General Pointers To Cope With PSLE Science
Many parents are at a loss when it comes to coaching their children in Science. Many of them do not understand why certain answers are not acceptable when they seem to be correct.
This article focuses on general pointers on how to prepare for PSLE Science.
- Familiarise yourself with the format of the Science Paper
Booklet A (56 marks)
- There are 28 MCQ questions in this section with 2 marks allocated per question.
- It is important to score as high as possible in Booklet A as this section is relatively easier than Booklet B. Aim for at least 50 marks and above if your target is an “A” grade for PSLE Science.
- Do not rush through this section as you are more likely to score and do well for this section.
- How well you manage Booklet A will determine if you achieve a mere pass or a good score for the entire Science Paper.
Booklet B (44 marks)
- There are usually 13 to 14 open-ended questions with 2 to 5 marks allocated per question.
- When tackling open-ended questions, explain the key concept tested clearly and thoroughly.
- For questions that require explanations, answering techniques like “Begin-End” or “Cause-and-Effect” help greatly. These techniques will be covered in greater detail in subsequent articles.
- Apply key words or key concepts specifically in different scenarios.
- Answer the question directly. Writing a lot does not equate to more marks.
- Common question types include “Explain how/why”, “Give a reason”, “Aim of experiment”,“Describe what should be done”, etc.
- Example of a common question in Booklet B:
Q: Explain the importance of chloroplasts to plants.
They help the plants to trap sunlight so that the leaves can carry out photosynthesis to give out oxygen and make food. (Good answer)
A: They help the plants trap sunlight. (Not explained thoroughly)
The key concept tested is the process of photosynthesis.
Hence, a more detailed explanation is required.
2. Time yourself when doing the Science practice paper on a regular basis
- Over the years, I observe that many pupils have problems completing the Science exam paper, especially in section B when pupils spent too much time explaining each question.
- A general guide will be to give yourself around 45-50 min for Section A and 55-60 mins for Section B.
- When you are used to the rigour of completing the Science exam paper within the allocated duration (1h 45 min), it is more likely that you can complete the paper (School based or PSLE) under actual exam conditions.
3. Revise for PSLE Science
- Know the keywords and key concepts in each topic (From P3 to P6) well first. The ability to apply keywords and key concepts accurately to specific scenarios is important. It is not about memorizing!
- Use a mindmap as a tool to link the concepts/topics learnt and also to see the “big picture”.
- Expose yourself to a variety of questions through practice papers from different schools. Practice papers from other schools are good sources of revision for you to apply and test your understanding of Science concepts and process skills.
4. Focus on Quality over Quantity
- It is important to review your corrections and learn from past mistakes.
- As you review your corrections at home or during lessons, annotate/ write short notes beside the questions. Highlight key words, critical information or contextual clues in the question stems that will help you to be concise in your answer or fine-tune your way of answering.
Note: In the next article for Science, I will share on techniques to tackle questions in Booklet A and B respectively.
About the Author
Mr. Ng Yeo Heng has over a decade of experience in teaching upper primary Math and Science in local schools. He has a post-graduate diploma in education from NIE and has a wealth of experience in marking PSLE Science and Math papers. When not teaching or working on OwlSmart, he enjoys watching soccer and supports Liverpool football team.