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Ask Our Teachers: Excelling in PSLE Chinese oral exams

Ask Our Teachers: Excelling in PSLE Chinese oral exams

Now that you and your child are in the midst of preparing for their PSLE English oral exams, you shouldn’t forget to practise for their Chinese oral exams as well as they fall in the same week. To picture yourself sitting in front of the examiners and speaking fluently can be extremely daunting, but Teacher Carolyn is here to help with her handy dandy tips!

We reached out to Teacher Carolyn, the head of our Chinese department for things your child should take note of for the exams, and how they can practise to ensure they are ready to tackle any questions on the day itself!

PSLE Chinese oral exam components

The PSLE Chinese oral exams comprise two parts: Reading Aloud (朗读短文) and Video Conversation (会话). Prior to the exam, students will be given 10 minutes to practise reading the passage to themselves, as well as watch a video that will be used for the Video Conversation portion.

Reading Aloud (朗读短文)

Here is a list of what examiners look out for when grading passages. Make sure your child checks all these boxes when they are reading aloud to family members at home!

  • Make sure all words are pronounced and articulated correctly. 读准字音,发音要标准。

  • Read confidently and clearly at an appropriate volume. 清楚大声。音量要适中、清晰有力。

  • Read in chunks of text instead of individual words for flow and fluency. 有词组的概念。按照词语/词组进行朗读。

  • Note punctuations and pause when necessary. 注意停顿。不要单字停顿,以短句为准。

  • Read fluently at a pace that’s neither too slow nor too fast. 流利朗读,不快不慢。

  • Take note of your pitch plus tone and inject emotions. 适当语气。有感情,注意标点符号。

How to practise Reading Aloud?

In order to ensure your child can steadily improve on their Reading Aloud portion, encourage them to practise reading all passages in their Chinese textbooks. Reading a variety of passages across different chapters helps a lot as they comprise a library of common and useful words, phrases, and idioms.

Video Conversation (会话)

After watching the video, students are expected to answer 3 guiding questions about the theme of the video, specifically:

(1) What happened in the video (复述内容)?

Students will be asked to describe what they observed in the video, such as the time of day, venue, who was in it, what happened, etc. Commonly asked questions for this portion include:

  • Tell me one thing you saw in the video related to (theme). 谈一谈你在视频中看到一件关于【主题】的事。

  • Can you describe a few things you saw in the video? 你可以描述一下你在视频中看到的几件事吗?

  • Would you like to participate in the event from the video? 你想要参加视频中的活动吗?

  • What would you do if you were there? 如果你在场你会怎么做呢?

  • What can we learn from the students in the video? 视频中的学生有什么值得学习的地方?

Handy tips from Teacher Carolyn for 复述内容:

  • Students should pay close attention to the narration or dialogues happening in the video, as they are centred around the tested theme. This is extremely important!
  • They should also remember details about what they observed in the video, such as the time of day, venue, people, objects, and what was happening throughout the clip.
  • Try to relate to what was happening in the video. For instance, was there a certain part that made you feel angry, happy, disappointed, or touched?

(2) Any personal experiences related to the video (个人经验)?

Students will be asked to share any personal experiences they have had in relation to what happened in the video. If they don’t have any personal experiences they can relate to, they can try to describe what they’ve observed other people do in real life, or even create stories of their own. Commonly asked questions for this portion include:

  • Tell me an unforgettable experience you had related to (theme). 请你说一说令你难忘的一次【主题】的经历。

  • Have you experienced what you saw in the video? 你有遇过和视频中一样的经历吗?

  • Why do you think we should experience this? What can we learn from such an experience? 我们为什么要有这样的经历?它能给予我们什么经验?

  • Do you have any experiences similar to what you saw in the video? 除了视频中看到的事,你有其它类似经验吗?

Handy tips from Teacher Carolyn for 个人经验:

  • Students should try to answer in a relaxed manner. Talk to your examiner as though you are telling them a story!
  • Be as specific as possible when describing your answers. Include the time of day, venue, people, objects, assumed causes, processes, and results of what happened.
  • If you don’t have any personal experiences to relate to, use the stories you observed in the video to adapt to your own.

(3) Any opinions or thoughts about the theme of the video (给出建议)?

Students will be asked for their opinions, thoughts, and suggestions about what they just watched. Commonly asked questions for this portion include:

  • What do you think the school can do to improve on (theme)? 你觉得学校应该怎么做才能让【主题】的事情做得更好?

  • What do you think parents should do so we may learn more about (theme)? 你觉得父母应该怎么做才能让我们学到经验?

  • What should we do to prevent (theme) from happening again? 我们应该怎样做才能避免【主题】的事情再次发生?

  • What other similar things are related to (theme)? 除了【主题】之外,还有哪些类似的事情与这个有相关联?

Handy tips from Teacher Carolyn for 给出建议:

  • Students should pay attention to what kind of advice the examiners are seeking - are they asking about what schools, families, or you yourself should do better at? Each category is best served with different answers.
  • Give at least 2-3 pieces of advice for variety and to showcase your thinking skills!
  • If the examiner did not specify any particular person or place to give your advice to, you can give your suggestions in order of magnitude or influence, i.e. you could start small by giving advice to an individual, then to a family, followed by giving bigger pieces of advice to a school and to society in general.

How to practise Video Conversation?

Encourage your child to have more conversations with their family members and close friends to further exercise their ability to think and speak in Chinese. This helps them express their opinions and suggestions better.

As a parent, you can also guide your children to ponder over different problems that they observe in real life and survey them on what they think is right or wrong, and what they think can be done to make things right. This can widen your child’s perspective on real-world happenings and affairs, and of course - all this talk has to happen in Chinese!

Common themes in Video Conversation can revolve around the law, punctuality, caring for oneself, hygiene, healthy living, trust, and more. The possibilities are endless.


With so many useful tips to work with, we’re sure they will keep you and your child busy for a while. Encourage your child to practise with Teacher Carolyn’s handy tips in their last few days of oral exam prep, and we are sure they will excel! We wish you all the best!

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