How Emma made her breakthrough to improve her math from AL6 to AL1 in 3 months - Mega Minds
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How Emma made her breakthrough to improve her math from AL6 to AL1 in 3 months

Emma’s journey with Mega Minds Academy started right after her P6 mid year examinations. She was crestfallen at scoring an Achievement Level 6 (AL6) despite putting in several hours of hard work practising Mathematics at school and at home. With the PSLE just months away, Emma’s parents heard several positive reviews and decided to enlist the help of Mega Minds Academy to help Emma make the breakthrough she was searching for. 


In our first lesson with Emma, she came across as a hard working student with strong fundamentals in mathematics, thus her mid year examination result did not seem commensurate with her effort and ability. Thus, Emma’s mathematics teacher conducted a detailed assessment of her mid year examination paper and administered an internal diagnostic test to tailor Emma’s plan for PSLE success. 


Within Emma’s first month with us, Mega Minds Academy tailored a two-pronged approach to chart Emma’s path to PSLE success. They are (1) addressing careless mistakes and (2) improving Emma’s ability to solve challenging word problems


  1. Addressing careless mistakes

Careless mistakes are a common area of improvement for students. Thus Mega Minds Academy has in place a rigorous system to help our students. Every time Emma’s teacher spotted a careless mistake made in class, we did not spoonfeed by pointing out the mistake directly, but rather asked guiding questions that helped Emma identify the mistake on her own. 


In addition, every time Emma completes a worksheet, our teachers will first browse through the worksheet instead of marking. If there were questions with careless mistakes, her teacher returned the entire worksheet without marking any question, and Emma had to practice checking the entire worksheet as she would with an examination paper before submitting the worksheet again. 


Lastly, if she finished the paper with limited time remaining, Emma learnt how to quickly make sure that transfer or arithmetic errors were minimised or even eliminated.This developed her ability to diagnose careless mistakes on her own during an examination to a large extent. 


  1. Improving Emma’s ability to solve challenging word problems


After 6 weeks of lessons, Emma reduced the careless mistakes she made almost entirely and was ready to make her next breakthrough. The next hurdle was consistently being able to solve challenging word problems, particularly visualisation of complex shapes, simultaneous equations, and number x value questions. 



In the subsequent 8 weeks before Emma’s PSLE Preliminary Examination, we started teaching Emma to break down complex shapes into more manageable components to solve the question. Manipulatives such as wooden blocks or even computer drawn pictures were used to show how the 3D shapes looked like in a different orientation.



As for simultaneous equations and number x value questions, Emma was coached to first identify what question type the word problem is. Once Emma could identify the question type, she could then associate in her mind the exact which technique specifically intended to solve the question. 


Thus when Emma saw the questions in her PSLE Preliminary Exams, she could switch her mindset from “I have not seen this question before” to “I know exactly what question type and the technique required to solve this question.” This change of mindset also increased Emma’s interest in Mathematics to a large extent as she was able to develop intrinsic motivation from wanting to solve the next challenging word problem instead of being daunted. 


The rest, as they say, is history, as Emma went on to attain an improvement of 33 marks that spanned 5 achievement levels, from 58 (AL5) to 91 (AL1). Like Emma, we have positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students at Mega Minds Academy and we look forward to your child to be our next success story. 


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