Adam Khoo Learning Centre

July 22, 2020

Changes In The PSLE Maths Syllabus Students Should Know

As a parent, you may have heard about the changes being made in the PSLE Maths syllabus, presentation and format. From as early as Primary 3, your child will be affected by the changes listed below:

Changes in syllabus

Primary 3

Students will now be taught how to construct parallel and perpendicular lines using a set square and ruler in lower Primary. This was previously taught only in Primary 4.

Example question:

Construct a line parallel to AB passing through point C.


Primary 4

Tessellations have been completely removed from the PSLE syllabus. Students are now required to know how to draw squares and rectangles within a grid, and manipulate the orientation of the shapes.

Example question:

Construct a rectangle, with AB as its breadth.


Primary 5

Students are now required to solve questions involving rate, which was previously taught in Primary 6, as well as drawing different perspectives of 3D solids against a dotted background.

Example question for rate:

If 4 men take 6 hours to clean 2 houses, how long will 6 men take to clean 3 houses?

Changes to focus on applied learning

There is a shift in assessment objectives, with a greater emphasis on applied learning. Schools are starting to explore areas where curriculum can help students better understand the world around them. However, at AKLC, our lessons have been striving since day 1 to aid students in bridging the gap between what they learn in school and their daily lives, as we help our students excel not only in their curriculum, but in their personal growth as well.

Example of an applied learning question:

Beverly deposited $12,000 into a savings account which gives her an interest of 2.4% per annum. How much money will she have at the end of one year?

Changes in Presentation

You may have heard from school teachers or your children regarding the presentation of their working, that they have lost marks due to incorrect labelling using arrows and equal signs.

The proper presentation is to use arrows when working with questions involving percentage and rate.

Arrows are not allowed in any other situations.

Example of using arrows in percentage questions:


Example of using arrows in rate questions:

6 men=72 hoursx6 men->72 hours
1 man=72 x 6x1 man->72 x 6
=432 hours->432 hours
4 men=432 ÷ 4x4 men->432 ÷ 4
108 hoursx->108 hours

Changes in Examination format

There are three main areas to note regarding changes in the new PSLE exam format.

Changes in the duration of each paper

2017Paper 1 – 50 min  ;  Paper 2 – 1h 40min
2018 onwardsPaper 1 – 60 min  ;  Paper 2 – 1h 30min

Changes in the weightage of each paper

Paper 1 – 40%  ;  Paper 2 – 60%
2018 onwardsPaper 1 – 45%  ;  Paper 2 – 55%

Changes in the mark allocation of specific sections

2017Paper 1Booklet BShort Answer10 questions1 mark/question
5 questions2 mark/question
2018 onwardsPaper 1Booklet BShort Answer5 questions1 mark/question
10 questions2 mark/question

The implications of these changes may mean that it is now easier for your child to lose marks in Paper 1 due to carelessness. It may also mean that questions in Paper 2 that were originally set with a 5-mark difficulty are now awarded 4 marks only, due to the lesser weightage of Paper 2.

It is imperative to take note of the changes detailed above.

At AKLC, your child will learn to tackle these topics, and be trained for speed, precision and logical thinking. The preparation for PSLE begins as early as Primary 4 and 5. We have a proven track record for successfully grooming students who are well versed academically, and who are armed with grit as they prepare for and sit for the most important examination in their Primary school life.

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