SmileTutor Blog Students Exam Tips Top 9 Tips to Help You Score an A1 on Your O-Level Chinese

Top 9 Tips to Help You Score an A1 on Your O-Level Chinese

Many Singaporean students tend to experience a hard time with the Chinese subject at school. If you’re experiencing the same thing, you’re not alone. Sometimes, no matter how hard you study, it feels like you can’t get the hang of it. This can cause you to panic which, in turn, makes you forget what you’ve just learned.

If you’re having trouble studying but want to ace your upcoming Chinese exams, then these tips below will help.

Understanding the Chinese Examinations

Before you can ace your Chinese O-Level, you first need to understand its structure. Simply put, the Chinese exam consists of the following four components:

  • Paper one
  • Paper two
  • Listening comprehension
  • Oral exam

Paper One: Situational Writing or Composition

For the Mother Tongue section of your O-Levels, your Paper One will begin with Situational Writing or Composition. This comprises around 20% of the entire exam, so you need to write something that can amaze those who read it.

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However, even if composing written works isn’t your forte, you can still write a winning composition effectively if you have a good command of the Chinese language.

Aside from that, having great imagination skills that draw the reader into your world can also help you write fantastic written works. Of course, reading and thoroughly understanding the prompt before beginning your composition can also help you in this section.

Paper Two: Comprehension

The exam’s Paper Two section is where the trouble begins for most students because they will need to prove they can sufficiently understand the given text. Here, students need to read several passages, analyze the given text, and ensure their answers show they have sufficiently understood the essay.

In fact, their answers should be as accurate for both the fill-in-the-blank questions and the MCQ. This can be challenging to do, especially with the given time limit and the fact that this paper accounts for 45% of the entire exam.

For this part, you need to adequately prepare for this paper by reading and understanding Chinese texts. A good place to start will be reading the newspaper or Chinese storybooks.

Paper Three: Oral and Listening Comprehension

Lastly, you have the Paper Three section which comprises the oral and listening comprehension part of the exam. This accounts for the 35% of the entire exam score, so you will need to adequately prepare and do well for this part as well, especially if composition is not your forte.

Here, students will be asked to showcase their verbal proficiency in the language by answering a couple of questions based on a short presentation. In this case, aside from having mastery over Chinese, having enough confidence when presenting can also help.

Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Chinese O-Level

Begin preparing early

There is never a better time to begin preparing for your Chinese examination than now. Therefore, it is crucial to start revising early and understanding what you will be tested in.

For example, you can check the previous past papers from the SEAB website. Understanding how they set the exam and assess it is an integral part of your preparation.

Come up with a schedule

Do you know the examination dates? If you do, you should now come up with a study plan and schedule your time accordingly. On the other hand, if you are a parent, you can help your child by ensuring they adhere to their study plan for better chances of success.

Practice and revise

We cannot emphasize enough the need to keep practicing. After all, your paper will have different sections, and here is how you can practice seriously for each:

Paper 1: You can adequately practice for paper one by writing compositions. The more you write, the more you familiarize yourself with vocabularies, and the more you explore your writing style. In fact, continuous practice will ensure that you gear up for your paper.

Paper 2: For this part, you can make it easier to analyze the given text in the exam by reading more Chinese texts beforehand. Like with writing, you can practice your reading speed by reading more.

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Moreover, by reading different types of text, you can familiarize yourself with the different types of content to help you understand the context for each.

Oral examination and listening comprehension: The best way to practice your oral is by presenting it to someone else or a friend. Luckily, oral examinations are not hard, and they are easy to score for your Chinese exam.

In fact, as you continue to practice your oral communication, it will help you learn how to relay your thoughts. In addition, it will also help train you to respond better and faster to the examiner. Furthermore, it also helps strengthen your language and communication skills.

Similarly, listening to different types of audio will help train your ear, allowing you to better understand the exam’s presented audio even in unfavorable conditions.

Aside from these, you can also prepare for the exam and practice by using past papers. Most schools will have previous Chinese past papers in their library to help their students practice. It is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the Chinese exam.

This is because papers from past years can give students the necessary confidence and familiarity with how the questions are set.

In addition, it also helps improve their speed and how they handle questions. Aside from this, knowing what to expect is winning half of the battle.

So, if you need additional papers, you can get them here.

Consider getting tuition

It’s always a good idea to seek additional help when you need it. Contrary to the popular opinion that sciences are the most difficult subjects, languages are also challenging subjects too.

In fact, they can often prove to be more difficult because they are complex and require plenty of your time, dedication, and effort to master.

Therefore, getting Chinese tuition will help you immensely. Through tuition, you can close the existing knowledge gaps and get a better way to revise your exams. With that said, you need to find Chinese tuition that complies with the set pandemic guidelines.

Take the mid-year paper seriously

Unfortunately, many students ignore the mid-year papers since there are two O-Level tests every year. This is because, according to them, they have a second chance to give their paper a try if they didn’t perform well in their mid-year paper.

However, it is essential to give both papers your best shot. So, concentrate on fully preparing for your mid-year Chinese exam.

Ensure you are updated with the latest news

As a candidate about to sit for their Chinese exams, you need to be constantly aware of and remain updated with current global news. After all, being updated on the recent news will help you hold an interesting conversation, especially in your oral exam.

In fact, it is common for examiners to test your knowledge of current events through composition topics. Remaining updated will help you get more points on what to write about.

So, how do you stay updated? Well, you can do so by reading Chinese newspapers. They will expose you not only to the current events but also build on your Chinese vocabulary and improve your reading—a double win.

Tune in to Chinese programs

Instead of watching TV in a language you already know and understand, why not watch Chinese programs? Even if it’s only for a short time, it can be an excellent method to sharpen your skills in the language.

Pay attention and effectively take notes during class

Overall, one of the best ways to learn is by paying attention during classes. After all, what your instructor teaches is important, especially during the revision period.

Therefore, effectively take notes so you can go back to them later. Then, if you have any doubts or questions, you should feel free to ask for clarifications. In fact, here are some tips to help you become more effective at note-taking.


Chinese is undoubtedly among the difficult languages to learn. However, with the tips above, you can easily ace your O-level subject. These tips will help boost your confidence, knowledge, and skills and prepare you for the exam.

Acing your Chinese O-Levels can work in your favor if you decide to take Higher Chinese later on.

Of course, you will need to sacrifice a little of your time into practice to achieve success in the long run. So, remember to use additional resources such as Chinese newspapers and programs, particularly Chinese tuition, to improve your Chinese.

Here are other useful insights that can help you:

Learn Chinese in Singapore: 22 Enrichment & Language Course Options

Chinese Exam Mistakes All Singaporean Students Make

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.