How to prepare yourself for PSLE Maths part 1

How to prepare yourself for PSLE MATHS (Part 1)

  1. Invest your precious revision time smartly

As the PSLE 2016 draws closer with each passing month, precious revision time is running out. Your child needs to invest his/her revision time smartly in all subjects, and not just in Mathematics. “Smartly” refers to identifying the problem areas and starting to focus practices on these areas that are causing a loss in precious marks! Why would you want to revise 1 + 1 = 2?


  1. Know your enemy well by having a good overview of the commonly examined topics in PSLE

Here’s a chart showing the average distribution* of the topics examined in PSLE from 2013 to 2015. This should provide a good reference for the allocation of revision efforts.


How to prepare yourself for PSLE Maths picture 1

*Percentages will vary depending on the classifications of topics and the statistical tool/technique used.

From the chart, you can see that ratio, fractions, decimals and percentage add up to a whopping 44%! These topics, known as the Quadruplets of Mathematics, as AKLC calls it, are essentially what PSLE Maths Paper Two is all about.


  1. Daily revision vs interval revision

Our brains’ ability to retrieve or re-access information from the past is a “re-enactment” of a sequence of neural activities that were generated in response to a particular event. In the case of recollecting past revisions during a stressful event such as PSLE or O Level, studies have shown that by strengthening the pathways of these neural activities, one is able to consolidate and reconstruct past learnings more efficiently.

Without getting into the mumbo jumbo of scientific terminology, we suggest a very practical way to improve long term memory, which is to do daily revision instead of interval revision (few days apart).

Research has shown that most (average) human beings tend to forget 50% of new information within an hour. Within 24 hours, people tend to forget an average of 70% of new information. However, when revised within the first 24 hours, one is able to retain the memory up to 2 weeks. A revisit of this prior revision in 2 weeks’ time allows one to retain the memory up to another 2 months.

An added bonus of this daily revision schedule is a beautiful virtuous cycle:

How to prepare yourself for PSLE Maths picture 2


  1. Avoid information overload by taking suitable breaks

Why do our brains tend to discard (irrelevant) new information? For example, you will (often) remember where you left your school bag or parked your car for most part of the duration you were away from the location, but now that the information is no longer of use, your brain has forgotten it.

This “forgetting” is unavoidable. It is in fact a desirable adaptation (for those who are taking Science PSLE) because it frees up memory space for things that are more relevant or recent.

With this adaption of the brain in mind, we suggest for revision at suitably timed intervals of perhaps 30 minutes; take a 3-5 minute breather (not to play mobile games!) and continue with the revision. This allows the brain to process and compartmentalise new information instead of discarding it in place of the most recent information.


Look out for: How to prepare yourself for PSLE Maths Part 2!

Coming soon.


Written by: Eugene Phua

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