Frequently Asked Qns (Small Group Math Tuition)

Class Matters

Q : What is the Maximum Class size?

We keep enrollment of each class to a maximum of 4 students per lesson. A
ll our students are provided Dynamic and Individualized Tutoring within a Small Group setting. This allows us to create an optimal teaching and learning environment and ensure personalized attention for every student.

Q: What is the NickleBee Math Tuition's Track Record?

89% of our Primary 6 students from the past 10 years scored A*/A for their PSLE Math Exam (twice the national average)! This achievement is made even more amazing because our policy has always been to accept ALL students from ALL schools without any entry barriers or selection tests. Students are only expected to come for lessons regularly with a POSITIVE attitude to learning. 

Q : Are students grouped according to their learning ability or academic level?

While every effort has been made to place students of similar abilities and academic level in a class, it may sometimes not be possible due to scheduling constraints. However, as our class sizes are kept small, we are able to effectively provide academic instruction equivalent to one-to-one tutoring to each student concurrently (within a small group setting).

Q : Is there a set curriculum? Will my child be allowed to go at his own pace of learning?

Yes! We follow the MOE Primary school syllabus closely and teach Problem Solving Skills and Heuristics as required to ace PSLE Math Paper 2. 

That being said, we do not expect every child to learn at a pre-determined pace. One of the advantages of having a small class size is the ability for each child to be taught separately and thus allowing each child to learn at a pace that suits him best. 

Stronger students will be allowed to proceed at a faster rate of learning and be constantly stretched to their maximum potential. Weaker students will be given time to integrate foundational skills and concepts before reinforcing their understanding with more advanced problem solving concepts.

Q : If my child has Math Problem-Solving Questions from school that he can't solve, will the tutor help go through them with him during lessons?

Of course! If your child has any Math Questions or Problem Sums from his school work that he has attempted but can't solve, please ask the tutor during lesson time and we would be happy to guide your child along and provide additional practice if necessary.

Q : Could we SMS or Whatsapp Math Questions that my child has problems in? 

Due to the tutors' busy schedule, please keep electronic communications via SMS or Whatsapp limited ONLY to Scheduling, Payment or Examination related matters. 

But of course if you require math questions to be answered urgently, you may send them over to us via Whatsapp and we will refer you to the relevant NickleBee Math worksheet or reply with some tips or guidance. 

To avoid abuse of this policy, any math question received, will only be replied to, after a minimum of 24 hours has elapsed from receipt of Whatsapp message.

Q : Will my child have a safe, conducive and orderly classroom environment to learn effectively in? How will you maintain discipline?

NickleBee Tutors would like to encourage all students to come for lessons with a positive attitude and be ready to learn. 

Students will only be able to benefit from the tutoring programme if they actively participate in the lessons and duly complete all assignments set by the tutor.

We have a 3 strike policy whereby a student who accumulates 3 or more "Demerit Points" within 1 Term (11 lessons) will be subject to immediate dismissal from the centre.

Behavior which warrants issuing of Demerit Points includes :
  • Showing disrespect to the tutor or other students **
  • Destruction of property **
  • Cheating / copying and other forms of academic dishonesty **
  • Chronic absenteeism or lateness **
  • Exhibiting poor learning attitude (persistently uninterested, uncooperative or recalcitrant behaviour) for the subsequent lesson even after the student has been counselled and parents informed about the student's negative behaviour previously **
  • Homework not done without a valid reason or permission ^
  • Being disruptive in class (irrelevant loud noises and excessive movement which is distracting the other students and affecting the teaching of the class) ^
  • Classroom assignments and/or homework done in an inappropriate or slipshod manner ^ 
** 2 Demerit Points will be issued per occurrence
^ 1 Demerit Point will be issued per occurrence

We will like remind all students that while the "3 strike" policy will be used sparingly, and students will be asked to leave only as a last resort, they are encouraged to avoid the behaviors listed above as ALL our students and tutors deserve to have a safe, conducive and effective learning / teaching environment.

Q : We would like a Trial Lesson. Is it possible to arrange one?

Our vacancies are limited and as such, we are unable to offer Trial Lessons.

Also, we do not believe that a student can appreciate the benefits of our programme in just one lesson alone.

Curriculum & Homework Matters

Q : What Techniques do we teach in our Math Classes?

We teach all our students on how to master and apply the "Singapore Model Approach" (in P3 & P4) and our proprietary "Unitary Method version 2.0" (in P5 & P6), to give our students the confidence and speed to solve ALL Challenging PSLE Math problem sum questions efficiently and accurately. 

We will also teach our students "Heuristics" which is a set of thinking tools or frameworks to solve unfamiliar and complex problems. MOE has incorporated as many as 11 problem solving heuristics in the primary school level syllabus.

To complement the above techniques, we use the C3PO Problem Solving Framework (developed in-house by Mr Zhou) to help guide our student's reasoning and analytical thought process, and to ensure a solid foundation of ALL 11 Heuristics tools and 18 Problem Solving Concepts, as required to ace the PSLE Math Exam. This approach radically changes the way students are taught to approach problem sums and encourages them to think critically and conceptually.

Q : Will students be penalized if NickleBee Tutor's proprietary UNITARY™ Method (Version 2.0) is used in exams instead of bar modelling or other methods?

According to MOE, students are not restricted to the use of any one particular method to solve word problems. In the marking of PSLE Mathematics, ALL mathematically correct solutions that are clearly presented are acceptable and there is no loss of marks.

Our students have been using our proprietary UNITARY Method for the last 8 years to great success in the PSLE. Not only do MOE school teachers accept usage of our UNITARY method in class assignments and exams, some of our students have even been asked by their school teachers to present elements of our unique and easy to understand UNITARY method to their classmates! 

Q : What is the focus of our Math Curriculum?

Our average student profile is one that has already mastered the basic mathematical arithmetic and computational skills to do reasonably well in Paper 1, yet lack the conceptual and procedural knowledge to ace problem sums found in Paper 2. As such, our Math tutor focuses on teaching Math Problem Solving skills, Strategies and Heuristics as required to do well in Paper 2 of the Math Exam. 

That being said, if the student should show localized weakness of basic arithmetic and computational skills in certain topics, our math tutor will personally attend to the student's knowledge deficits and provide materials and instruction to reinforce his fundamental knowledge.

Q : What materials are provided? Do i still need to give my child past year exam practice papers?

We use our following in house materials developed by Mr Zhou :
  • Primary 4, 5 & 6 NickleBee Math™ Problem Solving & Heuristics Worksheets (2nd Ed) which covers all the essential Problem Solving Concepts and Skills as tested in Whole Numbers, Fractions, Ratio, Percentage, Average, Rate and Decimals.
  • Primary 6 NickleBee Math™ Exam Packs (2nd Ed) with challenging questions designed to stretch our students and prepare them for the rigours of the PSLE Math exam. 
We also use the following books published by Mr Ammiel Wan :
  • Visible Thinking in Maths Series which is useful for students who require reinforcement of basic arithmetic skills as tested in Paper 1.
  • OnSponge thinkingMath Series which is useful resource for Mid-Ability students looking for a primer in learning Problem Solving Skills and Strategies as required in Paper 2.
  • The 60 Experience which is the latest resource for Mid-Ability to High Ability students who wish to ace both routine and non-routine problem sums as tested in the new syllabus.
  • Get Me Thinking Series which is an advanced workbook for High-Ability and GEP students looking to challenge themselves with non-routine questions and hence further enhance their Problem Solving Skills and Strategies.
Past year exam papers and customized Practice Papers will be provided to further test the student's skills and knowledge in an exam setting.

Q : Is there a lot of Homework? My child is swamped with school work!

Our Math tutor does not assign homework arbitrarily as he feels that Homework should not be reduced to meaningless drudgery. Homework is assigned in reasonable amounts as and when the tutor feels that it will help reinforce the student's understanding of the chapter at hand. 

Q : I would like to carry on with Math tutoring at your centre after Sec 1. Do you offer any Sec 1 Express or Integrated Programme classes?

Yes! We do offer the option for current Pri 6 students to join the Sec 1 class during the next academic year. We offer both Express and Integrated Programme Math classes. Please note that the Sec 1 & 2 Math classes at NickleBee Tutors are only reserved for students who were formerly enrolled in the NickleBee Primary Math Tuition programme.

Lesson and Payment Matters

Q : How are Lessons Taught?

The focus in NickleBee Math Classes is the mastery of Problem Solving Skills and Strategies as required to ace Paper 2 in the Math exams. As such, we advocate an "Inquiry Based Learning" approach, whereby, instead of the tutor spoon feeding techniques and solutions to the students, the tutor will ask key questions or make suggestions to guide the student's thinking processes when faced with Math problems. Questions and suggestions offered will be general and are meant to indicate a general direction and leave plenty for the student to do.

The tutor will of course teach the students the various Contextual, Conceptual and Procedural knowledge required and explain the rationale of various strategies and skills used. Student's are then encouraged to try the newly learnt concepts and skills on unfamiliar problems. In order to reinforce the student's understanding of concepts and to avoid the dangers of students memorizing techniques wholesale, we expect students to explain and justify their thought-processes and workings to the tutor on demand.

Q : Is the learning environment conducive?

Most definitely yes! We conduct lessons in fully air-conditioned and well-lit classrooms.  

Q : Will there be Replacement lessons if my child misses a regularly scheduled class?

For any scheduled weekly class missed during Term 1 to 4 with a valid reason, a replacement lesson will be provided on a case by case basis subject to slot availability (to be attended within 7 days of missed class). Valid reasons for absence includes Medical Leave (MC required) and Official School / National Events (Letter from school required).

Replacement lessons are limited to TWO per term per student and cannot be rolled over to the next term.

Replacement lessons will be conducted during an available group tuition time slot (at either Bishan, Bukit Timah or Sengkang).

If the student is absent for any other reason or absent without documents to support a valid reason, no refund of fees or replacement lessons will be provided. 

Also, please note that any of the scheduled weekly lessons not utilized by the student by the end of each term is non-refundable and non-transferable.

Q : My child is weak in math. Will you be able to offer ad-hoc Extra classes (in addition to his regular NickleBee Math Group Tuition)?

Yes we do offer extra classes for current students who are weaker in Math and require a couple of extra lessons to catch up with their peers. 

Any extra lessons conducted (at the parent's or teacher's request) will be recorded and payment is expected at the end of each term. 

Q : How are the tuition fees calculated? Are there any miscellaneous fees?

Tuition fees will be collected on a quarterly basis, 2 weeks before the commencement of the term. Each term usually has 11 lessons as per term schedule provided by NickleBee Tutors. If a student joins in the middle of a term, fees will be pro-rated.

A material fee of $100 is chargeable for new students. This is a flat fee that is non-refundable nor pro-rated and is payable upon commencement of the tuition class regardless of the time of registration.

Q : How will payment be done? If I do not wish to carry on with tuition, with it be possible to get a refund? Will receipts be issued?

We accept Cash, Cheque or Internet Banking Transfer payments. 

Term tuition fees and any other fees paid are strictly non-refundable and non-transferable. Such fees once paid will NOT be refunded if the student or parent chooses to withdraw or discontinue from NickleBee Tutors for any reason and at any time.

Every student will be provided with a time-schedule book and records of all lessons and payments done will be indicated in the time-schedule book. 

Q : Are there term-breaks? Will there be lessons during Public Holidays?

Math at the Upper Primary and Secondary school level is demanding and require regular lessons to maintain the student's efficacy in Math. But, kids (and tutors too!) do need a break from academic work and we usually have breaks during the following periods of the year :

  • 2 week term-break in mid-June.
  • 2 weeks term-break in end-December.
Otherwise, all scheduled weekly lessons during the term period will carry on as per usual during all public holidays or school holidays (except for Chinese New Year Public Holiday).

*There is a special term held in November and December for students to get a head start on the next year's syllabus*

Q : Am I able to observe my child being taught during the lesson? 

Both Teachers and Students deserve a safe, orderly and conducive environment to teach and learn effectively. Hence, we reserve the right to cease provision of tuition to any student for any reason.

Please note we reserve the right to record video surveillance of all Small Math Group Tuition sessions. Video clips of any disruptive or unproductive behaviour by the students will be forwarded to their parents.