Final PSLE Science Exam tips – Open-ended Questions

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Primary school science exams in Singapore have evolved from knowledge-based to application-based questions. Typically, students rely heavily on multiple-choice questions, which gauge their comprehension of scientific knowledge and concepts and, at best, enable them to pass the science examination.

However, using open-ended questions, Booklet B necessitates a deeper understanding of the science topics. To tackle these higher-order thinking skill questions, students must use critical thinking and problem-solving abilities and apply the information and ideas they’ve learned. Nonetheless, open-ended questions provide the opportunity to achieve an A1

Here are some last-minute tips from our Elucidation teachers:

01 Read The Question Thoroughly and Annotate.

When answering questions, one of the most important things you can do is read the question carefully and thoroughly — take the time to review it at least twice to ensure that you fully understand what it asks.

The question may have multiple parts or require you to consider different aspects of a topic, so it’s essential to take note of these details. To help you stay on track and cover every part of the question, circle and annotate the keywords.

Doing all these will allow you to stay focused and ensure your response is thorough and complete.

02 Structure Your Answer Clearly.

When answering a question, it is essential to identify what type of response is required first. Is the question asking for a statement (e.g. “State”), a description (e.g. “Describe”), or an explanation (e.g. “How”)?
Once you have determined the appropriate type of response, link your answer to the question and apply the relevant concept. Linking will ensure that your solution is accurate and relevant to the question.

03 The "MAGIC" Words.

When explaining cause and effect, it is crucial to use precise language that clearly shows a direct relationship or sequence. To do this, words like “causing” can indicate a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
To show the direction of change, using words like “greater/smaller” or “increase/decrease” for added precision is helpful.
Additionally, words like “thus” can link causes to their results, providing coherence to your answers.
Incorporating these linguistic cues in your answers can help ensure that your explanations are clear and compelling.

04 Use Scientific Vocabulary.

When tackling science questions, it’s crucial to incorporate relevant keywords and concepts into your response.
For instance, you might highlight that air is a poor conductor of heat, or you could compare the roughness of two surfaces by using comparative adjectives.
Drawing upon specific terminology you’ve learned during your revision process is also helpful. If you forget a particular term, do your best to describe the process or concept as accurately as possible.
By taking these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to provide a thorough and detailed response to any science-related question that comes your way.

05 Review and Verify.

It’s not uncommon to miss a particular aspect of a question or to realize later that you may have made a minor error in your initial response.
Therefore, it’s crucial to take the time to carefully review the question and your answer to ensure that you have addressed all components of the inquiry.
It’s also essential to confirm that your response is logical, coherent, and fulfils all of the requirements outlined in the question.
By taking these steps, you can be confident that your response is thorough, accurate, and meets all necessary criteria.

In conclusion, it is crucial to recognize that the PSLE Science exam’s open-ended questions require more than just a thorough understanding of the subject material. They also assess your ability to apply scientific concepts to different situations and your proficiency in reading, writing, and explaining scientific information.
These skills are crucial for success in science and scientists who must defend and support their findings to the scientific community.

Wishing you all the best!

Other articles in our PSLE Final Exam Tips miniseries:

The Elucidation Learning advantage

Our Primary School Science programs at Elucidation Learning are built around this principle — students are sorted by ability into small classes. This creates an environment that best suits their individual needs.

Experienced teachers deliver our lessons. They are trained, well-versed, and experienced in teaching the curriculum defined by the Ministry of Education for Singapore.

For a free assessment of your child’s work, make an appointment with Elucidation Learning. You can drop in at one of our centre locations and speak to us.

Alternatively, call us at +65.6464-0323 or Whatsapp us at +65.9738-8529. We can help your child work on their weaknesses this holiday and give them a head-start for the new school year!

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