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Your Ultimate Guide to the PSLE Primary English Curriculum

June 25, 2023
StudySmart Team
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PSLE will probably be the first national examination your child will be facing. As a parent, you might be feeling pressure, especially when it comes to English. While subjects like Math and Science often have clear-cut answers for every question, English is a language that relies more on intuition rather than strict theoretical principles, particularly when it comes to basic grammatical rules.

Mastering English is crucial for your child's academic and future professional success, as it is one of Singapore's official languages and the primary medium of learning in schools. This guide seeks to equip parents with a thorough knowledge of the PSLE English curriculum so they can effectively support their children's educational journey.

Writing & Reading Objectives of the PSLE English Curriculum

Reading, listening, speaking, and writing, along with vocabulary, language and grammar use, are the main components of the primary English curriculum. These components focus on the development of language skills, nurturing strong roots in English and preparing students for the English PSLE examination. Here is a simplified description of the different elements of the PSLE English primary curriculum and the main objectives met with each of them.


The focus of the writing component is to help students develop the ability to express themselves effectively in various kinds of writing, including creative compositions and expository essays. Students learn to organise their thoughts, express their ideas clearly, and use suitable vocabulary to convey their message through regular writing practice. Students are introduced to critical writing techniques such as drafting, brainstorming, editing and revising during the course of the writing process.

Paper one of the English PSLE examination consists of two sections: Situational writing, in which students compose a functional piece that revolves around a given circumstance, and Continuous Writing, in which they compose an essay on a given topic. The primary goals of the English PSLE's writing part are:

  1. Clearly and effectively using writing to align with the purpose, context and audience.
  2. Using an acceptable tone
  3. Developing suitable concepts and articulating them convincingly
  4. Utilising proper grammar, punctuation and spelling
  5. Using numerous vocabularies with precision and clarity


The purpose of the reading component of the English curriculum in PSLE is to equip students with the skills necessary to effectively comprehend and interpret a wide variety of texts. Students are introduced to various genres, including non-fiction, poetry and fiction, enabling them to comprehensively understand various writing formats and styles.

Furthermore, the curriculum seeks to develop students' critical reading skills by encouraging them to analyse, assess, and synthesise textual information. Comprehension and language use of the Paper Two of PSLE English is a 110-minute segment. It assesses students' fundamental linguistic abilities, including grammar, comprehension, and vocabulary, via a wide range of open-ended and multiple-choice questions. Among the primary objectives of the literature component are:

  1. Showcasing textual understanding
  2. Exhibiting knowledge of the underlying meaning and critical text analysis

A Detailed Insight Into Various Aspects of PSLE English Paper

Vocabulary, Language & Grammar Use 

The objective of the vocabulary, language and grammar use is to provide students with a solid basis in English language sentence construction and correct language usage. Students are exposed to various language activities, including grammar exercises and word puzzles, to reinforce their comprehension of grammar rules and expand their vocabulary. The primary objectives of this part are:

  1. Demonstrating knowledge of how the contextual application of grammatical components shapes meaning
  2. Providing examples of correct usage of grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and spelling

Speaking & listening

The speaking and listening part of the PSLE English curriculum focuses on enhancing students' oral communication skills. Listening comprehension is paper three, whereas verbal communication is paper four. In paper three, students respond to twenty multiple-choice questions based on spoken recordings such as news reports, advertisements and announcements. In the oral communication segment, candidates demonstrate their verbal abilities by reading loudly while participating in discussions with the examiners.
Asian school children in the class write in a notebook with a pencil illustrating learning PSLE English.
Students engage in activities such as presentations, group discussions, and role-playing in order to develop their listening and speaking abilities. Students can practice their ability to communicate verbally in an encouraging setting while learning to collaborate with their classmates through these activities. The primary goals of this section are:

  1. Establishing an understanding of conversations
  2. Identifying messages, details and ideas in various contexts
  3. Drawing conclusions and inferences
  4. Reading with proper punctuation to express ideas and emotions
  5. Clearly and effectively expressing individual views
  6. Fluently speaking with correct grammar, sentence structures and vocabulary

Ways to Support Your Child's Educational Journey in Singapore

PSLE English study cannot be done overnight. To give students adequate time to revise and brush up on their fundamental English skills, the subject should be developed and gradually built on starting as soon as Primary 1. Understanding the objectives and components of this educational programme will enable you, as a parent or guardian, to effectively encourage your kid's learning journey. Moreover, it will help in ensuring that they gain the language abilities they need for personal development and academic success. Here are some methods you can use to assist your child's academic development:

  1. Provide a wide range of age-appropriate literature and materials to encourage reading.
  2. Encourage your child to write on a regular basis, like creative writing assignments, letters or a personal journal.
  3. Engage your kid in meaningful discussions to enhance their speaking and listening skills.
  4. Encourage students to voice their opinions and thoughts on current events, the books they're reading, and other topics.
  5. Spend time with your child reviewing grammar guidelines and new vocabulary.
  6. Create a nurturing home environment for learning.
  7. Consider enrolling your child in additional support programmes if they struggle with particular elements of the PSLE English curriculum.

The takeaway

Understanding the PSLE English curriculum is essential for students who wish to excel in the examination. By becoming familiar with the goals of every element, kids may create effective strategies for achieving success in these areas. Students will be able to competently handle various sections of the PSLE English paper with the knowledge acquired from this guide, paving the path to academic success. Get in touch with StudySmart, an innovative PSLE online learning platform powered by Artificial Intelligence exclusively designed for students in Singapore to propel their educational progress with targeted support and personalised learning.

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