The complete 2023 PSLE English guide

Learning English is an art as well as a science. To achieve a high score, your child must master the science of grammar and learn the art of using words effectively.

Before you begin, check out our PSLE scoring guide and exam dates for 2023.

In this article, we'll cover:

English PSLE complete syllabus + section weightage

Paper 1: Writing

Weightage: 27.5%

The examiner expects students to use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as have a broad vocabulary. They are also observing how the students organise their thoughts and express themselves.

This paper is divided into two parts and students will have 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete both of them.

The first section will consist of situational writing, which will be worth 15 marks. Students will be expected to write a brief letter/email/report that fits the context of the question. If you're not sure how to help your child get a high grade in situational writing, check out our article: 

The second part will consist of continuous writing (worth 40 marks), in which students will be shown three pictures and asked to write a composition detailing their thoughts and experiences. It is generally recommended to write at least 150 words on the topic. For tips and tricks on writing better compositions, check out these two articles:

Paper 2: Language Use and Comprehension

Weightage: 47.5%

Students will be expected to understand key concepts and context, and the questions can be either literal or inferential. 

This is the most extensive paper, consisting of two booklets, and students will have one hour and fifty minutes to complete both booklets.

Booklet A will contain multiple-choice questions (MCQs), and each question will be for 1 mark. 

This booklet's structure will be as follows:

- 10 questions on Grammar,

- 5 questions on Vocabulary,

- 5 questions on Vocabulary Cloze, and,

- 8 questions on Visual Text Comprehension.

Booklet B will have open-ended questions with the following structure:

- 10 questions on Grammar Cloze,

- 12 questions on Editing for Spelling and Grammar,

- 15 questions on Comprehension Cloze,

- 5 questions on Synthesis/Transformation, and,

- 10 questions on Comprehension OE (Open-Ended).

Each open-ended question is worth 1 mark.

We've found a way to make this paper a little easier for you with these 7 simple tips for scoring well on Primary English Comprehension.

Paper 3: Listening Comprehension

Weightage: 10%

Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of a variety of spoken texts in this paper. They will be tested on what they have literally heard, as well as their ability to understand context and tone of voice. 

👉 Pro tip: To get a better grade, teach your child how to listen critically.

This paper will last about 35 minutes and will include 20 multiple-choice questions. 

Each question will be worth 1 mark.

Paper 4: Oral Communication

Weightage: 15%

In this paper, students will read one passage aloud (worth 10 marks) and have one stimulus-based conversation (worth 20 marks). Students will have 5 minutes to prepare before taking the exam.

👉 Pro tip: Teach your child how to enunciate to improve their grades.

For reading questions, the examiners will want to know if your child’s reading is well-paced and flows smoothly. 

For the speaking questions, they want to see a well-thought-out structure as well as how well the student uses vocabulary and grammar.

Read our PSLE English Oral: Tips to impress your examiner (format + examples) for insights on how to tackle this paper. 

You can also watch this short video made by Geniebook teachers to help you improve your English Oral skills.

The most effective study technique to improve your child’s PSLE English grade

The quickest way to improve your English grade is to assist your child in creating their own vocabulary list. 

One way to do this is to ask your child to keep track of how many times they used the word "Very".  Then assist them in determining an alternative word.

Here's an example of a list:

Very happy      ➡️ ecstatic, delighted, overjoyed

Very angry       ➡️ seething, incensed, livid, furious

Very bad          ➡️ awful, horrible, terrible, abominable

Very good        ➡️ excellent, outstanding, superb

Very beautiful  ➡️ exquisite, lovely, stunning, gorgeous

Very big           ➡️ enormous, humongous, gigantic, colossal, massive

Very dull          ➡️ tiresome, tedious

Very clean       ➡️ pristine, immaculate, spotless

Very cold         ➡️ freezing, frosty, frigid

Very hot          ➡️ blistering, boiling, sweltering

Very exciting   ➡️ breathtaking, thrilling

Very fast          ➡️ hasty, rapid

Very Quiet      ➡️ hushed, muffled, muted

Very loud          ➡️ thunderous, deafening, noisy

Make a similar list. Each time you see the word "very", look up an alternaive word that you could use instead.

PSLE Notes & Sample papers

If you’d like to revise, we have an entire section of notes and free sample papers for each class:

Primary 1: Notes and Sample Papers

Primary 2: Notes and Sample Papers

Primary 3: Notes and Sample Papers

Primary 4: Notes and Sample Papers

Primary 5: Notes and Sample papers

Primary 6: Notes and Sample papers

If you liked reading this article, check out our 5 tips to slaying the PSLE Maths monster: A parent’s guide next.


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