Preparation is the key to any examination and PSLE is no exception. With adequate planning and organisation, confidence shores up in students to conquer even the most challenging examination.
Given that the PSLE remains the cornerstone of our meritocratic education, how can parents better support their child in preparation for it?
It is common knowledge that with deeper understanding of a subject, students will be geared up to answer any kind of questions thrown at them from that subject. Hence, it is important that students preparing for PSLE English cover all the key concepts and vocabulary that will be tested. However, it is not possible for a child to master all the tested components in equal measure. Some components may appear more demanding than others. In such a case, when exams are around the corner, a child must work smart. Right at the outset, parents must have frank discussions with their child about the comfort level in PSLE English along these lines:
Once this becomes clear, a child can take the help of assessment books, past papers or other school papers for revision and strategize in the following manner:
For those components in which the child is proficient enough to be able to score effortlessly, allocate time to practise them consistently to firm up their knowledge base.
The deeper the subject knowledge, the greater is the mastery in dealing with all kinds of questions. Since the child is naturally inclined to perform best in components that exploit his or her strengths, setting time limits during the task completion will ensure time management.
For those components that the child does not seem fully accomplished, prioritise which of these components can be worked on with more care to build up the subject knowledge.
For instance, certain segments like Synthesis and Transformation and Grammar cloze have structured responses. In such cases, with deeper understanding of grammatical and punctuation rules, the child gets a stronger footing in them.
In fact, with consistent practice, it is possible for the child to even eliminate many of the common mistakes to gain marks. A reasonable amount of time may be allocated for this purpose depending on the child’s ability.
Some of the components like Vocabulary, Cloze and Comprehension passages are random in nature. No two passages are the same and hence, the questions and answers vary vastly.
If the child finds them challenging to crack, it is best to increase exposure to these segments at regular intervals of time so as to provide fundamental knowledge to get past some of the basic questions encountered in an examination.
For instance, to tackle Open-ended Comprehension, the child can learn to annotate the reading passage to track ideas, write concise specific answers to the comprehension questions, practise paraphrasing and check the GPS(Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling).
As an end result, it becomes feasible to salvage some portion of marks that would have been otherwise lost.
Writing is one of the major segments in PSLE English because it takes up a chunk of the marks in Paper 1. However, it is also deemed hardest because of its subjective nature.
So how does one prepare for this? The first step is to finetune writing techniques like Figurative language, Story starters, Mature conclusions, 5-Senses descriptions, Show-Not-Tell expressions and Varied Sentence structures by working separately on each of the 5 story segments namely Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Conclusion.
A suitable timer will ensure that the child does not stretch each of the segments beyond a reasonable time. In the last stage before the exams, instead of writing a full-length story or memorising challenging vocabulary, expose the child to different story plots from which inspiration can be drawn to brainstorm storylines for different topics and to do a plot plan.
Additionally, encourage the child to reflect on the commonly made mistakes as discovered in the stack of ‘old’ compositions written in the past. Through this exercise, the child fills the gaps in learning and becomes more mindful about not repeating the same mistakes. Reading short stories or news articles actively at this stage also helps to relax the young minds and boost vocabulary naturally.
Consequently, the writing is likely to move up to the next level in the examination.
Adequate rest, good nutrition, sufficient hydration, physical activities-all of these are indispensable to reduce the stress levels in the child before the exams. Scaffolding the child’s learning by giving regular breaks goes a long way in rejuvenating the mind and to perform to the hilt. Praise the child’s efforts, big or small, to boost confidence and motivation. A child with a positive mindset at the time of examination can do wonders!
Undoubtedly, a child counts on the parents for preparation in the run-up to the PSLE English. So, it is essential that parents create a conducive learning environment at home for their child to thrive. Take the time to soothe the child’s fears and offer reassurance about your unconditional love and support to get through the exam. Since PSLE is only the first rung in the many of the challenges to come a child’s way, it is up to the parents to ensure that their child’s self-esteem is unscathed at the end of this journey. Every step in preparation is worth it, no matter what the outcome is!
For extended support, Write Edge conducts PSLE English tuition -both online and physical – in Singapore. These live online classes stand out for their effectiveness and productivity as much as the physical classes.
If you wish to find out more about the Creative Writing programs at Write Edge, parents can reach out to us to arrange a trial class to find out more.