The CA1 will be the only exam this year that reflects solely on your child’s ability when doing the main paper. From the SA1 right up to the PSLE, all components will be added up together. This is a good time for parents to take note on how their child is doing in each section of the paper.
In Booklet A, students should be losing 7 marks or less now (depending of course on the difficulty of the paper set) and then lowering that number to losing 5 marks or less by the time SA1 comes about.
For Booklet B, parents will also be able to recognize which sections their child is losing the most marks in and work diligently on those areas.
Now is also a good time to begin working intensively on the other components, whether it is with you, the parent or with the tutor.
Your child should be writing at least one composition per week.
Situational Writing should be done alternate weeks. Please take note on the amount of time your child takes to complete their writing. 50 minutes for a composition and 10-15mins for a Situational Writing. Why is this important? A child may write a beautiful story when given an unlimited amount of time. However, may not be able to come up with ideas quick enough and express those on paper effectively if put in a stressful setting (PSLE) and a time limit (I know this from experience). Students also tend to miss out points or write the wrong information in a Situational Writing when faced with the ticking clock. Practising this consistently at home or with a tutor will help your child to calm his nerves and know what to expect on the day of the big exam. The goal is to achieve at least a 33/40 or more for Compositions and full marks for Situational.
The Oral component is another one that should be practiced consistently. Why? I find that our Singaporean children tend to be nervous when reading and speaking in front of an adult. They become soft, mumble and hesitate a lot. Nerves mean that their reading is flat, discussing the picture has little organization and with hardly any descriptive words and conversation is hesitant and painful.Thus, I begin from now to test each child individually (I do this with all my levels). You can do this at home too with your child.
Make sure that you choose a passage that has dialogue. Watch the inflection, diction and expressiveness when your child reads. There must also be a clear differentiation between dialogue and narration in the passage. A new student will always look surprised when I tell him/her to go home, pretend that he is a news reader in his bedroom and read the passage again as if he is on television. I also remind them they may think it is silly to read in such an exaggerated manner but considering how the Oral component can help in their overall marks, this is essential!With practice, even the most self-conscious child can give his best performance!
I have written extensively on this in previous posts.
Topic of Conversation
Explore a lot of topics with your child. Start with possible themes of the Picture Discussion and Reading. Then progress to other topics. Ask at least 2 questions during the Conversation. This is to throw them off the topic a little and see how quickly they recover and change their train of thought. The obvious goal here is to lose 3 marks or less in the Oral component.
Lastly, now, while your child is still not totally overwhelmed by the amount of homework, please get him or her to read….the newspapers, books, magazines. Stay current in the current news – the haze, the drought, exceptional personalities such as Nick Vujicic (a number of cloze and comprehension passages have come from his books). This will help in Writing, Vocabulary and Cloze Passages.
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