Surviving the PSLE- (Part 3B) The English Exam

English Paper 2 is the paper in the English exam which has the biggest weightage at 47.5%. Therefore if one does badly in this particular paper there is a high chance that the overall grade for English would go down by one to two levels. IE : Dropping from an A to a C.

What I have observed from my students weaknesses that majority of them are weak in these sections – Vocabulary , Editing , Synthesis and Transformation, Comprehension Cloze and Comprehension Open Ended. These are the sections which most find hard to score.

Reasons for these Weakness

  1. Not reading wide enough.( Exposure to different genres)
  2. Not enough practice doing specimen papers/ assessment books.
  3. Unwillingness to use proper English in daily speech
  4. Using too much broken English/ Singlish
  5. Poor in Spelling and or Phonics

Are there ways to improve one’s grade?

The short answer is “Yes”. There are certain “clues” which a student can be taught to pick up while doing the various components. Here are some tips which I give my students on how they can improve their grades.

1.Highlight words which you do not understand and look up the meaning in the dictionary.

2. Read the questions first before the main text for the Visual Text Comprehension and Comprehension Open Ended components. This will give the student a clearer idea on which part to pay a closer attention to while reading through the passage.

3. Look for contextual clues to what should be filled in the blank for cloze passages by reading the surrounding words or sentances. This will give you a rough idea of what may be needed.

4. If possible read the questions/ text out aloud during practice as it will help you internalize the questions and understand them better. This works well for auditory learners.

5. Play with Colors. I recommend using different color highlighters to mark out the answers within the Comprehension Text passage within the Comprehension Open ended.

6. Check through your work thoroughly. For the Vocabulary Cloze passage where the student is expected to fill in the blank with the Alphabet relating to the answer I get students to write the actual answers below the line. This will assist them in checking if their answer chosen is suitable for the blank when they re-read what they have done without needing to match up the Alphabet with the answer.

It all boils down to consistent practice and diligence to be able to excel in one’s academic achievement. As they say one needs to put in the effort to see the fruits of ones labour.

I will not be touching on PSLE Maths or Chinese as I do not personally teach those two subjects. In subsequent posts I’ll be addressing the following concerns
– Electronic gadget usage (amoung tweens/ teenagers)
– Emotional guidance for a teenager.


Posts in the series
Introduction Post
-Surviving the PSLE (Part 1) – Streaming
Surviving the PSLE (Part 2) – The Science Exam
Surviving the PSLE (Part 3A) – The English Exam
-Surviving the PSLE (Part 3B) The English Exam
Surviving the PSLE (Part 4)- The Mobile Phone