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A-Zs of Surviving the PSLEs

Having seen 2 kids thru the dreaded PSLEs and coming through unscathed, I’m now able to look back (though not fondly) and share with parents how we cope as a family.

A – Aiming for A*s, of course. Most schools would’ve asked the kids to set a goal at the beginning of the year and review them at mid-year. You could too, and stick it somewhere visible in the room.

B – Busy. You bet they’ll be busy with loads of practice papers assigned by the school. So, spare them the additional work even if you had already bought extra papers.

C – Chicken essence. Once a week but increase to twice a week during the exams. Thanks tankee, for reminding that chicken essence may cause heatiness in some kids. So please try it out way before the crucial exams to see how your child takes to it.

D – Daddy. Dad played a very important role; he gave them massages when they were too stressed to fall asleep; he drove to different corners to pick up their favorite food and snacks.

E – Exercise. Try to schedule at least once a week for the child to cycle, swim or run..any exercise that allows the child to take her mind off the pressure at least for an hour or 2.

F – Faith. Have faith in the ability of your child and that he will give his best.

G – Gratitude. If life gets you down, give thanks to what you have instead of what you don’t.

H – Hugs. Hugs and wishes from the whole family before he leaves for the battle.

I – Intellect. A child lacking in intellect can more than make up for it through hard work and lots of practice. A never-say-die attitude helps too.

J – Journey. PSLE is just a milestone in the journey of your child’s life. It’s no big deal.

K – Kiasu. Pack 2 calculators/electronic dictionary and for girls, pin up the hair, use a hairband and anything to keep hair away from the face and to keep cool. Let your child wear/bring a religious object with her. It serves to calm their nerves.

L – Love your child unconditionally.

M – Mistakes. Learn from them. Help your child compile a list of common mistakes, especially for Science and English, and use this as a quick reference the day before the exams.

N – Nag. Remember to keep nagging to a bare minimum.

O – Oral. With most kids coming from English speaking families, the daunting oral and listening comprehension most faced would be for the mother tongue. If the school isn’t doing enough, consider signing your child up for oral classes, or for chinese listening compre, try this link.

P – Praise and promises of rewards to spur them on. Rewards can be monetary (not obscenely huge amounts, of course) or computer time or a gadget that the child has been eyeing. Lots of genuine praise for the efforts the child has put in.

Q – Quiet. Turn off the TV to show your support. It isn’t very conducive if the child is trying to study and there’s noise from the TV, radio etc. If this is not possible, signup to use the study room at the CC.

R – Rehearsal. While the prelims are a rehearsal to the actual PSLE, don’t fly off the handle if your child doesn’t do well. Some schools set papers that are way above PSLE standards in the hope of spurring the kids to do well.

S – Sleep. Make sure your child has enough of them. If he still needs afternoon naps, let him be so he can feel refreshed after his power nap.

T – Tender loving care. In the run-up to the exams, be prepared for lots of frayed nerves and tears. Lots of TLCs are needed within the family.

U – Upset. Be there for your child, not to criticise but to encourage if he’s upset.

V – Vegetables, fruits and vitamins to keep the flu at bay. With lack of sleep, their immunity will be affected and some kids tend to fall sick and get exam fever.

W – Worry. Worry is like a rocking chair. It keeps you moving but doesn’t get you anywhere. Better to channel your energy into positive activities.

X – X-hilarating. Feeling of euphoria to look forward to after the last paper. Fulfil your promise of lots of computer time, if that’s what your child wants.

Y – Yoga helps kids and their parents de-stress and through proper breathing techniques, they learn how to calm their excited psyche.

Z – Zzzzzzzzzzzz and lots of them to recover their sanity after the prelims.

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All the best

All the best to those taking PSLE this year, jiayou to mummies and daddies too

Don't wait till too late to rectify your problematic subjects

I have seen students starting to find tutors at p5 as psle is nearing and the foundation is not strong to sit for psle the following year.

actually if a child has been facing difficulties in his work from a young age, it is important that his problems must be solved ASAP and not to wait till near psle to surface the problems. 


At p3, if you child starts to feel stress because of 4 subjects, get help immediately. This is not being kiasu, this is to ensure you child leads a meaningful and smooth primary education years. The psle is a build up of all concepts learnt since p2… 


by getting help early, you are reducing the immense stress to the child at a later age.

Thanks for sharing :)

Thanks for sharing 🙂

 very interesting! will

 very interesting! will bear in mind..


you're welcome koalamummy!




thanks for your post. 

thanks for your post.  it’s very helpful and easy to read.  

 Thank you, lkvm and good

 Thank you, lkvm and good luck and all the best to mixedherb’s son for his psle!



My kids too!

 Hi sunset_dae, my kids love alphabet D too!



Just a thot to remind ourselves

as parents, especially having been in the workforce for many years, we sometimes expect our kids to perform like our staff in the office, forgetting that they are just kids.  We need to constantly remind ourselves that our kids are just children, and let’s let them have their childhood.  Having said that, I am also often guity of such unrealistic expectations… my son is taking his PSLE this year.

Good Post

Very good post keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!

I love Alphabet D!  -

I love Alphabet D!  – Daddy. Dad played a very important role.

Most often, people will assume Mummies play an impt role when preparing a child for his/her PSLE exams. How often will u see a Daddy taking leave and stay at home and prepare the child for exams? Driving the kids around for their fav food is a form of moral support too!

well summarized!

well summarized!

to treenymph

Love unconditionally without strings attached. Rewards could be tiered such that even if the child doesn’t make it he is still rewarded for the efforts put in even if it doesnt bear fruit.



Agreed with Mummyjoyce

Totally agreed with you Mummyjoyce.
We should standby and support our children regardless of results, as long as they put in their best effort. Nothing is more heart warming than seeing our children working hard to achieve a goal. Achieving a good result is a sweet bonus.

Proud Daddy of P1 Boy at Tao Nan School …

I  reward my children not

I  reward my children not basing on result but the hard work and time they are committed during this critical period.

There is why we plan for all the fun stuffs to do immediately after the PSLE. No need to wait for the result.  AS long as they shown that they have sincerely put in effort.  Good enough for my family.  Going to the top school is a bonus if not – NOT the end of the world.


Sometimes I really pity the

Sometimes I really pity the kids to have to go through this kind of stress at such a young age.  Heartaching!  But since its mandatory, I guess we really have to live with it.  The best thing we can do is support, cheer and spur them on. 

I think we also need to tell them no matter what happens later on (say if they missed and did badly in PSLE), we still love them.

I have one question.  If on the event that the kid worked hard but still did badly, do we still reward as promised? 

I think I will.  I hope I don’t spoil my kids…

yes indeed.

Full family support is crucial. Kids left on their own while parents/siblings lead their own busy lives, I somehow feel that they are at a disadvantage. It’s like they’re fighting a major battle all by themselves.

We dont compare our kids either. Each has their own strengths and of course, weaknesses.



I have 2 kids (Sec one this

I have 2 kids (Sec one this year and another PSLE this year)… so I also have some experiences on this aspect .

Time management is key and dont compare.   It is difficult not to compare sometimes but always give your full support.

I am a FTWM and therefore I make sure that I spend all my time around at home as much as possible telling her that I am around and giving her my full support.  When she is studying, no TV or radio on – everyone must be doing reading too.  

Also, we have plan to do things immediately after the PSLE, this is somethings that she is looking forward to as well.     I also try my best to cook/buy food that she likes to eat since we have cut down on visting the malls and eating out.  

It is very hard for someone so young to prepare for this major exam but this is a mandatory exam  and it is very impt that she understands why she needs to go thru it like everyone’s else but no stress as long as I see that she is really putting in effort.

It depends on the maturity of each child and plan and work with him/her accordingly.



Thank you, tutormum n tankee.

 You’re right tankee, chicken essence does cause heatiness in some kids. Will add a caution in my post. Thanks.


Good sharing !   Just a

Good sharing !
Just a word of caution on point c "Chicken Essense". Some people may find Chicken Essense "heaty". With the higher stress level and less restful nights towards the examination dates, most kids would already show signs of "heatiness". The chicken essense may be the last straw and casued them to fall sick.
Do let them drink more plain water to keep the "heatiness" in check.
And Good Luck to all parents and students having PSLE this year.

Proud Daddy of P1 Boy at Tao Nan School …

Very good post.

Very good post.

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