2. Highlight Crucial Helping Words
Highlighting crucial helping words in the question are important. However, many students tend to over-highlight everything and anything in the question.
Kumar was advised by his science teacher to chew his food thoroughly before he swallows it.
- This is important because it is an action. An action will have a science concept linked to it. In this case, this concept is linked to the topic of digestion.
a) Explain how chewing can improve digestion.
- The word "explain" is a keyword in the question that requires a cause-effect answer. The second half of this question relates to how digestion is made easier.
The key is learning to differentiate the helping words by considering the importance of the words in relation to the question.
3) Differentiate the Question Requirements
Understanding the question terms are crucial as a wrong interpretation would cause the question to be answered wrongly.
"Describe" requires you to write what you observe whereas "Compare" requires you to locate the similarities and differences between two items.
Knowing the distinction between an explanation and an explanation with comparison can make a major impact on obtaining marks.
4. Secure your understanding in Science Concepts with the right vocabulary
Conceptual understanding of topics include knowing what scientific vocabulary (aka words or phrases) are pertaining to a science concept.
Example: In the topic of heat, we say that "an object gains heat and expands" rather than "the object expands". The latter is wrong because it misses out on the concept of heat gain.
Some students understand concepts better through concept maps or by doing hands-on experiments.
5) Identify Question Types
Knowing typical question types well will help you score.
A typical question type is the experiment question. Learning the features of experimental type questions can help you in answering questions related to experiments confidently.
Features of an experiment type question include: unchanged variables, changed variable, independent variable, dependent variables, fair test and unfair test requires understanding the steps of doing an experiment and its processes.
These different aspects of an experiment can be the basic formation of a question.
6. Arm yourself with good resources
Choose guidebooks that give comprehensive notes with key words and phrases.
Find assessment books that explain HOW to answer questions
7. Find an experienced coach
Most tutors and teachers may know how to teach content. But only a few are honed in the techniques of answering questions. This clearly differentiates between a good coach and a better one. Acing PSLE Science is not about mindless drilling and regurgitating standard answers. As trends in recent PSLE papers has shown, it is more about the application of scientific knowledge and concepts.
A good and experienced coach will know how to infuse a love for scientific inquiry while equipping students with the toolbox for applying science concepts to answer questions and score well.
About the Author
Trainer, Curriculum Architect, PSLE Science Specialist, Founder, Germinate Training & Consultancy
Follow on Facebook: Science Dad SG
For lesson enquiries, please call 96520270
Mr Jayce Or is a seasoned educator and curriculum designer for Science, with at least 15 years of teaching and training experience in MOE schools and in various large tuition centers across the island. A graduate of the prestigious Melbourne Graduate School of Education, ranked the Number 1 Graduate School of Education Worldwide (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015), Jayce is known for his specialist knowledge in Science and Environment Education and is a thought leader in modern pedagogical trends and instruction.
As an experienced Science Curriculum Specialist and PSLE Science marker, Jayce is well-versed in coaching students in the challenges of PSLE Science Answering Techniques. He has developed his own P.E.A.K™ method of Science Heuristics in accordance with MOE’s Primary Science syllabus, which has proven to help students decode the strategies to achieve confidence and significant improvement in their grades.
Jayce is also a skillful trainer who has conducted many Science enrichment workshops including whole day P5 and P6 workshops, Science Process Skills workshops for parents and Science exploratory excursions to Singapore Science Centre. In the two primary schools that he was teaching previously, he played a key role in establishing strategic partnerships with external partners such as NEA, Panasonic, South East CDC, Tetrapak Singapore and led a team to win the MOE Outstanding Contribution Award (Team) for Environment Education in 2013. Jayce also possesses a robotics training background from the Singapore Science Centre. He now conducts workshops, training, small group Science classes & PSLE coaching.
"I hate going for tuition and especially the time spent travelling to the tuition centre ...until I met Jayce, my favourite science teacher. I hit off with him immediately on my trial lesson. This is only my 3rd lesson and I already look forward for the next session. His teaching is unique, fun and with clarity. I believe my aim to score well for science is gonna come true if Jayce continues to coach me till my PSLE exam!" - M, P6
"For the first time ever, my son tells me he enjoys attending classes. I thought it was wow! I am so relieved to have you as his tutor." - M's mother
Mr Jayce Or's lessons are never dry and boring; I like it that he uses props, experiments & real life examples to bring the teaching of Science to life, while clearly communicating the critical Science concept. My son Iain finds Mr Or's lessons very interesting. He also likes that he gives very detailed explanations that improves his understanding and appreciation of Science by leaps and bounds!
-Ingrid Tay, mother of Iain, P6