Worried about the Math paper? Don't worry, you're in good company - yes even parents too. No one has yet died from attempting a Math paper; in fact many have been known to do rather well. What's the secret of their success? We share with you some tips and tricks.
Paper 1 fundamentals
Paper 1 is made up of Booklet A and Booklet B and students are given 50 minutes to complete a total of 30 questions. Attempt all these questions. You need every opportunity you have to score as many points as possible. So watch that clock and don't get too preoccupied with any one sum. Of course, practice makes perfect and it helps if you have accuracy and familiarity in addition to speed.
Paper 2 pitfalls and how to avoid them
Home to the dreaded problem sums, Paper 2 contributes a total of 60 marks to the entire PSLE Maths Examination.The paper consists of 18 questions and students are required to complete Paper 2 within one hour and 40 minutes. Read the questions carefully before attempting to work out an answer! Here the the questions will attempt to trick you in order to test your powers of observation and comprehension skills in addition to your math prowess. So pace yourself and eyes wide open!
Pack your bag the day before the exam. Make sure you have your calculator, mathematical sets and stationery in order. You don’t want to panic and stress about not having the necessary instruments on the morning of the paper.
Know your formulas
Memorise your formulas and know your basic concepts. Once you get the paper, write down the formulas on the front page, so you can always refer to them while checking and won't waste time recalling.
If Math is not your strongest subject, skim the paper and work on the topics/questions that you are most familiar with to build up confidence during the exam. This will mentally prepare you for the tougher questions. This method also saves time - and nerves.
Underline important information
Each problem sum will give you a lot of information, so underline those that are relevant to the question you need to answer.
Do all working for problem sums on the paper itself as examiners will award marks for calculation. This is known as "method marks" and is especially important for problem sums that can have up to five marks each. Even if you don’t know how to answer the question, just do the calculations, as you might still get marks for your working.
Check, check, check
Check and double-check your work and write as legibly as possible to minimise careless mistakes. Careless mistakes are the bane of every math student so don't get caught out by them.
Watch the clock
Don’t spend more than two minutes on a question the first time round. If you are stuck at a particular question, move on to the next one. This allows you to attempt all questions instead of not completing the paper due to a lack of time.
Also take note of the marks allocated for each question, as this will give you a gauge of how much calculation and working needs to be done as well as how much time you should spend on the question.
Look out for common mistakes
Don’t forget to convert your units. There will be questions that state multiple units to trick you out, for example, 10m and 20cm. Make sure that you convert the measurements into one basic unit to avoid miscalculation.
The need for speed
For questions on speed, it is important to focus on the unit of measurement required. It is also better to use fractions instead of decimals because calculations using fractions are usually easier.
All the best for your PSLE!