A Complete Guide to Primary School & PSLE Chinese
Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. You might be startled to learn that Chinese is the native language of almost one-fifth of the world’s population. According to government statistics, 96.3% of students who took PSLE Chinese scored A*-C in 2019. In such a competitive setting, many parents recognise the importance of Primary Chinese and building a strong foundation and have thus turned to engaging Chinese Tuition as an attempt to help their children achieve academic excellence in the language. We have compiled a complete guide for PSLE Chinese to aid students in their journey to mastering the language.
1. An Overview to PSLE Chinese
PSLE Chinese is one of the most important subjects to score well in when preparing for the first national examination. For decades in Singapore, students have been steeped in a culture where English is used more frequently than Chinese, making studying the language far more challenging for many students. With English being the most widely spoken language for many Singaporeans, students rarely get exposure to Chinese aside from their academics. Even as adults, most Singaporeans have trouble expressing themselves fluently in Mandarin!
To do well for PSLE Chinese, it is important to start building a strong foundational understanding of the language at a young age, as language skills are not something that can be picked up overnight. Having a strong foundation in the language would not only contribute to academic success, it will also greatly benefit you in real world settings. We understand that picking up a second language can be very daunting, especially if you are going into it with zero prior knowledge and exposure to the language. Here at MindFlex, we have dedicated PSLE Chinese Tutors who are highly experienced and able to provide expert guidance and inculcate an interest and love for the language in students. Request for a PSLE Chinese Tutor with MindFlex today!
2. Objectives of PSLE Chinese
The key objective of PSLE Chinese is to ensure that all Primary 6 students have sufficiently fulfilled several learning objectives set out by MOE.
Paper 1 (Writing) 写作
- Write in a clear, effective manner to suit the purpose, audience, and context
- Construct important concepts and articulate them coherently while employing the appropriate tone
- Ensure proper use of grammar, spelling and punctuation
Paper 2 (Language Use and Comprehension) 语文理解与应用
- Demonstrate an understanding of texts and their implied meaning
- Demonstrate knowledge of how lexical and grammatical pieces are used in context to shape meaning
- Employ the appropriate use of grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary
Paper 3 (Oral Communication & Listening Comprehension) 口试，听力
- Demonstrate understanding of spoken texts
- Identify key messages, ideas and details in different settings
- Draw conclusions and critical inferences
- Transmit ideas and sentiments fluently
- Clearly and succinctly express personal opinions
- Utilize appropriate terminology, vocabulary, and grammatical constructions when speaking
More information can be found under the SEAB Syllabus.
3. PSLE Exam Format
PSLE Chinese consists of 4 components, namely the Writing (Paper 1), Language Use and Comprehension (Paper 2), Listening Comprehension and Oral Communication (Paper 3) segments.
3.1. Paper 1 (Writing) 写作
40 marks, 50 mins
PSLE Chinese Paper 1 consists of a single component of Composition Writing. Students are given the choice of either writing a scenario-based essay or picture essay. (minimum 100 words)
- Scenario-Based Essay 命题作文
The question will include a theme or title, and students will be expected to come up with their own ideas and compose a narrative based on the topic. Students will be given single prompts on what to write about.
- Picture Essay 看图作文
Students will be shown 6 images, the first 5 of which depict the beginning and culmination of an incident. Students must develop and write a logical ending to the story in the last image, which illustrates a question mark.
3.1.1. Challenges Faced in PSLE Chinese Paper 1
Most students have the tendency to think in English and then translate their thoughts into Chinese. As a result, more often than not, the genuine meaning of what they wish to convey is lost in translation. Lack of fluency in the language is a huge problem as students struggle to find the right words and adopt the appropriate sentence structures to illustrate their thoughts which results in poorly-written essays.
3.1.2. How To Score Well for PSLE Chinese Paper 1
Akin to English writing, in order to do well, students are strongly advised to read extensively. By reading widely, students will be able to increase their vocabulary, learn and mimic proper grammar and sentence structures. Reading model essays will also assist students in recognising certain trends in story and character development, allowing them to better plan their own composition.
3.2. Paper 2 (Language Use and Comprehension) 语文理解与应用
90 marks, 1 hour 40 mins
PSLE Chinese Paper 2 comprises two sections: Section A and Section B. Both sections consist of a combination of multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions to assess your analytical and comprehensive understanding of various Chinese language texts.
Section A: Multiple-Choice Questions (50 marks) 语文应用 , 短文填空, 阅读理解一
Students are presented with four options and are expected to apply their inferential understanding to derive an answer. There will be a total of 25 questions and they will be based on simple language application and contextual understanding of two passages.
Section B: Open-Ended Questions (40 marks) 完成对话, 阅读理解二
This section is split into two parts: Complete the Dialogue 完成对话 and Comprehension 阅读理解二. Students are required to demonstrate knowledge of how lexical and grammatical pieces are used in context to shape meaning and formulate their own answers.
3.2.1. Challenges Faced in PSLE Chinese Paper 2
In PSLE Chinese Paper 2, students often find themselves struggling to make sense of the various texts given. Not having comprehensive understanding of the texts results in students being unable to formulate their own answers. Students also lack the vocabulary which makes comprehending the texts given that much harder.
3.2.2. How To Score Well for PSLE Chinese Paper 2
Exposure to different mediums of communication on top of practicing the language will allow students to develop better understanding of the language, making it easier for them to make meaning of different texts. Doing more practice papers regularly will also be beneficial in the long run, as students will gradually learn the answering mechanics of each type of question, and will be able to tailor their answers accordingly.
3.3. Paper 3 (Oral Communication and Listening Comprehension) 口试，听力
70 marks, 45 mins
PSLE Chinese Paper 3 consists of two sections: Oral Communication and Listening Comprehension. This paper tests students’ contextual understanding, articulation of speech and ability to express themselves in the language.
- Oral Communication (50 marks) 口试
There are two parts of the Oral Exam: Passage reading and Video Conversation. Students are given ten minutes to read the passage and prepare for the video discussion, which is based on a one-minute video. Students are assessed based on accuracy, fluency, pronunciation, grammar and the ability to formulate and articulate their thoughts.
- Listening Comprehension (20 marks) 听力
In the PSLE Chinese Listening Paper, students can expect factual, summary and inferential questions. This paper requires students to identify, deduce and summarise information being read out to them. It is important that they are able to pick out key information so that they can answer the questions correctly.
3.3.1. Challenges Faced in PSLE Chinese Paper 3
Many students often overlook the importance of PSLE Chinese Paper 3, thinking it is an easy section to score well in. Students often find themselves stuck in a rut when it comes to the discussion, being unable to develop substantial insights and articulate their thoughts effectively. Most students also lack the ability to critically analyse content and identify key information due to poor contextual understanding The lack of practice and complacency will then lead to undesirable results.
3.3.2. How To Score Well for PSLE Chinese Paper 3
It is important to expose students to the language daily in order to do well for PSLE Chinese. Spoken language can greatly improve the mastery of the language. Students will be able to improve their listening comprehension and oral communication skills through different mediums of Chinese communication. Our Primary Chinese Tutors have found that conversing in the language regularly helps students in their understanding and builds their confidence in speaking the language. This will allow them to get used to developing and articulating their own thoughts, through everyday conversation. With exposure, students will gradually become accustomed to the language.
4. PSLE Chinese Tips and Resources
Singaporean students typically find the Chinese language more challenging as English is the official spoken and written language in schools. Lack of exposure and practice also contributes to the unwillingness and lack of confidence in tackling the language. Mastering a language can be tricky, as it is not as simple as memorising content.
4.1. PSLE Chinese Tips
1. Practice, practice, practice!
Practice is the key in improving language skills. Frequent use of the language will allow you to identify areas for growth as well as assess your proficiency level. Practice with content from Chinese dramas, newspapers and advertisements. Pick out character behaviours, key By doing this, you are essentially creating a Chinese-speaking environment through the various resources, which will allow you to slowly get used to developing an opinion on different topics. With constant practice, even in everyday conversations, you are building your spoken Chinese foundation and listening skills.
2. Read Extensively
Reading can greatly help you with writing and understanding of content. If you read Chinese content on a daily basis, you will find it easier to write well and apply proper sentence structure, syntax, and idioms on your own.
If students find reading to be daunting, they can start with reading comic books! Nao Nao Comics Street 闹闹漫画街 is a popular comic series among children right now and is well known for its colourful illustration and relatable story setting. What’s great about this comic series is that at the end of each story, a vocabulary list is provided to reinforce the learning of new words.
3. Keep a handbook of Chinese Vocabulary
On top of reading, taking time to fully comprehend the meaning of the words and phrases you come across in your reading will help you build on your Chinese Vocabulary. Keep a handbook of all the words, phrases and idioms you come across and practice how to apply them in different sentences. This will greatly help you with writing and comprehension of Chinese texts.
It is also important to regularly review new vocabulary words to reinforce your understanding and familiarise yourself with it. Familiarising yourself with Chinese idioms will definitely earn you Vocabulary points for PSLE Chinese. You can also journal your thoughts in Chinese with all the new words you have learnt. You may find it tough at first but you will gradually grow to enjoy the process and find it easier to express yourself in Chinese.
4. Getting Extra Help
Here at MindFlex, our dedicated PSLE Chinese Tutors understand the struggle that many Primary Students face: a lack of exposure to the language at home and lack of consistent practise that makes it difficult for students to build a strong foundation in the Chinese language. As such, our tutors focus on building students’ proficiency and fluency in the language during this critical stage of forming a strong foundation in the language.
Our PSLE Chinese Tutors are extremely familiar with the MOE Syllabus, and will be able to provide expert guidance to students, particularly for the more challenging components of the PSLE Paper such as Paper 1, as well as the Comprehension section in Paper 2. Our tutors will also administer mock tests to help students become more comfortable with the examination conditions, allowing them to become more confident throughout the PSLE Chinese examination. From standard Chinese to Higher Chinese, our PSLE Chinese Tutors are well equipped with the knowledge and skills to guide your child.
Apply for a free tutor request at MindFlex today!
4.2. PSLE Chinese Resources
Here, we have compiled our top 6 resources for your child to aid him/her in their PSLE Chinese preparation.
Pleco is your pocket Chinese dictionary. It is the ultimate Chinese learning companion, with an integrated Chinese-English dictionary and document reader. The Dictionary Tab displays the definitions of words, along with example sentences. By pressing the speaker symbol, you can hear audio examples of the words and sentences. It is also accompanied with a flashcard system to make learning that much easier! It has a simple user interface and is suited for students of all levels. Pleco is available for download on both Apple App Store and Google Play.
2. A Guide To Acing Oral Conversation 口试会话答题指引
This guidebook focuses on the conversation component of the PSLE Chinese Oral Examination and is based on the most recent PSLE Chinese Oral Examination criteria. It includes templates of answering techniques, several opinions on common topics and a Vocabulary list to expand students’ daily Chinese conversational vocabulary.
3. PSLE 冲刺： 语文基础600题 PSLE Chinese: 600 Essential Questions Vol 1
PSLE 冲刺： 语文基础600题 provides students with ample practice to allow them to build their language skills and score in PSLE Chinese. Exercises are based on the words and phrases learnt in the “Happy Pals” textbook series, following the MOE syllabus closely. Answers provided come with full explanations, ensuring that students will be able to understand the content.
4. The Student’s Guide To Chinese Words 分辨常用词语 （小学 5-6 年级）
This book is written for primary students in Singapore, and is aimed to meet the syllabus requirements in a practical, effective, and enjoyable manner. It employs a systematic approach in narrowing down Chinese words in their syllabus, allowing students to improve their learning efficiency and will thus be more confident and prepared for the PSLE Chinese Examinations.
5. 成语背后的故事1 Stories Behind Chinese Idioms 1
成语背后的故事1 Stories Behind Chinese Idioms 1 features 48 Chinese idioms, all of which have a story behind them. By reading these stories, students will be able to develop a better understanding and appreciation for them as well as give them insights into certain aspects of Chinese history. Having an extensive knowledge of Chinese idioms will allow students to write and score better in their Composition.
6. MindFlex PSLE Chinese Home Tutors
MindFlex Home Tuition houses over 6,000 experienced PSLE Chinese tutors, who are familiar with the syllabus and able to provide expert guidance to your child and aid them in their PSLE Chinese examination preparation. Not sure if you should take up Higher Chinese? Our Expert PSLE Chinese Tutors have provided meaningful insights on the differences between standard and Higher Chinese. Our Primary Chinese Tutors will definitely go the extra mile to ensure your child is well-prepared for the examination. Enjoy quality education at the comforts of your own home with MindFlex, and witness exemplary grade improvements!
Preparing for the PSLE Chinese examination can be stressful for both parent and child. However, it is important to recognise that the Primary Chinese syllabus aims to prepare students to gain a strong foundation in the language which will be greatly beneficial for them in real life settings.
At MindFlex, our PSLE Chinese Tutors go the extra mile to ensure comprehensive education is provided for all students and aim to inculcate a genuine interest for the language, so that they will gain a greater appreciation for the language and do well in the examinations.
Kickstart your Chinese Language education journey with MindFlex today!