PSLE English exam: Here’s how your child can add another 5 to 10 marks with these proven strategies revealed by top English expert

Adding another 5 to 10 marks to the PSLE English exam tally is really easy as long as your child has the right revision strategies!

With a mere two weeks left, exam anxiety is at fever pitch. It doesn’t matter that your child has prepped all four core subjects and you’ve given all the necessary support since Day One of Primary School. There remains this nagging doubt as to whether your P6 child is indeed ready for the PSLE.

But then your fears are not unfounded. As a loving parent, you constantly worry. Particularly at this critical juncture, you are beside yourself wondering if you’ve done enough to fully prepare your child. Did you miss anything or can anything else be done to further boost their PSLE grade?

Time is inching ever closer and nobody can blame you for wanting your child to do much better in the PSLE (compared to the recent Prelims) and hopefully, settle on your first choice Secondary school… Well, you know what? It is possible, especially for the English Language Paper!

While it’s a tall order to expect your child to sky-rocket several grades, adding another 5 to 10 marks to your child’s PSLE English Language tally is really easy! Once your child has the right revision strategies, of course. And the faster your child starts applying these powerful strategies, the greater the chances of securing even more marks.

Some Sure-fire Revision Strategies for your child to blaze ahead of the competition:

Paper 1

By now, your child will have amassed a treasure trove of marked English assignment essays. These compositions are actually a gold mine for learning and contain knowledge nuggets waiting to be uncovered!

Guide your child to perform an ERROR ANALYSIS task on their P6 and Prelim essays. For each essay:

  • Draw a table with three columns on foolscap paper.
  • Column 1 heading: How it was written
  • Column 2 heading: How it should have been written
  • Column 3 heading: What I have learnt

Guide your child to:

  • Write down the sentences containing errors from his essay in column 1
  • Re-write the sentences correctly in column 2
  • Write down the learning point in column 3  

Here’s an example:

How it was written

How it should
have been written

What I have learnt

I was wondering who was this guy and if I know him.

I was wondering who this guy was and if I knew him.

Statement: Who this guy was.

Question Who was this guy?

For tense consistency, “know” should be “knew”.

Have a go! You will be surprised that this simple task can reveal new insights for your child in that they’ll learn to spot patterns of common language errors.

preparing for PSLE

Paper 2

  • A Distinction (A / A*) is within reach if your child does well in the Comprehension component, which is a whopping 43 Comprehension marks out of a total of 95 or close to 45% (half) of Paper 2 marks.
  • Just like Paper 1, the secret lies in learning from their previous mistakes. Guide your child to go through their marked P6 and Prelim Comprehension assignments and pay careful attention to comprehension errors.

Your child must then ask why the mark was lost and remind themselves to avoid repeating similar errors.  

Common Comprehension mistakes include:

  • Careless Mistake 1: Failing to understand what the question wants. When reading the questions, students have a tendency to jump to their own conclusions or think they know what the question requirements are.
  • Careless Mistake 2: Giving Vague Answers. The second careless mistake many students often commit is to give unclear or non-specific answers.
  • Careless Mistake 3: Thinking that all comprehension question answers can be found in the text. There and two distinct types of questions:  
      • Literal Level Questions: answers are found in the passage.
      • Inferential Level Questions: clues are found in the passage but not the actual answer itself. The answer has to be inferred from contextual clues. In other words, the answer will come from the students’ logical inference.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

  • No-one should resort to labelling children such as: “She’s a B student” or “He’s a C student”. Such labels are injurious to their self-esteem and serves little but to perpetuate a fixed mindset. Children end up feeling that their self-worth is tagged to their academic grades.
  • Instead, a growth mindset will envision every assessment as a new opportunity for children to improve by working on their past failures and building upon their past successes.
  • Students who sit for the PSLE with a defeatist mindset (telling themselves that they are only capable of a certain grade) would have already surrendered and lost the academic battle.

It’s ever so crucial, even though it’s the eleventh hour, for parents to show their love and support by:

  • Positively affirming your child
  • Reminding your child on their key strengths and be mindful of their areas for improvement
  • Complimenting them for their effort
  • Reassuring them that it is fine to make mistakes so long as they learn from it.

This works wonders in boosting your child’s confidence levels so that they can give their very best for the demanding PSLE.

Also READ: PSLE 2017 - What you should know!