5 Tips for improving your PSLE English Oral Examination Scores

by Education Cube, posted on May 24, 2016


1, Practise reading aloud one-to-one

2. Develop a list of useful words and phrases that will help you describe the picture – for example, words for emotions like shocked, embarrassed, over the moon, and for describing a background place such as peaceful, noisy, cold etc.

3. Learn how to respond to the visual stimulus. Practice the who, what, where and how. Describe the physical picture, where is it? Who is involved (describing the people in the picture), what the people are doing, and how you feel about it.

4. Make a recording of your reading so that you can hear yourself talk and see how you express yourself in front of your examiners.

5. Understand what is required in the examinations. What are the examiners looking for?


The PSLE English Examination Paper 4 (Oral Communication) objective is to assess the candidate’s ability to

- read with good pronunciation, clear articulation and appropriate intonation in order to convey the information, ideas and feelings in a passage

- produce a well-paced, fluent reading of a passage

- express their personal opinions, ideas and experiences clearly and effectively in conversing with the examiner

- speak fluently and with grammatical accuracy, using a range of appropriate vocabulary and structures  

Paper 4 makes up 15% (30 out of the total 200 marks) for the English paper.

There are two components.

1. Reading Aloud (10 marks); and

2. Stimulus-based Conversation (20 marks).

For Reading Aloud, candidates are assessed on their ability to pronounce and articulate words clearly, as well as their ability to read fluently with appropriate expression and rhythm. 

TIP: Make ample use of the five minutes preparation time. Go through the passage to see when you should pause, as well as when you should emphasise certain words or phrases. If you encounter any unfamiliar words, this is the time when you should practise the pronunciation. Make the best guess you can if you really do not know how to. Try to go through the passage aloud at least twice so that you will be familiar with it. When reading to the examiner, try not to be nervous. They are not there to fail you. They are there to give you marks so don't panic even if you do not know one, two or even three words! You will not fail because of that. Maintain fluency and pitch, by reading in a clear tone and without rushing.

For Stimulus-based Conversation, candidates are assessed on their ability to give a personal response to a visual stimulus and engage in a conversation on a relevant topic. 

TIP: First give a general description of the entire scene (WHERE), then move on to describe the characters (WHO) and what they may be doing (WHAT) and the possible reasons (WHY). Add your opinion. For example, the scene may be children eating burgers in a fast-food restaurant. You could say that the children looks like having burgers for a meal at a restaurance (WHERE this is taking place) and the burgers look huge, with two meat patties and two slices of cheese (WHAT they are eating/doing ), that they must be enjoying one another's company and the huge burgers (WHY they look happy). Add your opinion. Think about what kind of food you enjoy, do you think it is important to eat well and what kinds of food should we avoid eating.

Take a moment to organise your thoughts when asked a question. Do not only give one-word answer. Explain why you have given that answer. For example, if the examiner asked, "Do you think it is important to have a balanced diet? Why/Why not?" Don't just say Yes, it is important. Talk about why you should be eating food that keeps you healthy and strong, what kind of food you think is healthy, what you or your family eat or avoid eating. Perhaps talk about the different ways food can be prepared to make the meal a healthier one.

Finally, thank the examiner at the end of the conversation and take some time to think about what you did well in, and how you can improve it the next time. Practice makes perfect!

SEAB Syllabus Reference here.

Oral Comic

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