THE PSR exam is just around the corner. With 18 school days to go, one can understand the mounting pressure heaped on students as well as teachers and parents of Year 6 students. Reminiscing of being a student before, a lot of people may remember how using the right strategies can help make a difference in their studies.
With various exam strategies, ranging from midnight studies to last minute revisions, dished out by peers and grown-ups, we share a number of strategies that have been able to help students to fare well in their PSR exam.
With only just over two weeks’ worth of school days before the exam, students need to be laser sharp in their approach for the exam. Hopefully these tips will hold some value to the Year 6 students out there.
1) Focus on past year PSR papers
With the limited time before the exam, paying attention to past year papers is very important. Working on actual past year PSR questions can help Year 6 students to optimise his/her value of revision and increases the preparation effectiveness for the exam. Not only is the student revising Year 6 material but he/she is also getting familiar with PSR format papers. The student can then be better prepared, more confident and calmer in facing his/her PSR.
2) Do a self-test on topics for all PSR subjects
Set a schedule to do a self-test. A self-test will be able to help you plan on how to tackle the upcoming exam. Guide your child to:
· List out all the topics in each subject that needs to be covered for the exams. (For example, the PSR Math syllabus has 7 topics)
· You might need to set aside some funds (at least to cover your photocopying costs) to acquire some past year PSR papers to practice for each subject.
· Based on the topics and papers that you need to cover, work with your child to come up with a simple day-by-day schedule.
In this timetable, help your child plan what areas need to be covered and guide his/her in making decisions on the time to revise. As the exam is nearing in 18 more school days, your child will need to understand the need to prioritise and that certain leisure activities will now need to be lessened or be put on hold until PSR is over.
Help your child to ensure the schedule is done immediately before his/her last-minute revision begins. It can be done on a plain A4-sized paper (although an A3 size is preferable) with tables in which days, date and activities are represented. This schedule or timetable is now the child’s plan towards his/her PSR goals.
To help maintain the focus, the schedule can be posted at a ‘public place’ in class or at home. Once a schedule is done, the child can put a tick as a mark of his/her steps towards PSR. Not only does this create a countdown ambience but it also allows those around the child to be involved in supporting his/her learning goals. This kind of support will also make the child feel good in ticking ‘done’ tasks and days, and boost his/her confidence.
3) Do a self-test on individual topics within a subject first before doing a self-test on full exam papers for a particular subject
A self-test on individual topics will help identify weak areas that need extra effort. A responsible and supportive adult should comfort the child in dealing with mistakes. However, you will need to encourage the Year 6 child to look at his/her mistakes honestly. Help him/her to work through what was difficult again and figure out the right answer. This will avoid anxiety and being able to learn how to do it right will build the child knowledge and confidence.
4) Adopt a precise and focused approach for last-minute revision
There are a number of ways to do last minute revision. One of the ways recommended by some revision coaches include these steps:
Step 1: Find a quiet environment, almost if not just like during an exam. Look at past PSR papers, carefully work through and answer each question in a given section
Step 2: When you complete a section, stop to mark your answers using the Answer Sheet.
For incorrect answers, do not write down the correct answer yet (as will be explained in the next step).
Step 3: For any incorrect answers, try it again afresh – without looking at the correct answer. (This is an important step to boosting your child’s exam performance)
This is an important step to boosting your child’s exam performance. Letting your child to look at his/her mistakes honestly and courageously, and also redoing the work that needs to be looked again help in understanding and remembering. Only after doing this should your child check to see if the answer was correct this time.
If the next attempt is still incorrect, help your child to figure out how to get the right answer. This is important because ‘not knowing’ may lead to anxiety in the child, while ‘knowing’ builds your child’s confidence and knowledge.
While some parents may say that the mistakes were due to the child being ‘careless’. Do help your child to reflect if:
i) The mistake was because s/he did not understand the question. If this is so, then you will need to explain what the question actually wanted.
ii) The topic was an area that the child was particularly weak in. If this is case, your child needs to go back to his/her schoolbook or teacher to gain better understanding of the particular topic.
iii) The mistake was genuinely due to carelessness. In such a condition, you will need to guide your child to be more calm and systematic in approaching such questions.
These steps have helped many parents to guide their children in better preparing for the PSR exam. Let us all play our part in supporting the learning process of our young ones in order to help them progress to a better future. – (Strategy adapted from Harasha, a Year 6 learning coach. Courtesy: Ministry of Education)