What are the Common PSLE Science Mistakes and How Can They be Avoided?

The PSLE Science paper consists of two parts. Section A is a multiple-choice section consisting of 28 questions of 2 marks each, while Section B is an open-ended answer section consisting of 12-13 questions totalling 44 marks. The whole paper lasts 1 hour 45 minutes and must be done in one sitting. Naturally, this can result in a number of mistakes any PSLE student can be susceptible to, even if they have studied the syllabus thoroughly and attended PSLE Science tuition in Singapore. Our PSLE Science tutors have identified some of the most common mistakes holding students back from securing that A*. What are these common pitfalls and how can they be avoided?

Running Out of Time

Since both of the sections are taken together, it is common for students to spend too much time mulling over the MCQ section, leaving too little time to complete the open-ended questions. Ideally, students should spend no more than 1 to 2 minutes on each multiple-choice question, or a total of 45 minutes for Section A. This leaves 1 hour for Section B, which should be enough time to answer all the questions and check through them for any careless mistakes.

Alternatively, a different approach is to complete Section B first, to ensure that the more time-consuming questions are out of the way sooner. Students who use this tactic should still make sure that they do not spend too much time on the open-ended questions until they run out of time for Section A.

Misreading the Question

This can occur in any section, but happens more often in Section A with the multiple-choice questions. The MCQ section contains questions of varying difficulty, some of which are there to pick out the cream of the crop and separate the A* students from the As and Bs. The four possible answers to each question can be very similar, requiring careful reading of the question. Students should always remember to choose the best answer – which may not necessarily be the correct answer. As such, one way to double-check if the selected option is correct is to eliminate the other answers. It can be challenging to read the question carefully when trying to spend as little time as possible on Section A, but with enough practice, students will be able to master the art of answering MCQ accurately.

Forgetting Important Keywords

Section B aims to test students’ understanding of the concepts they have learned. This is where simple explanations are not enough, and examiners will look for the exact phrasing students have been taught in the syllabus. Students are expected to memorise important keywords and use them in their open-ended answers. It is especially important to get the definitions right, because these questions are meant to be giveaways for those who have thoroughly gone through their textbook materials. To improve students’ answering technique, PSLE Science tuition in Singapore often gets students to practice as much as they can on past-year papers. These keywords are typically not words that we use in everyday life, so it is even more important that students familiarise themselves with the terms they have learned.

Leaving Questions Blank

Sometimes, even the most prepared student may be faced with an extremely difficult question that they do not know how to do. This can be discouraging to students during the PSLE paper, but fortunately, there are no marks deducted for incorrect answers. Even if they do not know the answer, Our Tutors strongly encourage students to attempt every question. Never leave multiple-choice questions blank, as even just a random guess will have a one in four chance of being correct. For open-ended questions, students should attempt to fill in anything they can remember that may be relevant to the question. Try to identify the topic first from the information given in the question. If a student does not know the exact keywords to use, an explanation in plain English may be able to gain them a few marks. Whatever they write, it can’t be worse than leaving the question blank, so it is always worth it to try.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Many of these common mistakes can be avoided with sufficient experience. Students who have had ample practice on past-year papers will also be more confident in the examination hall and have a better idea of what to expect. One great avenue of practice is PSLE Science tuition in Singapore! With a dedicated tutor to answer any questions, students will be able to try their hand at real exam papers, while receiving immediate feedback on how they can improve.