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Tips to Help Your Child Score Better in PSLE English Oral Stimulus-Based Conversation

May 28, 2022
StudySmart Team
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The oral stimulus-based conversation PSLE expects a child to make conversation with the examiner by using a picture or stimulus as the conversation starter. The first question to the child will be based on the picture, and then the broad-based questions will be about the topic or theme of the picture.

Objectives of the PSLE English Oral Stimulus-Based Conversation

The assessment objectives of stimulus-based conversation PSLE as per the Ministry of Education analyses whether the students can:

  • Express their ideas, experiences, and personal opinions effectively with clarity to the examiner. This is categorized under objective A03.
  • Speak with fluency with accuracy in grammar by including good vocabulary and sentence structures. This is categorized under objective A04.

Objective A03--Express personal opinions/ideas/experiences with clarity

The ability of a student to express one’s ideas and opinions is a crucial life skill. You can help your child develop this skill by initiating conversations about their favourite sport, school activities, family and friends, etc. Allow them to articulate the right vocabulary to express their feelings about an incident, situation, or behaviour. Encourage them to elaborate further on the topic and why they feel so. When you give them repeated practice, they will be able to elaborate on ideas easily.

Objective A04--Speak fluently with proper sentence structure and no grammatical errors

Using standard English in a PSLE English oral examination is expected from any student. Oral examinations require students to communicate in a formal style of standard English. You can help your child by setting yourself as an example and communicating with them with good vocabulary and grammatically correct sentences. As a child keeps hearing standard English constantly, they will be able to speak and write in standard English. It is your responsibility to encourage your child to speak in English, as the more they do, the better they will be able to handle the oral examination.

How to Answer & Ace the PSLE English Oral Stimulus-Based Conversation?

The examiner will follow a definite questioning pattern with three main questions in every stimulus-based conversation topic. At times the examiner will expect the student to elaborate more and provide details about the topic. But if the candidate is performing up to the mark by quoting personal experiences and giving relevant answers, the examiner might stop with fewer questions.

Types of Questions

The three main questions are:

  • Picture-specific
  • Community-related
  • Global

The first question will always be specific to the provided picture. The student will have to observe the picture closely and express their ideas by substantiating with personal experiences. The community-related questions will be the second question, based on a broader context like the school and neighbourhood. The third question will be a global question related to the given topic. Personal opinions are expected in these type of questions.

Furthermore, there are two types of questions, namely:

  • Directly-linked Questions – The first question based on the picture falls under this classification. Here candidates are expected to pick up particulars from the picture and elaborate on its purpose and function.
  • Broadly-linked Questions – The questions that follow the first or second question are categorized under broadly-linked questions. A variety of questions fall under this session, and it is hard to predict them. But you can anticipate questions like prior experiences, favourites, etc.
    The questions like reflection and opinion are hard to grasp, and students are expected to respond quickly along with good reasoning. You can teach your child not to panic during such circumstances and state at least three points to validate their opinion or reflection.

Points to Remember During Oral Examination

Every student must look at the visual and collect points about the topic well in advance during the preparation time, which is 5 minutes as per standards. They must self-interrogate by predicting the questions that will be asked and prepare the answers using the PEEL structure. This strategy’s first step will be to answer the question(P=Point). Then the student must elaborate on how, who, or what (E=Elaborate). The next step will be to state an example through personal experience or acquired knowledge (E=Example). The final step in a PEEL structure is the opinion or conclusion, known as a link (L=Link). Another simple tip for answering without any difficulty is remembering the keywords for all the points.

A student should follow the basic etiquettes mentioned below to ace the stimulus-based conversation PSLE.

  • Sitting upright and holding a smile.
  • Maintaining eye contact.
  • Having the hands on the lap to prevent unnecessary fidgeting due to nervousness.
  • Expressing personal experiences or sharing knowledge gained through reading.
  • Requesting the examiner to repeat the question in a polite manner when it is not audible or clear.
  • Answering with confidence as it creates a good impression.

Also Read : A Complete Guide to PSLE English

Common Misconceptions During PSLE English Oral Stimulus-Based Conversation

Misconception 1--Longer answers are better.

It is not true that the longer a student answers, the better it is. The length of the answer will not determine the score. The answer must reflect the student’s understanding of the question and must be relevant. In the event of attempting to lengthen the answer, the student must be aware that they must add points related to the question. Finally, as per the PEEL structure, the student must be able to provide a link that blends well with the question. A good conclusion or link will help the student score better.

Misconception 2--Engaging and interesting answers will improve scores.

The answer need not be engaging and interesting to capture the attention of the examiner. Instead, the student must use the language appropriately with correct grammar rules to make their answers sound interesting and engaging. Therefore, you can train your child to use correct tense with a wide range of vocabulary. Teach them subject-verb agreement and ensure that they speak in standard English.

A girl uses her laptop and headset to study and revise.

Misconception 3--In a yes/No question, students must always agree with the examiner

There is no actual need to always agree with a yes or no question to score better. You have to make your child understand that there is no standard answer to any question. Instead of bluntly agreeing to a yes or no question, teach them to give their opinion. Make them think and act by going with the answer in which they will be able to provide supporting statements. Another way to score better is to discuss both opinions with advantages and disadvantages before concluding.

Misconception 4--Students must makeup stories when they don't have personal experiences to use in the answers

There is no need to make up stories when the student has no relevant experience. Most children think that they have to cook up stories by involving themselves in them and creating unreal experiences. But in such scenarios, you can teach your child to follow the simple steps mentioned below. They are:

  • Relating experiences of friends and family.
  • Relating to stories read in magazines, newspapers, etc.
  • Relating to previously watched movies or videos.
  • Imagining a hypothetical situation and expressing desires or wishes.

Misconception 5-- More questions from the examiner implies poor performance

If the examiner is asking a lot of questions, it does not mean that the performance of the student is poor. As a general rule, the examiner will have three questions for every student. However, the examiner can ask more questions if they are unable to assess the candidate with the basic three questions. The examiners are permitted to ask any question related to the topic based on the student’s response. Thus, when the assessment has to be better, it is quite natural for the examiner to shoot more questions. There are circumstances when the examiner is impressed with the engaging replies of a student, and in such instances also, they tend to ask more questions. Therefore, if the responses are well-developed and relevant, a student need not worry about the scores.


With all the points mentioned above, it is also essential for a student to stay calm and composed on the day of the PSLE oral examination. If the student is capable of speaking more in relevance to the PSLE oral stimulus-based conversation topics, they are likely to gain higher scores. Thus, take the necessary steps to prepare your child with the tips provided in the article above. Study Smart Singapore is an app that has more than one lakh questions created by PSLE makers and ex-MOE teachers. Subscribe and provide your child with personalized questions for stimulus-based conversation PSLE and track their performance from time to time.

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