The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is undeniably one of the most important exams that every child in Singapore will have to take. The results of this exam will determine which secondary schools they can enter and attend. However, there is also a risk that some students may need to retake it if their scores are not high enough.
For years, the government has tried to reduce the academic stress caused by the PSLE on students. This year, with the pandemic still preventing the traditional classroom teaching set-up, the education system needed to adopt blended learning for schools to provide continuous learning for students. With this shift, the government also announced some new changes regarding the PSLE scoring system to match this current learning mode.
Regardless of these changes, students may still end up stressing over their PSLE. And as parents, we must mitigate this stress in our children before a more serious mental illness sets in.
Here are some tips to help your children manage their PSLE stress:
Pace Your Child
PSLE is very important, but if you want your children to succeed, their preparations should not be rushed and done haphazardly. Preparing for the exam must be done at a comfortable pace according to your children’s learning ability. You can also encourage them to start preparing earlier to have more time to improve on their weak areas.
Students should have the time to review and understand their lessons, and they could do it in between their classes or every night depending on their schedule. Make sure that your children have breaks in between to prevent burnout and stress. These breaks will help them digest information after every revision and make them less overwhelmed while studying.
Some children tend to overthink the things that could happen during the exams. Others may become pessimistic, thinking that they will fail or be unable to get the scores for their selected schools regardless of how much they have studied.
If your children are having negative thoughts, you must help them to remove and overcome these thoughts by encouraging them to think positively. Nobody is perfect, so let them know that it is ok if they struggle during their revision. For further assistance, TCHER Online is here to help with that struggle.
Teach them how to reach their goals by doing their best, and if they still feel stressed and pressured about the exam, encourage them to visualise the great things that can happen when they succeed and attain their goals.
Set up a Revision Timetable
In every exam preparation, children must have revision time for every subject to organise their notes and go through again what has been taught during the day. However, some children tend to lose track during their preparations because of exam stress and consequently lose their focus on which subject they should do first.
To help your children release some stress, assist them in managing their revision time. You can help them draw up a timetable where they can schedule their tasks and activities better. Let them focus first on the topics that they are good at followed by their weaker subjects. This will help to build up confidence and keep the pace steady as they proceed to tackle the difficult areas.
Listen, Don’t Judge
As parents, you should be willing to discuss anything with your children, especially during this stressful period. Let them speak to you about their feelings without any interruption and refrain from judging their worries and fears. They must know that it is only natural to have certain emotions regarding the exam, but you should also remind them that they should not be burdened too much by it.
When they tell you about their concerns, you should help them become more confident by encouraging them to do their best. Learning to deal with their stress at a young age will also allow them to respond better to their emotions later on.
Give Them A Balanced Diet
Children must be stress-free and energetic to succeed in their PSLE. They must get this energy from a balanced diet which includes fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options like wholewheat pasta or brown rice. They can also have tuna, sardines, and mackerel as these oily fishes contain omega-3 fats which are good for the memory.
Additionally, refrain from giving them sugary treats or fast food as these foods will only provide them with a short bout of energy, leaving them tired and irritated afterwards.
Know When Your Child is So Stressed
During the exam week, your children can become very stressed and may show undesirable psychological and physical signs of stress.
If you see that your child is always feeling anxious or losing their ability to concentrate, they might be experiencing exam stress. You can also look for signs of physical stress, such as prolonged tiredness, headaches, or insomnia.
As parents, if you notice these signs, it is best to intervene quickly and find ways to help your child relieve and cope with their stress.
Don’t Make an Unfair Comparison
Some parents tend to compare their children with others in the hopes of inspiring them to do their best. However, this not only adds pressure and stress but also may cause young children to think lowly about themselves. If they start to think negatively about their own abilities, they will become less confident about their exams.
This unhealthy competition among children is also one reason why the government has been trying to change the nature of the PSLE. Children are forcing and stressing themselves too much to get ideal scores so their parents would not view their results negatively.
Therefore, parents must control themselves in making such comparisons because it is detrimental to children. It will just give the child more reasons to think worse about themselves and gradually affect their focus.
Ensure They Get Enough Rest
Whether you are an adult or a child, you need to have enough rest to focus on your day ahead. Otherwise, you will become inattentive, slow, and forgetful. In particular, children who do not have enough sleep may find it difficult in keeping up with their studies and focusing on their exam. Lack of sleep could affect their development.
So, during exam week, set a sleeping schedule for your children and don’t let them deviate from it. Having a set sleeping time will help their body follow a routine and consequently, encourage healthy physical and mental development. Getting good and adequate sleep will also give them positive energy to help them succeed in their exams.
If your child is taking their PSLE, try your best to put things in perspective and set realistic goals for them. As parents, you should give your children all the support they need during this time as they are doing all their best to ace their exams. If they fail, there will be other opportunities available for you to explore to help them achieve their targets. Remember, PSLE is just the start of their journey to many other national exams!