Singapore Math Guru

The Ultimate Guide To Acing PSLE Mathematics Part 3

This is part 3 of the ultimate guide to preparing for PSLE Mathematics, gathered from the expertise and experiences of our teachers and parents. Since we are a video solutions on demand service to primary school math with more than 10,000 exam questions, we will be focusing on strategies and tips for primary school math. If your child is only in lower primary, or in primary 4 or primary 5, you have an even bigger advantage if you are reading this now.

For part 2, click The Ultimate Guide To Acing PSLE Mathematics Part 2

Be Involved With Your Child!

penguin-81428_1280It is important to take an active role in your child’s education. Whatever the subject, it is good to understand the ‘lingo’ of the subject that your child uses. You can do that by reading blogs like these. There are many other blogs like these related to education.

You can also find us on facebook and ask us questions. We are glad to help. So if your child tells you that her guess and check is not good, watching her do it, solving it for yourself once using the methods endorsed by the school and then explaining it to your child is a really effective way of helping the child.

After all, it is not rocket science. It can be learnt by adults as well. Many of our customers in fact, purchase access to our 330 hour video library so that they can solve these questions alongside with their children. We are not a tuition centre but our advantage is that we have a very extensive video library, more extensive than our competitors. Also, our video solutions/explanations address the particular question that you are solving. That is also the reason why we give these questions free away and allow them to be shared. After all, you need to know what are the quality and types of questions in the database before purchasing access to the video tuition explanations. Another thing is that you need to know that you yourself, may find it hard to solve them !! 🙂

Just generally though, we feel that parents who take an active role in their child’s academic success see better results than the hands off approach. And that is also the reason why students who go for tuition still do not do well.

So ask yourself these questions:

Are your children taught the right methods?

What is it that your child doesn’t understand for a particular question?

What is the mental block?

Is there another way to do it? (Many students cannot solve with the assumption method taught by many schools. Can we solve it another way? Yes we can! Look at our videos which explains all methods. There can be another way to solve a question.)

I hope that all of us parents get the drift now. Parent involvement is important. You have to get your hands dirty. Many tiger mums in Singapore do that and that is also the reason why there are really some brilliant students who get 100 marks all the time. These students are normally the cream of the crop. At primary 4, they are already doing primary 5 questions and at primary 5, they are already exposed to primary 6 questions. That is the reason why PSLE Mathematics can be a breeze to some students.

Starting early really does help. In fact, one of our teachers often survey what the parents do and find that, yes, these parents are willing to get their hands dirty, learning the concepts alongside with the children. At the very least, these parents know what is lacking in their child’s system of thinking and what they are doing wrong or right. The teacher or tutor in school is just a part of the puzzle.

Well if you really can’t understand and solve primary school Mathematics questions, at the very least use our progress tracking tools when you solve the questions in our database.  Then watch the video explanations alongside with your children. And then ask questions in a way that reinforces the child’s thinking. That goes a long way

Working Out Math Questions

When it comes to working out and solving Mathematics questions, experienced teachers and tutors would be able to tell you that solving questions involve breaking the problem sum into sizable chunks and then making use of each information chunk to extract as much information as you can from it. If the teacher is not reading and writing the answers directly from the answer sheet, that is what she would do for herself to solve it any way.

So why can’t the student do the same for herself if it helps the teacher? For more on this, please refer to Mastering problem sums. The whole idea at the end of the day is to help the child help himself/herself. The tutor may relate this message to the student in a different way with different vocabulary, asking the student to squeeze as much information as possible out of each sentence. Do listen and embrace this! This is not to be taken lightly.

Also another strategy in solving questions is in marking diagrams. If I am trying to solve a geometry question, if I know an angle, i have to try to write it on the diagram and mark it on the diagram. If I don’t I run the risk of not being able to solve the question. The same is true for any student who does not do it.

Also, gone are the days when in the past, we used to write a sentence to substantiate our workings. Although we don’t do this right now, we can try to give meaning to our workings. This actually helps to guide our thoughts. Let’s check out this oversimplified example here:


John has $20 more than Mary and Mary has $80 less than Tom.

If Tom has $150, how much money has Mary?


Tom — $150

Mary — $150 – $80 = $70

John — $70 + $20 = $90

I apologise for not drawing a model for this. You can and you should. Please do so for yourself.

Now this is useful because we know what the numbers mean. We know than Tom has $150, Mary has $70 less and John has $90. We know what the numbers mean.

Compare this to:

$150 – $80 = $70

$70 + $20 = $90

In this set of workings, what is $70 and what is $90? What do the numbers mean? What do the numbers represent? Who is John? And when it comes to checking, obviously,the above set of workings is superior than the latter.

Our video solutions include all the above. We’d recommend that whatever the teacher does in the video, please do the same as well. We have a very carefully thought out step by step plan to help your child through the videos. So whatever the teacher does in the video, we ask that the child does the same as well. If the teacher underlines a keyword, the child should do the same as well.

For part 2, click The Ultimate Guide To Acing PSLE Mathematics Part 2

For the next part in this series, venture on to The Ultimate Guide To Acing PSLE Mathematics Part 4 !