A Complete Guide to Primary School & PSLE Maths
The Primary School Leaving Examination, or PSLE for short, is one of the national examinations every student has to go through at the end of their six years in Primary school. It determines the school and stream that students choose to pursue their higher studies. Seeing as it will be the first national exams that students have to go through in their educational journey, the need to do well and worried parents are the two things that stays the same throughout the years. Many parents have also turned towards hiring PSLE Tuition as a measure to help their children obtain a better PSLE score. Together with our specialized Primary School Tutors, we have gathered a complete guide for Primary School and PSLE Maths to help you gain greater insights on the challenges and helpful tips for your child!
1. An Overview to PSLE Maths
One thing that students always seem to have a hard time with, in general, would be Maths. Regardless of age and gender, maths has been something of a topic among students with its extensive formulas and methods for problem-solving. As such, we often hear our friends and students groaning at the mere mention of the subject, unwilling to partake in the thought of it. The reason why Maths can be tough stems from abstract concepts, needing students to effectively visualise, understand and provide substantial evidence that leads to the correct answer.
Additionally, as the student progresses in their educational journey, the difficulty level is sure to rise. However, Maths, at its core, can be applied to in our daily lives and is one of the most important subjects that your child can learn to excel in. It is an excellent tool for developing mental discipline and encouraging logical reasoning and cognitive rigour.
Practice makes perfect, and this holds true for maths. Excelling in Primary Maths requires students first to have a strong foundation and consistent practice to grasp the subject fully. The learning journey is as important as the learning outcome. Buiding familiarity in different maths questions will eventually increase your child’s confidence, enabling them to feel more at ease when sitting for their PSLE Maths examination. As such, when your child eventually graduates and moves on to Secondary School, the confidence and foundation that they have built up will surely come in handy in the long run as the difficulty level rises. Working on areas of weakness and knowing your child’s strengths can give your child an added advantage in scoring well for his/her PSLE Maths.
Here at MindFlex, we have many Maths tutors with vast experiences that have helped many students successfully achieve good grades for PSLE Maths. Find out more about the benefits our PSLE Maths Tutors can offer!
2. Objectives of PSLE Maths
According to MOE, the main purpose of the Primary Maths syllabus is to instil students with the mastery of Mathematics that will serve them better in the future and open up the possibilities for those interested in pursuing maths at a higher level. Through the PSLE Maths Examination, Primary 6 students are assessed to meet the three broad aims of the Maths syllabus, making sure that they can meet the following requirements:
- Perform straightforward computations and algebraic procedures
- Understand and apply mathematical concepts and skills in a variety of contexts
- Analyse information and make inferences, selecting appropriate strategies to solve problems
3. PSLE Exam Format
The PSLE Maths paper examination consists of 2 written papers that will take 2 hours 30mins to complete.
3.1. Paper 1 (MCQ & Short Answer Questions)
45 marks, 1 hour
Booklet A: Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs)
Students are given four options, of which only one is correct. There will be a total of 15 questions that usually involve simple, straightforward questions that test the student’s basic concepts and skills.
Booklet B: Short-Answer Questions
In this section, students would need to write their answers in the space provided for this component, where they can be awarded either 1 or 2 marks based on the question. For two mark short-answer questions, there may comprise of one or two parts. Two-part questions, one point is awarded for each correct answer. For questions with only one part, the correct answer is worth two points. If an incorrect response is written, 1 point is awarded for the proper method or working shown.
3.1.1. Challenges Faced in PSLE Maths Paper 1
It is human to make errors and the one thing that has stuck the same with students over the years are careless mistakes. Students often miss out on little details in their answers and logic that may cost them a substantial amount of marks if not adequately rectified. This boils down to how much time they have left. Given the limited time to finish the paper, students tend to make more of these mistakes when running short on time.
3.1.2. How To Score Well for PSLE Maths Paper 1
Since Paper 1 questions are relatively direct, students can secure as many marks as possible for this paper. Time management is crucial in this aspect, and students can learn to stick to 1 minute per mark. Together with this, they can also assess the questions and attempt those they are more confident answering. In addition to building up his/her confidence, it is an efficient way to get some extra time on their hands to complete the more challenging questions. Our Primary Maths tutors have also recommended that students use the elimination method, which is especially useful for the MCQ section. Students can quickly eliminate the options that do not make sense, increasing their chances to 50% in picking the correct answer. Although this strategy is not a one size fits all and may not be applicable for specific questions, it is a valuable time-saving and risk-reduction technique.
3.2. Paper 2 (Structured / Long-answer Question)
55 marks, 1 hour 30 mins
For Paper 2 of the PSLE Maths examination, it contains 5 short answer questions followed by 12 long-answer questions. The questions are made up of problem sums (word problems) of varying complexity levels. They are typically more indirect and need the application of more cognitive and critical thinking that will test your child’s understanding of various concepts. Since students will need to deal with more complex ideas and formulas, calculators are permitted for this paper. As compared to Paper 1, this paper has a higher weightage. How well a student does for this paper determines whether they can pass or achieve their A grades.
3.2.1. Challenges Faced in PSLE Maths Paper 2
This section lasts for 1 hour 30mins and is one area that students face the most difficulty with. The challenging nature of the paper, coupled with the need for enhanced critical thinking in solving problems, might make the paper seem unbelievably long. This might frustrate and overwhelm many students and lead them to have negative feelings towards the subject.
3.2.2. How To Score Well for PSLE Maths Paper 2
The most important tip that students need to keep in mind is not to leave the question blank. As the questions get more challenging, there are bound to be some that will perplex you no matter how much students have studied. Students at first glance may not discover the solution right away. However, it is more often the case that they can only come up with at least one number statement or working before realising that they are stuck. Even just a simple equation, students can write that down in the space provided!
The mark allocation for Paper 2 is higher and thus carries method marks as well. This means that even if students do not come to a final answer, if they can adequately show their steps into understanding the question, they will be awarded at least 1 mark for that. Although some questions in the paper can be pretty daunting, students need to have the habit of not leaving any questions blank. Try your best in answering the questions to the best of your abilities. Any marks awarded is better than none at all!
On the flip side, if students are confident in their answer, make sure that all the steps are written down. Please list all of the workings needed for the question, no matter how simple or straightforward it is. Any number that is not from the question must be accounted for and included in your number statements. If not, markers will not award the necessary marks. When implementing these tips, you would be shocked at how many marks can be saved for PSLE Math Paper 2 by just writing down all of their calculations!
4. PSLE Maths Tips and Resources
Maths is both conceptual and application heavy. MOE aims for students to gain a deeper understanding and ability to convert textbook theories and apply them in real life throughout their educational journey. As such, the level of mastery that Primary student needs to achieve to excel can be tricky. MindFlex has provided a list of tips and resources can your child ace his/her exams.
4.1. PSLE Maths Tips
1. Analyse mistakes and work on them
“Learning from your mistakes” is something that has been instilled in us since young. There must be a reason why teachers have always said this phrase in school, and it is because mistakes are inevitable. However, if adequately addressed, it reduces students’ chances of making the same mistake again in the future. As aforementioned in one of the previous points, students tend to make careless mistakes, even for simple questions. Technical mistakes are ones that students generally make due to wrong calculations, such as getting the wrong number during addition. However, when we further scrutinise these “careless mistakes”, there are 2 more that tend to happen – Conceptual and Procedural.
Students may have conceptual mistakes due to an incomplete understanding of the maths concepts or ideas. These blunders are all too typical when it comes to long/structured word problems, multi-digit multiplication, or long division. As such, students should revisit certain concepts with their tutors or teachers to clarify their understanding. Procedural mistakes are also a common problem for Primary students. Since maths revolve around problem-solving, students need to make sure that they know the actions or processes necessary to answer questions correctly. This mistake occurs when they erroneously implement a wrong formula or a step in their working.
As a result, making a small mistake can lead to attaining the wrong final answer, unnecessarily losing marks. Hence, with careful analysis and identification of these misunderstandings and errors, students can benefit from their mistakes.
2. Revise and Plan!
Rome was not built in a day, and similarly so when tackling Maths. Since the Primary Maths syllabus has a wide range of topics, it is never too early to start planning and preparing! No matter your child’s learning abilities, constant revision and practice will work wonders in the long run. This makes sure that your child will have ample time to brush up on the topics, making them less anxious than if they were to revise last minute. Setting goals and creating a timetable can be an excellent way to start revisions. Sit down with your child and discuss the following
- Targeted PSLE Maths result
- Timetable for revisions
- Goals for each week leading up to the actual exam
While setting these goals, you can put a reward system in place as well. After completing the desired revision/topics to cover, rewarding your child will promote continual high-quality performance. Students can have a clear goal to work towards and are more encouraged to follow the timetable. However, it is also vital to note that this aims to reduce the stress they face when prepping for PSLE. As such, do take learning ability, current Maths level and timings as a consideration while planning the timetable. You can click here to find out more tips on creating a revision timetable.
3. Make your own Maths Dictionary
Due to its extensive nature, the Primary Maths syllabus has its fair share of complicated terminology. Remembering them all takes a lot of effort, and students may miss out on some important ones. Hence, creating notes and flashcards to have on hand can make it easier for your child to revise for his/her exams. Students should include definitions, significant points, and even model answers for easy reference. Another perk is that students can add their flair and design them with colours and patterns. Unleashing their creativity allows students to retain information, making the process fun while simultaneously learning about Maths!
Since students often dread the thought of Maths, associating fun and enjoyment through this practice can change their mindset about the subject. After all, we tend to remember the things that we like and give us satisfaction in doing.
4. Get out of your comfort zone
While revising for PSLE Maths, it is common for students to practice through assessment books or other school papers, often answering the more straightforward questions first. This is because students may get stuck and skip the more complex and higher-order thinking questions. That is perfectly reasonable as students may gain more confidence in answering more demanding questions later on.
However, these questions are unavoidable and usually carry the most marks. Top students are those that have had a lot of practice and examined a wide range of questions. As a result, students are encouraged to get out of their comfort zone. There is no sense in doing all of the simple questions at the start of each topic; they must continue with the ‘harder’ or ‘difficult’ ones. Please do not leave them out! The more students are exposed to these types of questions, the more comfortable they will be should a similar question appear during exams. Familiarity is a great way to help ace the PSLE Maths paper.
Needing extra help is normal, and students can choose to consult their teachers or tutors to clarify their doubts further during lessons! If your child needs extra help and guidance, click here to read more about our Maths Tutors and the services they provide!
4.2. PSLE Maths Resources
We have produced a list of our top 5 resources to help with your child’s PSLE Maths preparation.
In this modern age where technology is ever so prevalent globally, students have never been more exposed to digital content. Practicle has been featured on various news platforms in Singapore for its interactive Maths learning system for Primary School students to be exam-ready. Their algorithm chooses questions based on student’s weaknesses and provides clear step by step videos to simplify complicated problems, making concepts more accessible during revision. As such, it teaches students through a personalised and gamified environment, allowing them to grow quicker and attain their full potential.
The intelligent learning system has also been accredited by Education Alliance Finland for outstanding education quality in accordance with worldwide standards and effectively promoting learning for children. Being globally recognised and guaranteed results, you can try using this online platform for your child’s learning!
2. Maths Top The Class Term/Sem Papers PSLE
This PSLE Maths assessment book is perfect for developing your child’s practice and mastery in Maths. It prepares students and analyses their preparedness for more challenging maths problems for their school exams, quizzes, and weighted assessments. This assessment book will acquire more exposure to higher-order thinking problems and commonly-tested questions in recent top schools’ and PSLE papers by taking the various Primary Maths exam papers in this book. The book will also include the complete solution to support student’s learning.
Additionally, when faced with a challenging question that students cannot fully grasp, they can take note and bring it to their teachers’ attention for further clarification and help!
3. PSLE Maths Examiners’ Secrets Revealed
This book is based on the latest Primary Maths Syllabus, offering a unique take to traditional assessment books. It is specifically designed to help students answer test questions effectively by providing insight into the mark distribution used by examiners. Students will learn how to get full marks and gain the confidence they need to succeed in their examinations by reading this book. Its key features include:
- Demonstrates the mark allocation for correct workings
- Examiner’s comments
- Allow students to evaluate the operation of a question and assign grades accordingly as if they were an examiner. If students marks a cross in any of the boxes, they will write the correct working
- Practice exam questions. For complex questions, hints are offered
On Quizlet, students can look through popular Maths study sets and learn about various topics such as Geometry and Algebra or create their own. They can use free online flashcards, diagrams, study guides, and practice tests to help them with their math assignments and examinations. For greater ease of access, Quizlet is also available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. There, students can also learn everything they need to know to succeed in their Math lessons. Memorise key Math phrases, definitions, and ideas. Another feature that can be beneficial for your child would be Quizlet Learn!
It removes the guesswork from studying by developing a study schedule that takes students through various topics and reminds them when it’s time to revise. Student’s progress can also be viewed and improves learning through short and practical study sessions. This way, it would be easier for your child to plan out their revision timetable!
5. Free PSLE Maths Exam Papers
We understand how costly extra exam materials may be. Therefore, we have found a selection of free PSLE Maths test papers that you can download online, ideal for extra practise or revision for your child. These papers include those from top schools that can also be beneficial in exposing your child to more challenging questions.
6. MindFlex Maths Home Tutors
If your child needs extra help in preparation for PSLE Maths, have you considered hiring a Home Tutor? Having a private tutor enables students to get the undivided attention they need at the convenience of your home!
Here at MindFlex, we have a wide selection of Maths Tutors, with over 15,000 experienced tutors available to impart their tips and tricks for your child to ace their PSLE Maths examination. Request for a MindFlex PSLE Maths Tutor here.
We have all experienced the trials and tribulations of preparing for the PSLE Maths examination. Both parents and students alike experience their fair share of stress during this period. Ultimately, it is essential to note that the Primary Maths syllabus aims to prepare students to gain a solid foundation applicable to real-life scenarios. We hope that this guide helps you gain a clearer picture of the PSLE Maths exam.
At MindFlex, our PSLE Tutors instill the value of comprehensive education with real-life approaches for more holistic learning. This helps students to gain a greater appreciation for the subject while also improving their grades. However, if you are still unsure, just sign up for free and leave the rest to us!
Embark on your Maths adventure with MindFlex today!