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Ace your PSLE English

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is an important milestone for you. Your PSLE revision should start as early as possible so that you will have a headstart in your revision. This will allow you to cope with the amount of content tested at the end of the year.

In this blog, we are going to discuss how to prepare for your PSLE English papers. PSLE English helps students to become better English speakers and readers. The examinations test your abilities to speak, read, analyse and use the English Language. There are a total of 4 papers that you will be sitting for. They are

Paper 1- Situational Writing and Continuous Writing,

Paper 2- Language Use and Comprehension,

Paper 3- Listening Comprehension and

Paper 4- Oral Examination.

Here are some revision tips that we had prepared for you:

Paper 1 (Situational Writing & Continuous Writing)

Paper 1 consists of two components, Situational Writing and Continuous Writing. Both components are assessing you on your ability to write clearly and effectively to the question requirements:

  • audiences and context;

  • use appropriate register and tone;

  • generate and select relevant ideas;

  • organising and coherently express these ideas;

  • use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation;

  • and use a variety of vocabulary appropriately.

Here are some ways to revise each of these components and meet their assessment points.

Situational Writing

1. Be careful not to write off topic

It will be a good habit to annotate the question given and mark out who you are writing as, the key purpose, who the audiences are and whether your letter is formal or informal. You can then draft a response for it and get a rough sense of how your response will go. This will help you understand the content given better and prevent you from writing off topic along the way. Also, you can practise and cultivate this habit every time you do situational writing.

2. Learn to interpret the image given and make a list of points

The information is usually given in visual texts, so practising how to interpret the information given will be helpful, such as learning how to pay attention to the dates, people involved, contact information and dialogues between the characters.

You can also make a list of points that may be relevant to the different broad topics that may be tested and by the time when it is your PSLE, you will have a list of points that can apply to the context given and this will help you allocate more time into checking the quality of your situational writing.

Continuous Writing

1. Plan your composition

Before the start of writing your composition, it will be good to set aside 5 minutes to plan your story outline and make sure it flows logically, and check if it goes with the theme of the story given. Remember to constantly check if you are writing relevant points to the topic and not be too carried away in the task of writing and forgetting about the plot that you planned. You can use the ‘5W1H (who, what, when, where, why and how)’ to plan your story outline. It is a good start to help you learn and get a hang of how your stories should go.

2. Make a word or vocabulary phrases bank

Word or vocabulary phrases bank is a list of descriptive words and phrases to help you beautify your composition. You can start your word bank by listing down any appealing descriptive words or phrases that you don’t know of when you come across them and their meanings. The usage of such words or phrases can help make your story more descriptive and engaging. However, do remember to only use them when it's applicable. Blindly memorising and using them in your compositions can affect the flow of the story and cause more issues in it.

3. Practise & learn from your mistakes

During your revision, you can try to write your compositions under timed practice. Doing them while you are being timed can allow you to learn and get a hang of how long you will take to write the different parts of the composition and also how much time you need to check your composition before submission.

Also, when you receive feedback for your compositions, you can reflect on the areas that you will need more areas of improvement, and you can rewrite those paragraphs that are done badly and ask your teachers for additional feedback on them. Learning from your mistakes will prevent you from making such errors in the future and also allow you to get a better understanding of the areas that you are unsure of. By the time you are doing your final examinations, there is a small chance that you will make the same errors that you made during your practice.

Paper 2 (Language Use & Comprehension)

Paper 2 is Language Use and Comprehension. The sections covered are (Booklet A) Grammar MCQ, Vocabulary MCQ, Vocabulary Cloze MCQ, and Visual Text Comprehension MCQ; and (Booklet B) Grammar Cloze, Editing for spelling and grammar, Comprehension Cloze, Synthesis and Transformation, and Open-Ended Comprehension.

Below are some ways to improve your

1. Grammar and Vocabulary

  • 1.1 Reading

Grammar and vocabulary can be improved with an adequate amount of reading. Reading is a good way to encourage you to learn more words, improve your writing and sentence fluency and how to use them. It reinforces correct grammar in your mind. Also, when you are stuck with a word that you do not understand, you can simply go and search online or use a dictionary to find the definition and memorise them for you to use in the future.

  • 1.2 Listening and Speaking

Simply listening to the way others speak or improving the way you speak, can help improve your grammar skills. Practise speaking in proper English and grammar with the people around you. Slowly, you will be able to create a small personal mental checklist about the way you speak and it will then be reflected in your writings.

2. Synthesis and Transformation

Synthesis and Transformation require you to join two sentences without changing the original meaning. The sentence must be grammatically correct with no spelling or punctuation errors. You can revise for this by practising the different possible types of tenses, conjunctions, direct to indirect speech, active voice to passive voice and word transformation. After that, you can check your answers by reading them out loud to hear if the sentence sounds fitting.

3. Open-Ended Comprehension

Open-Ended Comprehension is testing you on your understanding of the implied meaning from the passage given, and your ability to make judgements and evaluations. You can revise for comprehension by circling the command word (5W1H), and underlining what the question is asking for. Also, remember not to lift the whole sentence from the passage to fit into your answer, you should paraphrase your answers. For comprehension, you can do more practice too to get used to the types of questions that may be tested and the format of the answers that are required.

Paper 3 (Listening Comprehension)

Paper 3 is Listening Comprehension. This component is assessing your ability to understand spoken English. You can revise it by

1. Developing your listening skills

Cultivate a habit to listen to everything around you. It can be the news or even people talking. You can learn to interpret the information said, then jot the key information down. This will teach you to comprehend the information given and be able to sift out the relevant parts.

Paper 4 (Oral Communication)

Paper 4 is Oral Communication and it consists of two components, Reading Aloud and Stimulus-based Conversation. You will be assessed on your ability to pronounce and articulate your words clearly, to use suitable expression and rhythm to read the passage and give a personal response to visual stimulus and engage in a conversation with the examiner on a topic relevant to the theme of the visual stimulus.

To revise for

1. Pronunciation, Articulation and Slowing Down

Practice reading passages or stories from your favourite books with the correct pronunciations and articulations. You can also break words up to make it easier to pronounce and read the words slowly, for example, ‘go-vern-ment’ instead of ‘gah-ment’. Sometimes when you are nervous, you may start reading faster. Calming yourself down and trying to read each syllabus will give it better clarity and help you improve your pronunciation and articulation.

2. Expressiveness

To improve your expressiveness, you can learn to change your tone and volume while reading. You can sometimes add feelings to your reading. Using a soft, warm voice or a cold, hard voice to express what the characters in the passage are feeling or acting. Or varying the volume during ur reading can create emphasis in your reading too, making words or the emotions of the characters stand out.

3. Personal Response & Engaging in Conversation

You can start by studying pictures given with a purpose in mind and reading through them thoroughly. You should learn to pay attention to every detail shown as it can help in preparing the type of questions that may be asked. Again, creating a list of points that may apply to various topics can help you in drafting your answers during your examination. Additionally, you can also note down personal experiences that you had and supplement your answer by bringing in related stories to make the conversation more interesting.

To conclude, it will be good to start early and prepare for your upcoming examinations. With sufficient practise, it will help you feel more prepared mentally and physically. We hope these tips will help you ace your PSLE English paper. All the best!

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