Last Minute Tips to Prepare for the PSLE
Is your child taking the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination)? As a huge academic milestone for kids in Singapore, it is essential that the parents and the children have a plan to prepare for it. Even a last-minute plan can make a difference. It is not too late to employ these effective tips to keep stress at bay and help your child prepare for PSLE successfully, while staying in good physical and mental health.
Plan a timetable
When preparing for the PSLE, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of materials to be covered. That is why it is crucial to stay organized by planning a timetable. If you have not planned one yet, it is not too late; even a last-minute timetable is better than none at all. Other than laying the groundwork for good study habits and helping kids stay focused, a timetable also helps busy parents stay abreast of how their kids are prioritising and spending their time. Plan the timetable together and give your child ownership of how they want to schedule their studies; if they help create it, they will be likelier to follow the timetable willingly on their own. That said, parents could help jumpstart the conversation by suggesting elements to include such as Revision, Study, Recharge, and Review.
Ways to keep your child's mind fresh
Here are some ways you can ensure the knowledge your child has acquired is retained for easy recall during PSLE exams.
Use different learning methods:
By varying your child's learning methods, it may help them to retain information while keeping their learning experience interesting. The Learning Pyramid Theory proposes the following study methods:
- Teaching what they have learnt to others
- Putting what they have learnt into practice
- Group discussions (e.g. host a fun study group for your kid and their friends at home to foster positive peer motivation)
- Audio-visual learning (e.g. incorporate sound, pictures, graphs, videos as learning tools)
- Listening to lectures (best whilst taking notes)
Practice rhythmic recall:
At the end of a study session, encourage them to do a quick review of the key points learnt. Follow up the next day with another review, and so on. As they learn more information, there will be more to recall, but what makes this method effective is consistency, and getting in the groove, or "rhythm," of recall.
Review in conversation:
Be interested in your child's school life and learning journey by discussing it with them in a casual setting. In daily conversation, you can ask "What did you learn in school today? What was your favourite part?" A simple chat puts less pressure, but still makes them recall what they learned and keeps their minds fresh.
Tips to ensure your child does not fall sick during exam period
For kids to do their best on exams, they must feel their best. Protect their immune system not just during the exams, but also while they study. Here is a checklist, which is especially useful during the last-minute period close to exams, to ensure your child does not fall sick before the PSLE:
- Is your child getting enough "beauty sleep"? Sleep plays an important role in facilitating children's memory and learning.
- In addition to that, sleep is vital for children's growing bodies and minds, overall health and well-being. Aim for the recommended hours of sleep for 11 to 12 year olds, which is 9 to 11 hours.
- A balanced, nutritious diet is especially important during exam period. What we eat often affects how we feel. Avoid processed and high-sugar foods, as they can cause sugar crashes and sluggishness, detracting from focus, affecting their moods, and doing nothing to beat the stress.
- Ensure your child takes breaks to prevent exhaustion, which may lead to weakened health. Between all the studying and revision, it is important to recharge as well. In fact, scientific research shows that taking breaks can improve focus and attention.
- A great way to make the most of a break is to engage in a sport or exercise as an outlet. Physical activity helps boost endorphins, the brain's "feel-good" neurotransmitters. A fun game of soccer, leisurely lap around the pool, or even playing at the park in the open air, can relieve kids of stress, increase energy levels, and contribute to general good health.
Ways to mentally prepare your child to avoid panicking during exams
Emotional and mental support from parents can be a huge confidence booster for kids. In turn, confidence goes a long way in boosting children's performance in exams. Try these metal preparation tips:
Talk and listen to them:
- Take the time to talk to your child every day and be a listening ear. You can also chat with them about non-academic topics to take their minds off studying from time to time.
- PSLE students often fret about their parents' high expectations. Tell them that you want them to do their best, but their scores will never affect how much you love them.
Practice positive visualisation:
- Help your child visualise the exam day flow by telling them: "You're sitting in the exam hall, and you feel well-prepared. When you come across a difficult question, you try rephrasing it in your own words to have a clearer understanding of the question. You remain focused until you are done, then you double-check your answers carefully, and hand in your paper…"
Be a source of calm on exam day:
- On the morning of the exam, do not rush them. Children often mirror parents' moods, so be sure to have a cheerful disposition and be a source of strength and calmness.
Keep the big picture in mind
The PSLE is but one part of your child's academic journey. It is a nerve-wracking time for parents as well as children, but be sure to keep the big picture in mind, and know that there will be opportunities for more achievements in the future, in school and beyond. By providing the tools for your child to study and work hard for their goals, you are setting your child up for success on their own. The most important thing is to provide unconditional love and support, and to empower your child to reach their goals in life.
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