I have blogged about the changes from P3-P5 recently & how children can prepare for it during the school holidays. So let me touch on the most important year in Primary school now -Primary 6!
By now, parents should have a clear grasp on how their child is performing. The hurdle of adapting to the new components at the start of P5 should be over and your child should be scoring a minimum of an 'A' (75 and over) to be confident that the P6 year won't be too much of a burden for them.
The P6 year will fly by and by the time the August has come around, your child will be close to exhaustion with school pressure and homework. If you feel that your child is not up to the level you want him to be now, this is the time to take action. Do not despair..it is achievable.
Let me give you some examples, I have had children come to me at the start of December with a 50+ total in P5 SA2. By the time SA1 comes around, the child is scoring 75 and above. This is only achievable IF the child is willing to put in the effort needed to improve. With such children, I try to remain in contact with the parent as often as possible. If homework is not done, parents are informed and we try to work on the reasons why. Parental involvement is crucial during the P6 year.
Lets look at the different components that can be worked on. I'll touch on Booklet A today :
In this component, an advertisement or a poster is given and the student has to answer 5 questions based on it. Is it easy to get full marks? Possibly. Only if the student actually reads the graphic stimulus THOROUGHLY. I have had strong students constantly make one mistake simply because they had skimmed over the graphic, thinking that it was easy. Questions can be tricky and if the student is not careful, he can be tricked.
Make sure that he knows the difference between 'organiser of an event' and the 'sponsor of the event'.
Grammar & Punctuation MCQ
This is to test the student on his knowledge of grammatical structure. Take note of the common grammatical mistakes your child makes..Conditional Tenses..Neither/Either of..Neither..nor/Either..or etc. Explain why we use it that way and then get him to practice. Two good books to 'drill' your child in grammar are Casco & Longman MCQ practices.
This section is to test the student's knowledge on the use of Vocabulary. How do we build vocabulary, besides reading widely? My way is the 'old fashioned' way..which seems to work well. Words that they get wrong are recorded in a notebook. They are learnt as spelling and the meaning is memorised but not tested as spelling (useful for the Spelling & Editing section in Booklet B). The following lesson, I'll test the spelling and students are asked to make 2 or 3 sentences from the word list. This is to ensure that the student has understood how to use the word correctly. Over time I have realised that my student may misspell the word but very rarely misuse it again.
Vocabulary Cloze (MCQ)
This is more challenging than the Vocabulary MCQ. Students are expected to select a word which is the closest synonym to the underlined word in the passage. Why challenging? Some of the choices given are very similar in meaning and students have to fit the choice in relation to the passage. This can be very tricky as seen in PSLE 2013. All my students were perturbed by a particular question.
Practice this section in all the Top Year Exam papers, taking note of the vocabulary your child is unsure of and learn them.
This is to test the student's level of comprehension & vocabulary (usually one question). As with the Graphic Stimulus, read the questions before reading the passage carefully and slowly.