This big book small book question in the PSLE exam goes somewhat like this:

Was the PSLE math 2021 paper really more difficult as compared to the 2020 PSLE math paper?

The difficulty of the PSLE mathematics exam paper has always been a concern amongst Primary 6 students and parents in Singapore.

With multiple discussions about the PSLE math paper on-going and a particular Math problem on Helen’s and Ivan’s coins getting on the news, you might be how tough these PSLE Math questions really are.

Today, let’s look at a few of these primary 6 math problems and hopefully, this would act as a guide to help you with your P6 math revision.

Here’s what we will cover:

#### Past PSLE questions and answers

#### PSLE-related information

### 1. 2021 PSLE Math coin question on Helen and Ivan

This Helen and Ivan coin question goes somewhat like this:

Helen and Ivan had the same number of coins. Each of them had a mix of twenty-cent coins and fifty-cent coins. Helen had 64 twenty-cent coins and Ivan had 104 twenty-cent coins. The total mass of Helen’s coins was 1.134 kg.

a) Who had more money? How much more did the person have?

b) If a fifty-cent coin is 2.7g heavier than a twenty-cent coin, what is the mass of Ivan’s coins in kilograms?

*Note that this might not be the actual phrasing of the question in PSLE.

### How to solve this PSLE 2021 coin question

Here’s a step-by-step video solution for this math question to help you with the answer!

To get the answer to part a of this PSLE coin question, you will first need to recognize that the total number of coins between Helen and Ivan is the same.

Knowing this would help us infer that the difference in the value of the coins between Helen and Ivan depends on how many fifty-cent coins and twenty-cent coins each of them had, which leads to the difference in the mass of the coins in part b.

### Why this Helen and Ivan coin question may be difficult to Primary 6 children:

This coin question sounds fairly straightforward. All our Primary 6 children have to do is to compare the number of twenty-cent coins and fifty-cent coins between Helen and Ivan and name the person with more money.

So…where’s the tough part?

The complexity comes in when our 12-year-olds find difficulty distinguishing between the number of coins, the value of the coins (20-cent versus 50-cent) and the mass of the coins.

If your child has solved similar math problems that involves coins and understands how number and value works, they’ll have no problem solving this question.

### 2. 2021 PSLE Math question on Area and Perimeter

This perimeter and area question in the PSLE paper looks somewhat like this:

The perimeter of the shaded part is 4 cm more than that of the unshaded part. a) What is the length of AB? b) What is the area of the shaded part?

*Note that this might not be the actual phrasing of the question in PSLE.

### How to solve this PSLE 2021 Math problem on Area and perimeter

Here’s a step-by-step video solution for this math question to help you with the answer!

When it comes to making use of the perimeter of shaded and unshaded parts to find the unknown length AB, the trick is to make use of the knowledge of rectilinear figures and move some lines around to simplify the problem. Being able to do that will help children see the relationship between the given lengths and solve part a of the question easily.

As for part b, the trick is to think about how the shaded part is can be derived from basic shapes that are familiar to you.

Once a Primary 6 child can tell that the shaded area is formed by putting 3 rectangles together and subtracting a triangle from it, they are well on their way to solving this area and perimeter problem in PSLE.

### Why this area and perimeter Math question may be difficult to Primary 6 children:

Looking at the side of the figure with the length AB on it, our P6 children are used to having the length of a part of the side.

However, that length doesn’t correspond to the opposite side of 7 cm in this PSLE Math problem.

In fact, it is an unknown part of that 7 cm, so the problem isn’t as direct to solve.

### 3. 2021 PSLE Math big books small books question

A bookshelf can fit either 30 big books or 45 small books. There are 3 big books and 23 small books on the bookshelf. What is the maximum number of big books that can be added onto the bookshelf?

*Note that this might not be the actual phrasing of the question in PSLE.

### How to solve this big books small books PSLE question

Here’s a step-by-step video solution for this math question to help you with the answer!

To solve this PSLE Math question, you need to be able to see the relationship between the space the big books take up on the bookshelf and the space the small books take up.

When you are able to make use of a ratio to see that, the next part then depends on how you play with the ratio to get the information that you need.

### Why this Math question on big and small books may be difficult for some Primary 6 children:

The main reason lies in the number 23. Some P6 children might feel less confident working with such a prime number and start to doubt themselves when they get a “weird” ratio/fraction.

### Conclusion

Now that we’ve had a look at some of the tougher question in the 2021 PSLE Math paper, do you think they are really that hard?

Let us know in the comments below if this post has been useful in helping you prepare for your P6 primary school leaving exam.