The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise written by the brilliant military strategist Sun Tzu. Despite it being written several centuries ago, its time-tested strategies have been adopted by many successful people and recommended by scholars all over the world.
With less than 4 months to PSLE, Singaporean parents and their precious 12-year-olds are battling the fiercest battles in their lives, knowing fully well that a one-point difference in aggregate score may make a difference whether a child is posted to one secondary school or another.
Fret not. In this article,let’s utilize Sun Tzu’s tested and proved strategies to help you and your child overcome the PSLE battle and gain a glorious victory.
1. Know thyself
As quoted by the famous Sun Tzu, “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”
The first thing you must do is to reflect on your child’s current academic standing. Take a serious look at his or her latest and past report cards and honestly ask yourself: Where does he or she stand right now and with the time remaining to PSLE, what is a attainable goal?
If your child has been struggling with Mathematics since the past year (P5), and despite staying late in school for remedial classes, still scored a borderline pass, is it possible that he or she have what it takes to jump 3 grades and score an A*?
If your child is naturally intelligent, perhaps yes. But what is the root of the problem? Perhaps your child has been struggling with Maths since young because of a lack of interest and not lack of ability.
Then, ask yourself: Is forcing tuition down their throat the best way to approach the problem?
Stop looking for blanket solutions. Truly understand your child and analyse the source of the struggle in order to think of the most effective strategy so that your child can improve by leaps and bounds in the subject!
2. Know thy enemy
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win,” Sun Tzu wrote.
To understand your enemy is to win half the battle before the war has started. Thus, it is crucial that you fully educate yourself on the workings of PSLE in order to develop a solid strategy for the next 4 months leading to the all-out war.
For instance, by staying abreast on the PSLE schedule you will be able to mentally prepare your child and give him or her mock-tests at home at a timing and sequence similar to the actual PSLE. As they say, practice makes perfect.
You should also carefully examine the weightage of exams and components of all the psle subjects that your child will be examined in.
For instance, the English paper consists of 4 papers: Paper 1: Writing (27.5%), Paper 2: Comprehension (47.5%) Paper 3 & 4: Listening Compre & Oral (10 + 15%). Even if your child is very strong in his or her writing, if you do not hone their comprehension skills, it will be tough to score an A since it consists of 47.5% of the overall grades!
Remember, “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand!”
3. Develop a winning strategy
One reason why PSLE is so hard to score is because it requires a student to excel in all 4 subjects – English, Mathematics, Science, and Mother Tongue. Oftentimes, a student can be strong in 2 or even 3 subjects but will bound to have a weak subject. How do we overcome this?
“Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack,” said Sun Tzu.
What are your child’s strongest subjects? That is your defense. Do the necessary preparations to ensure the grade is maintained at a high level. If your child has always been scoring 80+ for their math, ensure that he or she does not slack off or sacrifice this subject to work on a weaker subject. Make sure adequate time is spent each day to revise and practice.
By working on your “defense”, you ensure that no matter what happens in your attack, your child will do well in his or her strong subjects and thus, will not completely screw up!
Now which is the subject that your child is weak in? That is the area of attack where you need to go all out and think of ways to shake things up to change the results you’ve been getting.
Whether it’s engaging a home tutor or developing a rigorous self-study plan to finish the past 10 years of exam papers, you need to form an aggressive attack plan in order to attain the possibility of victory!
What do you tihnk? Have other PSLE strategies in mind? Share with us in the comment section below!