Ever wondered how to help your child do well for the PSLE Science exam this year? If Science is your child’s weakest subject, you might be worried, and wondering if your child can improve their grades in time. Not to worry, here are our our top 5 tips on preparing for and acing the PSLE Science Exam with ease! For additional reading on the same subject, do check out this article by kidsrsimple called “How to Achieve A* (Seriously!)” over here.
To check out the syllabus for PSLE Science so you know exactly what to prepare for and the contents of the syllabus, click here.
Now, on to how to actually prepare for and ace the PSLE Science exam.
Do the 2017 PSLE Science examination papers
Parents, the PSLE Science exam you took when you were Primary 6 many decades ago is worlds different from the PSLE Science of now (well, since 2017,since there is a recent change to the syllabus.)
A major change is that two topics out of five (namely Electrical System and Energy) have been heavily scaled down. The weightage of application of knowledge is slightly higher than that on knowledge with understanding as well. This means the questions posed in the PSLE Science paper are geared more to testing higher-order thinking skills rather than simply recalling knowledge and grasping concepts.
In most of the schools (not just primary school), there has been a large shift towards critical thinking and higher-order skills, and less rote learning. This means that a child cannot just blindly memorize their way through the syllabus anymore (which is a good thing).
As of now 2018, there has only been one PSLE paper to look at so far (2017’s PSLE science paper), so this year may come as a much harder exam or much easier exam, while the MOE examiners continue to tweak it. Still, at this point in time, the only thing we really have to go off is the 2017 paper, so it is very important to get your child a copy of the 2017 paper (usually available in Popular bookstores) to practice and get a sense of what the questions might be like.
Improve your child’s sense of time by timing their practice papers
Many children, especially at the PSLE stage of their lives, have trouble with time management, and are often unable to complete their papers within an appropriate timeframe, either taking too long or too short a time.
A way to rectify this is to time them when they do practice papers, either from their own school or from other schools. If the paper is 1 hour 15 minutes, for example, stay firm on that time. If your child has problems completing the paper and begs “five more minutes!”, don’t give in to them and give them the extra time. If you give them the extra time they so desperately want, they will never learn to adapt to the stressful conditions of an exam, where the examiner will definitely not give them extra time.
If your child is the sort who tends to finish their exam papers exceptionally early, however, remind them to not hand their paper in early (if the examiner allows this – the PSLE is not supposed to allow you to do so, but some examiners will go against it and try to get children to hand in the Science paper early anyway.)
Remind them to keep checking over, and over again until time is up. They may get bored of checking, but if they do, and if they still have ample times, get them to redo the whole paper, especially the hard questions. This will stop them from getting too bored, and allow them to be assured of getting the marks they deserve and not lose out due to carelessness.
Be aware of keywords
Your child needs to be aware of important keywords that examiners like to use in both Science exam questions and just class assignments. Examples of these important keywords include “state”, “describe”, “define” and “give a reason”. Instructional keywords are found in open-ended Science questions and inform the student of what kind of answer is expected. If a student is able to see and understand the implication of those keywords, they will be well rewarded with the full marks, or close to it if they also know the answer. Questions beginning with “What”, “Which part”, “State” or “Name” usually require a short answer consisting of one word or a short phrase. Such questions generally test lower-order abilities to recall facts, and reasons are not required.
However, questions which begin with or contain the words “How”, “Describe”, “Explain”, “Why” or “Give a reason” test high-order thinking skills, thereby requiring students to provide a longer answer. This would demonstrate that the students are capable of applying the concepts they learnt to a given situation.
Get Science tuition for your child
Sometimes, your child may seem like they’re just completely unable to study. Maybe they’re already too busy with other subjects, or have other issues that are taking up their time and energy. Anyway, if this is your child’s situation, it might be a good idea to seek the help of a Science tuition center or Science tuition teacher. A good Science tuition teacher will be able to coax your child into studying, and help them get some much needed Science practice outside of school. If your child is falling behind because they are too shy to ask questions, a smaller class size of Science tuition class may be really helpful as it will give them the confidence to speak up and ask what they don’t know.
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