What is the most important skill that most children lack for exam?

Not really memory skill.
Possibly not calculation skill.
And also not visualising skill.

No doubt these are important too.

But one of the least taught skills (and is really crucial for your child’s exam success) is application skill.

That is teaching your kid exactly how to start solving.

(Why least taught? Possibly it’s one of the hardest skills to master.)

Application skill is really important to your child because your child must know how to start solving a problem sum. While being all alone in the exam room. Without you or any one to turn to for help.

Not sure if this has ever happened to you.

‘My child can do the exam papers at home. I sat beside him. He scored high marks.
But he got very low score for his real exam.’

Whenever we probed a little more, we normally heard this reply.

Parent: ‘Okay, sometimes I gave him a little hint here and there.’

Content-based learning is overly emphasized in most traditional teaching.

Buy these 10 assessment books. (You get another 2 free.)
Get all the top school papers. The harder the better.
Sign up for 2 lessons per week. Why not 3 or 4? Isn’t it “better”?

These are the more common tactics to help children who struggle in math.

Yesterday, I was doing a sharing with our parents.

Most agreed that they’re quite clueless when it comes to how to guide their children in math.
At most what they can do is like what you and I would possibly have done too.

(Like how our own parents have taught us when we were kids.)

That is to do more and more and more questions.

However, having said this, the most common reason that had made this same group of parents put their children under our care is this.

They see the importance of having their children to learn and eventually master application skills.

Would you want your child to do his homework without your nagging?
Would you want your child to do more math questions without being told to?
Would you want to hear that your child has already completed his math revision (with minimal or no guidance)?

Not sure about you. BUT Yes, this is what I (as a parent with two girls) want to hear from my daughters.

Getting anyone (even adults) to eventually master a set of skills and to have it internalised is definitely not easy.

That is also why most traditional tuition programme prefer to choose the content-based route.

It’s really so much easier. (You know that too.)

2 hours with the tutor. Just get the child do from this page to that page. And it’s either marked right or wrong. Isn’t that easy?

But for this different group of parents, they strongly believe in mastering skillsets while building interest is the way to go.

If you feel you belong to this group of parents, your child will benefit greatly!

His confidence will grow and he will have good self-esteem.
Eventually he will become a self-directed learner because you’ve taught him to love to learn.

Having talked to many parents who came to us for help, we also realised in some schools, this is rising trend

1. Math questions are getting harder and more challenging
2. Questions are pegged to real life situations which children should be able to relate to
2. Learning skills is becoming the bigger focus
3. Students are expected to apply what they have learnt in classroom to exams.

Eventually, as parents, we just want the best for our kids. However, with the fast-changing trends, we parents are always playing catch up.

So my suggestion is to help your child learn some skills too, so he can at least do some work by himself. (Yeah, less stress for you too. ;p)

I’m not saying you got to change your whole approach of teaching your kids. No.

Just a little tweak here and there and here is what you can do to continue to guide your child.

1. Exchange role with your child.

Get your child to play the role of a teacher and teach you. You can ask questions like ‘How do I start?’, ‘What is the key word?’ and ‘What is the concept?’ Follow through with more questions till you arrive at the final answer.

This allows him to close his own loop and complete his overall thinking process.

2. Do less questions and emphasize more on problem solving process.

Remember the K-C-N-S-U we taught your child? Get him to highlight the key words and numbers before solving it. Get him to share with you his plan verbally before he writes his first word. In short, allow him to articulate out his solving process. It gets clearer for him and will help him to speed up his actual solving process.

3. Get him to mark his own work.

I had many parents telling me that they marked their kids’ work because it’s faster. (There’s no time lah! SO busy!)

A more effective way is to get your child to rest for 10 minutes after he has completed his work. Then get him to mark and explain to you why he got those questions wrong and how he will go about solving it again – step-by-step.

In our children’s generation, skillsets is one of the MOST important survival skills they must master. Not just in school. But also for life.

That’s all I want to share in this post. ‘Time for lunch. Now is 11.40am.

Hope these 3 tips can really help you in coaching your kids to start learning process skills.