a method called active recall. This form of learning requires students to retrieve information from their memory as opposed to passively receiving or reading it. Research has shown that this method is more effective in promoting the long-term retention of information.
During active recall, children can take this retrieval process to reinforce the theories in memory, making it much easier for them to recall this information during an exam. As the current syllable is slanted towards application questions, having a solid foundation of knowledge is vital in attaining good results.
There are many different ways to practice active recall, such as creating flashcards, writing down key concepts, rewriting notes in their own words or regular quizzes on weaker concepts. Ultimately, by incorporating active recall into their study routine, parents can help their children gain a better chance of doing well during the primary 6 PSLE Science papers.
5. Ace Science Exams with MindChamps Enrichment
However, if you are still unsure of your child’s level of preparation and if they wish to seek more help in science exams, you may consider signing them up for science enrichment programmes. At MindChamps Enrichment, we offer customised programmes that are designed to meet each student’s individual learning needs. Unlike normal tuition classes, our educators recognise the opportunity for better coaching through personalised lesson plans. Thus, we invite parents to sign up for a Complimentary Learning Evaluation that can aid us in understanding your child’s requirements.
With the guidance of our dedicated instructors, your child will not only be well-prepared for the PSLE Science exam but also be enriched by the engaging learning experience. Our comprehensive curriculum consists of tools to build a strong foundation for your child through the Champion Mindset Way. These tools include post-exam analyses that prevent them from making the same mistakes, exam simulations to familiarise themselves with the level of focus required as well as the teaching of exam strategies such as methods to tackle different kinds of questions.
Book a visit to our centres today and find out about our suite of science enrichment programmes that can boost your child’s performance during their Science PSLE papers.