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Start Early, Score Well

The key to doing well in the PSLE English Language Comprehension Paper​


You should start preparing for the PSLE English Language Comprehension paper during the Primary 5 year-end school holidays. Yes, it involves work but, no, it does not have to be a chore. You see mastering comprehension is not just about doing test papers or learning the meaning of words in isolation.  It is about seeing how words are used in different contexts. Starting your preparation early gives you time to engage with the language in a fun way.

Explore the Language

Start by simply exposing yourself to the English Language. Read beyond your textbooks and the newspaper.  Check out the comics, read interesting novels or even information on the back of cereal boxes. You can even sneak in an English movie, listen to the latest English songs or engage with the language through an on-line game. As you do this, you will gain an understanding of how words are used in the language.  You will learn to draw inferences and evaluate situations – key skills required for the PSLE English Language Comprehension Paper.
Who knows, you may even engage in a text similar to that in the exam! 

Ask Questions

As you engage with the language, ask questions.  What is the song about?  Why are the good guys chasing the bad guys in the movie?
Where is the story in the novel situated?  You can draw mind maps or tables to help you grasp the information.  By doing this you will be thinking like the examiner!  You will begin to notice the kinds of questions that are likely to appear with a given type of text.  You can then answer the question yourself.  If you are unsure, ask your teachers or check with people who are fluent in the language.   

Take the Test

After a few weeks of just engaging with the language, take a test.  Use a revision guide like Mastering Comprehension Primary 5 to familiarise yourself with the format of both the visual text and text-based exam paper.
 
Take note of the instructions given. You could be asked to answer questions or transfer information from the text into a table.  You could also be asked to evaluate the feelings of a character in the passage and decide how he will respond.

In each case, read the passage slowly. Grasp the meaning, then look at the questions. Highlight key words in the passage that could help you with the answer. 

If after all your initial preparation you get it wrong, learn from it.  Starting early gives you time for mistakes. Make a note of the words or phrases which were difficult for you and then try and use them in your conversation.  

Do this and by the time you do your PSLE revision with Mastering Comprehension Primary 6, you should have a better grasp of the situation and be able to face the comprehension paper with confidence. 

All the best!

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