Is Your Child Making These Common PSLE Science Mistakes?

Is Your Child Making These Common PSLE Science Mistakes?
January 8, 2021

The subject of science is only introduced to students starting from Primary 3, instead of from Primary 1 like English, Maths or their mother tongue. As such, it is natural that some students may feel less confident when it comes to tackling primary science questions.

PSLE science is a unique subject compared to other primary school subjects. While scoring well in primary science requires logical reasoning and deduction, students are also expected to be able to phrase their answers in a clear and concise manner. In this way, primary science effectively combines the challenges of both maths and language. When doing a science paper, it is crucial for students to read the questions carefully to ensure that they do not misinterpret anything. What are some of the most common mistakes made by students?

Misreading the Question

Not all questions are clear-cut, even in a primary science paper. These days, science questions are becoming increasingly lengthy; making it more likely that students will skim through them and pick up only a few keywords. Some questions are structured in a misleading way on purpose, in order to test students’ ability to pick out the real objective of the question. Students are also expected to read the question carefully and decide which concepts are being tested. Combine these difficulties with the harrowing time limit for the exam, and you have a recipe for disaster.

When reading through a question, it pays to be generous with annotations. Be sure to underline or highlight the important keywords in each question so that the answering techniques become clear. The moment a student identifies the topic wrongly, they will almost certainly use the wrong keywords and concepts to answer the question, leading to a massive loss of marks. To be able to identify question topics without error, students should do more practice papers and familiarise themselves with the different question structures.

Misreading the Answer Options

Similarly, reading the multiple-choice answer options carefully is imperative to answer each question correctly. The multiple-choice section of the PSLE science paper is an excellent way to score easy marks as there are only four possible answers to each question. For anyone looking to score well in the primary science paper, they should aim to get full marks in the multiple-choice section. However, the multiple-choice options are often structured in a tricky manner to really test a student’s mettle. Individual careless mistakes can easily add up to cost a student greatly, resulting in a major downgrade.
One common twist is a negation of the question by adding the word “not”, meaning that out of the four possible options, three are correct and the student has to pick the one that is incorrect. A variation of this is asking which one of the options is false instead of true. Some students fail to read the question and the answers carefully, instead of settling for the first correct option they find.
It is important for students to remember that multiple-choice questions do not necessarily ask for the correct answer, but for the best answer. In some cases, all of the answers may seem vague, incorrect, or inaccurate, but one of them has to be correct. One of the best ways to be sure of a multiple-choice answer is to use the elimination method. If three of the answers can be proven wrong, the last one would definitely be correct even if it may not be a perfect answer.

Being Unable to Finish in Time

Even if a student is hard-pressed for time, it always pays to read the question carefully before penning an answer. To avoid inadvertently running out of time to complete the paper, it is good practice for students to pace themselves according to the length of the paper and the number of questions. Before simply starting on the first question, students should look through the whole paper and estimate the number of questions they would need to spend more time on. For instance, they can divide the allocated duration by the number of questions to get a rough gauge of how much time they should spend on each question. If the student has spent enough time trying to answer a question to no avail, it is usually best to save the question for later and move on. This also decreases the chances that students will be pressured to skim through questions and thus misunderstand them.
Has your child been experiencing any of these pitfalls? Fortunately, these are simple mistakes that can be easily corrected given some coaching and dedication. With our award-winning tuition program, your child will be able to ace their PSLE science paper in no time!

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