Blog Parents Teaching Tips 5 Tips on How to Pick Good Assessment Books for Primary School Students

5 Tips on How to Pick Good Assessment Books for Primary School Students

When preparing for an exam like the PSLE, assessment books are both heaven-sent and a curse for students.

It is awesome because it can help students get an idea of how the exam will be like and review more efficiently. On the other hand; however, it is a curse because there are so many books to choose from. It can be super confusing!

Each book promises that they can help students pass their exams; but, each one of them comes in different formats. Come review time, the book you bought doesn’t match what is in the exam.

If you are considering buying an assessment book for a primary school student, here is a short guide to help you pick the right one:

Check if the assessment book follows the current PSLE format

Before you head to a bookstore to buy an assessment book, look for your child’s PSLE curriculum.

The Ministry of Education and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board regularly updates the PSLE exam format to match the current curriculum. Each revision is announced through their website and it indicates when these revisions will be enforced.

For example, if you will be purchasing an assessment book for the PSLE exams next year, you need to buy the latest edition offered.

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To know if an assessment book is recently updated, you can find a large star or circle on the corner of the book. You can also ask the store if the book you are interested in is the newest edition.

Purchasing an updated assessment book can help your kids get used to the new PSLE format. They will also be able to discover tricks for open-ended and tricky questions that can pop up on the exam.

Updated assessment books also cover the current PSLE curriculum, allowing kids to adjust their notes as they practice with the book.

Check if the assessment book was last updated within 2 years of its purchase date

The format is not the only thing that changes when it comes to the PSLE. The syllabus also changes to match the new format and the topics included in the test.

Sometimes, the PSLE even removes certain types of questions from being asked. In some occasions, topics are reshuffled or revamped completely.

Since the syllabus is regularly updated, getting the updated assessment book will give you an edge in the exams. It already has questions based on the current syllabus.

If you bought your child an outdated version, they may end up reviewing topics that will not appear in the test. Yes, the onus is on you as a parent to check.

Check if the book’s answer scheme comes with explanations

Every assessment book must come with an answer scheme that explains the question in depth.

An assessment book with an answer scheme can help your children review, especially for the Math portion of the test.

During the test, you will be asked to solve for problem sums, which can get confusing if you do not know the right formula.

Open-ended questions will also need further analysis because there may be cases students have to pick from two possible answers.

Of course, not all questions should be explained, like for multiple choice questions.

Check if the explanations given in the answer scheme are for open-ended questions and math problems. Double check your notes to make sure each explanation is correct as you review.

Check if there are notes or revisions on them

During the course of the term, your child will have notes about the test coverage. However, there may be cases when your child is unable to write all the facts down. Sometimes, the notes may not even make sense if the child is not paying attention during the class.

Having an assessment book with reference notes has plenty of benefits. The most important benefit it has is that it can help children understand tricky questions.

With the revision notes, they can analyze the question and read why a certain answer is the best one on the list. It also erases your child’s doubts about their answers if they find themselves in a trick question.

By looking into the answer scheme, they can look at the question analysis and the answer provided.

Check the books based on their subjects rather than their level

Finally, when picking an assessment book from the bookshop, you would notice that they are sold separately from one another.

Some assessment books are arranged based on their subject. Others are arranged based on the PSLE level it covers. Because of this arrangement, some buyers may find it difficult to buy the right books for their needs.

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When buying an assessment book, look at the subject shelves first. Assessment books focusing on one subject are more comprehensive than those assessment books for a specific level.

It is also easier to compare assessment books this way because you can immediately get an idea of what is included in the book. You can even reuse the book if it contains topics for next year’s exams.

If you have no idea which title to get, look at the subject shelf first and see what assessment books they have on sale. Compare their contents and pick the one you think is good. Of course, make sure to buy the updated subject book to keep in mind the current PSLE format.

In Summary

Once you have your assessment book, don’t just use it as a display piece. Read the book, try out the test questions and review the answer sheet before trying again.

Even if you get the answers right the first time, it is possible you can make a mistake on your second try. You even be able to spot certain trick questions on your second pass that you didn’t see before.

Keep practising with the book until you familiarize yourself with the format and ask others to help you score your review preparations. Remember, you are taking a very important exam so failure to prepare is not an option.

Need help in your PSLE prep work? Here are some tips:

5 Must-Have Apps to Boost Your Child’s Brain Power for PSLE
PSLE Primary Math Syllabus Changes to Look Out for in 2019

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.