Greetings! I am an experienced Primary School Science tutor and have helped many students improve from 60+/100 to 80 and even 90 marks within a few lessons. What I am going to share with you might sound unbelievable. It may seem impossible for your child to pull off such a huge improvement within such a short amount of time. But trust me, I have seen so many students done it. It is possible. Here is the secret.
Most students already have sufficient concept knowledge but just do not know how to write out the way that MOE wants. I see this as an injustice to the students because they already have the knowledge! They just need the right techniques to help guide them in answering the questions. In this article I will be going through in simple details how to see an immediate improvement in your child's Science subject.
I am sure that most students have heard of the CER concept. If you haven't, it stands for Claim, Explanation/Evidence and Reasoning. Most students know this but they do not know when to apply it. Therefore, the first step to scoring well in Booklet B is to spot the type of question. There are really only 2 types of questions: 'State' and 'Explain' questions.
Example of a 'State' question:
Here, we can see that the question clearly asks "state one similarity". To answer a 'State' question properly, we do not need to explain anything. In fact, most 'State' questions only require a 1-sentence answer, sometimes even just 1 word! We should be careful in this question though, it says to based on the diagrams above. Therefore, any knowledge drawn from outside the diagrams is not acceptable.
The correct answer: "Both the life cycles of a frog and butterfly have an egg stage." Take note that there is NO NEED to use the CER concept for 'State' questions.
Example of an "Explain" question:
Both questions award 1 mark for the correct answer, so we should also write only 1 sentence for part b right? WRONG! This is a very common mistake that students make. The type of answers written is not dependent on the number of marks allocated to the question but rather, the way the question is phrased.
This question asks "Explain the advantage". Clearly, it is an 'Explain' question. To tackle an 'Explain' question, we need to use the CER concept.
Here is the correct answer:
Claim: This would allow the butterfly to survive better.
Explain: When predators feed on some of the eggs, the other eggs can still survive to grow into adult butterflies.
Reason: Therefore, laying many eggs at a time would allow the butterfly to have continuity of its own kind.
Both questions, part a and part b, are allocated 1 mark each. However, the length and quality of answer expected for each question is drastically different. Why? Let me repeat myself: The type of answers written is not dependent on the number of marks allocated to the question but rather, the way the question is phrased.
I hope this little guide has been of some help to you and your child. All the best for the PSLE exams that is coming up!