In our line of work, we communicate with parents and teachers frequently. One of their major concerns is that their child or student is unable to finish the questions on time. This is not entirely surprising, as it is exactly the same problem that my peers had when we took our national examinations in the previous years. Indeed, the problem perpetuated because there is a lack of focus on conducting speed training or speed practices for the students. How then can we better train the students in doing the sums in a much faster rate? What are some of the common time consuming PSLE questions? Let’s find out.
How Do We Train Students To Be More Time Efficient In PSLE Maths?
This is one of the perennial problems that many students face. One of the major complaints that students have is that they are unable to complete the PSLE Maths Paper on time. Usually, the last few questions of the PSLE mathematics paper are often left not attempted. There are two schools of thought here. There is portion of students that attempted the question, but the complexity of it daunted them. On the other end of the spectrum, there are students who couldn’t attempt all the questions, hence losing precious marks to otherwise manageable questions.
Often, on the various forums as well as from conversations with parents as well as students, many lament that the loss of these precious marks caused them sleepless nights, as they know that with better management and skills, they could have attempted the questions in the PSLE Mathematics paper, and perhaps enter a school of their choice. With Singapore’s education landscape getting more and more competitive, this is indeed important.
There are indeed many causes for this, and the top main ideas will be reflected in the section below.
Common time-consuming PSLE questions for Speed Practice. The first problem is that the students are spending too much time on the questions that they are having problems with. This problem can actually be avoided if the students are able to keep to a strict timeline when attempting questions. For example, the students should move on to the next question if they are still unable to solve it after 1 minute of their time.
The logic for this is pretty simple. Given that, for PSLE Mathematics Paper 1, there are 30 questions in total for both booklets combined. In a space of 50 minutes, students will need to attempt to complete the paper. This translates to just 100 seconds per question, or 1 minute 40 seconds for each question. We decided to use the magic number of 1 minute per question, as the student will usually take a slightly longer time to solve the short answer questions that can be found in Section B.
Of course, with effective time management, students will be at least able to attempt all the questions in both papers itself. This part will be covered in another article.
Over Reliance On Calculator
Do you know that on average, your child will need to complete each question within a maximum of 36 seconds? This requires your child to be able to read, identify and attempt the question within that time frame. 36 seconds is the time you will need to read this paragraph thrice through. That is how short 36 seconds is. Students are finding it extremely tough to accurately provide the correct answers to the questions on time.
The top reason why this is so, is that the students are finding it tough to complete the mechanical and mental calculations fast enough. This is especially true for PSLE Mathematics Paper 1, whereby the students are not allowed to use calculators at all. Students nowadays feel crippled whenever they are not allowed to use calculators. This is really no fault of theirs. I recall during my primary school days, I did not have the luxury of using the calculator, and hence I was trained to develop my mental capability to do the mental sums at a faster pace.
Time Yourself, Or Time Your Child
One of the best ways in training your child to practice common time consuming PSLE questions is by timing them in a controlled environment. When doing so, you will be conditioning your child in exam-like conditions. The more familiar they are to the thought process, the environment and the controlled settings, the less anxiety they will feel. Here are some of the steps that you can take.
- Obtain 10 questions that are very similar to questions that you can find in PSLE Math. We have created one for you, and you can download it here.
- Set up a timer of 5 minutes. If your child belongs to the progressive learning group, then perhaps 7 minutes will be good.
Ensure that the room is as quiet as possible.
- No calculator is allowed.
Once the above is done, start the timer. Let your child complete the time that you have set. Correlate the answer to the answer scheme that is provided to you.
When we did our testing, our average student was able to complete the paper within minutes, and there is 1 minute left for them to check their paper. The faster student was able to complete the worksheet within 7 minutes, hence having 3 minutes to check their work.
In conclusion, it is important that you expose your child to exam like conditions as well as similar PSLE style Math Questions. In this way, they will be able to attempt PSLE Math Paper with familiarity, hence being in control. Indeed, in our years with training students, we did notice that students who have been exposed to the above conditions are much more confident when they attempt the PSLE Math Paper!