Want To Help Your Average-scorer Excel In School? Try The 80/20 Rule!

Ally Villar
·4-min read

While grades don’t define your kids’ abilities, there’s no escaping assignments and exams that pit them against their peers. Which is why your kids will always need your support and motivation to continue learning, irrespective of their scores.

Incidentally, there are systems in place that allow for more focus on learning and less on grades. Case in point, the PSLE Scoring System. It is aimed at helping kids focus on learning instead of comparing them with each other. And even though it is an effective system and guides them to develop their strengths and interests, chances are your kid needs a little more help.

This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play.

The Significance of The 80/20 Rule

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The 80/20 rule or also known as the Pareto Principle signifies the effectiveness of 80% results that come from 20% effort. The percentage helps to determine which efforts one should prioritise in order to succeed and excel at a given task.

This concept originated in the early 1900s and was conceptualised by Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. In an at-home experiment he noticed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden contained 80% of pea pods. This led him to uncover the uneven distribution of efforts that often result in the greatest gains in life.

While it doesn’t need to be an exact 80/20, the number is mostly for assessing the imbalance of cause and effect.

How The Pareto Principle Can Help Your Child

According to the University of British Columbia, the 80/20 rule can be applied to a child’s academics and can help increase their productivity at school. we’ve broken the system down for you, so you know how your child can utilise it at every step.

  • 80/20 Rule For Preschoolers

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To better prepare your child for Primary 1, encourage them to read more on their own. Being able to develop their reading skills early on would help to learn faster at school, as well as follow written instructions for future assignments.

While you shouldn’t enforce independent reading, you’ll find that nurturing your child’s love for reading will really benefit them once they grow up.

You can do so by regularly reading to your child and then gradually letting them develop an interest in choosing and reading books for themselves.

  • 80/20 Rule For Primary School Students

80/20 rule
80/20 rule

Image source: iStock

You can also apply the Pareto Principle to how your child should study for Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

You can start by determining which content is the most important in the material taught and help them learn these core concepts before moving on to the remaining topics.

This is also a stage in your child’s life where they get to learn about essential life skills such as time management, organisation, as well as emotion control.

You can help them study efficiently for their assignments by allotting time to individual tasks. For instance, a minimum of 30 minutes can be set aside as study sessions, so they can focus on the subjects or topics that can help them score well. Similar time-setting technique can be used for other tasks such as assignments and even play-time. Allow them to prioritise and take it from there.

  • 80/20 Rule For Older Students

80/20 rule
80/20 rule

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Once your child reaches secondary school and above, they have probably adapted some organisational habits. This means that they are probably able to study on their own. Although, you can still play a part in helping your young teen feel more motivated to learn.

Start with the basis: always be ready to lend them your support.

They may no longer be the little preschooler who relied on you, but they’re still at an impressionable age. So it would help if you encouraged them to participate in enriching activities such as volunteer work.

It would also help that instead of memorising, your child should try to understand the material they’re studying. Bearing in mind the 80/20 rule, begin by letting your child understand the main idea of each topic. This does not mean they should ignore 80% of the rest of the material. Instead, focusing on its key parts could greatly help them understand most of its basics. Once the foundation is set, they can start building on it step-by-step.

The 80/20 rule not only helps to increase efficiency and productivity, but it also helps prioritise. This is crucial for a child who may be struggling purely because he doesn’t know where to begin. So try this method at home and watch your child succeed.


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