Avoid These 15 Mistakes During The PSLE: Tips From The Learning Lab

Every mark counts during the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination), so it pays to find ways to minimize errors. We spoke to educators from The Learning Lab about common PSLE mistakes and how to address them. Read on for their advice, and be sure to go over this list with your Primary 6 children prior to the exams.

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Common Mistake

What Students Should Do


English Composition

1.  Lack of a clear story curve.

2.  No clear link to the theme or picture(s) featured in the question.

Plan your story and content points on a narrative story curve before starting on the actual composition.

Draw a mind map to help you brainstorm as many story ideas and points as possible for each individual picture.

Boost your story by implementing writing techniques and appropriate vocabulary phrases that amplify and express your story well.

English Comprehension

3. Incomplete answers.

4. Imprecise answers, or lifting without paraphrasing to answer the question.

Analyse the questions closely, read the passage, and source for clues.

Cloze Passage

5. Inaccuracy of answers due to poor clue-sourcing.

Practise your clue-sourcing skills. This can help you understand the passage better, and point you towards the appropriate answers that will make sense in the blanks within the context of the paragraph.


Multiple Choice Questions

6. Carelessness in calculation.


Adopt a checking system by working backwards after you have attempted the question.

Short-Answer Questions

7. Transfer errors—selecting the wrong options despite showing the correct workings.

Fill in the answers for the missing variable(s) in the question and match the final answer to the correct option.

Word Problems

8. Omission of units.

Identify and circle the unit of measurement used in the question. List out the working and number sentence required. Check that you have included the unit of measurement (convert if necessary) in the final answer.

9. Omission of number sentences and workings.

Adopt the habit of writing out full number sentences, and show all workings on the right side of the page.

10. Omission of final answer or answer statements.

Ensure you fill in the final answer on the given blank, or write out the full answer statements as your final step.

11. Presentation errors.

Be especially careful when dealing with fractions and percentages. Develop a good habit in the presentation of your solutions while doing your daily practice.


Multiple Choice
(Section A)

12. Spending too much time on this section and on each question.

Manage your time wisely and spend only about 45 minutes on Section A.

13. Not reading the question carefully and identifying what the question is asking for.

Read the question carefully. Ensure not only that your answer is correct, but also that the other options are wrong.

Free Response
(Section B)

14. Incomplete answers, e.g. not answering in context, or not making comparisons.

15. Misconception/carelessness, due to not reading questions properly.

Where questions are split into parts, you must ensure that your answer for each subsequent part is consistent with the earlier parts of your answer.

Minimise careless mistakes by reading the question carefully and ensuring that you are answering the question. Your answers should always relate to the question and be given in the positive.

Carefully analyse all data given in the question, paying attention to trends in data and axes of graphs. Your answers should relate to the data provided in the question.