The secret behind bagging As & A*s for the PSLE Science Paper

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Our expert reveals how you can help your child score well in his Science exam using this PSLE Science answering technique!

I think you’ll agree with me when I say: It’s REALLY hard to score well in the open-ended section of the PSLE Science Paper, even when my child knows what the Science concepts are.

Well, it turns out your child can dramatically increase his/her chances of doing well in the open-ended section of the Science paper by mastering a series of answering techniques.

In this article, I’m going to show you three proven answering techniques and how your child can use them exactly to his/her advantage in the upcoming PSLE Science examinations.

PSLE Science Answering Technique for Success

PSLE Science Answering Technique One: The ‘CUE Method’

One of the most universal answering techniques taught across schools is the CER writing technique.

C – Claim

E – Evidence

R – Reasoning

At The Pique Lab, we prefer to use the acronym “CUE”, which presents a “hint” or a “clue” instead.

C stands for Choose.

U stands for Use data.

E stands for Explain data.

Let’s See How This ‘CUE’ Method Can Be Applied On Examination Questions

Question on ‘Cells’

PSLE Science answering technique

Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) – 2017 P5 SA2 Science Examination – Q34

Here’s The Answer:

Choose: Cells A and C.

Use Data: Both have a cell wall

Explain Data: to give the cell a regular shape, which is only found in plant cells.

Analysis Of The ‘CUE’ Technique On This Question:

  • “Choose”: The student has to select cells that are likely to be taken from a plant.
  • “Use Data”: The student has to state an observation based on the question. The observation can be made based on a table, a graph or features in a diagram provided.
  • “Explain Data”: The student is required to draw a link between the observation made and the relevant definition, function or science concept, in order to craft a complete answer.

Question on ‘Heat Energy’

PSLE Science answering technique

Red Swastika School (RSS) – 2013 P5 SA1 Science Examination – Q44

Here’s The Answer:

Choose: Cup B.

Use Data: The temperature of the coffee at the end of the experiment was the lowest.

Explain Data: This shows that cup B allowed heat from the coffee to be lost the fastest to the cooler surroundings and is the best conductor of heat.


Some students tend to neglect using the data given in the question and are overly eager to jump straight to the Science explanation (explain data), causing them to lose precious marks unnecessarily.

PSLE Science Answering Technique Two: The Link-Back Method

While it is important for your child to know the right template answers and writing structures, it is also critical to remember to link his/her answer back to the question. Over the years, I’ve seen many students lose previous marks this way!

Now, I’ll be showing you how your child can apply this technique using an example below:

PSLE Science answering technique

Rosyth School – 2015 P6 CA1 Science Examination – Q37

Please refer to Part (b) of the question.

Here’s How Most Students Would Answer

“The kinetic energy of the pendulum bob would be converted to other forms of energy such as heat energy and sound energy to overcome air resistance.”

If we analyse the question, we’ll realise that what the question is asking is, “Why did the pendulum bob not swing back to the same height?”

As the answer above did not answer the question, it is deemed as incomplete and will cause students to lose marks unnecessarily.

Here’s How to Get It Right

In order to craft a complete answer, your child needs to include the link-back to the question in his/her answer:

Some of the kinetic energy was converted to heat and sound energy to overcome air resistance, thus less kinetic energy possessed by the pendulum bob will be converted back into gravitational potential energy. As a result, the bob will reach a lower height at position C.

By using the link-back method, your child’s answer will also be more comprehensive. More importantly, this also helps to lower the likelihood of losing marks unnecessarily.

PSLE Science Answering Technique Three: Comparative Terms Vs. Absolute Terms

Just like how many students fail to include the link-back to the examination, they often do not answer in the context of the question with regards to using comparison terms.

PSLE Science answering technique

Rosyth School – 2015 P6 CA1 Science Examination – Q43

In the above answer, my student has applied our signature CCI™ answering technique. However, she has omitted the comparison terms (i.e. more/less) from her answer! I cannot emphasise how important it is for students to read the question carefully and answer in the context of the question.

Here’s the Question

“The salt solution was heated over fire for ten minutes. After a while, more water droplets could be observed inside the beaker. Why is this so? (1m)”

Here’s the Template Answer

The water gains heat from the ____________ (heat source) and evaporates to form water vapour. The warmer water vapour rises and comes into contact with the cooler inner/outer (choose one) surface of the _________ (object), loses heat to it and condenses to form tiny water droplets.

Here’s the Template Answer (with Comparison Terms)

The water gains heat faster from the ____________ (heat source) and evaporates faster to form more water vapour. More warmer water vapour rises and comes into contact with the cooler inner/outer (choose one) surface of the _________ (object), loses heat faster to it and condenses to form more tiny water droplets.

Hence, it is vital for students to analyse the question carefully before crafting their answer to ensure that they do not lose marks carelessly by missing out on comparison terms!

Some students have also asked me when can they use absolute terms.

We only use absolute terms when the answer is suggested by data.

For instance, if the light sensor reading is “0 lux”. Only then can we suggest that the object does not reflect any light.


Many primary school students struggle to understand how to crack the code of answering open-ended questions in the primary school Science paper.

Of course, your child can be good at tackling open-ended section questions if only he/she is able to practise the answering techniques learnt consistently and apply them effectively.

In light of the upcoming PSLE Science examinations, my team and I have devoted over 200 hours to develop a primary school Science resource portal to give back to the community.

In this portal, your child can get access to to more than 50 PSLE Science guides, premium science notes and videos FREE, without spending a single cent.

Your child can go over all of the materials that we have in this portal. He can then apply them in his/her daily practices in the lead up to the PSLE.

To request for an access to the portal, simply head over to:

On behalf of The Pique Lab, we wish you all the best for your upcoming examinations!


Also READ: PSLE Is A Check Point, Not An End Point