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5 tips to slaying the PSLE Maths monster: A parent’s guide

5 tips to slaying the PSLE Maths monster: A parent’s guide

While studying for PSLE can be stressful, there’s something about not getting the right answer to a maths question after the 10th try that brings even the best students to tears.

It’s no secret that the PSLE maths paper has caused quite a stir in recent years. From stumping intelligent adults to leaving confident children curled up in a corner of the room, shaken, the notoriety of the PSLE Mathematics paper is definitely well-deserved. But fear not! We are here to offer you some tips and tricks to help your child slay the maths monster.

Here are 5 simple tips to keep maths anxiety at bay and get your child in PSLE-ready shape.

Tip #1: Time, divide, conquer

Your child may have all the right answers in mind. But without good time management, the right answers will not translate into stellar grades. Therefore, it’s important to get familiar with the exam format and the amount of time it takes to complete each individual segment. This will give them a better grasp of time and allow them to better pace themselves during the exam.

Your child can learn to finish an exam paper within the time limit by following this simple principle: never spend more than one minute on a 1-mark question, or two minutes on a 2-mark question, and so on. For Paper 1, your child should aim to complete Booklet A in 20 minutes and Booklet B in 25 minutes respectively. As for Paper 2, your child should allocate 15 minutes for the first five questions, and devote a full hour to the rest. This is to ensure that your child gets at least 15 minutes to check through their answers for each paper, as well as attempt any question that was previously skipped.

To get your child into the groove of things, we recommend breaking down the segments of Paper 1 and 2 into mini timed-assignments to be practised during revision sessions. With enough practice, they’ll gain the confidence to conquer and triumph over the mathematical monster.

Tip #2: Watch out for the keywords

When it comes to scoring well, keyword is the name of the game. That’s especially true for Paper 2, where points are awarded for showing the right answers and working that got you there. By watching out for relevant keywords, your child is able to quickly identify the right concept that takes them one step closer to solving the question.

Tip #3: Know your essential formulas

Over the course of the curriculum, your child will be exposed to many formulas. To recall, pick, and apply the right formula to the right question in a time-sensitive environment like the PSLE Maths exam can be a challenging task.

Therefore, we recommend spending time with your child to create their very own personalised formula sheets. With all the essential formulas they need in one place, the formula sheet helps with easy revision and better retention. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that by putting pen to paper, students synthesise and retain knowledge in a way that mere reading does not.

And remember, there’s no right way to create a formula sheet. It’s for your eyes only. So grab a piece of paper, a ruler, some coloured pens, and formulate away!

Tip #4: Familiarise yourself with tricky questions

Does practice make perfect? No, but it sure helps to know where every pothole is when you’re speeding down the street at 9.15 am when work starts at 9 am. Similarly, when you familiarise your child with common tricky questions, you prepare them to spot those “mark-stealing” pitfalls from a mile away as they’re racing through every question on the exam paper. On top of that, be sure to encourage your child to read every question carefully before diving in. The last thing you want is for your child to grab the wrong concept or formula and beat themselves up for it.

To make it easier for you, we've solved some of the trickiest Maths questions from PSLE 2022 here

Tip #5: Check, double-check, and triple-check your work

There’s no greater, more common mistake, than not checking one’s work. Be it revising for PSLE or sitting for the actual exam, it’s important that your child develop a habit of checking their work. After all, a correct answer can be easily undone by something as small as a misplaced decimal. Start by allocating 5 minutes for “checking” whenever your child attempts a worksheet during practice. This will foster a “checking” habit that’s ingrained in their study routine which will be carried over to actual examinations.

If you liked reading this article, be sure to check out Understanding the requirements for PSLE Maths next!

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