How to help your child ace Math and Science?

By Posted on 3/02/2016
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Posted on 12/02/2016

The PSLE science exams test 2 mains areas – Science Concepts (40%), and the Application of Concepts and Science Process Skills (60%). Please see below.

  • Knowledge with Understanding (40%)
    Pupils should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific
    facts, concepts and principles.
  • Application of Knowledge and Process Skills (60%)
    - Apply scientific facts, concepts and principles to new situations.
    - Use one or a combination of the following basic process skills.
    • Observing
    • Comparing
    • Classifying
    • Using apparatus and equipment
    • Communicating
    • Inferring
    • Predicting
    • Analysing
    • Generating possibilities
    • Evaluating
    • Formulating hypothesis

Mastering knowledge with understanding (40%)

It is important to use mind map to draw out the main concepts in each topic so that the child can have a big picture understanding of the topic. Sometimes, a child can get lost in the textbook paragraphs. It is important that the child embraces the concepts by doing the experiments demonstrating the concepts and seeing the concepts come alive for himself.

Tip 1: When doing a Science question, always deduce the topic it is based on and think of the topic’s mind map to recap the concepts that come with it. The use of technical words/ keywords (as opposed to layman explanation) are needed.

Tip 2: Many students tend to answer out-of-point without knowing, thinking they had answered the question. Try this: hide the question and ask the child to read his answer. Tell him to ask himself what the question would be based on his answer. Then ask them to compare the question they deduced from their answer and the original question to see the disparity.

Tip 3: Many students tend to answer without explaining the concepts fully. Ask them to image explaining their answers to a 3-year old such that it is so clear that a 3-year old will understand.

Application of Knowledge and Process Skills (60%)

This requires practice with process skills opportunities (eg tables, patterns etc) and extension of concepts to new situations. Exposure to real life examples plus paper practice will help sharpen these skills.


As you can see, mastering PSLE Science requires a skilled teacher to guide the child. Following the tips above, coupled with a skilled school teacher and practice, the child should be able to understand Science better and improve his score. Personally, I would recommend other schools’ exam papers as practice papers because the Science HODs in these schools would often incorporate the last few years’ PSLE questions and concepts tested into their school exam papers. All the best!

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Posted on 10/02/2016

Hi Isabelle,

Are doing assessments and 10-year series sufficient to revise for PSLE Science? My child will be taking PSLE this year and Science has always been his weakest subject. How else can I help him to improve within less than 10 months?

    • Guest
    • February 12, 2016 8:20 am
    Dear Daisy Please see my answer above your question. Thanks!
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Posted on 05/02/2016

I find it frustrating to teach my son Math that I end up giving him the answer at times. Though he have just started P1, I have been teaching him the multiplication table for a long time and he does not really understand the concept. How can I make him understand what is multiplication, instead of just memorising the numbers in the table?

    • Guest
    • February 10, 2016 5:04 pm
    Dear Kismet Math is a very logical subject. The child needs to understand the logic of multiplication concept first. In addition, a child before the age of 8 best learn concepts using concrete materials (as opposed to abstract calculation). Using macaroni or marbles or just anything similar as tools, show him what is 3 equal sets of 2 marbles (3 x 2), what the total is. With the same number of marbles, ask him how he can re-group the marbles, 1 set of 6 marbles (1 x 6), 2 equal sets of 3 marbles (2 x 3). Let him play with more marbles and let have fun counting and re-grouping marbles. Do not rush into abstract memorising of timetable. That can wait till a few months later when he can truly understand the relationship between groups and number of items inside each group. Memorising without understanding the underlying concept is meaningless and may impress upon the child that Math is abstract and difficult, when in actual fact Math is totally common sense and he was just not taught the real concept first.
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