Prep your child for the PSLE Science paper

The PSLE Science paper is just one week away. If you’re planning on pushing through one of the most crucial period of your child’s academic life with him, we’ve got some tips for you to keep your child — and yourself — fully motivated for the big event. Here is how to prep your child for the PSLE Science paper

The 10-year series as a last resort
They’re considered by your child to be the driest, most stressful publications ever to be sold at Popular Bookstore, but when it comes down to the crunch, you know your child has to painstakingly run through them with a fine-toothed comb. In fact, you should try filling out a few pages of those 10-year-series yourself. Your child will definitely appreciate how you’re involving yourself in his studies, and you can even learn more effectively as study buddies.

But choose your weapon carefully. PSLE Science questions are a level above what neighbourhood school examinations might put out, while exam papers published by the top schools tend to be tougher than PSLE. You need to train your child at the appropriate level (PSLE) — no more, no less — to fully maximise your child’s mugging time, so pick the official papers and not the school ones.

Keep your child motivated
Science is essentially logic. What your child learns in his textbooks occur all around him, sometimes in different forms, but always applicable to scientific logic. It is important to let your child know that whatever he or she is reading in the textbook now will be useful in future.

That is reason enough for your child to excel on his own accord; you just need to plant the seed. Find links to what your child’s interests are to what subjects he needs to cover (there is always a way to find these links), and he will be able to do more than memorise answers. Get him inspired to understand what he’s trying to learn, rather than to keep him mugging through the night until his brain gets thoroughly fried.

Ace the multiple choice questions
You should be familiar with how PSLE Science examination papers are structured by now; to recap, Section A comprises 30 multiple choice questions worth 2 marks each, making it 60% of the total grade. For a better chance at acing the paper, make sure your kid gets them all correct.

Yes, it’s obvious to you, but it may not be for your child. Even though multiple choice puts the answers right in front of students, some may just randomly pick answers to the questions they’re not too sure about. This is where you have to encourage your child (via that trusty 10-year series) to think well before they answer, and double- and triple-check answers before calling it a day.

Open-ended questions — keywords are key
Section B comprises 14 structured and open-ended questions, and this is typically where your child needs to do the most mugging for. Section B emphasises on testing your child’s understanding and knowledge of keywords and concepts, and the right answers are usually short, sharp, clear and focused.

That being said, make sure your child has all the keywords in every chapter properly identified and highlighted. Get your child used to taking notes for every chapter, pore through everything at least twice over, and for the ultimate test, have your child teach you what he or she has learnt. And that means you got to study, too!

Be there for your child
We’ve only just talked about the PSLE Science paper, but this last tip really goes for all of your child’s academic endeavours. Realistically, your child spends a finite amount of time in a school day taking various classes for up to 2 hours at a time. If you engage tutors, even they are only really adding a couple of hours a week to your child’s studying engagement. But you’re potentially with your child all the time (especially if you’ve taken time off just for the PSLE prep work).

If you want your child to achieve good results for his or her studies, then just as you need to work to achieve your own goals, you need to work with your child to achieve theirs. This doesn’t just mean sitting next to your child at the table with a cane and a clock; it’s really one of the best times to understand the stress that your child is going through during his or her academic learning years. So dive into those Science textbooks too, and put that 10-year series to good use for both your child and yourself!

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