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PSLE Maths Tutors share on how to overcome problems faced in PSLE Maths by students!

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PSLE Maths – Increasingly Difficult Over The years

PSLE Maths is well-known in Singapore to be an exam that has become a tough nut to crack over the years, with a reputation to be one of the toughest PSLE Papers. During the PSLE Maths Examination in 2019, there was a big commotion over the “ridiculous” difficulty of the PSLE Maths Paper. This caused a huge uproar with multiple criticisms from parents from all around our nation via Facebook where they addressed their concerns to our Minister of Education.

This has caused many parents to worry and seek help for PSLE Maths help as students struggle to cope with mastering the subject. According to this article by TODAY, the Primary PSLE Maths syllabus is indeed increasing in difficulty, due to a greater emphasis on students having to relate mathematical skills to the real-life scenarios used in word problems.

Here at MindFlex Home Tuition, out of our PSLE tuition enquiries, we receive a minimum of 5 requests a day from parents on hiring a PSLE Maths Tutor for their struggling children. To help both parents and students, we have specially consulted some of our Top PSLE Maths Tutors, to provide you with examples of common problems faced by PSLE Students, and how to overcome these problems.

PSLE Maths Help - How To Tackle Word Problems

To receive further help and advice, it will also be a great idea to check out these PSLE related guides:
PSLE Guide on Enabling Your Child To Ace PSLE
Complete Guide to Primary School & PSLE English.
Complete Guide to Primary School & PSLE Maths.

Problem #1 – Solving Word Problems With Help From PSLE Maths Tutors

From our interactions with concerned parents, word problems have been cited as the #1 issue that students struggle with for PSLE Maths. Word problems in Maths are questions that students have to answer using Maths calculations which are described in ‘real-life’ scenarios. They require students to apply their knowledge of various different concepts to these scenarios, by having to analyse and infer relevant information from these problems. These problems can be found in the PSLE Maths Paper 2. There are 12 Long-Answer Questions worth 3 to 5 marks each question, totalling to 45 marks.

Example Of A Word Problem:

“Jamie and Oliver used $61.20 each to buy some egg tarts. Jamie has a 15% discount coupon and bought 6 more egg tarts than Oliver.

a) How many egg tarts did Jamie buy?

b) What is the cost of an egg tart without the discount?”

This question tests students on their understanding of percentage and how it is applied in real life. Students firstly have to break the question down to infer more information. Students have to obtain information from the problem, sentence-by-sentence and understand it before moving onto the answering the question. Students may be confused by the way that the problem is phrased and the overload of information provided. Some students have this difficulty in obtaining information and key portions from the question thus causing them to not be able to solve the question. Another problem that students face is due to their lack of English skills that results in them not being able to comprehend what the question is asking for.

Seek Help From PSLE Maths Tutors

Seeking help from PSLE Maths tutors will help your child be able to learn the proper thinking process of breaking down the key words and comprehending what these word problems ask of them. PSLE Maths tutors have the skills and techniques to properly guide students on the steps of tackling word problems. They also help students be able to pull out and identify key information and phrases from the problems to assist them in solving each word problem. PSLE Maths tutors teach students to expand their thinking skills and master the course of answering these word problems. This is why parents seek help from PSLE Maths tutors to guide their children to obtain mastery of word problems and ace their PSLE Maths Examination.

Problem #2 – Careless Mistakes That Students Make In Their PSLE Maths Examination

Most of the time, students actually understand the problems and know how to obtain the correct answers. However, certain common careless mistake cause students to lose valuable marks. What kind of careless mistakes do we have to pay more attention to, you may ask?

A first typical example would be when solving the Maths question, students unintentionally make careless mistakes in the steps, causing their subsequent working steps to be incorrect or written wrongly. This then causes them to lose valuable marks that could have been prevented through double-checking. This is especially painful when the question requires a multi-step solution and the mistake is spotted in the 1st or 2nd step, causing the rest of the workings to be completely wrong.

A second classic example of carelessness would be that students tend to skip steps when they are confident. In writing out the correct relevant steps to the solution, they tend to skip 1-2 steps in between that they may deem to be “obvious” or a waste of time, However, this then causes their working to be marked as “incomplete”, causing examiners not to award the full marks that they deserve.

Thirdly and probably the most “wasteful” way to lose marks – students complete the necessary steps correctly with their workings and obtain the correct answer… but carelessly leave out the necessary units in the final answer. This unfortunately also causes them to not obtain the full mark for the question, what a waste! Upon adding all these unnecessarily deducted marks, one can only imagine the effect these careless mistakes have put onto the final grade of the PSLE Maths paper. Imagine dropping a whole grade just because of these marks!

Parents have come to MindFlex Home Tuition looking for Maths home tuition, often remarking in their request for the tutor to spot and work on their child’s tendency to make careless mistakes. One of the main tips from our PSLE Maths Tutors to avoid careless mistakes during any Maths Examination would be to re-insert the final answer obtained back into the question, to double-check if it tallies with the question. By doing so, students will be able to guarantee that their answers are correct and secure the maximum marks for the question, provided that the workings shown are correct and accurate. If you realise that some values do not make sense after re-inserting your obtained answer, you can be sure that the answer is definitely wrong, and you should retrace your steps from the beginning to see if you have made a careless mistake in one of the workings.

Time Management is Important When Completing Your Examination Paper

Time Management is One Of The Most Important Factors When Completing Your Examination Paper

Problem #3 – Time Management During Your PSLE Maths Examination

Are students going through their PSLE Maths Examination with the mindset of Olympic runners rushing towards the finishing line? This is one of the main reasons why parents have looked for PSLE Maths help. Students are not aware of the correct way to spend their time doing their PSLE Maths Paper. Now you may ask, how should students be allocating their time wisely to each problem or sections of the paper?

Paper 1

In the PSLE Maths Paper 1, there are 2 booklets – Booklet A and Booklet B. Booklet A consists of 15 Multiple Choice questions and Booklet B consists of 15 Short-Answer Questions. Students are given only 1 hour to complete the paper. Students should aim to complete each question within 1-2 minutes, giving themselves 10-15 minutes to look back and check their workings for any careless mistakes. It is also important for students to make sure that they have shaded their Optical Answer Sheets (OAS) accurately to ensure that no extra unnecessary marks are lost.

Paper 2

While for the PSLE Maths Paper 2, it consists of 5 Short-Answer Questions and 12 Long-Answer Questions. Students are only given 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the paper. That is not a lot of time! So how should students be allocating their time for this paper? Students should complete each Short-Answer Question within 2 minutes and each Long-Answer Question within 5-6 minutes. This gives them an additional 10-15 minutes for them to check their work. Students should also skip questions which they are unsure of, and return to them after they have completed the rest of the paper. This will ensure that they are able to attempt the maximum number of marks possible for the PSLE maths Paper.

How Can My Child Accomplish That?

One of the main benefits of hiring a PSLE Maths Tutor would be that he/she will be able to provide your child with timed practices, to ensure your child has sufficient practice in a realistic exam setting. Practising exam skills is an important factor that is often overlooked. Many students go into their Maths examinations with adequate knowledge but are not able to complete the paper in time not because they do not know how to do the questions, but because they have run out of time. If you are looking for an experienced PSLE Maths Tutors who are able to provide your child with these practices, you may contact us via this link.

Problem #4 – Inadequate Practice & Guidance From PSLE Maths Tutors

One of the main problems that students face is inadequate practice. Mathematics is a subject that leans more towards students understanding rather than memorising. Maths is all about practice, practice and more practice. Students struggle with Maths mostly because they do not have the proper foundation needed to tackle the questions asked. As Maths is a cumulative subject, students cannot afford to fall behind as they need to catch up on the basics before being able to move on to advanced topics. Once students start to fall behind, it causes a snowball effect and may be too overwhelming in the end.

Constant Repetition

To do well for Maths, students have to constantly practice various problems. By having constant practice, students will only then be able to ace your PSLE Maths Examination. It is only through constant repetition of concept applications that students are able to then pick up the way that questions are asked. Through practising past year papers, students will then be familiar with the format that the PSLE Maths Examination will be in and know what to expect, to avoid being confused during their own PSLE Maths Examination. Students should make use of effective materials to practice such as good assessment books and past year papers to ensure they can revise efficiently.

Effective Revision

Students should also focus on the concepts and areas that they are weak in which they require help with. If your child is having difficulty with certain topics such as Fractions or Ratios, they should focus on practising problems based on these topics to ensure that they understand and are able to tackle these specific problems. Before attempting past year papers that test students on all topics. Students also should familiarise themselves with the usage of calculators, to be fast, efficient and accurate while solving word problems. Students should note that Calculators are to be used for ONLY Paper 2. Yes, students should be familiar with the usage of calculators. However, students should not be too reliant on Calculators as students are not allowed to use Calculators for Paper 1. So students should still be familiar with manual calculations.

Hire A PSLE Maths Tutor

So you should hire a PSLE Maths tutor as they are able to provide or recommend efficient and effective forms of practice that students should use. Many experienced PSLE Maths tutors are very familiar with the format and syllabus of the PSLE Maths Examination and are able to provide guidance on how to tackle the various problems that students will face. PSLE Maths tutors are able to provide students with adequate practice as they have a large pool of Maths questions from question banks to share. Some PSLE Maths tutors are also able to prepare customised notes and questions just for the particular student based on their strengths and weaknesses to tackle their needs.

Students Have To Focus Do Excel

Students Must Learn To Focus During Their PSLE Maths Papers To Avoid Careless Mistakes

Problem #5 – Stress Management & Having Adequate Rest

Students need to have adequate rest, especially before their PSLE Maths Examination paper. As mentioned above, success in acing your PSLE Maths Examination relies on application and problem solving rather than memorising of the formulas. If you cram information the night before your PSLE Maths Examination, you may end up with more harm than benefits. Without enough rest the night before the PSLE Maths Examination, students will not able to function to the best of their ability and pull out all the stops to excel in their PSLE Maths Examination. According to this article by NewScientist, it shows how sleep is vital for one’s memory and ability to process information. By not giving your brain a chance to rest, you will then give yourself a harder time remembering the information that you have studied.

Not Having Adequate Rest Leads To Stress

Cramming the night before your PSLE Maths Examination may cause you to be even more stressed out than you should be. It is normal for students to be stressed preparing for this major Examination. However, students have to manage their stress to not cause them to panic, especially during the examination itself!

According to this article by UCL, here are 7 ways to cope with exam stress:

  1. Students have to remember to take a step back and breathe. This gives students time to calm down and think rationally how to move forward when occurring a problem instead of panicking.
  2. Students have to ensure that they are adequately-nourished and well-rested for them to pull out their best performance.
  3. Students should set realistic goals. This helps students gain perspective and maximises their productivity.
  4. Students may revise with peers if they feel that the support from their peers will help them build their confidence.
  5. Students have to pace themselves when they panic. It is very common for students to panic, so they should learn to calm down and break down their problems to make it easier for them to tackle their problems.
  6. Students have to be confident and believe in themselves. If students are only filled with negative thoughts, they will not be able to move forward and tackle the situation with a clear head.
  7. Students should ask for help if they feel that they are struggling. They can ask help from PSLE Maths tutors, teachers, friends or family to help them solve their problems and ease their mind.

Students should have a good mental state in order to tackle their PSLE Maths Examination calmly. Due to peer pressure and competition from their peers, students also pressurise themselves to do well for their PSLE Maths Examination. This ultimately affects students, not being able to focus during their examinations and preparation. Stress management is also linked to adequate preparation. If students have enough preparation, they should not feel the need to be stressed before their PSLE Maths Examination. Students should rest well especially the night before the examination as a good’s night rest goes a long way.

In Conclusion,

Yes! Maths is difficult. However, go through these steps and you will be able to excel in your PSLE Maths Examination.

  1. Read through the questions carefully. Take the time to understand the question and what they are looking for. Do not be confused!
  2. Eliminate all mistakes. Practice and look through your answers and workings carefully to avoid losing valuable marks.
  3. Manage your time well, do not rush through and panic!
  4. It is in human nature to make errors. It is alright to get questions wrong, learn from your mistakes and avoid making them again in the future.
  5. Keep calm and try different methods if you are not sure of your answer. You may try these 8 Methods to solve the question.
  6. Clarify your queries with your tutors and teachers. Students should not be afraid to ask for help for their PSLE Maths problems.
  7. Ultimately, have fun with Maths!

If further help is required, do also feel free to engage our Primary School Tuition which caters to all levels from P1-P6, especialy PSLE. Or you may also check out our Top 30 options for Primary School Tuition in Singapore.

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