How To Support My Child On Exam Results Day?

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The waiting is over and those much-anticipated PSLE exam results are finally on their way. But for your child, this is just the beginning of the next stage of their lives. For most students, this is an emotionally charged time. In our modern society, many students nowadays define themselves by their academic achievement, using grades as a marker of self-esteem. Therefore, it is hardly surprising some students are greatly affected when they do worse than they had hoped.

So how can you, as a parent, best support them through the process, particularly if your child did not get the grades they wanted? As such, here are some tips on how you can support your child on exam results day:

1) Talk it out  
First, try to talk to your child to know what is bothering him deep down. Is it the failure or the fear of letting you down? Don’t shy away from the disappointment your child is feeling. Encourage him/her to talk about it to you. If talking doesn’t help and your child refuses to talk to you or other family members for days, you may need to seek for professional help like counselling.

2) Plan what to do next
Help your child learn from mistakes. Getting low grades or even repeating a year may seem like a huge social burden and embarrassment for your child. This may be the time to plan a study timetable with your child and you may also look for a good tutorial class or tutor to cope with your child’s academic challenges. While planning the next step with your child, do remember not to create unnecessary stress on your child as it is a vulnerable period for him/her.

3) Prepare for the future
Constantly assure your child that you will support him/her no matter the results or situation. Instill confidence in your child and explain to him/her that success and failure is part and parcel of life. For children whose dreams are dashed on results day, support from their parents or someone whom they trust is crucial, not just on the day but over a period of time. Keep talking about the many possible future paths available and explain, preferably with real examples, that many successful people have taken alternative routes to reach their ultimate goals.
Most importantly, praise your child on how hard he/she has studied for the exams. Emphasise on the hard work and effort that they have put in for the past few months or even years. These are the qualities that will take your child far in life, not just their academic results.

*To find out more about us (BrightMinds Education: An award-winning tuition centre that has been established since 2008), please view our link @ www.BrightMindsEdu.com.

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Should My Child Study During The Holiday?

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Why should your child study during the school holiday? It is a common question among parents and as such, we have listed down 4 reasons on why your child should be studying during this year-end holiday:

1. Best Time To Revise
During the school holiday, your child is free almost every day, hence this makes it the perfect time to organise the notes from the previous months of studying. Your child should use this study break to write up personal study notes for each subject.
Personalised study notes not only allow your child to organise their thoughts, they also provide a quick and highly effective source of information. Therefore when school re-opens, and if there is a surprise test from the teacher, your child will be well-equipped and ready for it!

2. Your Brain Needs Constant Exercise
When students are on a break, they are no longer working their brain at full capacity every day. The brain acts just like a muscle, and needs regular exercise to keep working at its best.  Just as when you stop working out at the gym for a few weeks and you drop back your fitness levels, it takes time to get back to the level you were once at. Doing constant revision during the school holiday allows your child to keep his/her brain active. Hence when your child returns to school, he/she will be the first in their class to pick up where they left off!

3. Study Routine
The first time a student sits down to study, it takes a lot of willpower. They need to convince themselves that the time and effort they spend will have a payoff, and the first few times are always the hardest. However the more they engage in study and establish a routine, it becomes easier to maintain it long-term and gives them the willpower to keep going because they see real results in their exam results.
Therefore, during the school holidays, it is important to ensure that the hard work which your child has put in over the past few months of the school year isn’t wasted just because of major disruptions to their study routines.

4. Have Fun While Studying
Since it is the school holiday, you can encourage your child to form a study group with his/her friends! For some students, group study can be more effective than studying alone as they can encourage and help out each other when they encounter a challenging topic or question.

In a Nutshell:
The school holiday is the time when students can clear their head, relax a little and stretch their brains in different ways. However, letting a study routine slip means your child is missing out on a huge study opportunity to get ahead of his peers. Without continuous revision and practice, your child will soon lose his/her momentum to study and may struggle in his/her studies when school reopens.

The school holiday is the best time for students to get ahead of their peers and it can make a difference in their next year’s report card. Moreover, by studying during the school holiday, it will reduce stress levels and make studying a much easier task in 2016. As such, we sincerely hope that all students will continue to revise and study well during the school holiday!

BrightMinds Education is an award-winning tuition centre that has produced countless of top students over the past few years. Furthermore, our strong team of highly-qualified tutors is dedicated to academic improvement and excellence. Click here to view our schedule and fees.

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Making A Study Timetable

As quoted by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This applies to all aspects of our life, including our studies. To avoid getting lost in the midst of your revision in the coming months before the PSLE, you should start to create your own study schedule now.

Here are 3 steps to create an effective study plan:

  • Prioritize Your Subjects and Topics:

Do not assign the same period of time for each subject and topic. You will need to prioritize which subjects and topics are more important and challenging to you, and dedicate more time to that than others. It is crucial to spend more time on subjects and topics that you need extra practice or help in. For example, if Science is your weakest subject, you will need to set aside more time to revise your Science topics. And if your weakest Science topic is “Adaptation of Animals”, then you will need to dedicate more time towards that topic than the others.

  • Organize Your Time Wisely:

After you have determined the number of hours you will need to set aside to study for each subject and topics, choose the best time to study. For example, you may choose to start studying after an hour of lunch break. Or, some pupils may choose to start studying after a short nap as they will feel more refreshed. Once you have decided what works best for you, stick with it.

  • De-stressing and Family Time

You may schedule breaks for relaxation in between your revision schedule. These relaxation breaks are useful as it is a form of de-stressing and thus, helps you to focus better during your revision. These relaxation breaks should not be more than 30 minutes, and are not to be scheduled too often. For example, you may set aside 15 minutes of snack break after studying for more than an hour. Other forms of relaxation include reading a storybook or newspaper, a quick jog, baths, or even a short trip to your nearest minimart! Family vacations should be kept to a minimum during the PSLE year and should only last for a few days. As long as you have a well-planned revision schedule and follow it closely, you should not feel guilty about spending time with your family.

For many primary schools, the involvement of CCAs for Primary 6 pupils is significantly reduced. This allows more time for learning and revision. Therefore, your study timetable should help you to accomplish the following:
– complete revision for all P6 topics by end of July,
– set aside more time to attempt mock exam papers in August and September.

When you have finished creating your study timetable, paste it on the wall in front of your study table so that you can see it and follow it. By planning your study timetable now, it will help you to stay more focused and therefore, you will be more prepared for the PSLE.

Writing Your Own Notes

Taking notes is a great way to remember and revise important key concepts that you have learnt in school. It will also help to narrow down the large amount of concepts that you’ll need to study later on, before your PSLE. Here are 3 tips to writing study notes that really work:

  • Write your own notes, in your own words.

Copying blindly from your school’s textbook is ineffective; you should always paraphrase and write in your own words. By doing so, it is a great way of ensuring that you have fully understood the core concepts.

  • Develop your own note-taking style.

It is important that you develop a note-taking method that suits your learning style and works best for you. Some choose to use different colored post-its, pens or highlighters to identify important key concepts or sentences. You can also use short-forms, symbols or abbreviations when writing notes. What is important is that your notes make sense to you and you understand your own style of note-taking.

  • Organise, organise, organise.

I cannot stress how important it is to write your notes neatly in an organized manner. If your notes are messy and disorganized, you will not be able to revise properly and this defeats the purpose of writing your own notes for an easier revision.

Here are some suggestions on how you can write your own notes in an organized manner:

  1. Use headings and sub-headings while writing.
  2. Write your notes on one exercise book per subject, as opposed to many pieces of papers per subject. This makes it easier for you to find your notes, and reduces the hassle of losing random pieces of paper.
  3. Keep your note-taking exercise book in a safe and organised place at all times!
  4. It is also worth the time to re-write parts of your study notes that are you find it more difficult, especially important concepts that are likely to be tested during the PSLE. By re-writing your notes in a more organized way, it will help to firmly consolidate what you’ve written.
  5. Make sure that your handwriting is neat and tidy. (This is a no brainer, but such an important point that many pupils fail to follow through.)

Writing your own notes takes time and effort, but it is is a major key to academic success. It is a form of studying itself as you are reviewing all the key concepts needed to excel in the PSLE. By writing your own notes in an organized manner, it will increase your confidence towards the subject, which in turn will increase your performance during the PSLE.

Setting Study Goals

Let’s be honest, how many of us have written down our life goals? Not surprisingly, most of us have not. There was a study conducted during the 1979 Harvard MBA program where graduate students were asked “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”  The result- only 3% had written goals and plans, 13% had goals but they didn’t write them down and 84% had no goals at all. After 10 years, the same group was interviewed again and the result was shocking.

The 13% of the class who had goals, but didn’t write them down, was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined!

Although this research only focuses on earnings to quantify success, it is still an extremely motivating example of why creating clear goals and writing them down is a major key to success. Are you now feeling motivated to write down your study goals? Here are 3 steps to creating clear and measurable goals that will lead you to huge success.

1)      Create a Vision

What is your dream school? If you want to enter into that school, what should your PSLE score or grades be? Be clear and specific in your goal-setting. Know what you want to achieve before you start studying. Don’t be disheartened if it seems too difficult to enter into your dream school. This is why goal-setting is crucial and this brings us to the next step…

2)      Set Realistic Benchmarks

Most goals are achieved over small achievements or successes. Firstly, break your goals into small actionable steps and assign realistic time frames to each of them. It is no use in trying to cram too much information or revising too many topics on a day; this will lead to unnecessary stress and cause disappointment. You should practice and review manageable number of topics every day. You may set aside more time to revise a more challenging topic and lesser time to revise a topic which you are familiar or good at.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. We shouldn’t expect to accomplish something or achieve success immediately. By setting small study goals, this makes it much easier for us to achieve our final goal.

3)      Celebrate Your Success

Do not forget to celebrate your success when you have accomplished your benchmarks! Have a small celebration, and continue to study. Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out, so continue to study hard, and you will reach your final study goal eventually. If you can dream it, you can do it!

 

BrightMinds Education is an award-winning tuition centre that has produced countless of top students over the past few years. Our strong team of highly-qualified tutors is dedicated to academic improvement and excellence. Click here to view our schedule and fees.Award Logo

How To Avoid Careless Mistakes For Maths

(written by Mr Prem, tutor of BrightMinds Learning Centre)

As a tutor who has been teaching Maths for many years, the most common question I’ve received from concerned parents is “How can my child avoid careless mistakes?” Therefore, I hope that this SUPER approach will be of great help to those who always make careless mistakes in their Maths problem sums.

The SUPER Methodology to Math Problem Solving

Study and

Understand the problem:

  • What is the problem about?
  • What information do I have? It is crucial to underline or highlight the important keywords from your question.
  • What am I asked to find out?

Plan a solution

  • What method should I use?
  • Have I solved similar problems before?
  • What information should I consider first?
  • What information should I consider next?

Execute the plan

  • Write down the steps of my solution
  • Show all working clearly and neatly!
  • Do not skip too many steps  or depend too much on mental calculations.

Review the answer

  • Are my units correct?
  • Does my answer make sense
  • Have I answered the question? If you have time, you may put your answers back into the math problem or equation to check for accuracy.

Time Management is also crucial in a Mathematics exam. Do not spend too much time stuck on one question; move on to the next question and return to that challenging question when you have completed the other questions. Also, try not to spend too much time solving questions with only 1 to 2 marks; your focus should primarily be on more complex questions (ie: 3 to 5 marks questions).

Most importantly, all pupils must constantly practice before they can master the art of avoiding careless mistakes. By using the above SUPER approach in solving problem sums,  I hope that all pupils will become more confident in their Mathematics, which is important for a high-pressure Mathematics examination situation.

How To Write A Good Composition

(written by Ms Marie Bernadette from BrightMinds Learning Centre)

In a typical English Language examination, composition writing is one of the most important aspects of the subject. Therefore, in order to excel in an English Language paper, the pupil must be well-versed in writing compositions.

Moreover, the new 2015 PSLE syllabus for composition writing has become more challenging and the topics are more wide-ranging. Previously, pupils had to choose from two questions with fixed scenarios to write a narrative essay. Now, pupils are to weave a story from three pictures. For example, a pupil may get a series of three pictures and he/she can write a story based on one, two or all three pictures.

Since this article is on how to write a good composition, let us delve straight into that. In writing a good composition, a pre-writing plan is crucial. Spend about 10 minutes to decide what you want to write in your composition in point form.

Planning (5 Ws and 1 H):

  1. Who are the characters?
  2. Where does the story take place?
  3. When does it take place?
  4. What happened? Include the act of crisis and climax (the point with the most dramatic or important action)
  5. Why did it happen?
  6. How was it solved? Include the moral of the story or lesson learnt, if any.

After your pre-writing plan, you should be more prepared to start writing your composition. All compositions are made up of three components- the introduction, body and conclusion. Failure to write any of these components will most likely result in a fail grade.

The Introduction:

Your introduction should arouse the interest of your examiner, and make he/she so interested in your story that he/she want to continue reading it. If your introduction fails to catch the interest of your examiner, then you have not done a great job with it.

Your introduction should have the following important features:

  1. Should be interesting enough to grab your examiner’s interest
  2. Should prepare your examiner for what is to follow
  3. Should be concise and not too lengthy

The Body

You should remember that the body is where the majority of your marks lie, thus it is important for you to plan before writing your composition. If you do not plan before writing, you are likely going to forget some very important points when you’re writing your actual story.

Take note of these key points when you are writing:

  1. Keep your sentences short and simple so that your readers can easily understand you
  2. Use vocabulary words and phrases, but make sure that they are appropriate. Avoid the use of bombastic words and irrelevant complex expressions.
  3. Never use a word that you do not thoroughly understand or know how to spell.

The Conclusion
The conclusion is the last, but definitely not the least part of a good composition. The resolution, lesson learnt by the character/s or moral ending should be included at your conclusion. Most importantly, do not end your story abruptly.

After you have finished with your composition, it is important that you take a minute to read over what you have written. Check your composition and edit where necessary. Some factors to consider when you are checking your composition: Are there mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation? How appropriate are the words used? Are there mundane words which can be replaced with better words?

I hope that the above guidelines were useful to you. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, hence continue to practice writing different compositions and you will definitely improve or score well for your next English composition. Good luck!