What Can You Do When Your Child Does Poorly in His Prelims – TCher SG

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What Can You Do When Your Child Does Poorly in His Prelims


Preliminary exams or prelims are like mock exams that provide students with a peek of what to expect during their actual PSLE. It is good to allow students to practise a trial run before the real exams to be more ready since this is their first national exam. Prelims are known to be slightly more challenging than the actual exams to prepare the students better. Additionally, the prelim papers also differ in every school since they are organised and prepared by different school teachers. 

If your children did poorly in their prelims, what can you do about it? 

Do Not Compare Them to Other Students

When helping your child cope with their poor Prelim performance, the first thing you have to remember is to avoid comparing them with other children. Some children may lose their confidence in their abilities if you keep comparing them to their peers. They will also see their mistakes as something to be ashamed of and consider themselves a failure for not achieving your expectations.  

As parents, it is up to us to boost our child’s confidence and not destroy it. If you keep comparing your child with other children, it may cause irreparable damage to their self-esteem, causing them to be depressed and unmotivated. They could also start distancing themselves from you and the other children. 

Be Careful When Reading the Questions

Some children may score poorly on their prelims because they cannot get past the tricky questions. Tricky questions in exams are common, and they are there to see if a student understands the basics very well. 

Look at your children’s exam paper and see if they tend to make the same mistakes on certain types of questions. Identify why they are confused with these questions and see how you can help them. Teach them how to analyse every problem and point out the trick words in every question. 

Help Your Child Improve the Current Study Habits

There may be students who would cram at the very last minute, while others would review the wrong topics or review excessively. 

Your children need to have a study-life balance to help them perform well in any activity they do. After school, make sure that they take a break and eat a healthy snack to boost their energy. 

You can also help your child create a revision timetable that they can follow, which can also teach them self-discipline in their studies. If your children have a poor study schedule, it will negatively affect their academic performance and study habits. 

Identify the Subjects and Topics That Need Improvement 

Every child has their strengths and weaknesses, especially with the subjects they take in school. Some children may not do well in Math or Science, while others may have problems learning the Mother Tongue. 

There would be a few who find complicated topics hard to study but are very good at fundamentals. Look at your child’s exam results and their school work to identify which subjects or topics are difficult for them. You can also ask them directly if they need help so you can take the necessary actions. 

Once you have determined the issues they are facing, you can try looking for the probable root cause of these problems. Is it because of the teaching method? Does your child need other examples to understand the lessons? 

Try providing your children with real-life examples to help them get a grasp on the difficult topics. You can also help them change their study habits for these specific subjects while at home. For example, if they don’t do well with verbal learning, you can provide visual examples through video clips online. 

Be very patient when trying to help your child improve on these subjects because every child responds differently. If they show improvement, you can use the same approach to help them with other difficult topics. 

Get a Great Tutor to Help Them

If you are busy with work or don’t have the time or knowledge to help your children, you may want to invest in getting them a tutor. A tutor can help and assist your children in understanding better the subjects they are having problems with.

Tutors, like our team of ex-MOE teachers, have the same teaching knowledge as your children’s school teachers. We even have the tools necessary to identify your child’s academic level and status. And with this information, we can create a personalised tutoring session to match your child’s needs.

Personalised tuition or small class teaching is essential because some children don’t respond well to specific teaching methods or techniques. If your child does well in these sessions, the tutors can quickly help them get ahead of their peers and learn their next topics. 

Additionally, tutors can help improve your child’s study habits, especially if they have to do self-study at school or during their breaks. 

Encourage Them

It is crucial to encourage your child, especially during important school events, such as preliminary tests. 

Contrary to popular belief, the prelims are much more challenging than the National Exams, and your child will need all the support they can get to boost their focus. With this in mind, you should always speak to your children to see if they need any help or give them words of advice when you know that they need it. They will appreciate it immensely and do their best to succeed. 


Prelims are an excellent way to determine if your child is ready for PSLE. However, do not let the results cloud your judgement as a parent. If your children did poorly in their prelims, do not immediately think that their future is already hopeless. It would be best to consider other reasons that may have contributed to your child’s performance, and from there, you can take the necessary steps to help them improve before their actual PSLE exams.