Parents go the extra mile for PSLE

This article is more than 12 months old

These parents' unwavering support and sacrifices helped their kids conquer a crucial exam


When her older son came home crying in Primary 1 because he couldn't understand his Malay lessons, Madam Siti Zarina, 36, decided to take action.

The legal secretary quit her job to oversee her boys' studies as they do not go for tuition.

Her family stopped watching TV two years ago, apart from the news. Her sons, now in Primary 4 and Primary 6, also do not spend more than 15 minutes at a time on their smartphones.

They follow a strict schedule. On days with no after-school activities, the boys go home, shower, say their prayers before lunch, then rest for 30 minutes.

Then they do their homework before another round of prayers. Revision starts at 5.30pm.

Madam Zarina told The New Paper: "We revise in chunks, so for every hour they are given a 15- to 30-minute break.

"I buy them assessment books and also mock papers from other schools."

And her efforts paid off.

Older son, Muhammad Ilham Wafiy, 12, a student at Jun­yuan Primary School, scored 265 for Primary School Leaving Examinationlast Friday, acing his higher mother tongue.

Her younger son, Muhammad Hariz Martin, is also one of the top scorers in class.

Madam Zarini said she knows her sons well.

"We interact a lot, so they will tell me when they feel stressed. I am not saying this will work for everyone but it works for us."


Parents go the extra mile for PSLE
Julietta Kaur, with her mother Parvinder. PHOTO: COURTESY OF PARVINDER KAUR

Madam Parvinder Kaur, 50, devoted more than a year to help her only daughter, Julietta Kaur, 12, prepare for the PSLE.

In June last year, the single mother who works as an account executive, switched from full-time to part-time work so that she could spend four hours each day helping Julietta revise. She also accompanied her daughter to tuition each week.

Madam Parvinder also had to care for her 83-year-old mother, who needs regular medical check-ups.

She said: "I didn't have time for myself at all, I was mentally exhausted. But I wanted Julietta to know that I am always there for her. We are a team."

Madam Parvinder was overjoyed that her daughter, who was from Bedok Green Primary School, scored 214 for her PSLE and qualified for the Express stream in secondary school.

"I couldn't be more proud of her, she has done her best," Madam Kaur told TNP.

Said Julietta: "I am grateful to my mum because she has been supporting and cheering me on whenever I was stressed out."


Parents go the extra mile for PSLE
Madam Ang Ching Fern with (from left) her son Renz and daughters Rexie and Rhys. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ANG CHING FERN

Madam Ang Ching Fern, 41, did not want her daughter, Rexie Lim, 12, to feel alone while preparing for the PSLE.

So last year, the engineer started accumulating her annual leave so she could take a half-day off every week from Augustto help Rexie revise.

Rexie, who was from First Toa Payoh Primary School, often felt demoralised when she was slower than her classmates.

Madam Ang would spend lunch breaks reading PSLE guide books so that she could help her daughter with topics she struggled with.

She said: "I wanted her to know that no matter what, I am always there to help her."

Madam Ang also had to take care of her two younger children, aged eight and six.

She said: "I wanted to show Rexie the value of hard work and perseverance."

She didn't collect the PSLE results with Rexie as she did not want to make her nervous.

Said Madam Ang: "I know she was afraid to disappoint me, but I will never be disappointed as she has done her best.

Rexie, who achieved her target score and is hoping to get into Beatty Secondary School, said: "Without my mum's help, I would never have got this mark. My mum is my hero."


Parents go the extra mile for PSLE
Mr Sim Yeow Chuan (above) bought more than 300 assessment and guide books for his son Victor to prepare for the PSLE. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF SIM YEOW CHUAN

Mr Sim Yeow Chuan, 43, began preparing for the PSLE when his son was in Primary 4.

Over the two years leading up to the PSLE, the secondary school teacher bought more than 300 assessment and guide books.

Each day, he would pick questions from the books and his son, Victor, would spend an hour doing them.

Said Mr Sim: "Whenever I saw a new title at the bookstore, I would buy it."

He added with a laugh: "Sometimes I would accidentally buy duplicates."

Mr Sim also stayed up till 4am to read the PSLE syllabus so that he could tutor his son, who does not attend tuition.

Said Mr Sim: "It was quite taxing for me as I also had to master secondary school content for my lessons."

To ensure Victor was not stressed, Mr Sim would take him out regularly to eat or exercise. On the recommendation of a psychologist, Mr Sim also let his son take an online stress test every three days.

Said Mr Sim: "Every parent wants the best for their child, I just want the best for my son."

Said Victor: "I am grateful for the effort my dad has put in, he will always be my main motivation for studying hard."

Victor was accepted into the School of Science and Technology through the Direct School Admission scheme with his co-curricular activity, Computer Club. But the ex-Nanyang Primary School student is unsatisfied with his results as he did not meet his personal targets.

Said Mr Sim: "I am already happy for him as he has tried his best."

PSLE prep should correspond to child's ability: Experts

It is crucial for parents to ensure that the PSLE preparation effort corresponds with their child's ability, experts told The New Paper.

Mr Jason Teo, 54, director of Singapore Brain Development Centre, said: "Parents are naturally anxious for their child to do well for PSLE, but they should ensure that revision methods are suited to their child's personality, ability and learning style."

He added: "Some children who are more mature and driven are able to handle more stress while others may not."

Miss Aarti Mundae, a counsellor from Incontact Counselling & Training who specialises in children, said parents should be "realistic with their expectations" and adjust them according to their child's ability and capacity.

Clinical psychologist Carol Balhetchet, who specialises in family, youth and children, said: "Excessive preparation can cause stress to build up on the child over time; parents need to learn to moderate."

Dr Balhetchet added that parents should take the initiative to engage their child in stress-relieving activities, such as exercising or going to the movies.

She said: "It is important for parents to be supportive of their child by being sensitive to the child's emotion and stress level." - ANG TIAN TIAN