Do PSLE Scores Define Your Child? Maybe Not
In Singapore, nothing creates more excitement than the PSLE results – even more so than the festive cheer of Christmas or the arrival of the New Year. It is a time when emotions run high, with scorers celebrating their achievements and average rankers sharing sad stories or crying their eyes out.
All social media platforms overflow with stories of average PSLE achievers who went on to create a name for themselves in other fields. Take Royston Tan, for example. The famous filmmaker once shared on his social media handle that his PSLE score was only 168, which placed him in a normal stream.
Andie Chen, the noted Singaporean actor, vlogger, and TV host, is another such example of an average PSLE scorer. Having scored 219 in the exams, Andie Chen recalls hiding and crying in his room for several days. Chen also recalls falling into a depression, concluding he was a “useless mediocre human being that will never amount to anything.” Chen, who has a successful career now, says that, in retrospect, his PSLE score means nothing.
Such personal experiences are all over the social media platforms. The message behind these stories is: Do Not Take Your PSLE Score So Seriously. It Does Not Define You & It's Not The End Of The World.
Sentiments like these help broaden parents’ outlook and serve as a reminder that life offers countless opportunities and possibilities. What is the reason behind this thought process?
PSLE Preparation: An Unnecessary Stress On Singapore’s Young Minds?
Singaporeans are acutely aware of the immense pressure that PSLE preparation places on both students and parents. The kind of pressure children face is immeasurable. In October, a tragic incident occurred where an 11-year-old boy took his own life, seemingly as a result of immense stress from exams and the overwhelming pressure exerted by his parents.
A child's life is far too valuable to be put at risk for the sake of any exam. Although examinations remain crucial for assessing students' academic progress, the mindset surrounding grades requires a shift.
In light of such unfortunate incidents, Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has responded by implementing some changes to bring down the excessive frenzy surrounding the test, such as:
- Reducing the number of exams for students.
- Revising the exam timetables in Primary and Secondary schools.
- Banning the tradition of publicly announcing toppers' names and results.
- Changing PSLE’s grading method from a point-based grading system to a band system that groups students into various achievement levels. The main aim was to discourage parents and students from exerting excessive effort to boost their scores by a small margin.
Research has demonstrated that high-stakes tests like PSLE are excessively stressful and do not always foster profound learning. This finding also highlights the significant role played by exam-fixated parents, who inadvertently subject their children to unnecessary pressure to perform well.
Rather than subject them to unnecessary mental pressure, there are several ways for parents to extend their valuable support to children preparing for PSLE.
How Parental Support Reduces Exam Pressure in Children
- Stop focussing too much on grades. They do not define your child’s value.
Focussing on grades generates a vicious cycle. The more you emphasise grades, the less exciting the learning process becomes. The intense pressure to achieve grades can result in the student resorting to desperate measures to secure the marks. Ultimately, the child could suffer from a profound state of depression, overwhelming panic, relentless anxiety, as well as an array of other detrimental physical health issues. Additionally, their self-esteem would undoubtedly be seriously impacted.
Research reveals that more than 75% of students suffer from severe stress and anxiety due to the pressure of grades and exam performance. The ultimate objective of learning is lost when grades become the end-all-be-all of the schooling experience.
- Cut them some slack. Allow them to take breaks.
The PSLE preparation schedule followed by some parents is the perfect example of the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Grade-obsessed parents create schedules chockablock with one study routine after another. There is rarely time for the child to relax, play, or just be themselves.
While these parents have good intentions for their children, this approach has proven counterproductive.
Children need time to play and expend all their pent-up energy. They become energised and motivated and discover new talents and passions that will impact their future more. Above all, they will feel less overwhelmed with their academics and develop a keen interest in learning rather than studying for their namesake.
In such scenarios, StudySmart, our AI-powered study app, can make a world of difference in your child’s PSLE preparation. Our app provides a comprehensive, tailored, and balanced approach to learning without stressing the student with undue pressure.
4 Ways StudySmart Prepares PSLE Students For Academic Success
- Unique approach to studies
We use a concise set of subject-based, vibrantly illustrated keycards highlighting the main concepts. By adopting this approach, students can grasp and master the fundamentals of the subject instead of simply memorizing the words without truly comprehending their meaning. Our flashcards are created by experienced PSLE tutors to ensure compliance with the syllabus.
- Consistent practice
At StudySmart, we believe that practice makes perfect. Using our specially prepared practice papers, your child can grasp the concept and technique behind each question. All our practice papers are drafted by ex-MOE PSLE question setters and based on previous PSLE papers.
- Real-time analytics
Our AI-powered Smart Analytics generates real-time reports with detailed and accurate analysis of your child’s progress. Our report also provides a comprehensive view of the broader specifics of your child’s performance in each subject. Our system generates personalised test papers of various difficulty levels to challenge your child without overwhelming their minds.
- Thorough revision
With our AI-driven Smart Revision, we guarantee that your child will thoroughly review high-yield questions, enabling them to reflect on and learn from their errors in previous papers. Our system optimises your child's retention by spacing out revisions and revising questions before they forget.
StudySmart prepares students for long-term academic success by combining various elements that provide them with the necessary tools and insights while maintaining a balance between study and relaxation.
Let’s Look Beyond PSLE Grades & Scores
PSLE is a passing phase, albeit an important one in your child’s life. Although it is a significant cornerstone, it alone does not determine your child’s worth. Parents must recognise and appreciate their child’s effort regardless of their score.
Instead of questioning why they didn't achieve the desired T-score, we should focus on acknowledging their accomplishments and discussing their plans to progress further. Also, parents should refrain from bragging about their child’s achievements or criticising them for low grades.
Ultimately, one must remember that it's all about the child doing the best they can in this phase and moving on to the next. Every child’s future holds more promises than their PSLE score. So, the onus is on parents to change their outlook and support their children in all their endeavours.