The PSLE English paper has three sections: the composition writing section, the reading or oral section, and the listening comprehension section. For the listening comprehension section, pupils are required to listen to a story or some other form of comprehension and answer questions based on what they have listened to. The PSLE Listening Comprehension Examination is created to test your child’s ability to pinpoint the main ideas in the passages they have listened to and to correctly draw conclusions from those passages.
You may worry about your child’s ability to pass this examination because it is well-known that children have a short attention span and are easily distracted, especially when whatever is happening holds little interest to them. Since this is an exam, they need to be attentive so that they can correctly answer the questions and pass the exam. How do you prepare your child for the PSLE Listening Comprehension Examination?
Developing Adequate Listening Skills
Learning occurs by listening. All children learn by listening to what is being said around them: this is how they learn from birth, before acquiring formal education. Paying attention to all that is said around you, focusing on what people say and understanding them is a skill that helps pupils and students in their studies in school. Listening enables children to understand what is being said, and then to process it and interpret the information they have heard quickly so as to provide an appropriate answer. As such, listening is a skill that parents need to teach their children at a very young age. This starts from the home, and you need to take into cognizance your home environment and what goes on there before you can proceed to help your children in the art of listening.
Is your home one where you have discussions with your children, and you talk to them one on one, giving them instructions they can understand and follow to the letter; or is your home an environment where everyone is talking at the same time, with no one minding what the other is saying, leaving no room for healthy, one on one discussions?
Your home needs to be one where children are spoken to and are allowed to voice their opinions. By taking turns to speak and listening to what each person has to say, your children will cultivate the habit of listening and paying attention to others, and that is how they learn how to listen. Teach your children to listen attentively when spoken to; to understand and make meaning of what has been said; to process that information in a logical manner; and then to draw meaningful, rational conclusions from the information they have heard.
Make it a Habit
To make listening a habit for your children, encourage them and join them in watching programs that are done in the English language. Encourage them to listen to English language programs like the news, podcasts, speeches, radio broadcasts, etc. after watching the program, ask them questions about what they have just watched and heard and get answers from them. Make this a daily routine of yours, even asking them about their day and what they have done, and why something happened during the day, or what they think a certain occurrence means.
In this way, you can teach your kids how to listen attentively without making it seem like a chore. You can also teach your children by being examples yourselves: pay attention to what they have to say and answer them appropriately.
Format of the Listening Comprehension Exam
According to the website of the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), posted in 2015, the PSLE English Listening Comprehension had 20 Multiple Choice Questions which pupils had to answer in 35 minutes. This is the typical format of the Listening Comprehension examination.
The Listening Comprehension paper is worth 20 marks, making 10% of the total score for the PSLE English examination. Usually, this is the section of the English examination that pupils score well in, so helping your child to increase their chances of passing it won’t go amiss.
Pupils listen to voice recordings during this exam, and every pupil in Singapore listens to the same voice and diction so that all pupils have a fair chance in taking this exam.
On the day of the Exam
Get to the school on time to prevent panicking at the last minute, and ensure that your child has at least two pencils to taken into the exam. Remind your child of the steps that the Listening Comprehension examination is going to follow, and assure them to remain calm and confident.
During The First Reading
• All passages are read out twice.
• The passage could be in the form of a news item, an announcement, a speech, a story, an advertisement etc.
• Before the first reading of the script, time is given to go through the questions. Try not to be distracted.
• Reading the questions silently beforehand helps in being prepared and looking out for information when the passage is being read.
• It is important to listen attentively and understand what the passage is talking about.
• Creating a mental picture of what is being read makes it easier to recall.
• The meaning of a difficult word can be understood by contextualizing it.
• Look out for intonation and emphasis on keywords and phrases which may have clues to the answers.
• Avoid being in a hurry or being overly impulsive.
• Circling the answer before the next question is read, helps to avoid confusion and circling of incorrect answers.
During The Second Reading
• Don’t start daydreaming or get overconfident in your abilities once the second reading begins.
• Be focused and use this opportunity to listen again and process any information that may have been missed in the first reading.
• Think carefully and confirm that the circled answer is correct
• Shade the answer on the sheet using the pencil.
Preparing your child for the PSLE English Listening Comprehension exam is very easy, and preparing them increases their chances of passing this section of the exam. Teach them to listen attentively and to take time to process their answers, and teach them to be confident in themselves and in their abilities, as this will prevent them from worrying or panicking and help them pass the exam well.
Looking for more exam tips? These articles can help you: 9 Last-Minute Exam Preparation Tips To Save Your Life and The Secret Formula to Ace Your Exams