Remember how we always hear the key to Mathematics? “Practice makes Perfect“. Is it still true for Mathematics these days?
That’s right! Education has moved from just practising but the application part. Let us understand the smarter and more effective ways to tackle Mathematics!
Understanding PSLE format
As you can see, the PSLE Mathematics does not focus on getting the right answers. The right application is important. Know your child’s weakness and work on them effectively.
Understanding the examined topics is the foundation before your child can solve any questions. Topical assessment books are usually suitable to be purchased at start of year for your child to practice and develop conceptual understanding. The topical practice books may be used for you to coach your child ahead of teacher’s pace or reinforce learning when the teacher has moved on to the next topic.
This is incredibly useful if you realise your child is weak in a particular topic and you may zoom in to focus on that weak topic. Books with systematic practices or notes are even more useful if you are coaching your child and have no idea how to.
Click here to read MOE’s detailed breakdown of topics for each level. However, do note that some schools may be more advanced (such as shifting P3 topics to P2 or include more topics). This is a good checkpoint guide at the end of every academic year.
Process Skills/ Heuristics
Mathematics is definitely not just doing the four operations. It involves testing your understanding and thought process. Your child should develop competency in thinking skills and problem solving. Heuristics is using the suitable approach and method to problem solving, learning, or discovery. To put it simply, a Mathematics examination tests your child’s ability to understand, interpret and apply the right approach to solve a problem sum.
Consider the steps:
- make sense of the problem sum: what am I asked to find?
- make use of given information: what do I know?
- think of possible strategies: have I come across similar problems before?
- choose the correct strategy: apply what I know confidently!
- solve the problem: work out the steps…
- check the answer: is the solution logical and reasonable?
Assessment books may be presented in skill-based or problem-solving focused.
This may be a bane for some parents, in fact, for many. However, model drawing can be very powerful for your child, especially if your child is a visual learner (responds more to graphics, drawings, etc). Using models, one can make sense of the word problem and draw connections of numbers in the problem. Do not neglect this skill!
Must we say more? Ability to do mental calculation is a practical skill. Sadly, this is greatly neglected as students are allowed to use calculators at a younger age these days. We say this is an aspect suitable for holiday practice!
Often running out of time to check paper, or even complete the paper? While mental sums do play a part in saving precious minutes during an examination, speed is more than calculation. If your child has a faster thinking process, that leaves you more time to check the paper for careless mistakes. Yes, regular practice of understanding and interpreting questions will be beneficial. You don’t need a paper and pen to solve word problems all the time. Spend time talking and discussing questions until it comes naturally to your child.
If you have been looking at past year papers or discussions in parents’ groups, you would have realised that Mathematics questions are getting real and practical. Remember the weight of eight $1 coins? We will not discuss that further…. but let this be a reminder that examination questions can be taken from the real. Ultimately, our education system wants our students to be able to manage in the real world, not just book-smart.
Remember, having good Mathematics foundation will help your child manage better in Secondary levels where they will be exposed to double Mathematics. Think about the many subjects that are numbers-related: Accounting, engineering, finance……….
OpenSchoolbag has categorized assessment books more effectively to help you pick suitable books
Read more on tips on choosing assessment books!
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