Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Preparation

Academic support for Primary 6 and PSLE

Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Preparation

Postby GreenA » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:46 pm

It's the last day of year 2013. During this year, my daughter took PSLE in Sept, got result in Nov and was posted to a secondary school in Dec. Look back of our experience of the year, I wish to share the experience we have and the lesson we learnt.

Background: my daughter is a mainstream pupil. She did not have any tuition. She manage her own study from P1 to May P6. I helped her PSLE preparation from June to Sept 2013.

1. Prepare early.

Daughter's PSLE preparation started in June, after SA1 exams. I gave her a few sets of past year papers to assess her ability. After reviewing her work, I realised that she had major weakness.

a. She is careless with her maths. She has errors with simple calculations. She might copy numbers wrongly, zero and decimal point could go missing. She was in a haste to answer questions and didn't pay close attention to what the questions actually asked for. After a lot of hard calculations, she would give an answer that was not asked for.

b. For English, she knew a lot of words, but not sure of spelling. She read many books, but never pay attention to proper grammar. For open-end questions, she had problem to find clues that were buried in text.

c.For Science, she understand the concept well, but always lose points in open-end questions. Those questions require key-words. A pupil need training to give full mark answers.

Since I only find these problems in June, the next three months were spent in big hurries. Looking back, I really should have started everything at the beginning of P6 year.


2.Plan your DSA ahead.

Normally, secondary schools will have their open house in May. Interested pupils are to submit their DSA application in June and early July. Selection Test and interviews are carried out mainly in the month of July. Pupils receive their DSA result in early to mid August. Pupils need to decided by end of August if they will accept the DSA offer.

At the same time, primary schools started their revision for PSLE in July. Pupils will take prelim in mid August. By end of August, prelim result are made known. Pupils will have only 3 more weeks to prepare for the final PSLE exams.

It could be seen that DSA selection test and interview happen in the same month, July, when PSLE revision and preparation is the most intense. If a pupil take DSA test for more than one school, the demand on his time will be tremendous.


3.Here is my suggestion for a one year PSLE preparation Plan.

a. Jan to May

From Jan to May, when pupils haven't finished their P6 curriculum, parents should prepare them with some basic exercise.

English: Do exercise on grammar, vocabulary, cloze, synthesis & transformation and reading comprehension. There are many small booklets on sale at popular book store, which target at one area of the test. Pupil should focus at one area for a period of time, so that he can have intensive training. Parents should follow his progress, find his weakness and strengthen it.

Maths: Do maths exercise consistently. Pupils need practice to get ride of careless mistakes. It is careless mistake, not difficult question, that is fatal at PSLE maths exam.

Science: There is a large orange colour book called “SCIENCE PSLE REVISION GUIDE 2nd Edition". This book is available at all popular book store and featured prominently. This is a comprehensive guide for science revision. Ask your child to read it cover to cover TWICE during the first 5 months. Children can read it even before they finish their science curriculum. It is written very clearly.

b. Jun to Aug

After they finish their SA1, it's time to shovel them past year papers. The main purpose is to get them familiar with exam format, question types and also time management. This is also the time to let them see the more difficult questions.

When they have finished 5 to 6 sets of papers, parents should analyse the papers.

For Maths, list out all his errors, and find the reason for the mistakes. Are they because of mis-calculation, copy wrongly, not read the question carefully, didn't answer all questions, count decimal and zero wrongly? Write them down. Find which are the top 3 error types, discuss with your child, ask him how he could avoid them. By doing this a few rounds, the careless errors could be greatly reduced.

For Science, if the child wish for A*, he must make sure he scores at least 56 points for Section A. That means, he can make at most 2 errors for the 30 MCQ on section A. For section B, it was trickier. How to put in proper Key-words is like an art. I suggest a very good book: PSLE SCIENCE A* ACHIEVERS' GUIDED TOPICAL CHALLENGE. I found this book at Popular Book store at Bukit Pajang Shopping Centre. This is an advance science guide. Concepts are more advanced than standard curriculum. It emphasizes on answering open-end questions with proper key-words. My daughter benefits greatly from this book. She get A* in her PSLE Science. To seriously work on this book, please start early, maybe in May or Jun. The book is thick. There are many topics. Some are hard. Child may need a parent with some science background to explain.

For English, pupils are most likely to lose points with open-end reading comprehension. Get the PSLE English booklet, read the answer sheet for this type of questions carefully.

c.After Prelim to before of PSLE

After Prelim, there are 3 weeks for final revision. This is the time to get back to basic. No more difficult questions. You may also need to take discretion in giving your child past year papers. Many of these papers are far too difficult.

I suggest a set of books, called “Gear Up For PSLE”. It is available for all subjects. These series of books are not very difficult. However, there are tricky questions here and there. My daughter did these books during the last two weeks. She told me that the difficulty level is very similar to the actual PSLE exam papers. It gets here warm up and comfortable to the upcoming tests.

4.About DSA.

My daughter went for DSA with a top girl school. She applied under Academic – English. However, she was asked to sit for an IQ test first. The IQ test is for non-verbal reasoning. It basically gives you a set of graph, you need to find their relation and correctly select the next logical one for the set.

This has nothing to do with English Language ability. She failed at the very first test. Look back now, I feel that she is quite lucky to fail at first attempt. Suppose we past the IQ test, we will need to prepare the following Selection Test and Interview. We would have no ideas as what questions would be asked and what are proper answers. It would be very stressful to prepare and go through this process. Being rejected at the very first test, she could forget about the rest of the hassles and concentrate on PSLE preparations.

For mainstream student who wish to go for top schools' DSA through academic, only those students who are good at Maths have better chance. If your child is good at Maths, prepare him for important local maths Olympic contests organized by:

NUS High School : test in P5 mid year
Hwa Chong: test in P6 mid year
RI: test in P6 mid year
ACSI: Mathslympics (info provided by rainbowie, thank you!)

If your child manage to get a Gold Certificate for any of these, his chance for DSA is much improved.

I personally feel that top schools' DSA is difficult to prepare and the process takes too much time. Concentrate on PSLE preparation might be a better option for main stream kids.

* I have checked my book shelf and corrected the book names quoted in this post. They are accurate now. I will upload the book pictures soon, so that parents can check them in book stores.

** Get reference books early.
-- At end of August, I realized that daughter need English PSLE Booklet to read the model anwers for open end questions. I went to nearby Popular Book Store, but the booklet was sold out. I went to search a few more Popular Stores, all of them sold out. Finally daughter borrowed the answer sheets from classmate and I photocopied the answers.

-- In early September, I found the "Gear Up For PSLE" series very useful. However, I only managed to get copies for English, Science and Higher Chinese. Copies for Maths and Chinese were no longer available.

(Wish this guide will help P6 parents of next year. PSLE is a journey that taken by whole family. I wish your children achieve good results and I wish you a Very Happy New Year!)
Last edited by GreenA on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

GreenA
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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby Jamesbond » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:12 pm

Thx a lot GreenA for sharing ur experiences with us...it is really of great help. :salute:

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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby sushi88 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:14 pm

wow GreenA, you are indeed a kind soul to share your precious experience. May you be blessed with a great year ahead!

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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby psle2002 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:17 pm

Thanks for taking so much time to write in detail. Excellent Post!!

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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby ilovelaksa » Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:50 am

Hi, thk u for the wealth of information u hv shared. I will certainly take note of your suggestions whence PSLE looms for our family.

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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby zbear » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:04 am

Yes, GreenA has given very good tips and advice. Your post shld be made sticky for all PSLE students n parents.

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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby lurline » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:19 pm

Thank you for taking precious time to write and share with us how to cope with PSLE.

ds is taking his psle this year.

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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby lurline » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:20 pm

Thank you for taking precious time to write and share with us how to cope with PSLE.

ds is taking his psle this year.

lurline
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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby Suz855 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:00 pm

Just to add regarding DSA, my dd DSA too and personally I do not think it is time consuming and tedious.

My dd DSA through academic too & so did most of her classmates in her class, found the DSA success rate very high among her peers( they are main streamers). Anyway, we did not spent much time preparing her personal profolio, we just print out her results for p5 and p6 from her report book and whatever certificates n awards she gathered from p1-p6. She had to wrote an essay though to tell why she had chosen the school & we didn't specifically prepared the DSA assessment, we just continue with our routine psle preparation.

Dd managed to clear the assessments I supposed which was about 4 hours in which she was tested on her language and Maths skill n of course the so call GAT, she was called back for an interview and her dad help her to research abit on the school history n rehearse what she might be asked and the technically accepted answer ....

Looking back, I wouldn't say it took away much of her revision time but waiting for the letter of offer indeed gave us a few extra day of stress as our letter was delayed. Nevertheless I would recommend parents to DSA their kids if their kids result have been consistant around 80%, as personally, we should not just depend on a high stake national exam and if our kid can pass the selection then they should benefit well from the school of choice ....

The success in DSA in our case did eliminate the stress of fearing the unknown in psle exam and worry on freak result, it enable dd to focus to perform her personal best which she did and we are proud of the outcome.

By sharing, hope that parents will not be put off by the DSA process and support your child to gain entry to their dream school.

Good luck, a happy new year and all the best to a great psle journey with your child. :smile:

Suz855
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Re: Our Experience with PSLE and Suggestion for PSLE Prepara

Postby lurline » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:57 pm

I think the bottom line is to try for 1 or 2 dream school but not more.
It may be stressful for some children to do interviews. ds for sure, as he does like to talk to strangers.

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