Math can be a difficult subject for many school children, especially with many of them left stumped with the Math problems in their test papers and homework. Nonetheless, Math remains as one of the most important subjects in school, as it is a subject required for admission into many university courses. Also, it is a subject that has many applications to get around our daily lives. For many children out there, this means that they have to do well in Math in order to secure a spot in their desired university course in the future. Even if your children are still in primary school, and university seems something so far away, having a good foundation in Math can set your children for success in the future. With Math being of such importance and relevance, it is no wonder many parents in Singapore are frantically exploring options to help their children along in their Math homework. After all, we all want the best for our children, and would want to do all we can to help them if they are struggling with their schoolwork. Some of us probably were not able to afford tuition when we were younger, so we would jump to have the opportunity to be able to provide our children with this help that they need.
Why is Math tuition so popular in Singapore?
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Helping your child along with Math can come in many ways. In some families, parents would opt to tutor their children themselves, taking a much more involved role in their children’s education. This is the most cost effective option as well as admirable for parents to be involved and connected with their children. However, this option might not be optimal if parents are not confident of the content matter. Teaching is a skill that takes years to pick up, and most parents do not have the training or expertise to be an effective Math tutor for their child. Even if you were a straight A student for Math in your early years, today’s Math might be somewhat different, not so much in Math content but in the methods that can be deployed to solve the Math problems. New methods and problems are being taught and introduced in schools to widen students exposure to new and novel problems. These novel problems might not be familiar to parents at all. So many adults are stumped by the Math problems in the PSLE examinations for primary school children. Even if you are able to solve these Math problems, you might also find yourself struggling to explain the method you use vis-à-vis the method that your children understand. Imparting knowledge is very often more difficult than acquiring it. Time can also be a huge barrier to being your child’s Math tutor as many families in Singapore are dual income families. After a hard day at work, many parents are only back home in the evening, and there simply is not much time left to relax and spend some quality time with your family. In such situations, finding sufficient time to tutor your children and help them with their Math homework is a huge challenge in itself, and you might even start to find it a chore as time goes by. Having your own down time to relax is important to recharge for the next day, and you definitely do not want to tire yourself out.
For parents who find themselves unable to personally help their children with their Math struggles, finding external help becomes the option. Especially in today’s saturated tuition market, there are many options out there for parents to choose from— from signing your child up in a group tuition centre to finding him a private tutor to help him along in their Math homework. If you are interested in seeking external help for your child’s Math struggles, read on, as we will be sharing all you need to know before you make a choice.
Tuition centre vs private tutor for Math
Image by Smile Tutor
With many tuition centres and private tutors in the market today, we parents are really spoilt for choice. Different options serve different families and children better, and there really is no “best option” that we can point to definitely. Every child is different, with their own specific learning styles and habits, so really look into what is best for your family. To help you better decide on which option to go for, we have compiled some factors you might want to think about before making the leap.
Tuition is an additional cost for the family, and with the escalating costs of living in Singapore, the cost of the different options can be a huge consideration in determining which tuition option to go for. Typically, group tuition would have fees that are much more affordable compared to private tuition, simply because of the economies of scale. Besides that, you would also have to do some further research on the fees each tuition centre or private tutor is asking for. Tuition centres can range greatly in their tuition fees. For some tuition centres marketing themselves as premium centres providing specific tried and tested teaching methods, the tuition fees can even exceed those charged by private tutors. Hence, make sure that you are clear on how much you will be paying before committing to a tuition package at a tuition centre. If you are looking at private tuition for your child, fees can also range greatly, depending on the private tutor you employ. Generally, ex-MOE tutors or existing MOE tutors ask for the highest fees, since they are professionally trained and are updated with the current school syllabus. The also usually have the most educational resources to share with their students. If you are really in a pinch but still want to get a private tutor for your child, you can also consider undergraduates who are giving tuition as a part time job. They are typically less experienced and willing to accept lower rates.
If you are a busy parent juggling between a job and spending time with your children, or if your children’ schedules are already packed to the brim with extracurricular activities and enrichment programmes, the flexibility of private tuition might also be something to take into consideration when you are deciding on which option to go for. Group tuition comes with fixed time slots, and this might lead to scheduling difficulties as you will have to arrange for someone to be available to bring your child down to the tuition centre. Especially if the tuition centre is not near your home, this can result in much unwanted travelling time that eats into the time you and your child have to relax. In contrast, private tuition is a lot more flexible, as you can directly arrange for specific time slots with the tutor to conduct the tuition sessions. This will allow you to better schedule lessons for your child. Besides that, you can also arrange for the private tutor to go directly to your house for the tuition sessions, saving on transportation time.
Another crucial difference between group tuition and private tuition is the experience of the tuition session itself. In group tuition settings, the class is typically conducted with a fixed programme, and the tutor will have to split his attention among all the students in the class. This means that there will be less one on one time for your child to consult with the tutor, and that the lessons are often not as targeted towards what your child is weaker at. On the other hand, private tuition will offer a more personalised experience for your child. Since your child will be the only student in the session, this would mean that the tutor will be able to concentrate on the areas that your child is weaker in, and also develop a teaching curriculum based on the specific learning needs of your child. Especially if your child has a very specific way of learning, private tuition might be the better option, as it will allow greater customisation of the teaching methods that best speaks to your child. If your child is shy by nature, he will be more comfortable when not placed in a large group. Private tuition can also mean a less pressurising experience for your child. Some children who are less vocal might also struggle or shy away from voicing their questions in a group setting in front of all the other students in the class, which would really deplete the value of tuition. If your child also experience anxiety in these settings, private tuition might be the best option for them.
To summarise the pros and cons of group tuition and private tuition, we have also created a comparison table that you can easily refer to:
||Group tuition at a tuition centre
|Cost||Generally cheaper||Generally more expensive|
|Flexibility||Less flexible as the classes have fixed time slots and are held at specific locations (which also means more transportation time)||More flexible as tutors can adapt to your specific schedule and also come over to your home for the tuition sessions (which means no time wasted on transportation!)|
|Environment||More competitive and the group setting might be intimidating for shyer children||More comfortable as the sessions can be held in the comfort of home and without other tutees|
|Pace||Pace of the lessons is often fixed and not customised to the learning speed of your child||Fully customisable pace, as the tutor will be able to adapt the lesson to your child’s specific learning pace|
How to pick the right Math tuition for your child
Image by ST
If you have decided on signing your child up for group tuition to help them along with their Math, here are some tips to choose the right tuition centre for your child.
Firstly, make sure that the tuition centre is registered with MOE. This will give you a peace of mind as the tutors in these tuition centres would have been checked by MOE. With so many tutors out there in the market, it is entirely possible that some of them do not have the qualifications that they claim to possess. You really want to make sure that the tutors teaching your child is well qualified as you are paying good money for these tuition sessions. Tuition centres which are registered with MOE must also have a minimum number of students enrolled with them, so you know that the lessons and tutors at the centre are of a certain quality.
Next, what you can do is also to check out the track record of the tuition centre. Tuition centres that are well known and have been around for long are often a safe bet, as you know that they have been receiving a steady stream of students to be able to survive the tough market up till today. Tuition centres who are doing well also typically publish the results of their students to advertise their teaching methods and the quality of their tutors, so do look out for that. Good indications of effective teaching would be indications of their students improving significantly after going for the tuition sessions. A convenient way to search for review on a tuition centre would be to look on online forums— there are so many out there today, especially since Singaporean parents take their children’s education as being of upmost importance.
While some tuition centres are extremely well known for their teaching quality and methods, something that might give you second thoughts on enrolling your child there might be the location of the tuition centre. Location is another huge factor to consider in deciding which tuition centre to sign your child up for, as long travelling times can take a toll on your child. Instead, try to find a tuition centre that is closer to you and easily accessible by public transport, especially if your family does not own a car. A lot of time can be wasted on travelling if you opt for a tuition centre that is located far away from your home, and this extra time can be better spent for relaxation or bonding with your child.
Image by The Learning Board
Alternatively, if you have decided on engaging a private tutor for your child, here are some useful tips to help you to choose the best tutor for your child’s needs.
The first thing that might pop up in your head might simply be— where do I start to look for a private Math tutor for my child? There are many options that you can consider— getting referrals from other family members, your coworkers or your friends, searching online for private tutors, or approach a private tuition agency to match you up with a tutor who has signed up with them.
When you are filtering through the different profiles of private Math tutors for your child, the most important thing to consider would be the learning style of your child. Make sure that you understand the way your child learns best, and match this learning style to the teaching style of the tutor. Some children learn better through more interactive and problem based methods, so make sure that the tutor’s teaching style matches up with the way your child learns. There is no single best tutor out there, and even private tutors with the best reviews from his other tutees might not be the best option for your child. Every child is different, and different tutors will work better for different people. If you are still unsure if a tutor would be compatible in his teaching style with your child, you can also arrange for trial lessons with them and observe how your child is learning from the tutor before committing to sign up for a package of lessons with the tutor. It is important to also listen to feedback from your child, as he or she will know the best on whether the tutor is working for them or not.
3 popular Math tuition centres in Singapore
For the parents out there who are looking for Math tuition centres to enroll your child in, we have compiled three popular Math tuition centres in Singapore for you to consider and look into. This would be a good start if you are currently lost amidst all the different options out there, and will hopefully give you some clue as to where you will want to enroll your child for Math tuition!
The Learning Lab
Image by The Learning Lab
The Learning Lab is one of Singapore’s well-known tuition centres, known for their quality curriculum and for producing students with excellent results in the major national examinations. They offer tuition classes for a range of subjects across all stages of education, giving a wide option for parents. They market themselves as being not simply a tuition centre, but also an enrichment centre, helping your child to learn beyond the classroom and beyond tests and examinations. They also pride on creating an environment that gives their students the freedom to learn and grow to love the subject. All the tutors in The Learning Lab are also graduates who have undergone a rigorous selection and training process, so you can be assured that they are of great quality.
The Leaning Lab also has locations that are conveniently located across Singapore, making it extremely convenient regardless of which part of Singapore you live in.
Many positive testimonials are also given to the quality of the lessons that are offered here. Some of these reviews even come from the students themselves who have had a positive experience at the tuition centre. For instance, Clarence Cheong, a student at The Leaning Lab from 2004-2014, commented that he remembered his “visceral disappointment when I realized I would miss a Math lesson due to a family holiday, as my teacher had promised to apply geometry and spatial concepts to show us the unimaginable - how to create a hole on a piece of A4 paper large enough for us to walk through”. He also expressed that “It is hence this compelling combination that first showed me that learning could be fun, and filled me with palpable excitement whenever I learnt something new that stretched me beyond my peers. Whether it was the intensive exam preparations or the thorough content lectures, it has supported my academic growth and allowed me to achieve my personal bests”.
The Math Lab
Image by The Math Lab
The Math Lab claims to hire only the best Math teachers, and boasts a syllabus that is written by MOE teachers, making sure that what your child is learning is up to date and relevant. The teaching materials that they use are also sourced from top schools, ensuring that your child will be able to get the best chance at learning and excelling in Math.
A thing that is unique to The Math Lab is that they offer the option of small class sizes. Classes typically hold 10-12 students, but if you are looking for a more intimate experience so that your child gets more personalised attention from the tutor, you can also opt to sign your child up for an intensive class, which only hold up to 5 students. You can also be assured that the tutors here are well qualified, as they only hire MOE teachers or principle teachers to hold the tuition lessons at the centre.
Students have also found the tuition sessions highly effective, with tutee Tan Mei Xuan commenting that “My Maths grade went from an ‘D’ to ‘A’. Thank you!!”
If you are interested in signing up your child at The Math Lab, their main branch is located at
Blk 4, Queen’s Road #02-121, Singapore 260004, so do make your way there to find out more!
Mavis Tutorial Centre
Image by Mavis Tutorial Centre
Mavis Tutorial Centre claims to only hire the best full time tutors, many who are ex MOE teachers. They have also developed their own specialized in-house curriculum that is constantly updated by the tutors to make sure that the lessons are conducted in the most interesting and engaging way, ensuring that the students truly enjoy the classes and learn more from them. Tutors at Mavis Tutorial Centre are also very approachable, and will go beyond to help them with their doubts and queries, especially the questions that they face when approaching challenging examination questions.
Mavis Tutorial Centre also has a number of branches located throughout Singapore, making it easy to find one that is conveniently located near you.
Jian Qiang, a tutee from Mavis Tutorial Centre, has nothing but good words to say about his tuition experience there: “However,I have to admit that Mavis is extremely professional. Charging reasonable rates with dedicated teachers, well planned lessons and syllabuses as well as high quality notes and reviews. In fact, I was taught by both Mr Melvin Ng and Mr Kelvin Ng, whose dedication to their profession was exemplary. Maths, from being a mundane subject, became very passionate and dynamic, and with much motivation from my teachers, my grades shot up and I eventually did quite well for my O levels.”
Alternatives to tuition centres in Singapore
However, even after reading through all of this information on conventional tuition centres and private tuition options, you might still end up being unable to find an option that fits all your needs. If you are having second thoughts about these conventional Math tuition options, you might be interested in a great alternative to all of that— live-online Math tuition.
One great option for online tuition is iMath, which is an online community comprising of Math enthusiasts, parents, and tutors, who are available to offer your child the help that he needs with his Math homework. One great benefit of iMath is that they provide on demand help on their platform. This means that your child will be able to go online to seek help whenever he is stuck with a Math problem instead of waiting for his next tuition session before he can clear these problems up. Timely help is important to make sure that your child can continue learning without being hindered and delayed in his progress. The services on iMath is also provided at a low cost, making sure that it remains an affordable option despite all the additional perks it brings.
Your child could also get onto a live session online with a qualified tutor and have the tutor explain the problem or concept to your child. All these can be done in 30min block, leaving your child more time to do other things. Your child will also be able to review his past lessons anytime he wants to revise on a topic, as all sessions with the tutor are recorded.
Finding the right tuition option for your child can be a daunting task, and as parents, we all want to give the best to our children. We hope that this has helped you to better understand the tuition scene in Singapore and to make a better choice for you and your child. We wish you all the best in finding the right fit for your child!