Scoring A* for PSLE English Exams: What helps?

Every year, approximately 40,000 Primary 6 pupils take their Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). Unlike Mathematics and Science, where PSLE candidates can hone their concepts and skills with some level of predictability, the English Language examination befuddles pupils who struggle with the language. Even pupils who feel confident about their use of the English Language find it tough to score for PSLE English exams. Some pupils seek help from specialist English tuition centres.

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Here are some tips that will help:

#Pupils who score well in PSLE English exams know how they will be assessed.

They are familiar with the format of the four papers and their components: Paper 1—Writing; Paper 2—Language Use and Comprehension; Paper 3—Listening Comprehension; and Paper 4—Oral Communication. In addition, they are aware of the grading system for challenging sections such as Situational Writing, Comprehension Cloze Passage, Synthesis and Transformation, and Comprehension Open-ended. Teachers are keenly aware of the grading system and eager to share this information with their students. Without a fundamental understanding of how marks are awarded, candidates do not know how to earn those marks.

#Successful candidates have clear strategies to tackle each section of the PSLE English exams.

Pupils who are proficient in the use of English may not go very far if they are not armed with critical strategies that increase their chances of success in sections such as Comprehension Cloze Passage and Comprehension Open-Ended. For example, pupils need to practice critical reading skills to fully understand comprehension passages. By pausing and asking key questions regarding the passage, pupils will develop a better understanding of the inferred meanings between paragraphs. A heightened awareness of the plot and characters increases the pupil’s comprehension of the passage, resulting in more precise answers to the questions.

#Candidates with sound strategies need to practise.

Consistent practice develops mastery and fluency of the skills needed to achieve high marks for the PSLE English exams. Regular practice helps pupils to internalise these strategies, developing key habits of success. As pupils see better results through their practice, they will also grow in confidence in their ability to score well. Guided practice by experienced teachers enhances learning because pupils often cannot spot their own errors.

#Pupils who are successful academically enjoy strong social and emotional support from their parents and teachers.

The PSLE exams are but one phase of a child’s holistic growth and development. Whereas scoring well for the PSLE exams facilitates the entry into the secondary school of choice, the PSLE T-Score does not determine a child’s identity. The long Primary 6-year will wear on the pupils and self-doubt will inevitably creep in. Nevertheless, encouragement from parents is the key ingredient for young PSLE candidates to excel without pressure and perform without stress.

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To find out more about our proven strategies for tackling the PSLE English exams:

Sign up for our free PSLE English parents’ talk  or call us for a free trial class today.

You can also visit us at to learn more about A-Level General Paper (GP) classes and read some of our sample essays.