Author Archives: Jo Chan

Exam Preparation Tips for PSLE

examstress

You don't have to end up like this. Be prepared!

With the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) drawing near and other major examinations like O’ Levels and A’ Levels not too far away, have you planned on how to tackle the examinations effectively and strategy for the different papers?

Well, fret not as this week we will be sharing some examination preparation tips with everyone involved in clearing this major hurdle of every student in Singapore. I’m sure you have heard of the renowned quote- “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, so what does it actually mean when coming to preparing for PSLE especially when a Primary 6 student is still at a tender age of 12 to know it by themselves?

It is very important to understand that examinations is like a “game”. In fact, it is a “game” with rules. Indeed examinations are a test of one’s knowledge in various subjects, but doing well in examinations does require some wit and strategies. We will share some of these examination tips that will aid in the preparation.

Different types of questions are set by the examiner to test on various qualities and academic ability of a student. They range generally from Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ), Short Answer Questions (SAQ) and Essay type. Each require different skill sets and strategies to score well in them which you will find out more below.

Examination strategies and tips

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ)

  • Study and understand general ideas well
  • Memorise key terms, theories and related concepts for quick recall to questions at a limited amount of time
  • MCQs are really good to prepare and practise using Past Year Papers. Get them, practise and check the answers!
  • Allocate enough time for each question. You should already know the Time(min)/Question when you are entering the examination hall.

Short Answer Questions (SAQ)

  • Classify various concepts and ideas
  • Use mindmaps to link inter-related concepts if required
  • Write summary sheets while paying attention to writing out key terms and corresponding explanations
  • Again practise, practise and practise! Check the answers and do corrections by writing it out.

Essay

  • Creativity for compositions and analytical skills for comprehension questions requires different strategies. For compositions, start planning the outline of the essay before quickly putting it down on paper to get you rolling. For comprehension questions, prepare well by practising often, underline or highlight key phrases for clarity.

Tips and tricks

  • Bring a wristwatch and put it in front of you on the table to remind you of the time. Ensure that the time is the same as the hall’s one before examinations commence.
  • Allocate your time well such that you already know how much time to spend on each section. This will prevent being overly stubborn and losing precious marks trying to solve tricky questions in front and ending up having no time to complete easy ones at the back.
  • If need to, we would advise bringing 2 calculators for the exam in case one gets faulty or run out of batteries.
  • If in any doubt of your paper or print quality, do raise your hand and ask!
  • Always check that you completed all questions till the last page!

The list we have provided above is by no means exhaustive. There are many other ways that a student can adopt to suit his/her learning style and cognitive abilities. Many of which including the above mentioned ones are adeptly shared with students by our ConsultAtutor Personal Home Tutors as the study setting and personal guidance rendered to the student over an extended period of time encourages so.

Start by asking your child or student whether he is clear about the examination formats for the different subjects and apply appropriate strategies as required to achieve the goal set. As the saying goes, “Prepare well and half the battle is already won!”

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Thinking out of the box

Learning how to think in different perspectives and “out of the box” needs to be nurtured from young. Not only do schools come up with curriculum that encourage creativity, various organisations have been actively trying to promote a culture of innovation and “design thinking”.

The skill, or you can put it as a habit to be a creative thinker who challenges the existing norms to come up with solutions that solves different problems that could not be solved as effectively using conventional methods has to be honed and cultivated from young. Having this skill/habit to be able to think out of the box will allow you or your child to be a great asset to the company, employee or entrepreneur alike.

Start from home! Parents have a part to play in moulding their children’s thoughts and behaviour by providing them with a conducive environment to learn and creating a family culture of open conversations and engaging activities that helps to unleash every child’s creative potential in them. Check out a simple video we have for you of how household chores like teaching your child to fold his/her own clothes can be an example for your child of how things can be done in a different way simply by “thinking out of the box”!

Maybe you would like to challenge your children first by letting them do it the conventional way before you show them how simple it can be by doing it another way. Have fun!

Click here for step by step instructions in English.

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How much does private tuition help? – The economist’s view

lineargraphOr  concavegraph  ??

 In Singapore, everyone knows how much emphasis is placed on education and the importance of having a quality education. This results in stiff competition for all major examinations as students work their socks off to vie for places in either top schools or the school of their choice.

Private tuition has already become a social norm in Singapore, but just how much does private tuition help? Well, we would say that it depends on many factors that are unique to each child. In general, some of the factors could be:

1. Character and learning style (visual/ auditory/ kinesthetic)- more on this in the next part of our EduSnips series

2. Level of knowledge in the subject

3. Learning pace

4. Setting (E.g. One-to-One tuition or in class) 

5. Delivery medium or delivery method preferred

Some other factors in rather more “tangible” terms would require backing by research and studies. In fact, a recent Straits Times article by a NUS economist has even looked into how private tuition expenditure is correlated to performance in examinations. Based on  2 separate studies of students in Hong Kong schools and South Korean high school students in national university admissions test, the findings are as summarised:

1. Higher proportion of students in higher forms received private tuition

2. Higher proportion of students with higher-educated parents received tuition

3. On average, 10% increase in expenditure on private tuition improved test performance by 0.56 percentile

4. Based on 2008 PSLE students admitted to secondary schools data, spending on private tuition to increase test score by 0.56 percentile would make a difference between being on borderline and being at top of cohort of admitted students to a particular top school.

(Png, 2010)

This interesting article  reveals studies done by various academics backed with measurable metrics gives a different viewpoint on “exactly” how much does private tuition help. You can read the entire article here and some of the community’s comments here.

Excerpt from:

Ivan Png. (July 1, 2010). StraitsTimes. In Ask: NUS Economists. Retrieved July 13, 2010, from http://bit.ly/cvh6If

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