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Science is a subject that is intriguing to children and yet when it comes to it being placed on a set of papers with 40+ questions, it inevitably erode the initial interest of the student. So, how can we help our children to see the importance of answering techniques for Science paper such that their interest will not be killed eventually? I am happy to learn the ropes in a PSLE Science workshop organised by Marshall Cavendish Education (MCE) from a very qualified trainer, Mr Chee Chin Young. So does my Missy who attended the student workshop by the same trainer.

This is the second workshop that I have attended in the MCE PSLE Series of Workshop for parents. The first one is on PSLE English and if you would remember, I am impressed with the trainer. Now that I have attended the Science workshop, I am further convinced that MCE has a strict qualification of its trainers and only the best trainers are employed. Not only do the trainers engage well with students and parents, catering to different needs, they are totally selfless in imparting their knowledge, tips and tricks. I am full of admiration for such selfless sharing. I am sure those who attended are very encouraged by the optimism exuded by the trainers.

If you are thinking that the Science workshop is about learning further on the Science syllabus, then you are very wrong. The workshop is about tactics, tips, tricks on how to tackle the paper and prepare for PSLE Science. What we learnt are on ANSWERING TECHNIQUESLEARNING STRATEGIES and EXAMINATION TECHNIQUES! Everything all parents and students want to know about tackling the Science Paper!

learning strategies

Missy’s Concept Map for Learning Strategies and Exam tactics taught by Mr Chee Chin Young

Now, let me summarise what my girl has learnt from Mr Chee on a 2-day workshop for students on the topic of Science which school teachers may or may not have (the time to) shared.

 

1. Science Journaling (Note-taking)

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In Science, Note-taking should not be taken lightly. In fact, there is a way for effective note-taking!
a) Point-form Notes – a quick capture of information during class explanation, when reviewing worksheets and while doing corrections.
b) Concept Map – a capture of point-form notes reorganised on a visual form of flow charts, classification tables, radial diagrams or simply key words in clouds linked by arrows.
c) Science Journaling – where all important information are recorded and comes with a content page for easy referencing.

 

Keeping a Science Journal helps the students to brainstorm, list and infer between Science facts and terminology. Mr Chee emphasises greatly on the usefulness of having a Science Journal and spent a great deal of time teaching how to start one. Once you get the idea of a Science Journal, it shall help you all the way till beyond Secondary school in mastering the art of writing notes and keeping a handy self-written guide with you. A Science Journal needs to be no more than a size of an exercise book for ease of flipping and handy for bringing around. It serves as a quick reference to check up a concept or topic and good for quick revision before the examination.

Here is a page taken out from Missy’s Science Journal after Mr Chee’s workshop. She is so motivated by the idea of keeping a Science Journal that she went home the very day to find a nice notebook for this purpose!

Missy's Science Journal after Mr Chee's workshop

Missy’s Science Journal after Mr Chee’s workshop

 

2. Charting to PSLE Science Success

This is the strategising part to tackle the PSLE Science paper.

Now till Prelims

From the time of the workshop in June holidays till the Prelims, was about 6 weeks. This would be the time to revise concepts, understand the strategy of answering questions, practising against the clock to get the most number of marks. One shared tip is on practising the MCQ portion by aiming to get 20 right questions within 20 minutes; And on the written portion, to aim 20 marks attained in 20 minutes. Well, it certainly sounds achievable for bite sized practices to train for perfection in Section A which consists of 28 Questions equating to 56 marks.

Prelims till PSLE

From Prelims till PSLE, we would have about 2 months time. This will be fine-tuning of the Science concepts and ensuring whatever mistakes made in the past NOT BE REPEATED AGAIN. That means, studying and re-doing error questions till they are perfected with no mistakes. The Science Journal now comes handy in revision again. Bring out the P3 to P6 Science worksheets and revise on the corrections again.

ONE GRADE IMPROVEMENT

Mr Chee recommends to aim for ONE GRADE IMPROVEMENT from SA1 to Prelims and ONE GRADE IMPROVEMENT from Prelims to PSLE.

 

3. Marks Vs Points

What is the difference between Marks and Points?
Understanding the relationship between marks and points is essential to give the correct length of answer without writing too much.
Points – a point of information that expresses an idea, i.e. a fact or concept; a sub-point is part of a main point. It is good practice to write one sentence for one point.
Marks – the allocation of the one mark or half mark against a point or sub-point for right concept or use of appropriate keywords in answering correctly.
Mr Chee taught the K.I.S.S answering technique:

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Short and Simple!

 

4. Generating Keywords with Science-working

What is a Science-working? Does Science require working like Math?

Well, I find this is kind of similar to what we were taught in English workshop, if there is such thing as an English-working too. Remember I shared about doing inferences while reading Comprehension passages or Comprehension Cloze? In Science, we should also write and jot down keywords or ideas that come to mind when we read through a Question. Such scribbling helps the mind to work faster in making sense of the question, so that the logical answer can be formed by processing the keywords.

 

5. Type of Questions

Comparison Questions – marks are allocated for describing the two things in comparison. If you are asked for the difference, remember to mention specifically why the other thing is different. This will ensure you get the full marks for that question.

Explanation Questions – testing on the ability to explain scientific phenomenon extensively. The simplest way is to state two things:

Scientific Theory
Question Application

 

Scientific Theory is the statement on a fact or concept that can be universally applied in any similar situations, they can be lifted directly from the textbooks, and usually carry one mark.

Question Application is the statement that apply the scientific theory into the question scenario. By this application, it will show the understanding of the concept well enough to be used in the application.

Theory-Application Approach

Mr Chee shared with the students that when a scientist tries to understand a situation, he/she will first think of the relevant scientific theory before trying to apply the principle to the observation. If you are able to train yourself into thinking this way to form answer statements, most, if not all, required points in the examiner’s answer sheet will be covered.

 

6. Understanding Graphs Questions

In Graphs questions, it is important to note the following information on the graph:
a) Horizontal Axis – usually an independent / controlled variable
b) Vertical Axis – usually a dependent variable, i.e. effect or outcome
c) Starting point on the Vertical Axis
d) Slope of the Graph – whether it is going up or coming down or unchanged.
e) Peaks and Valleys – note the highest and lowest point of the graph.

 

7. Highlighting Keywords in Questions and Correct Answers

This is a study tactic where the student HIGHLIGHT KEYWORDS found in Questions and Correct Answers. This trains the student to have an eye for keywords and understand how to answer to such questions.

 

8. Legibility Training

Mr Chee even covered Legibility Training in this workshop! It may seem trivial but in fact, is extremely important to not lose marks due to illegibility! He suggests to print out letters from A to Z, 0-9 in Comic Sans light grey font size 20+ for students to trace over. This helps those who have problem writing legibly to train their handwriting.

I could not cover all those that have been taught to my girl as I could only refer to her notes and what I have learnt in the Parents’ workshop. However, these are pretty good tips to share with you. I shall be sharing more in my next post on the MCE PSLE Science Workshop for Parents as I have sat through 2 full day teachings by Mr Chee. More on Learning Strategies and Examination Techniques!

Mr Chee Chin Young

Great Resources!

Follow me on my PSLE Series post here on our home-learning without Tuition!

Follow me and fellow Blogger mums on our takeaways on Marshall Cavendish Education Workshops which all of us are full of praises for! –

PSLE English Workshop for Parents by Kids R Simple
PSLE English Workshop for Students by Kids R Simple
English – How to Write Confidently & Creatively by Mummy Ed
English – How to Excel and Speak Well in English Oral by Mummy Ed
Math – Heuristics Explained for Intermediate and Advanced Learners by DinoMama
Math – P3 and P4 Math Coaching Workshop by Xavvylicious
Math – Problems Solving with Essential Know-hows and Tools by ilovedefamily
Math – Stretching Your Child’s Mathematical Abilities by Mummy Ed
Chinese – Effective Strategies for Chinese Composition by Mummy Ed

 

Disclaimer: Thanks to Marshall Cavendish Education for inviting me and my Missy to attend these insightful workshops on PSLE Science. We benefited tremendously from Mr Chee’s teaching and I must say we are more confident now in answering Science questions than before! The above notes are shared by Mr Chee’s handouts in the class and I hope I have presented here as best as I could to share with readers.