Finding One’s Motivation

P Thuriga might just be 12, but she is already setting an example for her peers with her steely resolve and passion for learning.

The former St. Margaret’s Primary student won a Sustained Improvement Award this year for her achievements in Mathematics.

“Even before the examination period, I would make flashcards and memorise the important points,” says Thuriga. “I plan my study time so that it’s spread out evenly over the week, so that my revision for multiple subjects isn’t crammed in one day. For example, I can study English on Monday, then Maths on Tuesday and Science on Wednesday.”

Thuriga mentioned how her tutors from the STEP tuition programme explained the syllabus thoroughly during lessons. “We played trivia games to make the lessons more fun. During English lessons, we brought dictionaries to class and looked up vocabulary words. For Maths, we did online quizzes – I felt it was a meaningful way of using the Internet for learning.”

“The tutors went a step further by sharing techniques that would be useful in the examinations. They were nice and friendly, but they taught us to be disciplined in a way that we could grasp quickly. Before STEP, I used to feel distracted and unmotivated to improve my grades. After STEP, I became more disciplined to get on the right track,” she says.

Parental support was also a key factor in Thuriga’s progress. Mdm Sasikala, Thuriga’s mother, was careful not to pressure Thuriga to score high marks. “While she was revising for her PSLE, I would encourage her to do her best. Her Mathematics grades had decreased to 50s during the Primary 5 semestral examinations. After three months of attending STEP tuition, her scores increased from 50s to 80s and 85s. She is extremely self-motivated – she takes her own initiative and goes for her STEP lessons without needing to be reminded.”

Thuriga is an avid reader too; counting books such as ‘Chinese Cinderella’ and the ‘Harry Potter’ series as favourites. “In Primary 3, I joined the library club, where we were taught drama, storytelling and show and tell skills. We also learned to write book reviews. STEP was a main reason for me to excel at reviews. We focused on vocabulary, and learnt a variety of words and phrases, so we could write more expressive reviews,” she explains.

Thuriga, who will be entering Tanjong Katong Girls’ School in 2019, says that her experience has taught her that failures are not the end. “There’s always a next time to try harder and find your motivation. Find your motivation and you’ll find your aspirations. Everyone has a different speed of learning. So if you take longer to learn than others, don’t be discouraged. Take your time and you will get there.”