Is Your Child Making Any of These ‘Careless Mistakes’ In Primary Math?
July 4, 2016
problem sums
The Most Difficult Part of Primary School Math: EXPLAINED
April 4, 2017
Show all

How Your Child’s Past Exam Paper Reveals Their ‘Hidden’ Abilities

How can you use your child’s recent Exam Paper to understand them better?

I just heard a story from our Academic Director Suleen, about a P6 girl who had just failed her recent test badly.

She told me that the girl got 31/100 for the papers, and didn’t draw any models at all. But she tried to do all the questions.

When her mother saw the results on the cover page, she was so worried as PSLE was coming around the corner. So she came to talk to Suleen.

She said that she doesn’t understand why her girl just can’t do maths. She felt that her daughter wasn’t trying hard enough. So she gave her more assessment practices to do. But she didn’t improve. The mother said that this was not the first time that her daughter had failed her test too. She also failed her P5 finals exam.

After hearing this, Suleen looked through her recent paper.

Indeed, the paper had no models drawn in any of the questions, but each question was attempted earnestly and in neat handwriting.

The girl, despite not knowing how to draw models, had made an honest effort to try every question in the paper. This shows that the girl has a positive learning attitude towards math, and is willing try even if she isn’t confident in her answers.


If the results are not ideal, our very first impression is to assume that our child is not working hard enough.


This was when Suleen said to the mother, “It’s not just the marks you see on the cover page that matters, it’s the attitude of the child that matters most. Very often, we as parents focus too much at the results that is written on the first page of the exam papers. And if the results are not ideal, our very first impression is to assume that our child is not working hard enough.

But if you focus on the attitude of your daughter, you notice that she tried her best for every question. If she didn’t care, she would have left most of the questions blank. She just needs to know the right method to improve.

Suleen continued, “Often times, parents will resort to scolding if their child is underperforming and force their child to do lots of practices.

Pressuring your child without understanding their difficulty will only sour the relationship between you and your child.

And if worse comes to worst, children may even shut themselves off from their parents and refuse to speak to them anymore.”

At this point in time, the mother understood what her daughter must be have been going through and decided to support her more.

She started to really talk to her daughter, understand the problem and work together. Knowing that her mother was on her side, the girl approached Math with more confidence and perseverance, and improved along the way.

math scholars free 20 minute consultation

How can parents understand more about their child from analysing exam papers?

Usually, this is most effective if parents are familiar with the Math syllabus, as this will allow them to identify which topics were taught in school at each Primary Level. Parents that are not equipped with such knowledge may find it harder to guage where their child stands, compared to where they need to be to score better in exams.


Suleen has provided me with some examples of signs to look out for when analysing the recent paper:

  • If your P6 child is unable to do Average questions, it means that your child has had a weak foundation of the topic since P5, as Average is a P5 topic.
  • If your P6 child is struggling with Simple Decimals questions, it means that your child has had misconceptions about that topic since P4, because Simple Decimals was taught in P4.


You can even understand more about your child’s good/poor habits, for example:

  • Time management. If their handwriting is neat at the start of the paper, but messy by the end, then this is a sign that they are rushing to finish the paper due to a lack of time management.
  • Over-reliance on mental calculations, leading to skipping of steps while solving the question.
  • Whether they prefer to use models to solve questions or not, by looking out if they draw models in the paper
  • If they prefer to draw models over using ratios, as drawing models are more time consuming than ratios


Why is understanding more about your child important?

Knowing your child’s Math Standing is important to help him/her improve their grades. It provides your child information to set clear goals for areas that require improvement and ensures that they have a stable foundation moving forward.

For a limited time we are offering a free of charge Face-to-Face Consultation with our Academic Director Suleen who will analyse your recent Maths paper for you!

You will get direct feedback about:

  • Your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Poor Math habits to kick
  • Crafting a plan to help your child improve
  • Tips and advice on how to start them on their path to Math Success


If you would like an analysis of your child’s recent Math Paper, click here to secure your FREE Face-to-Face Consultation with an expert Math Coach today!

Alternatively you can contact us via any of the following methods..

Phone: +65 8797 5770
SMS/Whatsapp: +65 8797 5770


Jun Wei
Math Consultant at Math Scholars Singapore



What did you learn from this post?
Do you have any study/learning tips that you’d like to share?

Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *