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PSLE Math Preparation: Harness the Power of Return of Learning


10 May 2024

BY: jeanette

When it comes to preparing for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), every minute and every effort counts. The strategy to “study smart” is pivotal, especially when it can be quantified through a concept known as Return on Learning (ROL). This innovative approach evaluates the efficiency of study habits by measuring the amount of knowledge gained per hour spent studying. It moves beyond traditional, often unproductive, cramming methods to a more effective, targeted approach that can dramatically improve examination outcomes.

Understanding Return on Learning

Return on Learning (ROL) shifts the focus from the quantity of time spent studying to the quality of that time. It is an assessment of how effectively educational content is being absorbed relative to the effort and time put in. The higher the ROL, the more efficient the study session. This approach encourages students to refine their study habits based on effectiveness rather than just effort.

Why Traditional Methods Fall Short

Traditional studying methods, such as repetitively solving a large set of math problems, might seem productive but often yield diminishing returns. This is because they may not address the specific areas where a student struggles. Without a strategic approach, students might spend hours on material they already understand, neglecting weaker areas that could potentially lower their overall scores.

Targeting Weaknesses to Maximize ROL

One of the most effective ways to enhance ROL is by focusing on areas of weakness. This begins with self-assessment and reflection. Students need to identify which concepts challenge them the most and dedicate more time to those topics. However, identifying these areas is just the first step.

Creating a Personalised Question Database

A practical method to systematically address these weaknesses is by maintaining a database of questions that have posed challenges in past study sessions. This database should include not only the questions themselves but also detailed notes on why the student found them difficult, potential solutions, and strategies for solving similar problems in the future.

As the PSLE approaches, this database becomes an invaluable resource. Instead of broadly reviewing all material, students can focus intensely on this curated set of challenging questions. This targeted practice ensures that study time is not only productive but also tailored to transforming weaknesses into strengths.

How to Implement and Utilise the Database Effectively

  • Regular Updates:

After each study session, update the database with new questions and insights. This keeps the database relevant and reflective of the student’s current learning state.

  • Review Sessions:

Dedicate specific times each week to go through the database. This could involve re-solving the problems, discussing them with peers or teachers, and integrating new techniques learned in other study contexts.

  • Track Progress:

It’s essential to track progress on each question in the database. As students overcome challenges with particular problems, they should note this improvement, which not only boosts confidence but also helps in reallocating study time more effectively.

  • Pre-PSLE Review:

In the weeks leading up to the PSLE, the database should be the focal point of study. This ensures that the final PSLE revision phase is sharply focused on mastering the most challenging material, rather than a superficial review of all content.

Return on Learning revolutionises how students prepare for critical exams like the PSLE exam. By focusing on quality over quantity and targeting personal weaknesses, students can maximize their study efficiency, leading to better performance and a deeper understanding of the material. Implementing a question database tailored to individual needs ensures that every hour spent studying is as productive as possible, turning potential weaknesses into areas of strength just in time for the exam.