Seeking inspiration to fine-tune your child’s PSLE study strategy? Our community has tips and tricks that may be useful. Below are edited excerpts from the ongoing conversations in the 2017 PSLE Discussions and Strategies thread. You may also wish to look at a KSP parent’s sample study plan, and a teacher’s advice for last-minute revision.
#1 Eat right to learn well.
Adults often label kids as “lazy” or having a “poor attitude” or “low motivation.” I think they just can’t find the energy to get going, so you need to get them exercising, resting, and eating a lot of nutritious food, while cutting out junk and sugars. Try banana drinks (for energy) and honey ginseng. I also believe in consuming chicken soup and Chinese herbs in moderation. The boost of energy provided by good foods is obvious and immediate.
When children have energy, they will have the ability to think more clearly, make better decisions, and control their behaviour. — mylulaoshi
Now that the PSLE orals are near, please hold back on chocolates, durians, and “heaty” or deep fried foods. Vitamin C and rest are important. — janet88
#2 Identify areas for improvement.
My child and I only went through mistakes from the Continual Assessment, in preparation for the Semestral Assessment 1. Then we targeted to complete a few past year papers, and went over the mistakes from there. If time is running out, only work on past-year papers with questions that your child is struggling with. — xn_mummy
#3 Shortlist practise papers.
When it comes to practise papers, parents have their own preferences, but for English, you may try papers from girls’ schools like MGS and SCGS. For Maths, I recommend Catholic High papers. Sometimes my daughter finds the St. Nicholas paper challenging; you can also try Nanyang papers.
For Science, I don’t know of any extremely difficult or extremely easy school papers. The main objective is to gain exposure to the different types of questions. — lee_yl
#4 When writing: less is more.
To improve writing:
- Avoid long, run-on sentences. Keep sentences short and sweet. This may be useful especially if there is an issue with expression.
- Have a good grasp of grammar and punctuation.
- Use adverbs prudently.
- Focus on the theme at hand and elaborate on it. For compositions, highlight the main character’s feelings throughout the beginning, middle, and end, by describing his/her thoughts or actions.
- Use big words sparingly; I’ve been reading sample compositions and I find that some of them end up sounding verbose or comical with their choice of words.
- Read good books often. I cannot emphasise this enough. Personally, I find many kids are reading books that are either too mature for them, or too childish.
- Where possible, be creative. Since the PSLE composition mainly dwells in narrative, I think it’s best for students to come up with a plot that is exciting and fresh and seizes the attention of the examiner, rather than regurgitate a plot that has been well memorised. — apollonia
#5 Maintain a balanced lifestyle.
The workload this year is a little heavier, but more than that, my son is definitely feeling the stress from school and the teachers. To me it’s a balancing game. I encourage him to work and try his best to not make careless mistakes (without making him feel I’m expecting perfection from him). I give him space, but keep an eye on things so that I know where he stands and can intervene if required before things spiral out of control.
I’ve let him continue to do his sports, music, and reading while trying to manage his routine so he can get enough sleep. We’ve made some compromises: my son is continuing with music lessons but I’m ready to skip the exams this year. I sit down with him daily (as much as I’m able to), help him plan the afternoon, then leave him to work on his own. And as regularly as possible, I institute compulsory time off where he’s ordered to go listen to SoundHound, read a book, play chess, or do something that is not school related. — fable