The March holidays are soon approaching. And while holidays are a good time for students to recuperate and relax, this time should also be spent productively brushing up on the various examination skills. Especially for P6 students gearing up for their first major examination, this is an invaluable opportunity to hone these essential skills. 

In this article, I’ll delve into several skills that parents can assist their children in refining during the term break. These skills will prove instrumental in preparing them to excel in their PSLE English exam.


Parent and Child Reading

Teachers often preach the importance of reading, and it’s for a reason. Reading isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential for developing proficiency in any language, including English. In fact, a study by the Education Research International found that there was a direct correlation between reading comprehension and English vocabulary knowledge. Additionally, encouraging leisurely reading not only aids academic success in English but even in subjects like Mathematics and Science. A study done on the impact of pleasure reading found that students who engaged in reading in their leisure time saw better results in every subject than those who did not. 

Reading can be an especially difficult habit to instil. Start by finding a genre of book that your child may be interested in, whether it’s science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, all reading is good reading! Reading exposes students to diverse vocabulary, sentence structures, and writing styles. By regularly engaging with various types of texts, readers naturally expand their vocabulary and comprehension abilities.

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If you’d prefer to take on a more targeted approach, look up past composition papers written by peers their age (this will allow for them to gauge their writing with work written for people their age) and have your child read and engage with the text – highlighting new vocabulary words, analysing the structure of the text. And then have them try writing it themselves. 


An important component of the PSLE English exam is the oral exam. The oral exam will account for 15% of your child’s PSLE English grade, the first part being a reading aloud test and the second being a stimulus based conversation. Spend some time engaging in reading aloud exercises with your child. Have them read aloud some texts in their favourite books. 

Parent and Child Reading 2

Special attention should be paid to pronunciation and projection of their voice. Children have to speak articulately, clearly and loudly enough during the exam to score high marks. Certain articulations are commonly mispronounced, for example, The Center for Speech & Language Development emphasises articulations of L, R, S, Th, and Z sounds as often particularly challenging for children. Work with your child and have them repeat difficult to pronounce words over and over again. 

Quick Tips: 

  • Be mindful of punctuation (Commas and Full-stops) and pausing at the appropriate moments
  • Remind them to breathe and speak confidently 
  • Remind them to read expressively and not monotonously

Stimulate exam scenarios

The best way to prepare your child for the upcoming exams is to familiarise them with the structure of the exam using past PSLE/school exam papers. Not only does this approach help reduce test anxiety by making the format less intimidating, but it also helps you identify areas where your child may need extra support.

By exposing your child to past exam papers, you can help them become accustomed to the types of questions they’ll encounter, the time constraints they’ll face, and the overall expectations of the exam. 

Child Writing

After they’ve completed the paper, review their work with them, compliment good work and work on the areas that require improvement. A review of past papers is an excellent way to identify which skills or topics your child needs to focus on going forward. Whether it’s improving their comprehension skill or refining their essay writing abilities, analysing past papers can pinpoint areas where additional practice or instruction is needed.

If you find that your child is facing persistent challenges, don’t hesitate to seek extra help. At Happy Tutors, our English tutors are trained ex-MOE teachers and subject specialists with outstanding academic backgrounds in English and English-related fields. In our English lessons, many important skills are developed to enhance a student’s language proficiency and communication abilities. Find a centre closest to you: