Singapore education

Bridging the Gap- Moving from Lower to Upper Primary (Part 2)

Moving from Lower Primary to Upper Primary ( Part 2)

Moving from Lower Primary to Upper Primary ( Part 2)

Moving from Upper to Lower Primary has not been  an  easy transaction for most kids.  Not only is it adding another subject, Science,  to the number of subjects that they have to study but also a change in mindset due to the different testing methods being used on the child.  There is less emphasis on byte size assessments but higher weightage ones as shared in Part 1

Growing up- Moving from Lower to Upper Primary

Growing up- Moving from Lower to Upper Primary

When the child enters Primary 3 you may see that she suddenly is forced to “grow up” overnight.  She is no more the baby of the school and there is less hand holding by the teachers.  The workload increases significantly for each subject and there is more writing that needs to be done.

She has to be independent and responsible for her own actions more then before.  In Primary 3 she would have to participate in a CCA (Sport/ Non- Sport) on top of her studies. This is normally held after school although I do know of schools who incorporarte the  attendance of CCA within school hours by adjusting the daily time table.

Time available for play and leisure is shorten by extra activities and supplementary lessons in school. Therefore it is essential for the child to be able to manage their time properly.

In the previous post I talked about how English and Mathematics. In this post I will be talking about Chinese is being taught and the differences between P2 and P3 assessments

Lower Primary Chinese

Chinese has always been the weakest subject in our family as we mostly speak English at home. Since Monkey boy entered Primary 1 back in 2010  the teaching of Chinese has changed dramatically.

The Changes in Chinese Oral for PSLE

The Changes in Chinese Oral for PSLE


This year, 2017 marks the 1st year the  revised ORAL Chinese syllabus will be tested.  With this changes there has been a increased focus on spoken Chinese . There is an added focus on  developing a good Chinese foundation with good phrases and solid sentence structures that can be applied  in any situation – compo, comprehension and oral.

Doggie boy, who is in Primary 5 at the moment, doesn’t have a very solid understanding of the fundamentals of  the Chinese Language. As a result, he is struggling in this language as his exposure and usage of the various vocabulary needed is limited.

When he was younger he was highly dependent on learning using HanYu PinYin(HYPY) . This reliance made it  difficult for him to associate  the  meaning of the words with the correct Chinese Character.

At the moment his Chinese tutor and me have to go back to the lower levels to revise with him in hope that his fundamentals in Chinese is strenghtened .   Doggie boy is a  struggling learner  and  Chinese is his weakest subject.

Now that Tiger Girl is in Primary 1 I have started to be more intentional in teaching her Mandarin.  I’m totally not focusing on  HYPY with her but just recognition of the  Chinese Characters and how to use them in formulating sentances. Hopefully this will help me eliminate the possibility of her suffering the same difficulties as Doggie boy is facing in the near future.

From Primary 2 to Primary 3


Lower Primary Vs Upper Primary

Lower Primary Vs Upper Primary

In Pr 2 there has been focus on  Byte size on-going assessment while from Primary 3 there are termly and/ or semester based assessments.  This is mainly done to get the student used to the different components that will be tested in each assessment by introducing  it to them gradually.

Changes in Teaching Of English

In Primary  2 English the students learn more  through  choral reading and group work while  in Primary 3 be  are expected to more independent in their learning.

P2- Show and Tell is part of the overall  assessment (3.5%)

P3- Show and Tell is not part of the assessment

In Primary 2

Term 1-  Paper 2 components are tested. ( Grammar & Vocabulary)

Term 2 – Paper 2 ( Grammar & Vocbulary )
+  Listening Comprehension

Term 3 -Show and Tell

Term 4 – Oral , EL Written Expression, Listenining Comprehension
+ Paper 2  ( Full Semestral Exam  components )

There is a gradual build up  in Primary 2 from  a partial  examination paper to a full paper from Term 1 to Term 4.


Differences in Primary 2 and Primary 3 Maths Assessment

P2- Written Assessments + Practical Assessments

P3- Written Assessments only.

  • If you are not accustom to Practical Assessments they are written assessments with use of manipulatives.  Open ended questions  and multiple choice questions are asked.

In regular Written Assesments the components that are tested are – Open Ended Questions, Multiple Choice Questions and Word Problems

In Primary 3  the  2 main type of items used in the semestral assessment are the MCQ with the  SAQ (Short- Answer Question) and LAQ ( Long Answer Question / Word Problem)

P2 Maths Assessment compared with P3 Maths Assessment

P2 Maths Assessment compared with P3 Maths Assessment


Differences in Primary 2 and Primary 3 Chinese Assessment

Assessment in Primary 2 

Assessment 1(统一测验一)
 Hanyu Pinyin(汉语拼音)
 Fill in the blanks(填写汉字)
 Matching words(组字成词)
 Rearranging words(组词成句)
 Comprehension-MCQ(理解问答-选择 式/开放式


Listening Comprehension 1(听力测验一 )


Assessment 2(统一测验二)
 Punctuation(标点符号)
 Fill in the blanks(填写汉字)
 Collocation(词语搭配)
 Cloze passage(短文填空)
 Comprehension – Open Ended (理解 问答-开放式)
Story Telling(讲故事)


Oral Communication(口试)
 Passage reading (朗读篇章)
 Picture description (看图说话)


Written Expression (看图写话)


Listening Comprehension 2(听力测验二)


End-of-Year Assessment(年终考试)
 Identifying characters(辨字测验)
 Fill in the blanks(填写汉字)
 Matching words(组字成词)
 Fill in the quantifiers (填写量词)
 Collocation(词语搭配)
 Rearranging words(组词成句)
 Cloze passage(短文填空)
 Comprehension – Open Ended(理解问答- 开放式)



In Primary 3 the format is slightly different as the story telling component is removed.

试卷 Paper 考查项目 Test Items 时间 Duration 题数 No. of Qns 分数 Weightage
1 作文 Composition 40 分钟/min




语文应用与阅读理解 Understanding of Language and Grammar usage

60 分钟/min




听力测验 Listening Comprehension

20 分钟a/min




口试 Oral

10 分钟/min





As you can see from the tables above it  the examination format gets more structured moving from P2 to P3. In P2 the students are introduced to the various components one by one during the academic year .

My thoughts

 Primary 2 is a bridging year from Lower primary to Upper primary and it is extremely important to get all the fundamentals strongly ingrained in the child or else she may have a very shaky foundation.

I hope that this series on Bridging the Gap has  been useful to you. Do leave me a comment if you have any questions.

1) Bridging the Gap- An Introduction

2) Bridging the Gap-  Identifying the Gap in Chinese Language ( P4 to P5 )

3) Bridging the Gap- Reinforcing the Learning of Chinese

4)Bridging the Gap- Identifying the Gap between P4 and P5 English.

5)Bridging the Gap- Learning of English in Upper Primary

6) Bridging the Gap- Identifying the Gap between P4 and P5 Maths

7) Bridging the Gap –  Modelling and Methods  in Maths (Part 1) 

8) Bridging the Gap- Modelling and Methods in Maths ( Part 2)

9) Bridging the Gap- Upper and Lower Primary Science

10) Bridging the Gap-  Moving from Lower to Upper Primary

Getting ready for Primary One- A Reflection

Monkey boy in his graduation gown when he was in K2

Monkey boy in his graduation gown when he was in K2

It has been nearly four years since Monkey boy entered Primary school. I remember back then when he was in K2 I had to decide in July/August which school I should send him to.

It was a very important decision back then as his entry to the Primary school of my choice would mean that I didn’t need to worry about Primary One admission for his siblings as it would mean a guaranteed entry for them.

In 2011 I wrote about Preparing for Primary One detailing what I had done while preparing Monkey boy for Primary one.  The registration processed hasn’t change that much since there.  The only difference is that  registration for Phase 2C  can be done online and Citizens are given two ballot slips in the event of a ballot at their chosen primary school.

I’m sure you know how important it is for a child to have a good and solid foundation from young in order to succeed in life.   I believe in not putting my child in a pressure cooker environment or one that can stifle his growth instead of promoting it.

It is with this in mind that I chose a school that wasn’t overtly focused on academic excellence and promoted  holistic development of the child.  The school also had to be able to cater to the different learning styles and pace of my 3 kids.

I am lucky that I was able to see experience first hand the learning environment in the school that the boys are currently studying in.  I had the privilege to teach at that school for two years before going on NPL when Tiger Girl was born.

You can say that I am well versed with the culture of the school and know both from an educator and a parents view how the Singaporean Education system is like. I know the positive and negatives points of it and how to help my kids get the best out of it.

Even though academic results do play an important part in opening doors to further education learning morals and values are what will see you through the rest of your life.  An A+ report card means nothing if one is lacking the EQ and other survival skills.

I wasn’t that concerned with the technicalities of admission when it was time for Doggie boy to be registered for Primary One. With his elder brother already in school he was already guaranteed a place under Phase 1.

I decided to focus on the physical and mental preparations that I went through with him and  wrote the series – Preparing for Primary One the 2nd time around. 

Now that he is in Primary Two and have gone through the first year of school without any issues it has reaffirmed that I have made the right decision back then on which school to send the kids.

Are you among the group of parents registering your kids for Primary One this year?

How would you be deciding on where to send your child?


(From  my  2011 series)

  1. Registration Process for Primary 1
  2. What is expected of your child.
  3. Before  Primary 1
  4. Preparation for the 1st day of School

(From my 2013 series)

  1. Preparing for Primary One (The 2nd time around)
  2. Preparing for Primary One- Doggie Boy Style (Mental Preparations)
  3. Preparing for Primary One- Doggie Boy Style ( Physical Preparations)
  4. Preparing for Primary One – Looking back at Primary One [ Guest Post]
  5. Preparing for Primary One- Preparing yourself Mentally as a Parent
  6. Preparing for Primary One- A look through The Eyes of a Mom [Guest Post]
  7. Preparing for Primary One- From Teacher Sarah’s Desk [Guest Post]
  8. Preparing for Primary One-Questions and Answer Round Up