Wondering how to study or revise (or help your child revise) for PSLE? Students adopt a wide variety of approaches based on their learning styles, and the Internet is filled with a plethora of tips and step-by-step guides to revise for PSLE.
Instead of these, we present 5 effective habits that will help you maximize the effectiveness of your studies! These will help you regardless of your learning style or revision plan, and are backed by cognitive psychology and memory studies. Better yet — build these habits in your earlier primary school years and the benefits and positive results will grow exponentially!
Practice Past Years’ Exam Questions
Past year exam questions provide an indication of the standards that you will be facing in the exam. Search for these papers and practice the questions. This will also help you develop your skill in answering questions that come up frequently in the past years. It is okay to get it wrong now, because it is just that — practice!
This is not for cheating! Knowledge that you generate, process and structure yourself is more likely to be encoded into your long-term memory than knowledge that is simply read passively. Psychologists agree that passive learning (re-reading notes), is inefficient compared to active learning (finding patterns, creating summaries, linking to other knowledge etc). Creating cheatsheets is one such form of an active learning strategy. Not only does it help you to remember key points which serve as memory cues to other related points, it also helps to summarize all the important points that you need to know in one quick reference!
Review What You Have Learnt Before Sleep, and Sleep Well
Did you know — your brain replays the activities that were encountered during the day while you sleep, and this replay strengthens memories of those activities overnight! This effect is stronger for activities that occur just before sleep.
Thus, reviewing what you have learnt during the day is not just a good learning strategy in itself, it is particularly useful if you do it just before sleep to maximize the benefits! In addition, this means that it is important to sleep well, and not to burn the midnight oil. Long-term memories are formed and reactivated during sleep, therefore helping us to retain information that we have learned during the day. When we stay up trying to cram as much information as we can, we will lose precious time to rest; will not remember what we read during the night effectively; and even what we learnt during the day will be lost in short-term memory. If the best way to retain what you've learnt is to sleep, why not enjoy your bedtime instead of midnight cramming?
Teach Someone Else (such as your parents!)
Teaching someone else allows you to adopt a different perspective — you are no longer just trying to understand a concept but are explaining it to someone else in a way that he/she can understand. When you teach someone else, you are forced to verbalize your understanding of a concept in a coherent manner so that your partner can understand. You would be able to see gaps in your understanding that may not otherwise be obvious to you. Besides, you are also revising while you are teaching!
Go Beyond Memorizing to Understanding
For Mathematics and Science in particular, it is important to understand the concepts. Plain and repetitive memorization will only help to answer specific types of questions using specific parameters. However, PSLE questions are designed to test your understanding, and you are likely to encounter new questions that have not been presented to you before. These questions demand your understanding and application of knowledge to solve the problem or provide the correct answer.
Thus, it is important to study with the goal of understanding, and not just memorizing. Clarify what certain concepts mean or how they work. Find patterns. Link it to other things you know. Draw analogies. These strategies will deepen your understanding of what things mean and how they work, and equip you with the ability to manage new questions presented to you.
Polymath Learning Centre’s approach
At Polymath Learning Centre, we believe in equipping our students with the right skills that will help them to study efficiently and effectively. It is not about studying hard and memorizing for long hours - it is about studying, playing, and exploring all at the same time, and doing these in smart and innovative ways. We teach and develop the right habits in our students from the start, and hope that these habits would help them not only in their studies, but also later in life.
If you would like to experience our teaching philosophy and approach, please feel free to sign up for a free trial lesson with us!