Archive | January, 2012

PSLE-Problem Sums that most P6 pupils stumble over – Part 3

19 Jan


Dear pupils,

I have put up a few math prelim questions and solutions from 2011. Do try them.



Survival Tips for PSLE … given by students who more than survived it!

18 Jan

Something spontaneous happened during our last December holiday program. I am talking about the interesting interaction between pupils in our P6 head-start class and those who took their PSLE in 2011 (now attending our SMO (Junior) program for pupils going to Secondary 1).
The younger ones were feeling stressed and anxious about taking PSLE in 2012. On the other hand, the older ones just had their high scores freshly printed on their result slips and were eager to share their experience on how they prepared for PSLE. They gave lots of tips and encouragement on how to do well in PSLE over a few 10-minute sharing sessions after lessons.
Two pupils who took their PSLE in 2010 also penned down their PSLE Survival Tips. One of them was ranked second in Singapore for that year. The other is also in one of the top girls’ school. Both came to Math Arena at P5 and are now in our SMO (Junior) program for Secondary 2.

I hope our P6 pupils will find these useful as they journey towards good performance in PSLE!

By Miss W:
1. Sleep early (before 11pm) 1 month ahead of PSLE

 2. Practice makes perfect

 3. Don’t slack!

 4. Always revise your work so that there will be no last minute studying and “chiong-ing”

 5. Make a study timetable/calendar and PSLE countdown

 6. Find the study method that suits you best and use it

 7. Don’t over-stress yourself

 8. Take regular breaks while studying (maximum 15 minutes)

 9. Revise difficult/confusing topics first


 10. Pay attention in class

 11. Don’t procrastinate!

 12. Never skip breakfast!

By Miss S:
1. Do not sleep any later than 11pm sharp

 2. Remember to take a healthy breakfast which is actually filling i.e. in the morning, eat like a queen; in the afternoon, eat like a merchant; in the evening, eat like a peasant.

 3. Practice mental sums like 2+4+8+1 = ….to strengthen your mind

 4. Of course you would have to pay attention in class and not doze off. It’s like knowing your enemy and when your teacher reveals the answer, it’s like revealing the loopholes in the math problem/question

 5. If you can find a game called World Hardest Game to have fun and to sharpen your reflexes. This helps in weight loss too.

 6. Give your 100% in everything you do!

“Careless Mistakes” Part 2

4 Jan

If we want to declare  war on “careless mistakes”, we need to, as the ancient book of The Art of War by Sun Tzu says, “know thy self, know thy enemy”.


“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.”


First let us take a closer look at our enemy—“careless mistakes”. Below is a frequently occurring classroom conversation.

Teacher asks: “‘How is it that you get this question wrong?”

Student 1: “Careless lah! I never read the question.”

Student 2: “Oopsies….Careless leh! I see wrongly.”

Student 3: “Oops…Careless lor! I forgot about the minus sign in front.”

“Careless” seems to be an all-encompassing word trying to capture the essence of all kinds of mistakes. On the contrary, the overuse of “careless” has obscured the real problems behind it. “Careless” is an easy answer to the difficult question, “what has gone wrong with the student’s approach to the problem?”

Through my observations in class, many errors may not truly be due to “carelessness”. There can be some other underlying problems.

Once the student follows a more systematic way of approaching the problem or has a deeper understanding of the concept, or even writes just a tad more neatly without squeezing all rough working together with proper working, you will be amazed  at how much less “careless mistakes” there are. As teachers and parents, we need to probe further. Do not allow “careless mistakes”, the poor scapegoat, to fool you.