The Primary School Leaving Examination or ‘PSLE’ as we all know it is that one academic event in your childhood that can make a world of a difference. It’s the mother of all examinations, which keeps not just the kids but the parents wide awake at night.
Clearing PSLE is not an easy feat and for many, it surely means changing the fate of their lives forever. But as much as we are told to believe that, we would also like to reiterate that PSLE isn’t the only exam of your life. It does not decide who your child turns out to be.
And while we do agree that PSLE is important for the education & enrichment of Gen Alpha, this generation has more opportunities than before. There’s nothing that can triumph over sheer hard work, something parents need to remember before climbing aboard the stress train.
But it’s only fair that you would want your child to fare well in the PSLE examinations. Interestingly, the exams themselves have changed a lot in the past two years, all thanks to the pandemic. And with the pandemic turning into an endemic, let’s just say things are going to be different from here on.
What you can do now is adapt to the changing scenario, which will help your little one ace their exams, come 2022.
So parents, here is your PSLE survival guide for the next year to prepare you better for the national examinations.
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Challenges Faced By Parents And Kids For Preparing For PSLE In An Endemic
But before we begin, let’s take a look at the challenges that parents faced when preparing kids for the PSLE examination.
The past year turned out to be more of a trial and error process as children, parents and teachers tried to adapt to the home-based learning (HBL) format.
For teachers, it was a challenge of its own to ensure they managed to complete the syllabus. But at the same time ensure that even the weak students were able to cope up with their studies.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) did help by removing some common last topics from the PSLE, which was followed in 2021 as well. While that did reduce the burden on some students, certain parents were also of the opinion that these topics helped the weaker students score decent marks in the exams.
HBL also saw a spike in kids enrolling for private tuitions and requests for extra facetime with teachers. And that’s not only a mental burden for the child but a financial one on the parent. While it may work in the case of an affluent family, parents not doing too well in the wake of the pandemic may feel the pinch harder.
Moreover, things were uncertain at a point this year when the cases were high. With some kids testing positive for Covid-19, there was always a concern on which friend or classmate of your child would test positive.
This also brought uncertainty on whether children who’ve tested positive would be allowed for PSLE exams. Thankfully, special arrangements were made this year for the national examination candidates.
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Preparing For PSLE In An Endemic
With two national examinations executed during the pandemic, the ministry and students can prepare in a better fashion for the 2022 PSLE exams.
For instance, students complained that the Math paper was exceptionally difficult in the 2021 exams. Now folklore suggests that students believe “if a paper is tough one year, the next will be easy.”
However, experts know very well that this isn’t the case. Your child’s preparation needs to be as per the syllabus covering most topics if not everything. In the case of Math, the exams paper is set as per predetermined guidelines. So odds are you will be getting an equally tough paper next year.
Moreover, a paper’s toughness or ease depends on your child’s preparation. So, preparing for PSLE is key to acing the exams rather than anticipating an easy paper.
Here are 5 things you need to remember when preparing for PSLE during an endemic
Begin the syllabus early irrespective of your child going to school or private tuitions. Let them consistently learn and finish chapters over time, so they don’t feel burdened as the exam date comes closer.
Moreover, starting early will help your child cope up with the syllabus at their own pace.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you can never be too careful. And that’s what you need to remember when preparing for PSLE exams in 2022. The Covid-19 pandemic turning into an endemic means we are just one superspreader event away from another circuit breaker.
That’s why it’s better to factor in lockdowns, online learning and other parameters when preparing for the exams. Similarly, take a look at examination papers from the previous years to anticipate the type of questions and format that will appear in the exams.
It helps you find a framework to complete your tasks and stay prepared even if there are detours along the learning curve.
Whether learning new chapters or revising old exam papers, make sure you set goals for your child to achieve at regular intervals. Work out a timetable with your little one to see what works for them and when.
That way, your child knows well in advance what they need to do and won’t feel cornered into the process. As a reminder, write the goals down and stick them in a corner of the house where your child can read them every day. It’ll keep them on their toes when it comes to completing the syllabus in the given time.
Goal setting also helps break down the syllabus into more manageable goals. When you achieve them, it only helps your child aim higher and work towards the next target.
Another learning from the pandemic has been to not give in to the sedentary lifestyle no matter the temptation. That’s why to balance it out as much as you can. When preparing the timetable, do earmark time for leisure activities.
As much as we understand that this is a crucial year, parents also need to understand that a child cannot study 24×7. Let them remain kids and have their fun, games, outdoor visits if the conditions permit. Kids, much like adults, experience burnout. And all that effort will go down the drain if your child isn’t in the best of mental health.
Parents aren’t just caregivers to children. You are also their first friend, confidante, mentor and more. This is more obvious in the toddler days but you do drift apart as your child starts growing older.
Now is a good time to be their friend again. Talk to them about their desires, ambitions, abilities and fears. Kids need to be able to talk to someone during the high-stress phase and who is better than parents to listen to them.
Learning what they aspire to become will only help you show them the right path towards achieving that goal. Once you help them establish the right path, kids will easily find their own calling.
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5 Ways For Parents And Children To Overcome PSLE Anxiety
- The education & enrichment of Gen Alpha isn’t limited to PSLE examinations. So don’t fixate too much on the success.
- Give your child a pick-me-up or pep talk whenever they need one. And for that, you will have to be more communicative. Talk to them about what makes them anxious. At the same time, you can even share anecdotes from your own childhood to help them ease the pressure.
- Ensure your child that regardless of the results, the PSLE exams are a celebration of their efforts. As a thumb rule, always talk about the results day in a calm and relaxed manner. In fact, call it a celebration day if you will, so they associate it with a celebration. The last thing you want is butterflies in your child’s stomach even before they take the exams.
- While all parents are the biggest supporters of their children, now may be a good time to bring in reinforcements. This includes grandparents, siblings, who can encourage and even help out with the learning material from time to time. They could also join your little one when collecting the results to show support.
- Lastly, make sure to take care of your mental health first. It works in the same way as the oxygen masks on an aircraft. You first wear it yourself before you can be of assistance to your child.