It’s crunch time for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), and you want to do all that you can to gear your child up for the “final battle”. In this first of two parts, find out how you can help your child prepare for PSLE without breaking into a sweat.
Here are three things you can do to help prepare your child as he starts the final countdown.
1. Set a S M A R T goal
Set a SMART goal
With the Mid-Year Examinations and myriad of tests over the first half of the year, you would by now have a better idea of your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the various subjects and topics.
You would also be able to better assess his ability levels in the different exam areas. This is the best time to take a look again at the goals set earlier in the year, or even set new goals.
It is important for your child to set the goal, not you, so that he would feel accountable to the goals he sets. What you can do, though, is to guide him to set a SMART goal – one that is specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), realistic (R) and timely (T).
Specific (S) and Measurable (M)
If your child says he intends to “do well”, get him to give you a number. Be specific about the marks he intends to achieve, and not just give a wide range.
So, if he says around 75 to 80, ask him to be more specific. Is it 75 or 80? This is to ensure he is very clear about what he exactly hopes to achieve.
Attainable (A), Realistic (R) and Timely (T)
If your son has consistently been scoring between 60 and 70 for Science, but writes a target of 95, you will need to discuss with him if this is a realistic goal. Setting a goal that is too high would only serve to create unnecessary disappointment later on, not to mention a low self-esteem.
2. Plan the revision time
Draw up a timetable to realise the goals.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. Once a goal is set, you definitely need a plan of action to achieve it.
With the short runway to the exams, one of the most important things to do is to help your child plan his revision time well, day by day, leading up to the day of the exam. This is where a timetable comes in.
Allocation of time for each subject/topic
Advise your child to set aside more time for subjects or topics he is weaker in, and control his desire to spend an equal amount of time or more for those he is good at. Precious time needs to be used wisely and effort needs to be channelled into the right areas.
A timetable needs to be something that is doable and sustainable. Packing the timetable with long periods of study with no breaks would only backfire, as your child would find it too difficult to keep up, and may even give up on the revision plan.
Ensure that you understand your child’s endurance and capacity, and plan breaks in-between periods of study accordingly.
You can leave it to your child to design the timetable. Let him draw or colour anything and in any way he wants to, as ultimately, he needs to own this timetable.
3. Stick to the Plan
Help your child to keep to the timetable.
The timetable is done and it looks perfect. Now, for the sticky part – keeping to the revision plan. Your child may be one of the many kids who lack a little self-discipline, making him stray from what has been planned.
As frustrating as this may be, try to refrain from nagging at your child. Instead, find ways to be motivating.
Display the goals and timetable
Get your child to write out his goals for each subject on a piece of paper. Then put up this goal-setting document and the prepared timetable in front of his study table, so that he would always be facing it when he studies.
This would allow him to be more focused and motivate him to put in more effort as he revises.
Help your child by minimising distractions in the house by switching off the television (or lowering the volume to as low a range as you can), avoiding any interruptions by siblings and making sure his favourite games or storybooks are not near his study area.
As you lend a hand to your child during this critical pre-PSLE period, remember not to nag him or say anything discouraging, as trying as the situation may get. The last thing you would want to see is your child losing his confidence.
How do you help your child plan his revision for PSLE? Share your tips with us here.