Tag Archives: parents

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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The Importance of Parent-Tutor Communication

talk!

Ever got into a situation that you found out a tutor has been working on foundation mathematics in a tutorial instead of high-level questions/sums that you have been expecting your child to practise on without knowing that the tutor is trying to work from the bottom first? Here’s where a well-maintained and well-communicated relationship between you(a parent) and your tutor will play a crucial role.

For communication to truly work well between the parent and tutor, it is imperative that conversations are regularly carried out. Face-to-face conversations are the most effective and allows the tutor to convey important information like student’s progress, weaknesses, personality flaws, lesson plan to parents and vice versa. Alternatively, if schedule does not permit, conversations via a phone call (not sms!) should be carried out as frequently as possible. On the other hand, sufficient room has to be given for the tutor to explore various teaching methods suitable for your child. So why is it so important other than simply conveying important information of the student between parent and tutor?

The reason is simple. A tutor commonly conducts tutorials once or twice a week and most of the time spent on the student is on teaching, guiding and clarifying the student’s doubts. For truly effective learning, sufficient preparation work has to be done before/after tutorials. Hence, the role of the parent in taking part in the child’s learning is all the more important as the child has to continue on the preparatory work at home and consistently.

To assist the parent and tutor into putting in place an effective communication channel that helps in preparatory work, various monitoring tools can be implemented like the ConsultAtutor One-to-One Tutoring Monitoring System.

Now that we have shared with you how important parent-tutor communication is. Don’t wait! Start getting more involved in your child’s everyday learning by discussing with your tutor today!

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Know your child’s predominant learning type: V,A,R or K?

Ever wondered why when you are back in Primary school some teachers want the class to read a passage aloud, take part in numerous role plays, learn new words using big pictorial cards and why when you are in Secondary school some teachers seem to “teach less” and allow you and your classmates to take more charge in the learning process by organising more group discussions etc.?

If you haven’t realise it, educators-teachers and tutors love to explore various teaching styles to suit the student’s learning style such that the delivery method and style bring about the most effect in a student’s learning. At various stages of a child’s education, pedagogies like assessment styles and delivery methods differ greatly. Hence, it is important for you to understand your child or student’s (if you are a tutor) predominant learning type in order for learning to be most effective in terms of skills vis a vis academic results.

In general according to Fleming’s VAK/VARK model, there are 4 types of learning styles:
1. Visual learners
2. Auditory learners
3. Reading/ writing -preference learners
4. Kinesthetic learners

In summary,

1. Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing and learn better via visual aids like diagrams, mindmaps, slides, animation etc.

 2. Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening and learn better via lectures, group discussions, audio-cds, podcasts etc.

3. Reading/ writing preference learners prefer to learn by reading or writing and learn better via  jotting down notes, preparing summary sheets, reading prepared handouts etc.

4. Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by experience and learn better via hands-on projects, science experiments, labwork etc.

Teachers who conduct classes for a number of students can identify and implement various methods of instruction to suit the class in general or a ConsultAtutor Personal Home Tutor can customise tutorials (delivery methods and teaching aids) specially for your child/student’s learning type after a period of observation.

Know more about your student/child’s predominant learning type today! I’m a V type. How about you? Share with us by taking part in the poll below or if you are unsure, try finding it out by doing this questionnaire before polling.

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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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Perapera…kun?

peraperapic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever struggled to flip through that really thick and clumsy Chinese-English dictionary in search for a translation of a word or phrase? I’m sure many of you if you are not using the handheld electronic dictionary, would have experienced the inconvenience of trying to count the number of strokes in a Chinese character and flipping through the pages of the dictionary but to realise that you ended up in the wrong page as you counted wrongly.

With the recent debate on adjustment of Mother Tongue weightage in PSLE, the highlight has been put on the teaching methods, learning tools and curriculum for the Mother Tongue language.  In particular, those students that may find the Chinese language to be especially difficult to learn due to their predominantly English-speaking background certainly feel that a change or improvement is required.

In light of this, as part of our EduSnips series, we shall introduce to you the Perapera-kun translator! So what is the Perapera-kun Translator and what does it do to help students and educators?

 The Perapera-kun translator is a add-on for Mozilla Firefox internet browser, another immensely popular browser other than the Internet Explorer. This add-on is amazingly useful for students who are weak in the Chinese language and would want to improve by seeking for fast and immediate(almost) translation without the hassles of flipping dictionaries or inputting into handheld dictionaries. The Perapera-kun Translator immediately pops-up a box with an English translation as your mouse hover over the Chinese word or phrase. Hence, this tool greatly reduces the time lag and cumbersomeness in trying to translate and comprehend physically via a dictionary or an electronic one. Imagine reading an interesting article with lots of difficult Chinese words that you would want to learn in a breeze! 

Students and educators can definitely use the Perapera-kun Translator to great effect when reading or sourcing for interesting Chinese articles like from our local omy.sg or even tapping into the huge range of Chinese internet resources via baidu.com. And for our ConsultAtutor Chinese Language personal home tutors, you might want to leverage on this tool as a stepping stone to how you can make your Chinese tutorials more fun and enriching to the students in ConsultAtutor’s One-to-One Tutoring Program using the vast resources available on Chinese websites! Be creative and explore to refine and broaden your teaching method and styles!

How to install and use Perapera-kun:

1. Download Mozilla Firefox (if you haven’t)

2. Download the Perapera-kun Translator (version 2.1 ) add-on

3. Download the Chinese-English Perapera-kun dictionary (scroll down the page and look for it)

4. Go to any Chinese websites like Sougou,  ZaoBao or Omy

5. Enable the translator by clicking on the star at the bottom right hand corner and hover across any Chinese word or phrase you would like to translate

6. Enjoy surfing using the Perapera-kun Translator!

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No more Primary 1 examinations in sixteen schools. More to follow?

 stressed by exams?

In Singapore, major examinations have been a mainstay in our academic system from Primary 1 all the way up to tertiary levels. No doubt that examinations is the most common method to assess a student’s ability or knowledge in a particular subject at a particular level, but is it the most effective way to grade our young ones based on these twice yearly major exams?

Many different ways of assessing students’ learning progress and grasp of concepts accurately have been brought forward by academics over the years. Feedback have also been given from parents, pupils and educators regarding the “over-emphasis” on major examinations. As the education system and the way people view raw test scores from examinations evolves, there is therefore a need for us to explore and design new assessment tools that complements holistic learning. A good way to start is from the Primary 1 level where students transit from kindergardens to their first step of formal education in schools. And this is exactly what the MOE is currently embarking on by doing away with Primary 1 examinations in sixteen “testbed” schools.

Holistic development is especially important in a child’s formative years which generally is during her time in a Primary School. Under a less stressful environment, students can develop communication skills, learn to freely express their creativity and explore different areas of interest that they might have not discovered. The focus is much more on learning, developing and exploring which are beneficial instead of being bogged down by the pressure to score in major examinations at the beginning of a child’s formal education. 

On the other hand, as a parent you could also be concerned about whether is there sufficient time for the child to prepare for PSLE. Also, with a change in learning environment,  pedagogies that are suitable for holistic learning and assessment have to evolve too. Educators, both teachers and tutors alike will have to adapt to the change in order to bring the initiative forward. And this takes time too, which is a challenge.

What do you think? Should more schools follow in doing away Primary 1 major examinations? Share with us your view by taking part in the poll below!

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How do you prepare your child well for PSLE Maths?

If your child is in Primary 6 this year and is going to take the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) in just a few months time, you should have heard of how past years’ PSLE Mathematics paper have been so challenging and mind-boggling  for students. 

With the introduction of the calculator and algebra into the Primary 6 Mathematics syllabus in recent years, the PSLE Mathematics standard has been raised considerably compared to 10 years ago. Not only do students have to pick up another skill to use the calculator wisely and appropriately(you will be surprised how some students use their calculators), they have to learn not to lose focus on their fundamental arithmetic skills while tackling the famous PSLE Problem Sums. 

So in the midst of remedial lessons in school, preliminary examinations and of course tutorials, how do you prepare your child well for PSLE Maths? 

Firstly, we would recommend setting a clearly-defined goal or grade to achieve. Set a realistic goal and always aim high. If you ask your child what grade does he or she wants and you get the answer “I dunno..” instead of “I’m working hard to get an A!” You probably should start thinking about fixing this first. 

Secondly, in general students at different level of proficiency will require different approaches. Hence the strategies a personal home tutor, or you as a parent could map out for your child’s progress in Maths would be according to the goal and current proficiency level. Spot weaknesses that emanate from repeated mistakes, identifying level of understanding of topics and analyse scoring trends according to sections in the practice exam papers or preliminary examinations is key to formulate a winning strategy for your child’s academic progress. 

If your child has set a goal to achieve an A* and is consistently scoring 80 marks and above in school examinations, you can target to let your child focus more on challenging non-routine problems sums while at the same time ensure that the foundation sums in the front sections of the paper still maintain a high score and preferably, be bold and aim for full marks.    

For a goal to achieve an A or B, it is important that the fundamentals is strong and good. Work on the concepts and the important links between topics like Fractions and Decimals, Fractions and Ratio, Fractions and Percentage (they are very very closely related topics) More practice on basic mental sums or arithmetic calculations is important too but only allocate a small portion of time on this. Finally, move on to focus more on the problem sums solving methods (with examples first) once a good depth of knowledge is attained on the relevant topics. Remember, mathematics to a certain extent is about practice, practice and practice! 

Depending on the learning pace of each child, which is different, you or the tutor should adjust and suit the learning progress accordingly.  

Thirdly, inculcate good examination practices if your child still has not know or practice any yet. Plan the time for each section or even each question well and allocate enough time for checking such that your child can answer you how much time he is going to spend for example, a Section A MCQ. 

To make a point, we would actually recommend that the preparation as stated above starts at least 1.5 years before the PSLE. Some of the strategies as stated above are not limited to Maths alone and are in fact also employed for students in ConsultAtutor’s One to One Tutoring Program. As time is a luxury at this moment for those taking PSLE this year, even more hard work and personal attention would have to be put in. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain! 

You wouldn't want this to happen! =)

You wouldn't want this to happen! =)

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