Preparing your child for the transition from PSLE Math to Secondary 1 Math

Submitted by Advertiser KiasuParent

Making the leap from PSLE Math to Secondary Math can truly be a daunting experience for both students and parents!

With a more rigorous curriculum, and a change in emphasis from arithmetic and basic numeracy to increasingly complicated concepts like algebra, calculus, and trigonometry, it is common for Secondary Math students to report feeling lost and overwhelmed.

Building your child’s mathematical foundation at Secondary 1 is therefore crucial to ensuring continued confidence and success in the lead-up to the O-Level ‘E’-Math and ‘A’-Math Exams.

(A) Introduction to Algebraic Learning

For Primary School Math, there is a heavy emphasis on problem solving using the “Singapore Model Method”. However, the “Singapore Model Method” has its limitations, and is unable to handle complex algebraic relationships or higher-order mathematical equations involving two or more variables.

Hence, when learning Secondary School Math, Algebra is taught as a core problem solving method, with students being expected to be increasingly proficient in the application of Algebra to their school work.

It is important that Secondary 1 students transition to the competent usage of Algebraic Manipulation smoothly, as it forms the foundation of understanding future topics such as Calculus and Trigonometry at the upper Secondary Math levels.

(B) Change in Focus from “Basic Number Sense” to “Complex Math Skills”

Students in Primary School Math are taught in a modular approach with the topics and concepts focused on developing a robust number sense. Topics learnt at the Primary Level are typically stand-alone and there is little overlap between the various concepts learnt.

In Secondary 1 Math alone, there are 14 topics taught in-depth, with a heavier emphasis on abstract content and problem solving. Math at the Secondary School Level is also taught in a systematic manner, with a hierarchy of interconnected learning goals. For example, Secondary Math students will first be taught “Real Numbers”, before learning about “Linear Equations” and followed by “Quadratic Equations”. It is crucial that each topic is mastered before progressing onto the next, or learning outcomes will be affected.


(C) Increased Emphasis on Reasoning and Presentation

In Primary School Math, getting the right solution is the priority, with less weight being placed on the mathematical thought process and presentation of workings.

Conversely, in Secondary School Math, clear and comprehensive presentation of workings is essential, to better show your understanding and reasoning of the mathematical concepts behind the problem. Marks will be deducted if the Algebraic workings do not show proper understanding and coherent mathematical thinking.


(D) What Are The Recommended Tutoring / Enrichment Programmes for Secondary / Integrated Programme (IP) School Math

To help your child navigate these challenges and thrive in their Secondary Math journey, you may consider enrolling your child in a Secondary Math tuition programme, such as the Secondary Math programmes offered by NickleBee Tutors.

NickleBee Tutors has Math programmes tailored for Secondary students in both the ‘O’-Level and Integrated Programme tracks :

(1) Small Group Math Tuition (O-Level Track)

This course caters to Secondary Math (‘O’ Level Track) students who are currently in Secondary 1 to Secondary 4.

Aligned with the MOE syllabus, NickleBee Tutors’ Secondary Math programme provides our students with a deeper understanding of the subject knowledge and problem-solving skills to achieve consistent academic excellence, hence achieving Distinctions for their O-Level ‘E’-Math and ‘A’-Math Exams.

(2) Small Group Math Tuition (Integrated Programme Track)

This course is designed for Integrated Programme (IP) Math students who are currently attending the IP from Year 1 to Year 4.

Developed over the past decade, NickleBee Tutors’ Integrated Programme (IP) Math materials equip students with critical thinking skills, advanced problem-solving techniques, and in-depth understanding of IP Math topics to prepare them for the rigours of the IP Tests and Exams, hence maximizing their results.

Ms Chen is an Alumnus of Victoria Junior College and Nanyang Technological University. An ex-MOE Junior College Lecturer, she graduated with a 1st Class Hons Engineering degree from NTU, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Merit) from NIE. Ms Chen will be conducting the Secondary Math Programmes at NickleBee Tutors.

Find out more about NickleBee Tutors’ Small Group Math tuition here:


NickleBee Tutors is rated the #1 Math Centre for Primary Math Tuition, and we have been featured in The Straits Times, The Sunday Times, The New Paper, Capital 958FM and Channel 8 for our comments on issues ranging from GEP Math tuition to Math Olympiad questions.

Visit to find out how hundreds of our students across different primary schools have improved in their academic results for the PSLE Math Exams and Math Olympiad Competitions.

Wed 15/11/2023