PSLE Chinese Oral Reading Guide - How To Get High Marks?

The first component of the oral exam is reading, making up 20 marks, and is the easiest component in the exam. Here are some of the common issues students face during the reading component, as well as ways to improve and practice.

From my experience, students usually encounter these problems during reading:

1. Adding Or Omitting Words

When reading, students sometimes might accidentally add or skip certain words in the passage as they are:

  1. Not concentrated on the passage
  2. Are not familiar with the words

2. Monotonous

When reading, some students would read the passage with one single tone, and read at the same pace throughout.
This may be due to:

  1. Students are not aware of the requirements of the passage, ordo not understand the passage enough to be able to vary their tone and speed according to the passage's context.
  2. Students may have a habit of reading monotonously since young.

3. Words Are Read Out As Individuals, Not Together As A Sentence Or Phrase

Students would only recognize the individual characters, however as they are unfamiliar, they are not able to string the words together as one coherent sentence, hence sounding very fragmented. This is because:

  1. They are unfamiliar with the sentence structure or certain phrases
  2. They are not aware they must read the passages as connected sentences

4. Reading Too Quickly

Some students may read at a very fast pace. Although they read the passage very fluently, they could not fully express the various intonations and feelings expressed in the passage. This may be due to:

  1. They are too nervous
  2. Unaware of the needs of the passage

Now, here are some things students should take note of when practicing reading:

1. Proper pronunciation

The words that appear in the reading passage would all be words that have previously appeared in students' textbooks. There would not be any words that students have yet to learn in the passage, nor would there be idioms, etc. Hence, it should be easy for students to overcome the vocabulary barrier. Students must take note of characters that may have more than one pronunciation, and this can be practiced by placing these words into a single passage for practice.

2. Intonation and pacing

Fluency requires for no repetition of words, appropriate pauses, with the pacing in accordance with the contents of the text by varying the speed, tone. Knowing where and how long to pause is very important. Each punctuation in the passage acts as a good clue for the appropriate pause.



3. Feelings and expressions

When practicing, students should pay attention to changes in tone, and can adjust their tone according to the context of the passage, reflecting the feelings expressed. Here are some examples to consider:

Tone 升调(前低后高) 降调(前高后低)
Sentence Type Questioning, or Commanding Exclamation
Feeling Nervous, Angry Heavy-hearted, Disappointment
Example "你说什么!" "请你保持安静!" "真是太让人失望了!"

The Test Strategy

Before The Exam:

- Use 2 minutes of the 5-minute preparation time to read the passage, preferably at least twice
- Take note of words that may have more than one pronunciation
- Adjust the tone according to the passage's context

During The Exam:

- Walk to the table, and greet the examiners first before sitting down
o "Good morning teachers, I am so-and-so, my exam index number is xxx."
- Sit straight
- Do not speak too softly
- Use the appropriate tone and pacing
- Upon finishing tone paragraph, take a quick look at the examiner
- Upon finishing the passage, look up at the examiner and be confident