The PSLE is an important milestone in every student's life in Singapore. This importance places a lot of pressure on students and leads to negative feelings like performance anxiety and stress. These feelings are heightened when the student encounters difficulty in the subjects they need to prepare for. Every student has strengths and weaknesses. For many who have artistic and emotional natures, logical subjects like PSLE Science can be difficult to relate to. To add to everything, the questions in the exam have become more creative. They expect the student to understand concepts thoroughly and apply, deduce, analyze, and infer based on their understanding.
The new pattern of questioning has garnered a mixed response from the students. Some feel that it is a more wholesome form of education when more than one faculty goes into responding to such questions. On the other hand, some feel that it adds to the complexity of the subject and may not be fair dealing for all the students involved. In this scenario, the best way to succeed is through smart preparation, continuous practice, and a proper perspective on things.
This article will discuss the most effective strategies you can equip your child with to tackle Science PSLE questions expertly.
Getting Your Child Familiar With the Exam Format
Your first smart move to get your child prepared for the PSLE Science exam is to get them familiar with the format of the paper and the questions. The PSLE Science paper consists of two booklets, which they have to answer in one hour and forty-five minutes.
Many schools rely on year-end exam papers to give their students the practice they need for tackling the PSLE. This is a great way to cover areas of importance in the syllabus and identify questions and question patterns that recur year after year. Familiarity with common PSLE Science questions gives the student great leverage in scoring well on their test. There is a high possibility that repetitions will stay consistent, and the same questions or question pattern may be repeated. That is why using the ten-year series for practice is a recommended step in all PSLE preparation.
Preparing a strong subject foundation, building on it through consistent practice, and constant revision: this is the best three-step plan you can build to help your child successfully tackle the PSLE. This plan will help them become familiar with the subject, get used to drafting their answers, and keep them alerted to common mistakes they make.
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How to Formulate a Customized Study Plan With a Personal Learning Style
There has been a lot of research about learning techniques and study strategies that give the best results. It's true that each student's learning style will be very personal. But it is good to consider research-backed approaches and tweak them into personal styles. Here are a few styles you can consider for your own children's study plan:
- Experiential Learning
The basic PSLE teaching practice for Science consists of the students mastering a theory portion and then using resources like the school Science Lab to conduct monitored experiments and experience what they learnt in theory.
There are many positives and negatives to this teaching-learning method.
It is a time-consuming method that cannot be rushed. One cannot expect Pre-exam coaching classes and revision sessions at home to have this sort of teaching or learning style for lack of time.
On the other hand, what students learn through this approach stays with them for life. Teachers and parents can use it to help break down complex concepts, and it is a great way to involve the students and help them develop a liking for what they are learning.
- Learning by Doing
Students who are well-versed in theory can take to the 'learning by doing' approach by attempting test papers crafted to the PSLE standards. With this method, students understand how to approach the examination and can strategize on ways to manage time, craft answers, and perform their best in the exam environment. They can also self-evaluate how many concepts have been properly covered, what areas they need to strengthen, and constantly touch upon important topics.
The downside of this method is that it is wholly exam-oriented, and students may not relate to concepts in reality - they will just be learning them for good scores.
Even with other effective methods of learning and retention, research always comes back to a customized learning style that mixes the right amount of experiential learning and assessment sessions suited to bring the child to perform to the best of their ability.
Most would agree that this could be the best approach to preparing for PSLE Science.
How to Craft the Best Answers for PSLE Science Success
Here are a few tips that students can use to craft their answers for maximum points:
- Develop an answering strategy
Help your child approach the exam with a strategy that will help them make the best use of their time and ensure that every question is covered. Help them develop their strategy to address issues like answers they have forgotten, haven't learnt, or are unsure of.
Dividing time between answers will help them focus and eliminate the need to be anxious about time restraints. It will also be wise to help them understand how to analyze a question and judge how much information to give in an answer according to points allotted and time constraints.
- Frame a CER answer
The CER is a popular answering technique taught in many schools to help students develop a scientific bent of mind. Here the students are trained to make a claim (C), or hypothesis, use data, diagrams, graphs and figures from the question to provide evidence (E) to support their claim, and use scientific concepts they have learned to prove their claim through reasoning (R).
Skipping any of these steps when using this approach will leave the answer incomplete. So students must be given enough practice and self-assessment skills to make sure that they have completely justified this approach.
- Use the right terms, focusing on the language in the question.
Help students read questions carefully and derive the right meanings of the words used in the question. Through practice and repeated revision of answering techniques, students should be able to use comparative, absolute, or any other language the question calls for.
- Adopt the link-back approach
Using a link-back to the question finishes up the answer perfectly. This technique can easily be taught through practice. Help students make it a habit to use the link-back so that their answers always remain well-rounded and complete.
Learning concepts in the syllabus is only a small part of preparing for the PSLE Science exam. Developing a strategy that includes understanding the question types and formats, techniques for tackling different types of questions, time management, and other factors will help your child develop a holistic understanding of approaching PSLE Science preps.
PSLE need not be a stressful time for your child or even for you. Using the available resources and streamlining a study plan suited to your child's needs will assure that they do the best they can. If you are looking for a little help in customizing the study plan that will help your child win, try using the AI powered StudySmart Singapore app! We develop research-backed study techniques specially targeted at helping your child do their best. Call us today for a consultation!