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How to Help Your Child Tackle Difficult PSLE Math Questions

April 29, 2022
StudySmart Team
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A young boy in a classroom near the blackboard teaches and explains complex math problems.

The PSLE Math exam can cause stress and anxiety for many students, more so if they cannot relate to the subject and have developed a dislike for it. To make matters worse, the PSLE Math paper has evolved over the years to become a test paper that evaluates more than basic math skills. Recent tough PSLE Math questions have shown that a lot of creativity goes into preparing the Math exam paper, testing students' ability in conceptualization and higher-order thinking. While some students may easily cultivate these skills, others struggle endlessly and are discouraged by what they might perceive to be an unachievable goal.

We understand that this can be a stressful experience for both students and parents, so we have put together a few well-researched strategies to help students clear the Math exam with good results this year!

How to Strategize for a Suitable Study Plan

Before diving into creating a good study plan, let's go over the format for PSLE Math and review the syllabus to make sure you are familiar with any changes that may have occurred.

There are two parts to PSLE Math. They are:

Paper 1 is the more straightforward of the two papers. There is a one-hour time constraint on this paper. It has two parts, called 'booklets' - A and B. These will be divided as follows:
Booklet A - MCQ format
- 10 MCQs: 1 mark
- 5 MCQs: 2 marks

Booklet B - Descriptive answer format
- 5 questions: 1 mark
- 10 questions: 2 marks

Calculators will not be allowed for this exam section since there are no complex calculations involved.

Paper 2 consists of short and long answer questions requiring higher-order thinking skills. PSLE hard Math questions will be found here. Calculators may be required and are permitted in this section. Question patterns consist of:
- 5 short answer questions
- 12 long answer questions

Also Read : A Brief Summary of PSLE Math

Effective Tips for Creating a Study Plan

Let's look at a few tips to maximize your scoring power in both Paper 1 and Paper 2.

Paper 1 - This is the easier of the two papers and should be the one that gives your child the maximum score. Use the following strategies to help them ace this paper:

  • Practice will be your child's best step forward. But it is important to start from the basics and work up to exam-level questions. Any subject areas that your child displays weakness in should be addressed with patient practice and thorough understanding.
  • Familiarize your child with PSLE question types and formats of the previous years.
  • Strategize to give your child exposure to an exam-level environment with seating arrangements and time restraints as much as possible.
  • Since this is a simpler paper, students may be tempted to treat it with less care than Paper 2 and lose marks to carelessness. Coach your child against this sort of carelessness and help them develop patience in solving each question carefully. Try to help them develop a habit of self-reviewing from an early age.

Would you like to give your child the best chance possible to excel in PSLE exams? There are many ways you can assist them in preparation and revision for their exams when they are ready. StudySmart's online learning platform gives them deep practice across all subject areas. Take a look at our products: PSLE English App, PSLE Maths App, PSLE Science App.

Paper 2 - Being the more complex of the two papers, Paper 2 can be intimidating to some students since it tests a higher level of thinking. Use the following tips to prepare them to give their best efforts for Paper 2:

  • Building a strong mathematical foundation is the best place to start. From there, you can help your child gradually build up on creative thinking, visualization, and heuristics.
  • Children may not easily tackle complex questions from the first attempt. There will be a lot of trial and error before a child can successfully tackle Paper 2 questions in PSLE Math.
  • It will be wise to train the child to use their time wisely and make the best use of calculators since these will be allowed in the exam.

You can build a basic plan for tackling Math exam preparations with these tips.

A young schoolboy with chalk in his hand in front of the blackboard solves the math problems.

Techniques for Building a Customized Study Plan for Your Child

Let's take it a little further with a bit more detail you can add to your child's study plan:

  • Develop a study strategy that will identify and use their learning style

Research has shown that everyone learns in different ways. Some people respond to visual aids and colour better. In contrast, others absorb more through their auditory perception or hearing, and still others can only learn through movement and real-life examples. Identifying your child's learning style will go a long way in preparing the most effective learning strategy for them.

  • Help them set streamlined goals.

This is a life lesson you can give your child - setting a goal helps you devise steps to reach it successfully. Having a goal-oriented plan in place will give you a more effective means of achieving your end.

Parents have an important role to play in setting expectations for their children. As their mentors, parents must design all their activities around the child's capabilities. To help your child put the PSLE experience into the proper perspective, you must stay realistic and mature.

  • Train them in time management

Time management is a valuable skill that will stand your child in good stead throughout life. So start early.

Help your child develop a sense of time and work towards small, time-bound goals that you can then grow further. Setting time constraints for particular math problems and repeated practice will help them understand how to use their time wisely.

  • Use available resources

While plenty of subject-specific guide books and other resources are available, previous-year PSLE Maths papers will be your child's best friend for Math exam preparation. As the Singapore Examination and Assessment Board (SEAB) publication. It gives the child a standard to work towards. Have mock-exam sessions with your kids to give them a sense of the environment they will have to face in a real exam.

Previous year papers are also a great way to finalize preparations just before the exam without wasting time on syllabus books and other study materials.

  • Discover fun learning strategies

There is no rule that learning has to be serious always. There is lots of fun to have in discovering new and fun ways to tackle difficult concepts.

Some people create study walls that give them the freedom to free-load their ideas onto an entire wall in their room. Others try to solve difficult problems by using physical objects for visualization. Quick-recap sessions help some students go through a quick recall just before the exam.

  • Teach them the techniques and importance of remaining calm

Here's another life lesson to gift your children - this may be a lifesaver to many! Teach your children breathing techniques and calming exercises to use when they feel overwhelmed during an exam. Help them identify signs of anxiety like a blank mind, sweaty palms, heavy breathing, etc.

Give children strategies to tackle difficult questions and help them make a habit of calming themselves when they encounter difficulty. These techniques will help them handle a PSLE Math paper, even if they feel it is difficult.

  • Instil a sense of trust within themselves

Finally, help your children trust in themselves and the hard work they have put in. A lot lies in your responses and language choice as the parent or teacher of the child. Use words of encouragement, even while helping your child strive harder and reach higher goals. Expressing disappointment healthily is also very important.

The PSLE Math paper can be a stressful experience for children. The way you help them tackle it will help them for the rest of their lives.

Closing Note
With the right environment, every child can be prepared for the PSLE Math exam. As parents, guardians, and teachers, we must observe our children carefully and give them the right aid they need - support and encouragement, the right learning resources, extra help in certain subjects, or just a day at the beach to beat the stress with the sun, sand, and waves.

If you are looking for PSLE study prep help for your child, look no further than StudySmart Singapore. Our learning platform provides state-of-the-art customized study plans to address all your child's needs and maximize their abilities. Call for a consultation today!

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