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Secondary 1 Maths: 5 Key Differences From Primary School

Math is seen as one of the most important subjects that ensures a child’s success in the future. To improve their mathematical skills, children in Singapore must be able to keep up with the educational model, and the syllabus set by the Ministry of Education. But, some children cannot keep up with the demands, especially when they move on to another grade level.

This creates a lot of uncertainty and confusion for both the students and their parents. This uncertainty arises when the child is done with Primary 6 and has to face Secondary 1, which introduces them to an absolutely different approach to mathematics.

All of these differences make the subject in Secondary 1 daunting to children, but it doesn’t need to be this way. To help their children overcome Secondary 1 math, many parents tend to hire tutors. So let us see exactly what are the key differences between primary and Secondary 1 math and how getting a math tutor benefits the child.

1. Children need a totally different skill set to pass the Secondary 1 math.

In Primary 6, children need to solve problems by identifying one of the 12 concepts that has been used in that problem. Children can score high points in the math test if they understand these 12 concepts. The secondary one is quite different.

The first difference is that it doesn’t focus on concepts but rather on topics. The syllabus doesn’t just discuss word problems; it discusses topics such as speed angles, whole numbers, volume, and others. By working with a professional secondary school math tutor, children can learn about the aforementioned topics much easier and develop all the necessary skills to solve problems in Secondary 1 math.

2. Primary school teachers are different from secondary school teachers.

When children enter a new level in school, it seems unfamiliar to them. Similarly, Secondary 1 teachers tend not to have experience regarding Primary school math. They usually are not aware of what it includes and what is the methodology employed in teaching it.

As a result, the Secondary 1 teachers assume that the child possesses all the necessary skills that would enable them to easily pick up all the topics discussed in the class. 

In addition, some secondary school teachers have a unique approach to teaching, which may be unfamiliar to the new student and confuse your child. If the child finds it too difficult to understand Secondary 1 math, they may lose focus and even lose interest in math altogether.

With the help of a tutor, the child will be able to grasp a new methodology employed in Secondary 1 math. Tutors may even develop a customized approach to teaching your child. This unique approach, even if it is different from the method employed by the teacher in the classroom, will help your child succeed in solving math problems.

3. The majority of parents are unable to teach their children secondary math.

There are some parents who try to teach their children math at home and want to help them do their homework. The problem is that Secondary 1 math is not as easy to teach as you may think. The topics covered in Secondary 1 math are rather advanced, and some parents might not be familiar with them at all. These unfamiliar topics include geometry, inequalities, algebraic equations, and others.

In some cases, parents are unfamiliar with these topics because they didn’t use to be taught to them when they were at school. Tutors, on the other hand, have up-to-date knowledge regarding Secondary 1 math topics and will be able to help your child with any topic that may come up.

4. Succeeding or failing in PSLE has little effect on succeeding or failing in secondary school. 

Secondary 1 syllabus is not included in the PSLE, so if your child scored well in PSLE, It doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have no problem scoring in the Secondary 1. Secondary 1 teaches the child new concepts and develops the necessary skills, so the child will need to push themselves and study hard to understand these new concepts. 

Also, if the child was not particularly successful in PSLE, don’t worry. Secondary 1 math gives them a second chance to show their potential. 

If the child hasn’t scored well in PSLE, they tend to have a negative mindset. The tutor can help your child get rid of this negativity and show them that Secondary 1 math is an opportunity to improve their abilities. 

5. Preparing for Secondary 1 math is much better when it is fun. 

Some students lose interest in their math classes because the preparation process in Secondary 1 is quite monotonous. For this reason, conveying information in a way that is fun and easy to understand is key.

Experienced tutors have a way of engaging children and presenting new information without boring them. The topics are quite hard and intimidating, so finding the right approach will motivate students and enable them to achieve success in Secondary 1. 

To conclude, it is essential for students to keep up with the math curriculum in Singapore because mathematics is the subject that is valued a lot, not only in Singapore but around the world.

If you doubt your child’s ability to overcome the curriculum by themselves, it is better to seek the assistance of the tutor as soon as possible to ensure that your child doesn’t fall behind too much.

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.


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