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Things that you should know about the Singapore PSLE Chinese Oral Exam

What is the PSLE Chinese Oral Exam?

The Singapore PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) Chinese Oral Examination makes up 25% of the PSLE Chinese Examination score (100%). There are two parts of the Oral Exam: Passage reading and Conversation.

How is the PSLE Oral Examination conducted?

Since 2017, the Singapore PSLE Mother Tongue Examinations use an E-oral exam format.

Before stepping into the examination room, students are given 10 minutes to read the passage and prepare for their conversation, which is based on a 1-minute video, at a preparation station with a laptop. During those 10 minutes, students may pause, fast-forward, or rewind the video.

After 10 minutes, students will then proceed to the examination room. They will read the passage to the examiners first and then watch the video from start to finish once again before doing the conversation portion.

1. Passage reading

Examiners give scores based on “accuracy” and “fluency”. Chinese characters used in the passage are all from Singapore Primary School textbooks.

2. Conversation

Examiners ask questions based on the video topic and the video itself, and students express their views and opinions accordingly. Examiners give scores based on the content. pronunciation, grammar, and fluency.

What questions will the examiners ask (during the conversation)?

To secure a high mark on the oral exam, students need to know what types of questions the examiners would like to ask. With this in the mind, students will be able to use their 10-min preparation time more effectively and then have better conversations with the examiners later.

Type 1: Video-related questions

Most of the time, the examiners ask questions regarding the video first. They would like to know how much of the video you understoond,  including what happened in the video and what you think about it.

For example:

Tell me about an event related to “being friendly” that you saw in the video.

Do you think the boy in the video is doing the right thing, why?

For this type of question, students could use the 5W1H(What, When, Where, Who, Why, How)technique to help them plan what they are going to say.

5W1H Technic (六何法)
When 何时 When does this thing happen? 这件事是什么时候发生的?
What 何事 What is this thing? 这是什么事?
Where 何地 Where does this thing happen? 这件事是在哪里发生的?
Who 何人 This thing happens to whom? 这件事发生在什么人身上?
How 如何 How is this thing developing? 这件事是怎么发展的?
Why 为何 Why this thing happens? 这件事为什么会发生?


简单答案 高分答案
在录像中,我看到一个男孩子上完体育课,没有洗手,就去食堂吃午餐。 在录像中,我看到一个刚上完体育课的高年级男孩子去食堂买午餐。他的双手看起来很不干净,可能在体育课的时候摸过篮球。他看起来非常饿,焦急地在印度煎饼和水果摊前排着队。当他买完午餐,找到桌子坐下后,便马上抓起食物狼吞虎咽起来,完全不在意有没有做到“饭前洗手”。

Type 2: Personal experience

The examiners also ask students to talk about relevant personal experiences. It’s better if the experience that the student shares is not the same as what was shown in the video. Other than sharing a story, students need to make some comments including what they learned from that experience.

For example:

Have you ever been friendly to someone?

Have you ever encountered someone being very friendly to you?

For this type of question, students can also use the 5W1H technic to help them plan what they are going to say.


简单答案 高分答案
我每次吃饭前和回家后都会洗手,每天起床后和睡觉前也会刷牙。 我每次吃饭之前,用完洗手间后,还有从外面回到家后都会用洗手液按照“七步洗手法”把双手干干净净地洗一遍,清除手上的细菌;除此之外,每天起床后、睡觉前,我也都会记得刷牙。我每次都会对着洗手间的镜子认真、仔细地把牙齿里里外外都刷到,不让蛀牙影响我的生活。

Type 3: Suggestions

Sometimes, the examiners are interested in knowing how you could further expand on the topic/theme of the video by talking about society (school / family / community).

For example:

Is there anything that parents/the school can do to encourage their kids/students to show friendliness to others?

Based on previous exams, examiners ask students to give suggestions from the school’s perspective more often.


简单答案 高分答案
我认为学校可以在校会上宣传个人卫生很重要,也开始开展一些以“关注个人卫生”为主题的海报设计活动。 我认为学校可以在每周一的校会上向同学们宣传我们应该如何关注个人卫生,比如:饭前洗手、洗手的正确方法、勤换衣服等。老师也可以邀请做得好的同学分享一下他们的故事。其次,学校可以举办“关注个人卫生”为主题的海报设计比赛。学生可以把注意卫生的小贴士画在海报上。学校收集了同学的作品后,可以张贴在学校各处。精美的海报一定能吸引同学们,这样就可以帮助大家培养“注意卫生”的良好习惯。

Other tips:

Many students find it difficult to provide rich content while doing their conversations. Using the “ACT” technique might help you:

ACT Technic
A: Adjectives = using more adjectives
C: Conversations = adding what did/will people say/respond. For Type 3 questions, you may also share how people responded after your suggestions/advices.
T: Thoughts = talking about what people are thinking before/after their actions

Know more about the E-oral examination, look at SEAB 1 and SEAB 2. For more professional one-on-one training on Chinese language, you can consult TouchChinese for more information. 

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Xing Lyu

Xing Lyu is a professional Chinese language teacher and educator with over seven years of educational experience in the primary and middle schools of Singapore. She has vast experience teaching both non-Chinese and Chinese students in many areas. She currently works as an online Chinese teacher at TouchChinese.

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