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What to do in the last 30 days before the start of the PSLE English Papers


Then the PSLE English papers begin.

What can you do as a parent? What should you do as a parent?

Well, first things first: don’t panic. If you do, your child will feel the heat.

There are some signs of panic. One of them is mistaking volume for results - meaning you think that your child doing more will solve his/her problems. You may imagine that doing more test papers will help. Up to a point, yes, timed trials are useful but because no one is counting, and children don’t have a say in school as to how much they can handle or what might be too much, we won’t know if the next piece of work will turn out to be (dare we say) the tipping point. We also have to worry about the elephant in the room - how much is too much - before the child buckles under pressure and does one or more of the following:

a) cries the night before the exam, b) develops a psychosomatic reaction (like someone who gets sick just before an exam), c) loses steam and finishes the paper in a hurry.

For the student, thinking and reflecting is more useful than cramming. If you have stacks of test papers sitting at home not done yet, well, think of using them as study guides. Get your child to shorten his her learning curve by heading straight to the answers.

Don’t mix your strategies. Practice makes perfect in Maths but for English, that might be counterproductive. Memorisation might be useful for Chinese but not quite the best approach for English.

Don’t dabble with the unfamiliar. By that I mean, now is not the time for your child to switch to a new tutor, sample a new dish or move to a new house.

Keep the household calm, thoughtful, supportive. Get the siblings who are not facing a terminal exam to help, to counsel, to make the as yet unimaginable sound manageable, and not tempt the poor beleaguered PSLE-headed one by flaunting their access to games and entertainment.

Finally, don’t make your child feel that these exams are the be-all and end-all. Take the longer term view or you might end up suggesting to your child that Secondary 1 is the year to slack (this is the slippery slope down to a real decline in standards). Mean it when you say that there is a lot of growth after the PSLE; don’t make it sound like it seals your child’s fate. It doesn’t. As someone who’s taught many who turned up at my doors to take my secondary English enrichment and my A -Levels General Paper programme, the truly formative years are the next six years.

For more information on my Post-PSLE programme, click here, or contact me at +65 8138 6011.

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