Challenging PSLE Maths Questions and How to Tackle Them

 

If you can vaguely remember the 2019 Circle and 2021 Coins questions going viral at the end of the PSLE Maths paper in both years, you would have an inkling of how challenging the PSLE Maths paper might seem to students and parents alike.

However, as we broke it down in our analysis of the viral 2019 and 2021 Maths questions, these questions are not overly challenging. Instead, what these questions require students to do besides apply mathematical techniques, is to use their logical thinking and clear reasoning skills.

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This article touches on another noteworthy PSLE Maths question that students encountered this year, explains why it is tricky and how TLL equips our students with the skills and knowledge to tackle such questions.

2022 Maths PSLE Area and Perimeter Question

The figure below shows 3 rectangular plots of land of the same breadth arranged beside one another.

It is given that AC = 36 m and CD = 27 m.

Each rectangular plot of land was surrounded with a fence.

The total length of the fence was 177 m and the area of the figure was 876 m2.

 

Why it’s tricky:

While the question might seem straightforward enough, a potential pitfall students might encounter is mistaking the total length of the fence for the perimeter. The third sentence states that each plot of land is surrounded with a fence – this should not be mistaken for the perimeter of the figure.

 

Solution:

Step 1 : Identify similar lengths

Step 2 : Label all known sides

Step 3 : Solve for two times of AB 

177 m =  36 m + 36 m + 27 m + 27 m + 2 x AB

2 x AB = 51 m

AB = 51 m ÷ 2

      = 25.5 m

Step 1 : Use the given area (876m2) to find the area of each rectangle.

Breadth of each rectangle = 36 m ÷ 3 = 12 m

Area of top rectangle = 12 m × 25.5 m = 306 m2

Area of bottom rectangle = 27 m × 12 m = 324 m2

Area of middle rectangle = 876 m2 – 306 m2 – 324 m= 246 m2


Step 2 : Find the unknown lengths.

Length of middle rectangle = 246 m÷ 12 m = 20.5 m

25.5 m – 20.5 m = 5 m

27 m – 20.5 m = 6.5 m


Step 3 : Find the perimeter.

Total perimeter = 36 m + 36 m + 27 m + 25.5 m + 5 m + 6.5 m = 136 m

 

Why it’s tricky:

While following a systematic method as indicated above will lead you to the answer if you are careful, the margin for error is bigger given that there are so many steps students must take. One careless mistake could result in a miscalculation of the final answer. More discerning students would have been able to spot that the rectangles share the same breadth and can be rearranged to form one big rectangle, resulting in less working and less margin for error.

 

The alternative solution:

Step 1 : Find the sum of lengths.

Breadth of each rectangle = 36 m ÷ 3 = 12 m

Sum of lengths = 876 m÷ 12 m = 73 m


Step 2 : Find the unknown lengths.

Length of middle rectangle = 73 m – 25.5 m – 27 m = 20.5 m

25.5 m – 20.5 m = 5 m

27 m – 20.5 m = 6.5 m


Step 3 : Find the perimeter.

Total perimeter = 36 m + 36 m + 27 m + 25.5 m + 5 m + 6.5 m = 136 m

 

Beyond Textbooks and Practice Papers

 

At The Learning Lab, we believe that merely attempting practice papers over and over again is not the way to truly learn and master a subject. Our Maths programme emphasises deep understanding of concepts and the honing of skills such as systematic question analysis and deductive reasoning techniques. Our teachers also expose students to multiple heuristics so students are armed to solve all types of questions, including non-routine and higher-ordering thinking ones.

From fences to ribbons to even optimising the number of tables in a function hall, our in-house team of curriculum specialists design unique questions and worksheets to give students practice in applying concepts to unique situations.

Our in-house team of curriculum specialists consistently curate worksheets that feature the challenging and unique questions found in past PSLE Maths papers for our Primary 4 and 5 students, so they are better prepared for the national exam when their turn comes around.


In this Maths PSLE comparison guide, our P6 teachers show how rote learning can no longer be used to solve questions, as there are more questions which require higher-order thinking and logical reasoning skills.

 

 

Resources for Your Child's PSLE Journey

 

At The Learning Lab, we have a wealth of resources you and your child can benefit from to gear up for success in the PSLE. Read our other articles that break down each PSLE component in detail and impart strategic advice and study tips.


The complete overhaul of the PSLE scoring system from 2021 onward is doubtlessly daunting. But with our detailed breakdown in hand, you can ensure that both you and your child will be more than prepared for the challenges coming your way.


Ever find yourself constantly nagging at your child to study for the PSLE? We understand your frustration. However, your child may have valid reasons for "slacking off". Read on to gain an insight into your child's mind.


Find valuable tips on ways to help your child master the content covered in exams, hone key exam skills and how to exercise the right habits and attitudes to make this road towards the PSLE as rewarding as it is meaningful for your child.


The Learning Lab is now at 8 locations. Find a location that suits your needs.

If you have any questions about our range of programmes or class schedules, you may contact us at 6733 8711 or drop us an email at [email protected].

 

 

 

Gear Up for the PSLE


The PSLE is a huge milestone in your child's academic life. Ensuring that your child has everything they need in the lead-up to the major exams will allow them to focus on effective, efficient and productive learning. 


The Learning Lab is now at 8 locations. Find a location that suits your needs.

If you have any questions about our programmes, please email us at [email protected] or call us at 6733 8711 and we will be happy to assist you.

 


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