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Stop Making These Common Mistakes in PSLE English

July 18, 2022
StudySmart Team
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A student is giving a PSLE English exam sitting comfortably on the desk. The exam booklet with other writing materials is available on the table.

Why do Students Make Mistakes in PSLE English?

Mistakes are common in exams. But isn't writing without mistakes one of the main objectives of an exam? An error-free answer paper is a surefire way to score maximum marks. However, some exams are a tad more daunting than others. Like, for example, PSLE English.

It is often difficult for children to master comprehension of the English language, and they are sure to encounter some obstacles during the test. Surely, PSLE English is far less complicated than Maths or Science. Yet, why do Primary students make mistakes in this subject?

Primary school educators in Singapore point to four main reasons for children making silly to serious mistakes in the said subject:

  1. Lack of adequate preparation is one of the prime reasons for any pitfalls while writing exams. If this is the reason, one cannot simply blame any external factors which may have hampered the child's performance.
  2. Confidence is good, but overconfidence is detrimental. Overconfident children often make rash, spur-of-the-moment decisions. They may also not want to check the answers after completing the exam.
  3. Careless writing is another reason children end up writing answers that originally were not intended to be written. If they are not vigilant about their writing, they can lose valuable marks.
  4. Exam tension and nervousness can shake the confidence of even the most well-prepared student. Children can freeze up, forget what they've studied, or get confused with the facts.

Here's a list of the most common mistakes Primary students inadvertently make in PSLE oral and PSLE listening comprehension. Here are some tips on how your child can improve in these areas.

Also Read : The 7-Step Guide to PSLE Situational Writing

11 Common Errors to Avoid in PSLE English

1. Missing the main plot

More often than not, students tend to read through the passage carelessly and start dealing with the questions. However, they stumble when writing answers connected to the core content or the main plot. Here's where they lose valuable marks in PSLE English.

Tip: Pay attention to the main plot in the passage to be able to answer all the questions in detail.

2. Answering in fluke

This is another classic example of the student's carelessness in providing the correct answers. To avoid answering from memory or in a fluke, your child should use reading as a guide to finding the right answers.

3. Giving vague answers

Providing vague answers that do not give any adequate information is a common blunder in PSLE English. Students often use non-specific words like "Something", "Somewhere", and " Someone" instead of giving super-specific answers that leave no room for misinterpretation and doubt. The answer can be concise yet cover all the little details to address the question.

4. Answering without reading the full passage

The very essence of English comprehension is reading a passage fully to derive the correct answer. However, students often make these three mistakes:

  1. Rushing through the reading part and attempting the questions.
  2. Skipping some sentences in the passage (which may contain crucial details.)
  3. Avoid reading the conclusion.

Tip: To avoid making a hurried read, your child should focus on the keywords, which will help them pay more attention to minor details.

5. Avoiding the crucial details

Understanding the passage and translating it to the answer space is the objective of the comprehension paper. To ensure that they have evidence for their answers, students should include details from the passage and retain the original meaning. This is the safer approach unless the question requires students to use their own words.

6. Plagiarising the answers

A silly but costly blunder is when students copy an entire sentence or chunk from the passage and use it to answer questions. Instead of overhauling the entire sentence, students can use synonyms and antonyms to rephrase the passage to a new version.

7. Overdoing perfection

Is your child spending too much time perfecting every single answer? If that's the case, they probably won't have enough time to complete the paper. Moreover, concentrating too much on one question will affect their overall score.

Tip: Students can start dealing with the easy questions first and deal with the tougher ones later to ensure they have a large supply of correct answers.

8. Committing spelling mistakes

The incorrect spelling of words is the result of carelessness. Correctly spelt words are vital to an effective answer, as a wrong spelling could lead to the wrong interpretation of an answer, despite correct details for the rest of the question.

9. Misinterpreting "Literal" and "Inference" questions

There are two types of questions in the PSLE English comprehension paper. They are:

  1. Literal questions which require answers directly from the given passage.
  2. Inferential questions which require answers from the clues found in the passage. Inferring the following sequence of events or actions a character did can often provide answers to these questions.

Unfortunately, identifying the difference between these two question types is a big challenge for many children.

10. Misuse of pronouns

Using pronouns like he, she, they, them, or their's before a noun will make the entire answer sound ambiguous and unclear. To avoid this mistake, train your child to start a sentence by stating the noun (most preferably the name of the person or character) before using a pronoun.

11. Poor time management

Time management is key to boosting the overall score in any exam. With PSLE English comprehension, students should know how to divide the time and use it wisely for each section. Practising mock exams will help me master time management and complete the question paper without leaving any section.

Study Smarter with StudySmart for PSLE English

Done well, PSLE English Comprehension can boost your child's English score and overall score. However, the exam can be challenging if students do not realize these blunders and make efforts to rectify them.
The mantra here is to write, revise, and repeat until they perfect the technique of scoring full marks.

A clever way to help your child master PSLE English is to give them the StudySmart advantage. Our AI-powered app is an ideal learning platform to personalize your child's PSLE preparation. Give us a call to discuss the details.

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