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Everything You Need to Know About PSLE English Oral Examination

May 30, 2022
StudySmart Team
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With her fingers on her chin, a primary school girl student thinks about the PSLE English exam.

PSLE oral examination is a vital component in every student's PSLE journey as it comprises 25% of their overall score in the English subject. The oral examination contributes considerably to the PSLE English marking scheme and provides students a better opportunity to boost their overall score.

Structure of PSLE English Oral Exam

The PSLE English oral exam contains two parts, namely:

Part 1 – Reading aloud
Part 2 – Stimulus-based conversation

Part 1 has 10 marks wherein the student has to read a short passage. Part 2 has 20 marks in which the student will be given a picture. They will be asked to verbalise their views about the image and answer the questions posed by the examiner. The time duration of an English oral exam is only 10 minutes. A student will be given 5 minutes for preparing and 5 minutes for presenting. Although the format looks simple and easy, it is one of the difficult segments of PSLE English and puts pressure on the students.

Essential Traits to Score High

Examiners lookout for certain parameters in students while evaluating them during the oral examination. They prefer the confidence of students while reading aloud and responding to questions. Other important traits that students should possess while taking up the oral examination are:

  • Providing elaborate answers
  • Being polite and pleasant during the conversation
  • Preventing repetitive sentences

Specifically for the reading aloud section, students should:

  • Offer good rhythm and fluency
  • Be expressive and clear
  • Pronounce and articulating properly

For Stimulus-base Conversation students should be good at:

  • Making personal responses
  • Engaging in conversations

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A Detailed Insight Into Reading Aloud & Stimulus-based Conversation in PSLE English Oral Examination

The PSLE English Oral exam's reading aloud segment expects students to read a passage to the examiner. The essential parts of this section are intonation, pronunciation, pacing, and enunciation.

Important Oral Skills for Reading Aloud

A child will be assessed based on the following oral skills while reading aloud. They are:

1. Clear Articulation of Words

While reading the passage, the student must be mindful of clear articulation and proper pronunciation of words. You can teach your child to read with better clarity by paying more attention to the ending sounds of consonants. Students are expected to enunciate every sound without misreading consonant digraphs or shortening the vowel sounds.

2. Proper Pacing

A child must read aloud without being monotonous. They will be evaluated based on the usage of proper rhythm and therefore should read fluently in a well-paced manner. Thus, students are expected to read by varying their speed to match the mood of the sentence.

3. Expressiveness

PSLE English oral questions offer students passages that convey feelings, ideas, and information. The examiner assesses the tone of the students and checks whether they use variations to convey their emotions properly. You can encourage your child to spot keywords that denote the emotions like adjectives, verbs, and adverbs.

Tips to Ace the Reading Aloud Segment

There are a few general tips to ace the reading aloud section. Students must read the entire passage steadily without going too fast or too slow. They have to adjust their voice according to the context or dialogue and also as per the usage of verbs and adjectives in the passage. The key to scoring high is to make the reading interesting by using proper intonation. The things to avoid are monotony, hesitation, and repetition. The other important factors to consider are:

  • Make use of the preparation time wisely
  • Give a pause at the required place
  • Read in clusters but break up the words which are hard to pronounce
  • Use a proper pitch and tone to express emotions
  • Focus on identical yet contrasting ways to pronounce the words

Important Oral Skills for Stimulus-based Conversation

In recent times, stimulus-based conversations have been revamped, and they feature pictures in the form of posters, brochures, signage, or instruction manuals which serve as conversation starters. The stimulus-based conversation session starts with questions based on the picture, followed by topics related to the picture. The oral skills required to ace the stimulus-based conversation include:

A girl student practising stimulus-based oral communication for her PSLE exam on her personal computer.

1. Personal Response

The examiner will assess the student's ability to develop personal responses during both direct and broadly linked question sessions. The student has to initiate and introduce more points to support the facts, news, and stories they mention. They have to bring in their own opinions and make a strong stand. You can teach your child to use the PEEP format to respond to the questions, which serves as the golden thumb rule to nail any stimulus-based conversation. The PEEP structure has four points, namely:

  • Point – Make a main point or topic sentence to kick start the oral examination.
  • Explanation – Offer an elaborate and detailed explanation for all points.
  • Example – Provide one or more illustrations to substantiate the topic sentence.
  • Opinion – Share personal experiences, feelings, opinions, or thoughts about the given topic.

2. Expression Clarity

The student must be able to express themselves during a conversation with others. The examiner will look for cues and assess the child by questioning why they feel in a specific manner. You must encourage your child to provide more details with personal experiences to satisfy the examiner and score better.

3. Engaging Conversation

The main focus of any stimulus-based conversation is evaluating how the student responds to the examiner with confidence. Teach your child the rule of three structures so that they can make a strong link or conclusion. Most importantly, the rule of three structure is handy for answering questions that expect students to explain how they will make an achievement. As per the rule of three structures, a child will have to list the three main points and conclude them with an end statement. However, the student needs to use introductory phrases or conjunctions to link the conclusion with the points mentioned. A few of the phrases or words like first and foremost, additionally, last but not least, to sum up, in a nutshell, etc., will make a huge difference and help students sound confident.

Finally, when the student has shared their views, the conclusion gives the final touch to the entire presentation. Therefore, it is important to reiterate the topic sentences and combine all the points once again and finish. Crafting a strong conclusion is possible by including the reflections and lessons learned in the final part. Here, you can encourage your child to use phrases like, to sum up, in conclusion, all in all, etc.

Also Read : Tips to Handle PSLE English Exam

Tips to Ace the Stimulus-based Conversation Segment
The simple tips and tricks to score high in the stimulus-based conversation segment include:

  • Do not stop the conversation with a yes or no.
  • Expand the answer and elaborate on points.
  • Personalise responses as they demonstrate the depth of thinking.
  • Do not be repetitive with sentences.

Another important hack is to take time and study the picture well. Think deep and bring in stories with a good command of the English language. However, it is okay to pause in between with fillers like as well, so on, I think, etc.

Steps to Overcome the Common Problems Faced by Students in PSLE English Oral Exam

Students face problems like anxiety, mental blocks, and an inability to organize the answers. The exam fear, stress, and pressure might, at times, cause the student to speak without clarity, making the situation worse. By developing a few essential traits, students will be able to conquer and resolve the problems mentioned above. They are:

  • Students must read more and be familiar with the habit of reading aloud and speaking fluently with proper intonation and pace. You can encourage your child to read storybooks, magazines, newspapers, comic books, etc., to become familiar with sharing ideas and responding verbally. The more they practice, the better they will communicate with confidence.
  • When students recollect memories of people, objects, and places, they need time. By preparing the anecdotes in advance, they will be able to handle the situation better and describe their insights related to the topic successfully. A simple hack is to make use of illustrations that have an emotional resonance as they will be easy to recall and express.
  • Logical thinking is essential to organise the response and provide a relevant answer. Teach your child to use keywords that will help them exhibit their thoughts with expression and clarity. Encourage the child to use firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc., to create an impression that the student has a substantiated point and a clear response.

The Takeaway

PSLE is a turning point or a huge milestone in a student's academic journey. Follow the simple tips and tricks to score better with the reading aloud and stimulus-based conversation segments. Teach your child to always be realistic and fascinating with their reading ways and equip them with the skills to effortlessly ace oral exams. Study Smart Singapore is an AI-powered learning app with adequate resources which helps to score high in PSLE English oral examination in Singapore. Our in-build database of question banks, study materials, personalised homework, revision, and exam preparations will help your child reach great heights. You can also try the free version and get great benefits like no other learning platform.

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