How to Choose the Right Math Assessment Book for Your Child

At this point, a deep dive into the emporium of educational necessities to get the best assessment books has become a common affair in Singapore. After all, practice makes perfect – especially for practical-heavy topics like math that require comprehensive exercises and study to do well.

It’s easy to equate investing in maths tuition and assessment books to investing in your child’s future. Well, you’re not wrong. However, it’s important to remember that when it comes to finding the right assessment books for math, it’s the quality that matters most – not quantity. Of course, we know that’s easier said than done. Faced with the myriad of options stacked on the shelves in the bookstore, it’s challenging for you to determine the right math assessment books for your children.

Hence, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to choosing the right math assessment books for your child, so that the next time you visit the bookstore – whether digitally or physically – you’re armed with a plan of action.

The Different Types of Math Assessment Books

As you may already be aware, there are many various types of assessment books in Singapore’s market, and each is made up of information and practical exercises with a different intent in mind. Knowing the differences and selecting based on content will allow your child to practice in line with their purpose. There are four main types of math assessment books to look out for.

  1. Topical: If you’re looking for one that will cover the basics, then this is the type of math assessment book for your child. They offer simple but relevant practice questions aimed at building a strong math foundation.
  2. Olympiad: The name is very telling in this one. These type of assessment books follow the Maths Olympiad Curriculum – providing a study plan based on partaking in the elite math competition. Selecting books from this section is perfect for children who display a natural affinity with math and are able to keep up with fast-paced learning.
  3. Heuristic: If your child needs to tackle higher-order skills like word problem solving, then Heuristic assessment books are where they should start. Parents should be aware that their children will need a strong foundation for this type of assessment book to be useful.
  4. Mock Papers: Mock papers are best used as a complementary study aid alongside your child’s regular math tuition programme. They mimic the structure of exam papers in schools and allow children to gain familiarity with the format outside of a stressful environment. Many also come with detailed explanations for tricky questions your child might encounter in future exams.

Are the Assessment Books Covering the Right Syllabus?

There’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling in your child’s stomach when they open an exam paper and realise they’ve been studying the wrong material the whole time. That’s why targeted practice is always better than trying to cover a variety of topics. As a parent, you should familiarise yourself with the current MOE syllabus and liaise with your child’s math tuition teachers to select an assessment book that will reinforce their class learning and focus on the right topics.

Singapore’s maths syllabus is regularly updated and revamped to reflect the modern curriculum. Hence, it’s imperative to keep up with these changes to ensure that you’re not picking ones with redundant study materials.

Look Out for Ones with Detailed Explanations

We’ve all stared back and forth between a problem and the answer guide at the back of an assessment book before, and it’s always frustrating when an answer is provided without any context. When selecting an assessment book, make sure to check if it provides step-by-step explanations for problems. This is a key part of their learning process. Rather than forcing them to simply memorise answers, it allows them to cross-check their work and deepen their self-learning capabilities by offering further insights on difficult concepts.

Quality Over Quantity

It might surprise you to learn that most students, primary students, in particular, tend to only complete an average of 60 per cent of each assessment book they have. According to research findings, most students in Singapore are already struggling to find the perfect balance between school, tuition, co-curricular activities and any extra interests. That means – they don’t have time to complete multiple math assessment books, and parents should instead focus on quality over quantity.

Moreover, buying more assessment books than necessary has been proven to eventually counter their effectiveness in a child’s learning process. Rather than promoting active learning, trying to complete too many can lead to mindless revision and a lack of deep conceptual understanding.

Perhaps, you should spend time figuring out your child’s problem areas and make your selections based on your child’s needs instead of stockpiling random math assessment books for no other reason other than the incorrect assumption of – “the more, the better”.

Getting Started

Whether your child is naturally gifted in math or needs a little extra help with creating a strong foundation, identifying the right assessment books to complement their curriculum can be difficult – especially for new parents. If you feel overwhelmed, it’s always a great idea to seek help from a professional. Consult a math tuition teacher to identify the best assessment books that’ll suit your child’s learning style.