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A Singapore Parent’s Guide to Buying Math Assessment books

For many Singaporean parents, their child’s math exams are very important. Besides hunting for ten year series test papers (or free test papers), they will take time to invest on assessment books to help their children prepare for their exams.

However, it can be hard to pick the right book because of the number of books available in the market. Some say they are the best book to use for their comprehensive coverage, while others promise they will help students easier with their tips.

In fact, based on a survey done in 2016, only 60% of the assessment books are completed. Some as low as 10 to 20% are completed. That’s a lot of money going down the drain! This is mainly due to overbuying of assessment books and not picking the best assessment book for each subject.

As parents, how can you choose the best math assessment books for your child?

Here are some tips we recommend to help you with your shopping:

How Many Assessment Books should I Buy?

There is a saying that says “quality over quantity.”

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In this case, you should always consider how much time your child has to review these assessment books. While it may be possible that getting more books could show them more examples on how to answer certain math questions, they may not have the time to complete the entire book.

Remember, learning is not all about books, it should be fun as well! (e.g. How to make your child love Math)

The recommended number of books you should buy should be at most 2: an ultimate assessment book and a support book. Doing this will save you storage space at home, but also guarantee that the book will be used.

 How Can I Tell if An Assessment Book is Good?

If you want your child to use a good assessment book for their Math exams, it should cover the right MOE syllabus set for the year (Check syllabus changes here).

Picking the wrong book can affect their exam preparation because they are reviewing the wrong topics. The book must also support what your child is learning at school and show them how to improve in problems that they find difficult.

The book should also not just be filled with answers at the back of the assessment book. It must show an easy to understand guide to understand how formulas and problems work. Here are some more tips to buy good assessment books for PSLE.

You can also assess if a book is good based on two factors: the author and the publisher.

  • Author

There are several known assessment authors for Math who are known for their books like Loh Cheng Yee, Andrew Er, Li Fanglan, Dr. Yeap Ban Har, and Bernice Lau Pui Wah.

Their works have been lauded since they were first released and have now been revised to match the current curriculum. Since they are revised constantly, they are affordable and can be found in various bookstores.

  • Publisher

When checking out the publisher, there are several known publishers which are well-known for their assessment books.

These publishers are

  • Shinglee
  • Casco
  • EPH
  • Marshall Cavendish
  • GLM

Using the books from these publishers guarantees that the contents of each book are well-thought of and can be relied upon by your children. It will also have little errors, which is good to prevent issues if your child finds similar problems in their exams.

Different Type of Assessment Books

There are four different types of assessment books you can purchase for your child and each one varies in how it can teach Math to your child.

Olympiad books

These books use the Maths Olympiad curriculum (explained here), the curriculum used for the prestigious Maths Olympiad competition worldwide. This is the ideal book to buy if your child finds assessment books simple to work with and they are now looking for a challenge.

Topical books

If you are looking for assessment books that teach the basic Math topics in school, this is the book to buy for your kids. On top of assessment book, here are some simple activities you can do with your child to improve his basic math understanding.

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Heuristic books

These books focus on helping students solve word problems and teach the right techniques. Some of the chapters your child can expect in these books include topics like “Equal Concepts”, “Difference” and others.

Each problem that the book will cover will also show various techniques which can also be used for other problems. Students will benefit from this especially if they have to remember a lot of formulas for their exams.

Here are some additional help in solving problem sums.

Practice papers

The focus of these books are to show students the format of the exams like what we highlighted previously. They aren’t ideal to use as an assessment book for students because they don’t give a guide for students to understand each problem. However, they do come with detailed solutions for trick questions.

Online Version

There are also online Math assessment books available for students to use like Practicle. These books also come with the guides needed by students to answer different problems.

Practical, in particular, uses artificial intelligence to determine what kind of help students need to pass their exams and which areas they need most help from. There is even a video explanation available to help students practice the formula until they can do it easily.

Can You Recommend any Math Assessment Books?

Every student requires different assistance when it comes to their Math assessment because they have different strengths and weaknesses.

As a result, it can be hard to determine which Math assessment books work for them best even as a parent. Keeping in mind with their learning styles (introduced here) together with identifying which areas they are weak in. Are the weakness due to understanding, carelessness or inability to focus?

If you find it hard to determine, our mathematics tutors can help to identify these areas once they are familiar with your child’s strengths and weaknesses. They will be able to recommend the right assessment book that suits your child’s needs.


Math is an integral part of every student’s education and even if it is not their strong suit, students must try their best to familiarise themselves with the subject.

With these books, we hope that you will be able to find the right assessment book for your child and how to apply these books to their studies.

If you need more guidance on Math, please check out these articles:

Why is Singapore Math so Popular Overseas?
PSLE Maths Paper: ‘Tough’ PSLE Maths Questions & How to Prepare For It

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.