This is the year…..

We have finally reached the 6th year of the Primary School education when Brendan will be sitting for his Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE).  The word “PSLE“ has caused anxiety among many parents and sets high pressure on students and teachers.

I cannot imagine how it will be when it comes to GCE O levels and tertiary education. I don't recall myself so stressed up when I have to sit for the exams myself more than 2 decades ago.]


As a parent……Me? Of course, I am bitten by that anxiety bug already *frown*.  If your child is also going through the School Leaving Examinations soon or had already sat for the examinations, these questions might not sound unfamiliar to you :

Which secondary school should Brendan be enrolling?”   ”How do I manage coaching two children, now that Darren is in Primary 2?”

“What if Papa Ed has to go on that regular travel and I have to solve those most challenging Math and Science questions that can seriously GRILL my mind?” [I admit some questions are ten times tougher than my time.]

“With so much academic pressure likely to be coming from the school, how can I not add on to that pressure and still ensure that he is on track?”  “How do we keep his life balanced and healthy without any constraints especially with his music commitment, academic commitment and those many fun activities that he will miss?”

“It is often “difficult”to tutor our own kids. So are we going to get some external help?  After some deliberation, I guess we will continue to tutor because knowing myself, I  will not tolerate days of not knowing my son’s progress and development.”


Something is for sure. ……

I am not sending him to those “genius grooming classes” that promise straight “As”. His school tends to produce top PSLE achiever in Singapore and I believe the school has the potential to groom him if he could live up to the grilling *grin*.

I am not going to enforce a “all studies and no play” mandate for him *haha*

I am not quitting job as yet to spend 8 hours a day making sure that he studies. Perhaps, maybe, we will spend 4 nights of 2 hours each to coach him and also re-study my PSLE subjects again *haha*. I cannot imagine all our quality time together being buried in books *Oh! No!*. So, I guess we won’t go to this extreme AS YET *smile*.

I guess we can live with less fun and crazy times though.

[Surprsingly, I have people asking me whether I would "retire" and be at home coaching. Excuse me, I don't think I will use exactly the same word "retire" when I am now in my 30s. However, I might consider quitting job if the pressure at work and home intensifies but not cos' I am due for retirement *haha*.]


I recalled last year when Brendan’s teacher explained that they have to give lots of homework to the students in Primary 5 and hasten the speed of teaching. She also emphasized that there would be insufficient time when these students reach Primary 6.

So, the foundation to prepare the primary school students start in Primary 1. The preparation  intensifies in Primary 4 or 5. As in Primary 6, we are going through it now and needless to say, I can expect extreme pressure coming from the school.

Somehow, I agree with Brendan’s teacher that - time is short. This year’s PSLE written papers is expected to start a week earlier than 2010’s. The school’s preliminary examinations will be earlier too.  The tentative PSLE time schedule guide for 2011 is available now. For more information, please refer to SEAB website.

Oral Examinations : 18 - 19 August 2011

Listening Comprehension : 16 September 2011

Written Examinations : 29 September - 5 October 2011



So, preparation time is short…..

For Primary School leavers, besides having to absorb what are being taught this year, the students will have to revise those that have been taught in their earlier years of primary school education, complete school homeworks and ensure regular revisions.  For Brendan, he will have to take one additional subject of Higher Mother Tongue (which both he and I are weakest in *frown*.)

For last few years, we have experimented the following methods of learning for Brendan and it works! I am lucky that Brendan cooperates well too with our learning advices.

  • regular revision is important instead of rushing to understand/memorise a concept only before examinations.
  • studies should not be focused only on textbook knowledge but also in enabling the child to different understandings of a subject matter through internet search and attempting other revision papers and reading guide books.  
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  • encourage learning through graphics and comics  or in interactive ways IF monotonous texts tend to bore the child.



  • parents spending time to monitor the child’s progress and determine a suitable learning technique for the child [I am glad that we have been coaching Brendan personally for the last few years because it makes me understand his learning abilities and knowledge block.]
  • allowing a child to understand the approach (eg Math and Science) through reading the model answers. It helps to also enable the child to understand the fundamental concepts instead of telling them to accept the answers as it is. In doing so, we have been carefully selecting guidebooks that prove to be so useful.



  • encouraging a child to attempt a different approach of problem solving (especially Math) could give them the flexibility of the mind to think and solve problems  one step at a time.


I am not a professionally trained teacher but I appreciate the importance of  encouraging a child to enjoy and understand what he is learning, to maintain an inquisitive and open mind, and to allow that little mind to also take a break. A child’s complete development is not the responsibility of the teachers in school but that of the parents,

If your child is sitting for School Leaving Examinations or had done so, please feel free to share your views/tips :)

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