Blog Students Exam Tips 8 Tips to Score in Mother Tongue Listening Comprehension

8 Tips to Score in Mother Tongue Listening Comprehension

The PSLE Mother Tongue Listening Comprehension exam is very tricky to pass for many students who need to learn another language on top of mastering English at the same time. Although Singaporeans have Chinese, Malay or Tamil as one of their major languages, many young Singaporeans prefer to use English because of its global benefits.

Listening comprehension is the most important skill to learn, but it can be tricky to master. Fortunately, there are ways to help students like your child get used to a second language and score high in the listening comprehension part of your child’s exams.

Here are 8 great tips that you should try out:

Expose yourself to the language daily

If you want your child to get used to pronunciations, it is important that you take your time to expose him or her to the language every day. This is one of the steps listed here to help your child to fall in love with his Mother Tongue.

Although written languages can be memorised, spoken language can improve your mastery of the language. Take some time on listening like how you would train your reading, speaking and writing skills.

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Your child can use online resources like video games if there are no people around who can expose her to the Mother Tongue daily. Podcasts and radio programs are also great because they are focused on dialogue and use casual words in the Mother Tongue. Using their dialogues will also help your child understand how words can be used in real-life dialogues.

Listen with the help of text guides

Your child can also improve their listening comprehension by watching Mother Tongue movies with subtitles or audio clips with transcripts. Like here is a list of Hindi movies for your child to practice their Mother Tongue.

Using this method, he can check the words and phrases that he is not familiar with and look for other examples showing these words and phrases being used.

Audio books are also a great way to understand how the words are used while reading the book. To start off with audio books, pick one that your kid have read in English so that he can check his progress while reading it in his Mother Tongue.

Practice your pronunciation

Single syllable languages such as Chinese are difficult to learn because the syllables are short and only use one tone. Sadly, there are various tone levels in each Chinese word, which adds to the confusion of many students.

If you want to be proficient with Chinese and get past this problem, take time to learn Chinese pinyin. It will help you understand the different tones used in the Chinese language and help you develop a good accent when you practice the language. Pinyin pronunciation guides are available to help you learn the pronunciations as you listen to recordings and other audio materials.

Same goes for Malay which have many words similar to English like zirafah for giraffe and cimpanzi for chimpanzee. It is easy to mishead the words. So regular practice of clear pronunciation will help in aiding your child’s listening skills. Here are many more tips for parents to encourage your child to learn Malay at home.

Increase your vocabulary

When learning a language, it is important that your child develop a vocabulary bank of the key words and phrases used in the language.

All the materials your child will be using to practice his listening comprehension comprise of various vocabularies, which he can memorise and study to learn the material correctly.

If your child’s vocabulary is not enough to focus on the conversation he is in completely, he should take the time to expose himself to more languages. You can use vocabulary flashcards as shown here to teach your child to learn new words. These flashcards even come with tips on how to write their characters properly and the intonations that one have to be familiar with.

Learn to identify types of questions

Every exam uses several types of questions to see if students can properly respond to them perfectly. In the Mother Tongue Listening Comprehension test, they can expect factual, summary and inferential questions.

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Factual questions involve questions that require students to identify the details being read out to them. Inferential questions ask students to deduce the right information given in the passage and the summary questions ask students to provide the main idea being spoken in the passage.

To practice in these questions, use practice exams here from previous PSLE exams. As your child practice, take note as to how these questions are structured to identify the right type of questions being asked during the exams.

Your child should also do his best to take note of the key information in the passage to be able to answer to the questions correctly.

Write what you hear

Listening is not enough if your child want to master a language, especially in listening comprehension. He also need to know if he got the right information being said to him and he is able to respond accordingly.

As he practice the language through the questions he hear or the situations he is listening to, try to write what they are trying to convey and check if your child are correct. Take effective notes that match your kid’s learning preference and here is how to do it right. 

As your child do this method, his listening comprehension skills will grow and will be able to respond to various situations correctly.

Speak in Mother Tongue at home

Practicing with native speakers like with you will not just help your child practice his speaking skills, it will also help him learn words that are not usually used in school.

It will also expose your child to slang phrases, linking words and other key points that will help him master the language faster. If your child find a certain phrase, word or sentence hard to understand, encourage him to ask you for an explanation or repeat what you have just said.

Be calm, prepared and focus

Your child should focus on the areas which they find hard to master while they practice their listening comprehension. Once exam day comes, sleep on time so your child are fully charged and ready to face the exam. If your child need more practice, come and seek our professional help!


It is undeniable that it is easy to fall back into using English and forget about your Mother Tongue. However, as Singaporeans, it is important that one tries to at least be proficient at it as a way to preserve Singaporean history and tradition.

With the tips we listed above, your child will surely be able to find it easier to get used to the spoken language and use it to master the language completely.

Having trouble teaching Mother Tongue at home? Check out these helpful tips:

Learn Chinese in Singapore: 70+ Options for Mandarin Classes
Best Bahasa Melayu Apps for Kids to Pick Up Malay Language Quickly

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.