25 Nov Getting Your Child Ready for Primary 5 Maths
Primary 5 mathematics can be a challenging subject for Singapore students. For the first time, students may receive a rough transition period as the difficulty is significantly amped up from Primary 4.
Furthermore, your child’s entry into primary 5 marks the start of their two-year journey towards PSLE, as such it can be considered a make or break period. As such, it is vital that parents play their part in easing them into this next level.
In this article we shall cover:
- Primary 5 Topics
- Changes from Primary 4 to Primary 5
- Expected Drop in Marks
- 5 Quick Tips to Help your Child
Primary 5 Topics
The topics covered in primary 5 maths include:
- Numbers (whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentage, ratio, rate & speed)
- Measurement & Geometry (area & volume, geometry)
- Statistics (data analysis, average)
Of these topics, whole numbers, fractions and decimals build upon what your child has covered in Primary 4. On the other hand, this will be your child’s first interaction with topics such as area & volume, ratios, percentage, rates and average.
In many ways, the topics and corresponding questions your child encounters in in Primary 5 is a sneak peek into what your child can expect at PSLE. If your child is not mentally prepared for both new concepts and a spike in difficulty, then he or she could be placed under tremendous stress.
Changes from Primary 4 to Primary 5
Teachers often discuss the “jump” from Primary 4 to Primary 5 with parents, as students experience a drop in their grades. Even high performing star students often see their grades drop from the high 90s.
When in Primary 4, your child would solely have to finish a single math exam paper. The duration allocated for the exam would have been 1 hour and 45 minutes, while the questions were fairly simple and straight forward. These questions would likely have been of similar difficulty to those posed in class.
A breakdown of the Primary 4 maths exam paper:
A sample of a question in the exam is:
In a park, there are:
- 400 pigeons
- 150 more herons than pigeons
- 450 less owls than herons
- The number of owls
- The total number of all three birds in the bird park
Primary 5 exam papers closely mirror that of PSLE, thus giving students a chance to get a feel for the major exam. Questions are generally more complex and longer, with an increased focus inferential questions.
Up to this point, your child would have mainly learnt and relied on using the model method to solve fraction-based problems. However, unitary methods are required in Primary 5 as the problems posed often involve large numbers and complex intermediate steps.
Another difference is that longer word problems are introduced in Primary 5. These questions challenge your child’s reading comprehension capability and their ability to relate mathematical theories to hypothetical scenarios.
Furthermore, for the first time, your child will also be faced with 2 papers. In particular, parents should note that paper 2 permits the use of a calculator. As such, proficiency with its usage will be vital to your child’s confidence in tackling the exam.
Paper 1 and Paper 2 are 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes respectively.
A breakdown of the Primary 5 maths exam paper 1:
A breakdown of the Primary 5 maths exam paper 2:
A sample of a question in the exam is:
James saves some of his daily pocket money, placing 2 coins in his piggybank every day. He only saves 20-cent or 50-cent coins. Additionally, his father also places 1-dollar coins into the piggybank once per week. The total value of coins after 140 days was $115. How many 50-cent coins were in James’s piggybank?
As seen from this sample question, the questions asked in Primary 5 are indirect and require more thinking skills. For example, your child would not have been able to directly apply any concept at the start of the question. Instead, a comprehension of the problem and a step by step deconstruction of it is required.
Expected Drop in Marks
Many parents receive a shock when they first receive their child’s SA1 results. Many students experience a drop of around 10 marks or more on average. As such, you should not be alarmed if your child receives such results. Why is this the case?
As covered in the section above, your child needs time to adapt to the change in question difficulty and format. Moreover, you should bear in mind that these changes are prevalent across the board for all your child’s subjects. In most cases, your child should see a return to form during SA2.
5 Quick Tips to Help Your Child
Here are 5 quick tips for helping your child maximise his or her results during the Primary 5 mathematics exam:
- Expose them to problem solving early. Students need to be used to understanding word problems and be comfortable selecting the right concepts to apply to them.
- Get them comfortable using the calculator for Paper 2.
- Don’t let them become overly dependent on calculators as Paper 1 does not allow for its usage.
- Help bridge Primary 4 and Primary 5 topics by illustrating the connections between the two.
- Co-create a time management strategy for their exam
Finally, you should also strongly consider enrolling your child in primary 5 math tuition classes. The syllabus for primary school math has constantly changed over the years. New problem-solving methods have been introduced, leaving parents flustered at the requirements in the exams. Math tuition for Primary 5 would help your child to develop a better understanding of the various topics and build confidence for their exams.
Primary 5 Mathematics exams can be very challenging for your child as they transition into their final phase of primary school. Rather than risk their child falling behind in the build up to PSLE, parents can enroll their child in tuition to give them the extra boost that he or she needs.