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PSLE English Paper 2 Comprehension: 10 Mistakes to Avoid

February 20, 2023
StudySmart Team
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The comprehension puzzle illustrates handling common mistakes made by students in PSLE English composition.

The Importance Of PSLE Exams: An Overview

Students of Singapore who are moving on from elementary to middle or high school are required to take the Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE). It's expected as part of the course load and represents another challenge on the road to graduation.

The yearly PSLE is an examination covering a wide range of topics. Each topic has its own unique set of pitfalls and challenges. A student needs to study and prepare for all of them in order to do well when the grades are finally revealed.

If a student hasn't had much practice with the English language, the English comprehension test can be a tough nut to crack. Reading comprehension is notoriously challenging for non-native English speakers; it's easy to see how this could prove to be a major hurdle for anyone taking the test in question. However, the focus of this post is on highlighting the most frequent blunders that students make when taking the PSLE English comprehension test.

To help a student practise English comprehension, there are now plenty of online resources such as PSLE English online. These resources can help the student develop the skills and techniques needed to ace their PSLE English comprehension test.

Top 10 Common Mistakes - Tips by Top PSLE English Online Experts

Here is a list of some typical mistakes that students appearing for the exam usually make.

1. Excessive re-reading

There will be questions where students get lost because they are paying too much attention to the finer points and not enough to the big picture. This can be rectified by teaching them to skim for the primary idea and move on if the facts they need aren't found there.

2. Memory-based responses

A large portion of the questions will test the examinee's ability to recall details from the reading passage. Furthermore, students are likely to make some mistakes if they attempt to recall the correct response from memory.

If students want to do well on the test and not make any silly mistakes, they should treat it as though it were an open book test . While it's great that kids do usually have a fantastic memory, they shouldn't jump to conclusions until they finish reading the chapter. This will help reduce the chances of them giving an incorrect response to a question.

A boy wearing specs writes English comprehension in a book.
3. Unclear and vague answers

Students must ensure that they give thorough and detailed responses so that no detail is left out. Each piece of information in the answer must relate to the question. An answer need not be lengthy; it should be just enough to discuss the question asked.

Students should also avoid using vague terms like "how," "something," and "anywhere" in their answers, as this can lead teachers to misinterpret their meaning, resulting in a loss of significant marks.

4. Over analysing a question

It's common for students to become stuck on answering a particularly challenging question, which can throw off their normal response pace.

If students wish to have more correct answers to their credit, they should overlook these difficult questions and instead focus on the easier ones. If they have some time left after completing the easy questions, they may always go back to the more difficult ones to rack up bonus points. Questions with varying degrees of difficulty usually have the same answer values, so it's best to save the tough ones for last.

5. Misspelt words

Incorrect spelling is an indication of negligence. There will be words in the paragraph that students may not know. Hence, it might be difficult for them to spell them correctly. In such cases, it is important to double-check the spelling of all the words on the answer sheet, as a single misspelt word could throw off the total even if everything else was right.

6. Using confusing pronouns

He, them, or she are examples of pronouns. They can be used in place of a noun, such as "the robber" or "Simon," in a statement. Without the noun being stated first, the pronoun might make the answer confusing.

The proper approach to avoid this mistake is to use a noun before a pronoun. However, if a noun is used, a pronoun may be substituted in the following sentence.

Also Read : Solve It Right the First Time: Common Mistakes to Avoid in PSLE Maths

7. Confusing literal and inference questions

The comprehension section of the exam consists of two sorts of questions: literal and inferential. Answers to questions at the literal level can be acquired by a thorough reading of the passage, with the meanings at first glance being clearly understood.

To answer inferential questions, students must make inferences about the passage. What this means is that they can get the answers by using the hints provided and keeping in mind what the paragraph is trying to say.

This is the typical format for an inferential question:

"What makes you think..." "So how exactly..."

Unfortunately, many students lack the ability to distinguish between various question kinds and hence treat all comprehension questions as though they were meant to be taken at face value.

8. Obsessed with perfection

An obsession with accuracy can be a positive motivator, but it can also lead to burnout if pursued to extremes. Being excessively concerned about answering every question correctly may cause indecision and hesitance.

If a student gets stuck on a single "trick" question, it's likely that they won't be able to move on to the next set of questions and will have to abandon their attempt at passing the test altogether.

9. Lack of time management

It is common for students to spend too much time on a single paragraph, delaying their ability to move on to the next section of the exam.

Before moving on, spend a few minutes reading a section and taking notes in the margins about the facts they might need to answer the questions.

10. Copying entire paragraph

When answering questions, some students just copy an entire paragraph or sentence. In order to answer some of the questions, students will need to provide direct quotations from the reading. However, there are many who only quote the relevant paragraph and offer no further explanation.

To fix this, they need to rearrange the paragraphs and provide more explanation. There's no need to redo the whole thing from scratch. In order to organise the views, they should study the use of synonyms.

PSLE exams in Singapore: Summing it All Together

In short, students need extensive preparation for paper 2 of the PSLE English exam because it places a premium on comprehension. Even if students do grasp the material, it can affect their grades if they don't answer the questions correctly. Therefore, students need to improve their understanding and language skills to do well in this exam. Developing strong comprehension skills requires time and effort; therefore, helpful advice for learners is to keep practising and not be afraid to make mistakes.

Is your child or any student you know is looking for help to ace the PSLE English Paper 2 Comprehension? Studysmart's PSLE English online can be the ideal companion for students in Singapore. Talk to us to know more!

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