The Primary School Leaving Examination’s (PSLE) Science Paper marks the end of the PSLE period for most students (excluding those in the Higher Mother Tongue programme). Having gone through the bulk of the examination crunch, and with the holidays right within reach, it is important to ensure that your child stays focused to finish the last lap of the “race” with finesse.
It is relatively easy to pass PSLE Science, but what do you need for your child to not only pass, but score well? We’ve got the answer for you with these 5 must-know tips to bring your child closer to that A grade.
1. Be familiar with the two parts of the PSLE Science Paper
The PSLE Science Paper consists of two parts, Booklet A and B. Booklet A totals up to 56 marks with its Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ) segment, while Booklet B takes up the remaining 44 marks. It is a known fact that Booklet B—composing of open-ended questions—is the segment where students find the most challenging. Thus, even though Booklet B does not occupy as much point weightage as Booklet A, it is important to keep in mind that doing well in Booklet A ONLY does not guarantee your child an above-average grade in PSLE Science. Keep in mind that Booklet A consists of MCQ questions with the answers already presented to your child for him or her to choose, thus even through guessing, the odds of your child getting the question correct could be higher than 50 per cent. Conversely, open-ended questions in Booklet B require more critical thinking and the answers are less “in-your-face.” Therefore, manage your child’s revision wisely, and try placing more focus on helping your child tackle Booklet B.
2. Remember that Science is all about concepts
Being familiar with the PSLE Science syllabus is a good start to helping your child ace the Paper. PSLE Science questions are often structured around the big conceptual themes within the PSLE Science syllabus. Thus, knowing the major (and common) themes can help your child to grasp concepts behind PSLE Science questions with greater ease. It is worthy to highlight that PSLE Science questions throughout the years are often similar in the ways they test students on conceptual knowledge. Thus, knowing the big themes is a handy method to help your child “spot” possible questions.
3. Practice makes perfect
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to test your child on Science concepts based on the syllabus. PSLE Science questions are often structured in similar ways, and with adequate revision and practice, your child should have no problem managing both the MCQ and open-ended questions in the PSLE Science Paper. A good way to get a sense of what PSLE Science questions are like is to get your child to practice past-year PSLE Science Papers, in addition to practice papers from their school.
4. Remind them to always read the questions and answer options thoroughly
As the questions in PSLE Science is often lengthy, it is easy for your child to lose focus while reading the questions. The questions are lengthy for a reason—they provide all the crucial information and prompts your child may require to answer the question accurately. Zoning out while reading the question is not uncommon, leading to your child missing out key information hidden in the question. Additionally, it is also easy for your child to jump to conclusions about what the question is asking after spotting just a few key terms in the question. Thus, make sure that your child does not fall into these traps by reminding them the importance of grasping every little detail within the question, no matter how long or time consuming it may be to read the question.
Additionally, it is also crucial that your child reads the answer options thoroughly, especially in the MCQ in Booklet A. “Tricks” in the answers with a few inaccurate uses of scientific terms are good enough to make the answers invalid. Ensure that your child is alert and not fall victim to these “tricks.”
5. Bear in mind that Science is all about being specific
Often, students think that memorising scientific concepts is an effective way of answering Science questions. That is likely to be untrue. While it is essential to have scientific knowledge at the back of your head, doing well in PSLE Science is not so much about being able to “vomit” information blindly on paper anymore, but more about the accurate application of knowledge to answer the question. Thus, memorising will not guarantee your child a good grade in PSLE Science, and it is important that your child is able to curate his answers to be specific to the question, instead of just giving a generic answer that is often the product of memorisation work.
Make use of pictorial clues in the question, like diagrams, tables, and graphs, to craft your answer. Being able to relate your answer relevantly to these pictorial hints is a good demonstration of your child’s concept application skills, while ensuring that he stays specific to the question, which may just earn your child an extra point or two!