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A Singaporean Parent’s Guide to buying Science Assessment books

Science is very important for a lot of Singaporean parents (as it should be).

In order to help their children prepare for the science exams they will invest a lot of time and money into finding suitable assessment books in places such as Popular book store.

Because of the vast number of books available today on the market it can be quite hard for the parent to know which one is the right one for their child.

Some books offer students help by providing them with useful tips, whereas others offer a more comprehensive coverage of the subject.

Despite the parents being determined, in many cases the books they buy don't even get completed.

This may happen due to buying an excessive amount of assessment books and not picking the right ones for your goal.

Commenting on this matter in Youngparents.com.sg, Madam June Tan bought 10 assessment books for her daughter but she could finish only half of the books because there was no time.

So, how can you make sure that you are picking the best assessment books for your child?

Keep these tips in mind next time you go book shopping.


1. Make sure to pick the book that is appropriate for your child's level.

This one is rather obvious. If your child is in primary school you must make sure to pick the science assessment book which is appropriate for primary school students.

The target audience of the book can be correctly ascertained simply by examining the cover of the book.


2. Quality over quantity.

The next thing you must take into consideration is how much time your child has to work with these books.

On the one hand getting several books may show them different examples of how to deal with a certain question.

However, if they have a limited amount of time they may not be able to complete all of the books you have bought.

Try picking one or two science books which are relatively high quality and are different from one another.

If you spend your hard-earned money on purchasing the assessment books make sure your child completes them.

This doesn't mean they spend half a day bent over the books twice a week. It is far more beneficial to study for a shorter period of time on a daily basis.


3. How to tell if your assessment book is good.

A good science assessment book should cover the syllabus for the year, which was set by the Ministry of Education.

Picking the book that doesn't contain all the necessary information pertaining to the syllabus may affect your child's exam preparation negatively, because they will be reviewing the wrong topics.

A good book shows your child the way to figure out the problems that they find difficult.

The guide must be easy to understand, it should enable your child to undertand how the problem should be solved.

A good assessment book will be continuously revised by the publisher in order to match the current curriculum.

So, look for the latest editions.

In addition to all of this, you can also find out which books are appropriate for your child by doing some research about the author and the publisher.


4. Which science assessment book is right for your child?

Students are on different levels of ability when it comes to science and they require different types of assistance.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing the right science book for your child.

The appropriateness of the content of the book depends on your child's strengths and weaknesses in the given subject.

Try to identify your child's weak points and purchase the books that are aimed at improving these weaknesses.

Does your child have a problem with understanding the complex notions?

Are they simply careless and impatient when working with the assessment books?

Do they have problems concentrating on the topic for a prolonged period of time?

All of these problems are different in nature and require different approach.

Keep that in mind when choosing the assessment books.

If you are unsure about what your child's weaknesses are, a good science tutor can help you identify them and recommend the most appropriate book for your child.


5. The correct answers.

Not only should a good science assessment book have all the correct answers in the back, but the answers should also explain the question in depth.

Simply copying and memorizing the correct answers will not get you far, it is essential that your child understands exactly why this answer was correct and not any other.

Of course not all questions require in-depth explanation.

For example, in case of multiple choice questions all you have to do is just memorize the facts and tick the correct answer in the list.

There are several main types of assessment books that you should be aware of. Each one of them serves a slightly different purpose and is aimed at developing different skills.

Firstly there are books that use science olympiad curriculum, and their aim is to prepare your child for this competition.

Secondly, there are topical books.

This is the appropriate book for you if you are looking to teach your child science topics that have been previously covered in school.

They also contain some simple activities that your child can do to improve their understanding of the topic.

In addition there are practice papers which show students what the format of the exam is like.

Practice books are good for those students who already have an understanding of the topic and just want to practice their test taking skills.


No easy way to choosing

There is no cookie cutter approach to choosing the right science assessment book for your child.

You must evaluate your child's strengths and weaknesses and decide which book is the most appropriate for them.

If you are unable to do so independently the best solution is to hire a professional science tutor who will be able to correctly assess your child's abilities and recommend an appropriate assessment book.

Whichever book you end up choosing in the end, remember that the quality is much more important than quantity.

Choose maximum of two books which follow the ministry of education's set curriculum and have been revised recently.

And last, but not least, remember that learning should be fun.

If your child doesn't enjoy the learning process they may end up resenting the subject, which will be much more detrimental to their progress than any wrongly chosen book could have ever been.

More tips for you:
How to choose assessment books for primary school
Marshall Cavendish Editors' Picks
How Helpful are Assessment Books for Primary school children?
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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.