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  • Writer's pictureJeannette Koh

Tackling the PSLE Science Paper

What you should do to help your child


The PSLE is just around the corner! See the table below for relevant dates. 



Tues 12 -  Wed 13 Aug

PSLE Oral Exam

16 - 22 Aug 

School Preliminary Examinations

1 - 8 Sept 

September Holiday Break

Fri 13 Sept

PSLE Listening Comprehension

Thurs 26 Sept - Wed 2 Oct

PSLE written papers

Most school Preliminary Examinations will take place immediately after National Day.

It’s not too late to start prepping with your child. 

This article is in two parts. Part one discusses 3 ways to minimise errors.

Part two will focus on the Thinking Skills your child will be tested on. 

Part 1

3 Ways to minimise errors

1 Know the Science Facts!

To answer questions fast without making careless mistakes, your child must know the science facts very well. Most MCQ options are very close so being unsure of the facts may lead to choosing the wrong option. Below is a list of what students need to know within the 5 Science Themes to answer both sections of the paper. 

Definitions of  Processes in Cycles and Systems

(words ending in ‘tion’)


Evaporation, Condensation, Matter, Decomposition

Fertilisation, Pollination, Dispersal, Germination


Circulation, Respiration, Digestion, Reproduction, Photosynthesis

Parts and Functions of Systems

Human Systems:

Circulatory, Respiratory, Digestive, Reproductive, Plant System,  Electrical System

Definition, Sources, Forms, 

Properties of the different forms of  Energy 

Heat, Light, Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy

Renewable / Non-renewable Energy

Food, Fuels

Types of Interactions and their Effects

Interactions of Forces:

Magnetism, Friction, Gravity, Elastic Spring Force

Interactions with the Environment:

Man’s Impact on the Environment, Adaptations, Living Together

Food Chains and Webs

Characteristics of Living Things and Properties of materials 

Diversity of Living/ Non-Living Things and Materials 

Most Science guide books provide a set of learning objectives at the beginning of each topic and a review list behind the topic. Simple flash cards can be made for your child to practise active recall until he is familiar with them. Multiple choice quizzes are not helpful if students are not sure of the facts. Students become dependent on the options to "figure" out the answers as they cannot bring the scientific facts to mind, resorting to lucky guesses instead.

The students in the picture above used the cards to check the information on their worksheet. 

Allow use of notes and fact sheets while practising until recall is automatic and no more reference is needed. Once students have the facts at their finger tips, they are more likely to answer the questions quickly and accurately.

2 Annotate to Eliminate! 

Tick or cross out options in the MCQ. Underline true, false, correct or incorrect to avoid confusion. 

Sometimes it is necessary to make short notes, labels, and draw simple diagrams to help in understanding more complex questions. It is a way of making thinking visible, somewhat like thinking aloud.

3 Manage Time

Your child is not only tested on the science content, but on how fast he can think to answer the questions. 

The PSLE Science paper consists of two parts to be completed in 1h 45min

Booklet A 

(½ hr or less, about 1 min per question)

Booklet B 

(1 hr, about 5 min or less per question,  

15 min to check)

28 multiple choice questions (MCQ),

2 marks each 

11-13 Open Ended (OE) questions, 

2-4 marks each depending on the number of parts to each question.

To practise efficiently, spend half an hour or less on Booklet A and one hour on Booklet B. 

Each MCQ should take 1 minute or less and each OE question should take 5 minutes or less  to complete. Set a timer each time he does either Booklet A or B. The two parts need not be done at one go. For the OE questions, a more realistic goal at first might be to complete 3 questions within 20 minutes or less, progressing to 5 questions in half an hour. In this way, your child will build confidence over time. 

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we discuss the different Thinking Skills your child will be tested on in the PSLE Science Paper.

Register for our P6 Crash Course during this September Holidays to get your child exam-ready!

Fun-da-mentals Learning Centre

Established in 2009, Fun-da-mentals Learning Centre has been a trusted learning partner for both parents and their children. We inspire inquisitive minds with our Primary, Secondary and Junior College academic programmes.

Call +65 98472637 for more information and make an appointment for a trial course today!


Fun-da-LAB is the Science enrichment branch of Fun-da-mentals Learning Centre.

With our one-of-a-kind laboratory and specially curated science enrichment programmes, we seek to nurture the scientist in every child through experiments and more-than-hands-on activities!

Call +65 98472637 to sign up for our upcoming programmes!

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