Gearing Up for Mid-year Examinations

The mid-point of April usually signals the beginning of Semestral Assessment 1 (SA1), or simply mid-year exams as some schools would call them. For students in Primary 3 and 5, as well as Secondary 1 and 3, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has decided to remove mid-year exams. Schools, however, may still conduct Weighted Assessments (WA) for these levels. Since assessment season is at hand, this post will offer some useful tips for preparing your child better for their English exams, especially for Primary 6 students who will sit for their PSLE English exams this year. 
Understanding Requirements 
One of the most critical parts of exam preparation is to know what the requirements are for different subjects at different levels. To help your child, ensure that you are familiar with the changes from level to level and guide them in managing these new components. For example, Primary 3 students will discover that Comprehension Open-ended and Composition are very different from what they have experienced in Primary 1 and 2. Furthermore, Primary 5 students will need to learn new components like Situational Writing and new formats for familiar components like the 20-MCQ Listening Comprehension exam. Parents can consult teachers from schools and tuition centers for such information. 
Time Management 
A weekly student plan will help students feel more confident as they start their revision for the coming exams. A good revision should begin with easy and predictable topics and progress towards challenging and complex ones. For English, students should begin with (1) grammar, followed by (2) vocabulary, (3) Comprehension Open-ended and Cloze Passage, and end with (4) Situational and Continuous Writing. The first two parts – Grammar and Vocabulary – should take one-third of your child’s time, with the next one-third to practice Comprehension OE and Cloze, and the final one-third for Writing. Ensure that your child is not studying up to the very last day of the exams because it will induce exam anxiety. 
Consolidating New Knowledge 
For subjects that require students to learn new topics every term, the revision plan can be more structured. Parents can revisit your child’s daily worksheets to look for patterns in their strengths and weaknesses. Take note of topics that your child struggles with and talk to your child about the key concepts and methods. If they can explain the concepts to you, then their errors most likely stem from carelessness. If they cannot explain the concepts clearly, you might have to teach them again or seek help from their teachers. More practice questions are not helpful at the beginning if they have a conceptual misunderstanding. Put in more practice only after they are clear about what to do for each topic. This advice is relevant for subjects like Mathematics and Science. 
Revising Past Topics 
If your child is in upper primary levels, chances are that the exams will cover topics from previous years. Return to the notes and worksheets kept from previous years and try out some practice questions or past year exam papers. Do not focus only on their errors but also revisit questions that they have gotten right. It is likely that some of the concepts that your child used to know have been forgotten. 
In conclusion, we hope that following these principles will support students in their preparation for the coming exams. More important, however, is the support of other aspects of your child’s development, such as psychological, physical, social, mental, and emotional growth. The most effective revision plan is often the one with (1) a good balance between academic rigor and personal well-being, and (2) a strong buy-in from the child. Therefore, sit down and have a discussion about what the revision plan should look like and let your child decide what and how much to cover during revision. We wish your child the very best for the coming mid-year exams! 
If your child struggles with English, drop us an email or call us at 8321 8252 to find out our PSLE English tuition programmes have helped our students. 

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