Teacher Marcus is a GEP alumnus from Rosyth and Raffles Institution, Marcus has been tutoring students in English, Language Arts and Literature since 2005, and preparing students who are embarking on the GEP journey. Besides tutoring, Marcus writes scripts for Channel 5 TV shows such as Lion Moms and Crimewatch, as well as movie reviews for Yahoo and Rice Media!

Stop us if this sounds familiar.

Your GEP child loves Mathematics – but ends up making careless mistakes in the exams (1 + 2 = 4, for example).

Your GEP child can grasp complex concepts beyond most Primary students (such as quadratic equations) – but misses out on important key words in problem sums.

Your GEP child can ace the Investigative Task and exhibits lateral thinking skills – but ends up with unbelievable transfer errors in their common test questions.

You’re not alone. Research has shown that intelligent people sometimes make silly mistakes thanks to the way they think. According to a BBC article, “Smart people are more prone to silly mistakes because of blind spots in how they use logic.”

“These blind spots exist because smart people tend to be overconfident in their reasoning abilities. That is, they’re so used to being right and having quick answers that they don’t even realise when they’re blowing it by answering without thinking things through.”

This doesn’t just apply to adults – but to children as well. But gifted children are, well, children. They are in their formative years, and you don’t want to stifle their inquisitive nature and dampen their curiosity by repeating reminding them to check their work and avoid careless mistakes.

So how do you stimulate their love for Mathematics while still making sure they get the sufficient practice they need to prevent careless mistakes?

We use a two-pronged approach for our P4-P6 GEP Mathematics classes – we seek to stimulate their love for Maths, before ensuring they do the requisite number of drills so that avoiding careless mistakes becomes like muscle memory. (Wait, isn’t “drills” a dirty word? More on that later.)

Enriching students by showing them how amazing Mathematics can be

We love Mathematics in all its myriad applications and possibilities – and we try to impart our passion for the topic to students in our P4-P6 GEP Mathematics classes.

First and foremost, we cover everything that’s in the Primary GEP Mathematics syllabus – which includes everything that the mainstream Primary Mathematics syllabus has, as well as enrichment topics and investigation. That ensures that they have the foundation they need to understand more sophisticated topics and interesting concepts.

Then we enrich students by showing them stimulating ideas that they may have encountered, but never realised that was connected to Mathematics topics.

For example, in our Angles topic, we introduced the astrolabe to them – an ancient astronomical instrument for pathfinding, that is the ancestor of modern sextants (although admittedly, sextants are not that modern anymore with the advent of GPS).

In our topic of Ratio, we introduced them to the idea of the Golden Ratio and the rule of thirds – useful for all the budding photographers out there who only just realised what the grid on their camera smartphones is for!

This way, we continue to nurture their love for Mathematics and show them the wonder of the subject.

And they get sufficient practice to master fundamental concepts

The hard truth about Mathematics is that students must practise the basics and be familiar with question types and conventions, for them to score well in Mathematics. After all, you want to spend your limited examination time solving the question, rather than struggling to understand it. So drills are inevitable.

To use a language analogy – one can only get better at a language by actually using and practising it, preferably in real-lie situations. The same goes for Mathematics – as the universal language, the best way to get better at it is through practising.

We emphasise the fact that although these drills may be simple, they’re necessary. To use another analogy – riding a bicycle is simple, but you must put in the necessary hours of practice to be able to ride without falling off. The same goes for Mathematics, and we make sure that students understand the need for these (seemingly) simple but necessary drills.

But we also make sure that the Mathematics questions are stimulating – by looking at them through the lens of a (former) GEP student. So for our problem sums, instead of always having Nancy and Susy sharing apples with their giant hands, we have Aristotle and Copernicus saving Greek obols in osmium safes. Not only does that make the question inherently more interesting, it also adds a layer of general knowledge that curious students can read up more on.

Stimulation with practise = success

With these two methods in hand, our P4-P6 GEP Mathematics classes will make sure your child loves the subject than ever, while still scoring for it and doing well in Mathematics (as they should!).

Of course, the proof is in the pudding – so why not try out our P4-P6 GEP Mathematics classes?

– P4 GEP Mathematics: Monday 3.15pm – 5.15pm

– P5 GEP Mathematics: Sunday 1.15pm – 3.15pm

Our Primary GEP Mathematics classes are also suitable for mainstream students who want to pursue Mathematics on other level, besides doing tedious Maths Olympiad questions.

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