How to prepare for PSLE Listening Comprehension Examination

Kids these days are easily distracted and have shorter attention spans. Here is how you can help them develop listening skills and prepare for PSLE Listening Comprehension Examination.

PSLE listening comprehension

Good listening skills are fundamental to acing your PSLE Listening Comprehension Examination

Listening is the key to effective communication.

The PSLE Listening Comprehension examination is designed to test the ability of our students to identify the key ideas of the passages that they listen to, and draw accurate conclusions from them.

Developing adequate listening skills

We learn by listening.

The first words that children utter are not taught in any school but are learnt from those spoken around them. Listening intently with focus and cognition is a skill that benefits students in the long run. It helps them to understand, interpret and process information contained in an auditory message quickly.

It is a proficiency that parents can inculcate in their kids from a very young age.

But before you begin to do that, you need at take a look at your home environment. Which of the following two scenarios is more commonplace in your home?

Scenario 1: When you give instructions your kids understand and follow them or if there is a discussion, the children listen carefully, and take part in it intelligently and consciously.

Scenario 2: Everyone in the family talks at the same time, not bothering to pay heed to what the other person is saying. There is no room for healthy discussion and as a result, no one is able to convey an opinion or make a point.

It is very obvious that it is the former scenario that we need to cultivate at home. To achieve that we need to teach our kids to:

  1. Listen attentively
  2. Understand and infer
  3. Process information logically
  4. Draw rational conclusions

Building up to PSLE

To instil the habit of listening in  children, encourage them to watch interesting English language programmes.

Expose them to a variety of auditory stimulus such as listening to the news, podcasts, speeches etc. You can make this an interactive activity but getting your children interested in the topic that you are going to talk about. Ask him questions about his daily routine, happenings etc. Ask him what is happening and why.

Incorporate this behaviour in your daily routine. Listening attentively is thus a skill that can be developed informally and easily. Parents can model good aural skills by listening attentively to their children converse and responding correctly.

PSLE Listening Comprehension

Make sure that your child is familiar with the flow of the exam. It will help him stay calm and focussed.

Format of the Listening Comprehension Exam

According to the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) website, the 2015 English Listening Comprehension will have 20 Multiple Choice Questions which pupils have to tackle in 35 minutes.

The Ministry of Education is gradually moving towards increasing graphic representation to encourage students to put their cognitive skills to use. Graphic representation will be used for the first seven items.

The paper is worth 20 marks which is 10% of the total English Score. Since it is a component where students generally score well it is advisable to pay adequate attention to it.

During the exam, students listen to voice recordings. Every student in Singapore listens to the same voice and diction, making it fair for all pupils.

On the day of the Exam

Reach the school on time to avoid last minute panic. Encourage your child to stay calm and confident. Since a 2B pencil is required to shade the OAS sheet, make sure your child carries at least 2 pencils to school.

Remind your child of the process for the Listening Comprehension Exam.

The first reading

  • All passages are read out twice.
  • The text could be in the form of a news item, announcement, speech, story, advertisement etc.
  • Before the first reading of the script, time is given to go through the questions. It is important to use this time well instead of being distracted.
  • Reading the questions silently beforehand helps in being prepared and looking out for information when the passage is being read.
  • It is important to listen attentively and understand the gist of the passage.
  • Creating a mental picture of what is being read makes it easier to recall.
  • The meaning of a difficult word can be understood by contextualizing it.
  • Look out for intonation and emphasis on key words and phrases which may have clues to the answers.
  • Avoid being in a hurry or being overly impulsive.
  • Circling the answer before the next question is read, aids in avoiding confusion and circling of incorrect answers.

The Second Reading

  • Don’t start day dreaming or be overconfident of your abilities once the second reading begins.
  • Be focused and use this opportunity to listen again and process any information that may have been missed in the first reading.
  • Think carefully and confirm that the circled answer is correct
  • Shade it on the OAS sheet using the 2B pencil.

After the Exam
Take a deep breath. You child did it! That is one more exam ticked off his list. Don’t let your child dwell on it too much. It’s time to move on and focus on the other papers.

Interesting fact: Did you know that Singapore Examination and Assessment Boards requests all construction sites near schools to suspend noisy work during the PSLE exams especially on the days when the Orals and Listening Comprehension take place?