At the end of every year, P6 students across Singapore sit for the major Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), where Science is one out of four main subjects tested. The PSLE Science paper will have two types of questions: Multiple Choice and Open-Ended.
What Are Open-Ended Questions (OEQs)?
Open-Ended Questions in section B of the PSLE Science paper are designed to test students’ understanding of scientific concepts. Answers are generally more flexible than the Multiple Choice Questions in section A, but students need to write them out in full sentences. Examiners will also look out for the student’s ability to analyse, synthesise, and evaluate scientific knowledge in real-life situations.
These questions usually carry more marks than the Multiple Choice Questions, so it is vital for students to score well in them. Below are three tips on how to answer the Open-Ended Questions well in the PSLE Science paper.
How To Answer The PSLE Science Open-Ended Questions Well
1. Understand the questions
The first step is to read the question carefully and underline the keywords. If diagrams, graphs, or charts are used, label them. This will help you to identify what is required in your answer.
The Open-Ended Questions may ask you to explain a phenomenon, describe an experiment, or interpret data. You will need to use scientific knowledge and reasoning to answer these questions well. Look out for the following instructional keywords:
- Identify/List/Name/State: A one-word answer or a short phrase will do. An explanation is not required.
- Explain/Describe/Why/How/Give a reason: Give details on how you arrived at your answer.
2. Being aware of the concepts tested
Next, identify the concepts tested in the question or part-question. This will help you organise your thoughts, narrow your focus, and answer the question directly. Do also plan your answer and brainstorm the key points you want to include before you start writing.
Do not include any extra information that is not relevant to the question. A general way to see if you’re over-explaining is by taking note of the marks awarded to each question. Usually, a 2-mark question will require an explanation. Make sure every sentence in your answer is relevant to the question.
Allocate some time to check your work before the end of the paper. Ensure proper grammar and spelling is used and your answers follow a logical order.
3. Complete PSLE Science practice papers at home
Lastly, study effectively. Science requires plenty of practice, and the best way is to try out past PSLE Science papers at home. Students can familiarise themselves with the types of questions that may be asked and have opportunities to try out different answer strategies. They can then confidently approach the Open-Ended Questions and produce well-written responses during the actual PSLE day. After all, practice makes perfect.
Ace the PSLE Science Paper with MindChamps Enrichment Programme in Singapore
Asking questions is a fundamental part of the scientific process. It helps us understand the world around us and find new information. Through our P3 to P6 Science tuition and enrichment classes at MindChamps Enrichment, we harness this natural inquisitiveness in children and teach them how to meaningfully apply it within a classroom setting to excel in examinations.
For students who are taking their PSLE exams soon, they may also consider going for our Primary Success and PSLE – The Champion Mindset Way Programme to revise and master subject-specific knowledge for PSLE.
Contact us to find out how MindChamps Enrichment can help your child build a solid foundational understanding of essential concepts before this major examination. On 16 July, our founder and CEO of MindChamps will also be hosting a PSLE seminar for parents and students to learn more about the different PSLE subjects. Sign up for the event today!