SmileTutor Blog Students Study Tips Secondary School Chinese Vs Primary School Chinese

Secondary School Chinese Vs Primary School Chinese

You might have heard some discouraging stories regarding secondary school Chinese that it is much harder as compared to that of primary school. But your concerns might change after you read this.

Students should realize that Secondary school Chinese needs a different skill-set for them to succeed. The exam paper requirements are rather different too. For those that are certain that they need assistance with this subject, reading resources and Chinese tuition is widely available in Singapore.

Lesson And Curriculum

1. More homework

You should expect more homework when you are in secondary school. As you take your O levels, there is less time for you to prepare than in primary school. Normally students in the upper secondary are given three to five assignments each week. As you approach exam time the workload also increases.

2. No Spelling Tests

You will no longer need spelling tests once you enter secondary school. Though some tutors will voluntarily set spelling tests to help grow student’s vocabulary. The tests are not required as it was in primary schools.

Since secondary students are supposed to have some understanding of popular Chinese phrases and words, they should be able to utilize a dictionary for essays, thus spelling tests are not needed for them.

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3. More Practice, Fewer Textbooks

Most secondary school tutors arrange their lessons independent of textbooks, unlike in primary exams that use words derived from Zuo Ye and textbook passages. Yet secondary schools exam does not get words from any textbooks at all. The students are advised against only relying on textbooks for Chinese exams.

Exam Format

1. Longer MCQ questions

Those short MCQ questions that test vocabulary and your Hanyu Pinyin are no more. Though MCQ questions are in secondary schools exam papers. They will appear after comprehension and in long clause passages. These MCQ questions are much trickier since the choices are similar.

2. Additional open-ended comprehension questions

The Comprehension MCQ segment is still there but it has an additional Open-ended comprehension segment. This has longer questions and longer passages. Marks on the comprehension section for secondary schools Chinese has been increased greatly since there are fewer sections.

Also, there is a greater mix of comprehension questions. Most of which are focused on inference skills and elaborate reading. Vocabulary questions will require that you explain the meaning of certain phrases in your own words. This part is new to secondary schools Chinese tuition as well.

3. No Hanyu Pinyin

Exam papers in primary school, have Hanyu pinyin. This includes those papers for primary 6 (汉语拼音). In secondary schools papers, this is not included. This can be great news for students who have a weakness in Hanyu Pinyin.

The main difference between secondary and primary school exams is that. By having little skills in comprehension. Primary school pupils can still pass their exams. However, in secondary school, it will be a challenge to pass the paper.

For this reason, efficient Chinese tutors often focus on sharpening students comprehension skills. Fortunately, those that have a good foundation in Chinese subject often tend to have higher marks in their comprehension section.

Understanding Skills

The exam paper 2 will mostly test a student’s ability to comprehend the passage. Then they answer the given question. A student’s understanding skills may improve through translation or explanation.

Chinese tutors are very helpful in this feature as they will provide an explanation for the unfamiliar phrases. They also explain hard words to help a student understand the passage. Still, a basic understanding of Chinese language is necessary. This will help you understand a tutor’s explanation. With time as you improve your vocabulary. Your understanding passages and answering the questions will get much better.

There are no shortcuts in knowing Chinese words. This is why most Chinese teachers at school will spend more time in explaining hard words in the close passages.

The challenges come in when they do not have enough lesson time at schools. This is for offering students enough familiarity to new phrases and words. Considering that it is less likely that examiners may set exam papers with similar questions. Therefore, getting more familiar with new Chinese words will help a student as this will increase their chances of coming upon the very word in their exam. Using a dictionary for reference will help tremendously, however, many students who have a hard time to refer.

Constant Exposure

Most Singaporean students who have a weakness in Chinese often come from English speaking households, therefore there is not much exposure to the Chinese language. Not having to speak and read Chinese will cause limited vocabulary as well as poor understanding and reading of Chinese passages.

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Attending Chinese tuition will make it mandatory for the students to read and speak Chinese during lesson time. Additional homework that is given will give the student more opportunity to read Chinese materials.

There are some techniques used in acing the Chinese exam paper. For instance, students can learn how to answer comprehension questions. This skill learned has nothing to do with their grasp of Chinese. For Chinese compositions, creative writing is important for making it more interesting. At the same time correctly meet the requirement of the questions.

Benefits Of Chinese Tuition In Singapore

Many students struggle with Chinese as a subject. Most of them that are weak in the subject usually aim at passing their Chinese tests. However, this subject is equally as important as science and maths. This is as far as the Singapore education system is concerned.

By getting high marks in your first language paper certainly will help improve the overall grade. So for students in secondary school, scoring higher marks in the Chinese paper gets them bonus points. You can use the additional grade to help you get into a desired junior college or a chosen polytechnic course.

In Singapore, Chinese tuition has also proven to be effective in improving the student’s Chinese results.

Looking to Excel in Chinese Language, here are some help to strengthen this area:

What You Need To Memorize Before Singapore Chinese Essay Exams
How Much Does a Bilingual Home Environment Help Young Students?

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.