Education

My take on the different aspects within education which relates to ongoing societal concerns.

Surviving the PSLE- (Part 3B) The English Exam

English Paper 2 is the paper in the English exam which has the biggest weightage at 47.5%. Therefore if one does badly in this particular paper there is a high chance that the overall grade for English would go down by one to two levels. IE : Dropping from an A to a C.

What I have observed from my students weaknesses that majority of them are weak in these sections – Vocabulary , Editing , Synthesis and Transformation, Comprehension Cloze and Comprehension Open Ended. These are the sections which most find hard to score.

Reasons for these Weakness

  1. Not reading wide enough.( Exposure to different genres)
  2. Not enough practice doing specimen papers/ assessment books.
  3. Unwillingness to use proper English in daily speech
  4. Using too much broken English/ Singlish
  5. Poor in Spelling and or Phonics

Are there ways to improve one’s grade?

The short answer is “Yes”. There are certain “clues” which a student can be taught to pick up while doing the various components. Here are some tips which I give my students on how they can improve their grades.

1.Highlight words which you do not understand and look up the meaning in the dictionary.

2. Read the questions first before the main text for the Visual Text Comprehension and Comprehension Open Ended components. This will give the student a clearer idea on which part to pay a closer attention to while reading through the passage.

3. Look for contextual clues to what should be filled in the blank for cloze passages by reading the surrounding words or sentances. This will give you a rough idea of what may be needed.

4. If possible read the questions/ text out aloud during practice as it will help you internalize the questions and understand them better. This works well for auditory learners.

5. Play with Colors. I recommend using different color highlighters to mark out the answers within the Comprehension Text passage within the Comprehension Open ended.

6. Check through your work thoroughly. For the Vocabulary Cloze passage where the student is expected to fill in the blank with the Alphabet relating to the answer I get students to write the actual answers below the line. This will assist them in checking if their answer chosen is suitable for the blank when they re-read what they have done without needing to match up the Alphabet with the answer.

It all boils down to consistent practice and diligence to be able to excel in one’s academic achievement. As they say one needs to put in the effort to see the fruits of ones labour.

I will not be touching on PSLE Maths or Chinese as I do not personally teach those two subjects. In subsequent posts I’ll be addressing the following concerns
– Electronic gadget usage (amount tweens/ teenagers)
– Emotional guidance for a teenager.


Posts in the series
Introduction Post
-Surviving the PSLE (Part 1) – Streaming
Surviving the PSLE (Part 2) – The Science Exam
Surviving the PSLE (Part 3A) – The English Exam
-Surviving the PSLE (Part 3B) The English Exam

Surviving the PSLE (Part 2) – The Science Exam.

Equipment from the Science Lab

Science is a subject that many students find it challenging. Even though it is a very interesting subject the concepts taught can be quite hard to comprehend. The key points and way to describe the object/ activity has to be on point or else marks will be easily lost in a test/ exam. Sometimes a lot of description and explanation is needed for a 1 or 2 marks answer.

How to best study Science then?

There are three main points that one needs to take note when one is doing a Science paper.

  • What is considered sufficient details given to answer the question fully.
  • Know which are the key words  that have to be mentioned in the answer that you give.
  • Know how to classify, identify and describe an item or a process.

Sample Question



a) Name the Process A (1 mark)

b) Explain how a physical factor in the environment has caused the difference in the decrease of mass of the dead leaves in the two places M and N. (2 marks)

c) Other then process A , evaporation could also cause the decrease in the mass of the dead leaves. Explain why ( 1 mark)

How would you answer the question?

a) Name the Process A (1 mark) – Decomposition

b) Explain how a physical factor in the environment has caused the difference in the decrease of mass of the dead leaves in the two places M and N. (2 marks)

Ans:- Place M may have contained more moisture than Place N causing the leaves to decompose faster , hence the difference of mass in both places.

Note for this answer you will need to Compare between both places.   It is not sufficient just to mention that Place M has moisture but Place N doesn’t have.

c) Other then process A , evaporation could also cause the decrease in the mass of the dead leaves. Explain why ( 1 mark )

Ans: The dead leaves contains water which contributes to the overall mass. The water in the leaves may have gained heat from the surroundings causing it to evaporate. With water evaporated there would be a decrease in the overall mass of the pile of dead leaves.

Note: Explain step by step in detail the how the process of evaporation affected the overall mass .

It is important to have a revision schedule drawn up to gauge if the child is able to cover all the topics tested from the Upper and Lower Block in Science. Here is a revision schedule that I came up for my students to ensure that are able to cover all topics before the Prelim in August

Science Revision Schedule

What Revision Materials do you recommend?

I do use assessment books and past year papers with my students. I also recommend that they have at least one Science guide book as a reference guide. Here are some that I have used with my students.

How will you be preparing for the Science PSLE Exam?

Posts in the series
Introduction Post
-Surviving the PSLE (Part 1) – Streaming
Surviving the PSLE (Part 2) – The Science Exam
Surviving the PSLE (Part 3A) – The English Exam