Study smart guide to PSLE success ― Mother-tongue Papers

Help your peewee pass their mother-tongue language exam with flying colours ― by watching out for these possible missteps!


Unless you are an effectively bilingual parent, coaching your young ’un to achieve a high score for their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) mother-tongue papers may be an especially nerve-wracking experience.

Not to worry, we got Hua Language Centre principal Chen Qian Yi, Hayati Abdullah, founder and teacher at Pusat Bahasa NUSA, and A T Pillai, director at TamilCube Learning Centre to share insights on which problem areas junior will need to watch out for!

Paper One — Composition

A flair for writing will help your kid score in this paper. Examiners will especially be on the lookout for rich descriptions of characters, settings or actions. Watch out for grammatical errors, which can cost junior precious marks. Remember to bring your electronic or print dictionaries, too! — see the complete list of approved dictionaries here.

Chinese Language Paper

Pitfall #1: Not understanding the question
Make it a top priority to read the topic carefully to determine what you should write. For topical compositions, Chen advises students to identify the central ideas of the topic, then focus on how to elaborate them in the story. For picture compositions, students should “identify which pictures will contribute significantly to the storyline. Then describe these pictures [in your story] vividly and describe the others briefly”.

Pitfall #2: Going off-topic
When attempting both the picture and topical questions, students tend to be over-imaginative or veer-off topic in their script. To avoid this, your offspring should consider the six aspects of narrative writing: place, time, people, cause, process and conclusion. Chen notes that placing the details in a mind map can help your child piece together a logical and complete story.

Pitfall #3: Not bothering to double-check
Chen urges students to check their completed essays twice. Take this chance to ensure there are no incorrectly written words and that all sentences are grammatically sound. Also, ensure that you reinforce the essay’s themes in the ending.

Click for tips for the Malay and Tamil compositions.