oral exams

It’s only a few days away from the primary school mid-year oral exams. We’ve talked about the how students can prepare for an English exam in general, but here are some tips on how to specifically deal with the oral exams.

Good news, parents: kids don’t have to possess the gift of the gab for the upcoming oral exams. It doesn’t take magic to get your kid to talk in front of quasi-stern strangers. But we’re not going to lieit takes effort, work, and courage.

It’s just a few more days before the oral exams start.

Before we move on with the last-minute suggestions for parents to help ace your child’s upcoming oral exams, here’s what you need to know about it.

MOE’s Assessment objectives (AO) for PSLE English Language oral examination:

Paper 4 (Oral Communication)

AO1 Read with good pronunciation, clear articulation and appropriate intonation in order to convey the information, ideas and feelings in a passage.

AO2 Produce a well-paced, fluent reading of a passage. 

AO3 Express their personal opinions, ideas and experiences clearly and effectively in conversing with the examiner. 

AO4 Speak fluently and with grammatical accuracy, using a range of appropriate vocabulary and structures. 

Here’s the examination format for the oral communication sector:

Reading Aloud 1 passage 10 marks 15% of the total score (100%)
Stimulus-based Conversation 1 visual stimulus 20 marks

To put it simply, students are required to speak with fluency, be able to use appropriate words to express their thoughts, and articulate personal opinions during the conversation.

Don’t worry, we won’t ask your kid to take a step too far such as reading the dictionary. Here are some last-minute measures parents can take to prepare your child for the oral exams.

Last-Minute Tips To Deal With ‘Difficult’ Primary School Oral Exams

Reading out loud. Imagine you have a speech an hour later: what do you do? Yes, practice your speech and make sure there are no goof ups. A good speech demands attention, keeps your listener engaged and makes an impression. To do that, practice. The advantages of reading aloud includes developing fluency, revising their own prose, and improving reading speed. Plus, your kid might even get to know a couple of new words that can come in handy during the exam.

How to do it? Choose a couple of newspaper articles or a paragraph from a book with approximately 150 words, and have your child repeat the passage until the reading has zero errors.

Time it. Your kid should be taking a decent amount of time to read the given passage. Too slow, and it’ll put the examiners to sleep. Too fast, and your child’s listeners struggle to make sense out of it. Pacing them will help make their reading more confident, clear and succinct.

How to do it? Use a timer every time your child reads, and keep a reading fluency chart to help keep track to know if there are any room for improvement.

Build confidence. No time to build reading habits for now, so another alternative is to build confidence. The strangest thing happen to even a regular speech when the speaker is natural and confident. It’s not about how many big words your kid uses, it’s about creating an impression.

How to do it? It can be a major challenge for your little kid to speak like he or she is going on the stage of TED Talk. They can get intimidated, which might break their performance. To relax, teach them to fake a smile, think of something happy or relaxing during the oral exams, or even pretend that the examiners are their close friends.

Practice conversation with them. With only a few days on hand, what you can do is practice effective conversation with them. They need to be answering questions with precision and clarity. They’d also need to stay off meaningless rambling and break away from Singlish for the time being. Of course, they’ll also be able to learn and get used to conversation fillers such as “in my opinion”, “I believe”, “for example”, “well”, etc., instead of the infamous “like” or even the very awkward silence.

How to do it? Put aside half an hour (or more if allow) everyday and use it to have a genuine conversation with them. You can come up with your own topic, or start off with even the simplest one (How’s your day, hun?) to get the ball rolling.

Strengthen pronunciation. Some word pronunciation in the English vocabulary are nothing short of tricky. From personal experience, rather than trying to cram bombastic words into your kid’s brain in a matter of days, it’d be more sensible to practice pronunciation.

How to do it? Practice delicate words with flashcards. Words such as asked, clothes, scientists, tasks, good, walk, etc. deserves extra attention.

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