Monday, March 1, 2021

PSLE tips and resources Part 2 - Science

PSLE Science gives me a headache when I recall our P6 experience last year.

While Science is a very fun and interesting subject to learn, to score well, it may not be easy. To start, MCQ takes up more than half of the marks of the full paper with each question being allocated 2 marks. This means that any mistakes would be costly as it would be “0”. So, 3 mistakes would place your child in the below 90 range (based on just Booklet A).

I attended some webinars last year; some were paid and some, free. One common advice given by most educators online was to try and score as high as possible for the MCQ section. This is because in Booklet B - it is a free response section so marks can be lost if keywords are not included or the child has not acquired the correct technique of framing his / her answers.

In this post, it would be more of sharing my learnings and perhaps key areas to look out for in addition to resources which we have found useful.

:: Books

Honestly there are many many good books out there in the market so the intention is not to list 20 books but the few that I think are more useful:

1. Science PSLE Revision Guide

This guide is a very popular title as most of my friends have it. It has good notes and detailed notes and explanation and covers all topics. Local parent influencers have also shared comments on it before. You can get a copy here if you prefer online shopping as opposed to visiting physical book stores. 

2. Science Process Skills Series

Interestingly, not many of my friends know of this series. Most are into buying mock papers and this seems to be a tad under the radar. It has a series for P3 & 4 too but for the purpose of this post, I am just sharing the photos for P5 & 6 (Upper Block). 

I like these books very much as they do a few things. 
a. They build process thinking skills through the questions specially designed 
b. They attempt to make Science relevant by challenging the students to think deeper by linking it to real-world context (see right most diagram). 

A few of my friends shared that they bought these from Popular bookstores so if you are keen, you may like to call them prior to check on stock before heading down. 

:: Topics

I am not an oracle (lol) so I cannot predict what topics will be featured but based on the past year papers that the kiddo has done, both upper and lower blocks are covered and are equally important: topics like magnets, electricity, plant and body systems, life cycles are often seen – sometimes in both Booklet A and B.

However, some of the topics the kiddo found trickier were “Heat”, “Changes of States”, “Energy” as well as “Forces”. Thankfully, we were blessed to have found many free resources to reinforce concepts and clear misconceptions.

Here are some to share:

Free "live" webinar:

One resource which I would strong recommend is Science Heuristics FB Live (they were conducting this weekly last year) at 8pm. Mrs Koh (the presenter usually) cuts straight to the point and her sharing is very focused on the right thought process and answering techniques. 

(Print screen is that from Heuristics Science FB Live)

In the video above, she was sharing specifically on keywords. 

They also conduct "live" webinars on different topics too so do hop on over and subscribe / follow and watch with your child weekly. Here's one on conductors of heat

Besides "live" coaching, here is a list of printable resources / online reading which you may find useful. 


Science Shifu has a post on understanding forces illustrated by diagrams which you may find useful.

Pique Lab has many posts on forces and I have to say that their resources and notes were really helpful. They also have a special focus on answering techniques where steps and “templated answers” like these may help children.


(Print screen is that of Pique Lab's website)

Energy Conversion

Science Shifu also has a post on common mistakes made on energy conversion too.

Heat and Changes of States

Infogaphics are a great way to learn and Blue Tree Education created many which I found to be useful for a quick recap / overview. Here, Blue Tree Education created one which is on another common misnomer: boiling versus evaporation.  

Here Pique Lab also has many articles on Heat where it also analyzed exam papers of primary schools and provides suggested solutions (with clear explanations). 

Science Shifu also has other articles on other topics which you can find here.


:: Useful skills

For MCQs, I have to say that many questions are tricky. Children must have very strong conceptual understanding (and a clear head I must say!) to avoid being misled.

Like many children, my kiddo tends to be careless – skims through the questions without reading properly (misses out clues- sighs), forgets key words in her FRQ (double sighs) AND (lo and behold!) missing out on questions (every parent’s nightmare)!

I always remind the kiddo to do these steps denoted by acronym UIC.


1. U – Underline

As your child reads through the questions, it would be good to underline (or circle if she / he prefers that instead) the key information and what the question is asking for.

This slows the child down in skimming through and it points the child to the key information quicker.


2. Ink trails

What are the key words that this question is looking for? For e.g. if it were to be a question on plant and the conditions it needs to make food, it would be good to draw / make notes on the diagrams as your child compares the experiments in the questions (short 2 – 3 words will do, not full sentences).  


3. Cross out

As your child completes the first 2 steps, the next step will be by rule of elimination – so cross out the options that do not apply. This reduces shading mistakes in the answering sheet too.

Heuristics Science also has other videos which are focused on their own answering technique (TCR) and here you can see an example as Mrs Koh shares on SA Revision using this technique for Booklet B (FRQ).

I hope that you find these links and free resources useful in your revision as much as I found them to be last year! This is my second post in this PSLE Tips and Resources series. You find my Post 1 on English here. Do share this post / link with your friends if you have found them useful! :) And, stay tuned to my next post which will be on Chinese. 

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

PSLE tips and resources Part 1 - English

2020 has been an extra-ordinary year for most. For my case, it has an added dimension of another layer of parenting woes – the PSLE.

The kid was not as engaged online learning as compared to physical classrooms and we had to work through gaps in the last few weeks leading up to the national exam. During those 2 months, I have sat through quite a bit of webinars and devised different revision plans as well as flipped through many different guidebooks and assessment books.

I thought that it would be useful to share them with you in a few posts split into the different subjects. 😊

:: English

This has always been Dumpling’s pet subject and while we did not have to revise as much, there are a few elements in this subject that I wish to highlight.

1. Oral

Oral is a great way to earn marks if your child is confident, reads widely and is able to contribute to conversations meaningfully. However, for some children, having the context to talk about and the vocabulary bank bring about another set of challenges.

There are a few areas which I think would be important for us to highlight to our children.

-        -  Read and speak slowly and clearly

Due to nerves, a lot of students may ramble off or read through the passage at a lightning speed. This to me is a pity as read-aloud is a great way to secure as many marks as possible as your child will have time to see the passage prior and prepare.

- Be mindful of the ending consonants and expressions. 

Can the examiner hear the “t” and the “th”? Is the dialogue in the form of a question? Was the character speaking in anger? Model those feelings accordingly. 

Looking at the rubrics sent back over the years, pupils are rated on accuracy (of pronunciation), fluency and their expression.   

-         2. Stimulus based conversation

Instead of leaving it to the last minute to prepare for this section, I think it would be a good practice to engage your child and have casual conversations about a menu, poster or an advertisement.

“Would you be keen to purchase the carton of oat milk? Why and why not?” and if the visuals are food related, they usually are linked to health themes. “Have you tried oat milk before? How do you think we should maintain a healthy lifestyle?” 

Of course, in our conversations with them, the discussions are more casual, but the idea is to get your child comfortable in sharing and commenting as the less the examiners prompt them, the better. 

A book which I used last year is this below.  It has both listening comprehension practices and oral practices which make this a convenient resource to have.

(Note: Listening comprehension is also a tad trickier at P6 where the questions often times require deeper thinking and do not have as many "direct questions" like the lower levels. For e.g. they may describe a sequence / a path and the question may require the child to think in the reverse order of the sequence. Hence it would be good to have some practices in this too.)

2. Synthesis and Transformation (S&T)

This gave me nightmares when the kiddo was in Primary 5 and for the first time, did badly in a paper component for English.

With S&T, it is what I refer to as a “sudden death” – you either get the full 2 marks or you get 0, hence it would be very easy to lose 5 - 6 marks in this section.   

There are extremely strict rules regarding S&T – if the subject is in a plural form, it must stay in a plural form. For instance, if the question listed “apples” then after transforming the sentence, it has to be same – “apples”.

I noted that in most past year papers, reported speech (direct to indirect speech) seems to an area which is always tested on. On this area, the child needs to follow the “TPTP” rule and Lil But Mighty has a great post here.

There are not many S&T books available at the bookstore. Here’s a book which you may find useful where it explains the rules, connectors, etc., and provides practices after. I understand that some local schools also has this title listed in their supplementary / recommended lists too. 

Away from the monotony of the syllabus, I also subscribed to Kids Discover which the kiddo reads for leisure. 

In the comprehension components for exams these days, passages may include current affairs or things on general knowledge. This site has topics which aid to increase our children's knowledge and could in turn, encourage them to read more. 

Additionally, the passages from this site allow you to customize your child's reading level (according to the Lexile levels) based on his/her readiness. You can also choose a "read aloud" function which will assist your child in the pronunciation of words which he/she could be unfamiliar with. With Dumpling in Sec 1 this year, she has also found this site useful for History too. :) 

Edit: I have done up the second post on Science tips and resources

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Review: Cake Delivery Singapore

 The family loves cakes and I love cheese. I do not have a sweet tooth so usually I'd take a few bites of any "new" cakes that I've not tried for the experience and that's it. 

This year, being quite an extraordinary year, has been hard on the kids and also the parents. The kiddo does not learn as well via online classes versus that in physical and we have been having a challenging time closing the gaps. So when the opportunity came from Cake Delivery Singapore for a cake delivery I was really happy as I wanted to surprise the kiddo with one after her prelims. 

A quick search on their website and I ended up being doubly happy - they were many different types of cakes including *drum roll* up to 7 different kinds of cheesecakes! 

The order was quick and easy with a "click and drop" 

Cake Delivery - Click and Drop

And each selection page offers you the choice of number of candles and the option of a birthday topper. I really like that as most of the websites that I have visited get us to use a "remarks" box instead. 

Now, when I was ordering, I saw that they offer both 24-hour delivery as well as get this - midnight delivery! Why is that great - I now know where to order from when the clock strikes 12 when the kiddo turns 12 later this year! 

When the cake arrived, it did not disappoint - it arrived with a big festive bow, celebrating our end of prelims! 

My choice for the cake was a Burnt Cheesecake. The cake was still cold when it arrived and the delivery was prompt. The cake was also not "misshapen" which happened to one of the kiddo's birthday cake before when she was younger. 

Now, if you are a fan of a classic cheesecake - firm but are looking for a twist, then you will like this one. The exterior was charred where it had a caramelized finish which balances the rich cheese. For me, since I do not have a sweet tooth, I enjoyed the slightly burnt bitter ending notes, as it would have been too "jelat" (read: singlish for "rich") for me otherwise. 

With the kiddo's birthday coming up, I am considering the "build your own cake" option which offers up to 10 different flavours and possibly the midnight delivery too! 

Disclaimer: We were invited to the meal by Cake Delivery Singapore so that we can give our opinions about it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours. 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page and Instagram where I share my parenting thoughts (both on the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), outdoor fun, useful reviews, early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest! 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

8Crabs Feast: Convenient Zichar with Delivery!

During the circuit breaker period, my family cooked a lot - up to about 12 meals per week. As we slowly eased into the middle of the CB, I started taking breaks, ordering food instead. I live in a great estate where we often have group buys for contactless delivery and in doing so, we will often share delivery cost or garner enough responses for special discount but that post is for another day.

So you can see how often I've been searching and googling for food and 8 Crabs popped up on my IG recently and we had the chance to try it out!

:: Ordering
The ordering process was fairly quick and simple as it basically has a mobile responsive site as well as sections for quick selection:

A quick "click and drop" to your cart where the checkout process is just as easy:

:: The stars
We chose a variety of items which had seafood (crab of course), meat (poultry & beef), vegetables and toufu.

But first, some fun facts!

Do you know that crabs travel about 500m every night and prefer to live alone. However, crab farms breed as many crabs as possible in a small confined area so as to be profitable. This causes crabs to be stressed up which then causes them to release ammonia, a sign a decomposition in seafood.

Most restaurants purchase farmed crabs due to the lower cost. 8 Crabs is the only company in Singapore which uses AAA premium Sri Lankan sourced wild crabs which are caught, flown, prepared and delivered to consumers in 12 hours!

:: Salted Egg Yolk Crab 
We chose this style of cooking because amongst us, Dumpling is the crab lover. The salted egg yolk style from 8 Crabs is somewhat a tad different from those we have tried before. For one, there's gravy and secondly, the taste is lighter and less salty. While the taste is much lighter, this means that we were able to taste the freshness of the crabs and I'd have to say that the crab was sweet and the flesh came off from the shell easily.

One suggestion: if you are going to order this, do order the mantous so that you can dip them in the gravy.

:: Stir fried kai lan
One true test for me when it comes to food delivery is the "done-ness" of vegetables. A simple dish but when overcooked, they tend to be limp (even worse when time is needed for delivery) but on this note, I really enjoyed this dish -  the vegetables were green and crunchy. 

:: Claypot toufu

The other non meat dish we ordered was the claypot toufu.

The mix of ingredients good for me - toufu, veg, black fungus, prawns, mushroom & yam. I could also taste a dash of chinese wine which balanced the dish well - as a result, most of the gravy ended in our rice.

:: Black Pepper Beef
We were pleasantly surprised by the beef as it was really tender. I also like that there is quite a good portion of onions and capsicums added to this dish as these usually helps balance dishes with "stronger taste" be it thick brown sauce / black pepper.

Though peppery, the kiddo walloped it; on hind sight, we should have ordered a "medium" for this instead seeing how we are all meat lovers. :p

:: Prawn Paste Chicken 
A quintessential poultry dish of all zichar stalls, I was originally hesitant about ordering this dish. Tis is because I was worried that the skin would be soggy and soft with the moisture trapped in the container during delivery.

However, I was pleasantly surprised once again as the food arrived warm and this chicken was still crispy and the skin was flavourful.

All in all, our experience with 8 crabs was good - from the ordering to the contactless delivery right down to the quality and affordability of the food.

For this Father's Day, 8 Crabs is also offering a Father's Day specials.

About 8 Crabs

8 Crabs is an award winning crab delivery and seafood delivery service serving Singaporeans island-wide.
It started of as being the only premium seafood importers specialising in wild catch crabs, sea cucumber, prawns, grouper, and tilapia from Sri Lanka. 
Today, it has its own processing premises in Sri Lanka. Being the only supplier of wild catch crabs, it is always being able to promise you crabs that are better than the rest. (Read more about our crabs and its advantages here!

Disclaimer: We were invited to the meal by 8 Crabs so that we can give our opinions about it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours. 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both on the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), outdoor fun, useful reviews, early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Circuit Breaker & home-based learning: a week on...

I have been on a split team WFH basis since end February and like all, with the circuit breaker, I have since then transitioned to fully working from home. With the kiddo also doing full home-based learning, honestly it has been challenging.

While working (back to back con calls daily), I have to still attend to the kiddo’s IT problems, emotional needs (she is missing her friends and get grumpy as it is just worksheets and quizzes from period daily without much engagement) and we can’t go out of the house to do for e.g. some netball drills. 

So along the way, during this past week, I’ve learnt many things which would equip me better for the next circuit breaker / even an extension.

1. Top up top up!
I am not talking about food here (that’s below). The whole circuit breaker thing took most of us by surprise so while most are doing panic groceries shopping, I was mainly at home as I was trying to stay away from the crowd.

About a week into full HBL, my ink cartridge (the printer is new mind you!) ran out after printing out worksheets after worksheets from her enrichment classes. As it was new, I really had no inking as to how much ink would be used hence I was unprepared for this. And then just yesterday, the kiddo told me that some of her pens seem to be running low on ink too.

So that started my online hunt for more pens (Popular bookstore is closed!) and going on Shopee & Qoo10 to purchase new ink cartridges and pens. On this note, I have to say that I am very thankful we still have pencil leads!

2. Alternative groceries sources
After trying my luck and waiting for a slot at redmart for about 3 odd weeks, I finally had a delivery slot last evening. But as alternative sources, I’ve found that Singaporeans are very resourceful especially when it comes to our favourite national pastime – eating / food. I have a regular estate group buy chat group which I belong to where I've been ordering fruits to meat to seafood.  

However, there are 2 Facebook groups that I have just joined – Hawkers United which is basically set up where we can either pre-order in advance for quicker takeaways / for food delivery as well as Pasar United where anything from meat to seafood to fruits and vegetables can be ordered online / via whats app and then delivered to you.

Some of these sellers even have pre-packed bundles for our convenience

Image may contain: food

Image may contain: ‎food, ‎possible text that says '‎Set B: Seabass Seafood Set $50 nett 8ش‎'‎‎

3. Eyeballing
During the first week of HBL, I saw how restless my kid was. I am not sure if your children’s attention span is really good but for Dumpling, she has been missing her friends and social interaction. Additionally, for us, HBL has so far just been online attempts – quizzes and MCQs online + preprinted worksheets prepared by the teachers prior to the closure so this of course cannot be compared to frontal teaching. 

For the first 2 days, she was distracted and did not finish the exercises on time. As we had classes after the school’s HBL, it was really draining for me to nag (while working) and for her as well as we ended “school day” really late on those occasions.

So what I am still attempting to do is to get her to wind down at night as per the usual time so that she is up on time for her HBL. At the same time, I have shifted my “workstation” to her study area so that there’s some still some nagging and hand holding along the way.

4. One dish wonders for lunch
For lunch, as it is right smack in the middle of my work day, to be frank, I am unable to indulge and cook the usual soup and dishes (三菜一汤) but have gone into cooking noodles “zichar” style where all ingredients are in that 1 dish 

Image may contain: food

(More food photos and ideas are shared on my IG account! Please follow me and share your thoughts and ideas too)

as well as dishes which you can simmer over the stove – beef ribs stew yesterday.

Image may contain: food, possible text that says 'STAY HOME'
(Recipe link here)

So here's what I've learnt from the past week. What about you guys? How are you all holding up? I hope that the circuit breaker would help to flatten the curve and we can see the numbers decline in about 1.5 - 2 weeks time. Prayerfully, the worldwide situation improves soon too. Till the next post, please stay safe, and please stay home!   

 If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both on the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), outdoor fun, useful reviews, early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

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