In line with MOEs move to develop students’ critical thinking and public speaking skills even in the primary school years, the Oral component has been modified. While the new PSLE English changes will appear only in the PSLE 2025, most schools will likely test their Primary 5 students on the Oral component in the new format for their P5 SA2.

At TF, we believe that Oral is one component that requires time and practice to master, and preparing for it should start a few months before the actual exam. This will allow students to build up their confidence with every practice.

What are the changes to the Oral component ?

The Reading section is now 15 marks and Stimulus-based Conversation is 25 marks, totalling 40 marks from the previous 30 marks. The Oral component becomes a substantial component in the PSLE English paper.

Changes in the Reading Section

The Reading section evaluates a student’s reading ability. A student must read a given passage fluently with the appropriate pace and intonation. Students tested in the new Oral format will be given a preamble before the passage. For example, the passage may be a speech about the importance of volunteering and the student needs to persuade his classmates to volunteer for a beach clean up or the passage may be a presentation about a recycling programme that the student wants to implement in his/her school.

These changes would mean that the tone a student uses in the reading passage is important. Students should study the preamble carefully and use PACT – identify the purpose of the passage, the audience he or she is addressing, the context of the passage, and the tone he or she needs to use when reading the passage aloud.

Changes in the Stimulus-based Conversation

The Stimulus-Based Conversation section is now 25 marks. While the format is similar to the current SBC, the pictures will change. Currently, students are given a poster with words or just a picture. The first question is usually a Choice or Opinion one. In the new format, from what we currently know, the pictures will be one where people will be doing something based on a theme. For example, if the theme is on Recycling the picture may be of students recycling or if it is about Places of Interest, the picture may be about students at the exhibits at the Science Centre. The first question will be based on the picture.

Now that you know more about the Oral Component changes, let us look at how parents can help prepare their children at home.

How can parents help their children at home to prepare for the PSLE 2025 Oral component?

Tip 1: Reading Aloud

Keeping in mind that with the new format, students are required to work on their presentation skills, students can practise reading aloud their speeches in front of their family members. Over the past two years, some schools have implemented this change in their school’s curriculum. Primary 5 students must write a short presentation about topics such A Person I Admire or A Challenge that I had to Overcome and present in their classes. Marks are then awarded.

This year, TF started a Holiday Project where our Primary 5 students were asked to read the newspapers during every school holiday, choose 1-3 news articles, and present those articles in class. The articles could be in the form of a hardcopy, or PowerPoint presentation, or simply a picture of the article. They then had to summarise the article and explain why those articles resonated with them. There would be a Q&A section where other students or the teacher would ask them questions.

The aim of giving our P5 students this project was to instill in them a habit of reading the newspapers and develop their understanding of their preference for different articles (some enjoyed the sports sections, others were drawn to articles about animals or crime, etc), Presenting the newspaper articles in class would be a way for them to practise their public speaking skills in preparation for their Oral examination and a way for our teachers to informally test our students’ readiness for the changes in the Reading section of the Oral component.

The newspaper articles the students chose will then be transformed into Cloze passages that they will do as Cloze exercises.

This simple exercise has several benefits and the presentation portion can be easily done at home. Aside from newspaper articles, families can listen to podcasts or watch a documentary and have their children talk about the theme. Parents can also give them a topic such as The benefits of playing online games, and ask them to present it. A side note: please be encouraging and positive after your child’s presentation. While there may be things to improve on, giving a speech, even as adults, can be nerve-wracking and confidence plays a large part in the Oral component.

At TF, we will prepare Reading Aloud passages with different preambles during Oral testing for our P5 students so that they can practise using PACT and different tones of voice when reading aloud.

Tip 2: Stimulus-based Conversation

Parents can look for pictures online based or even old family photographs and initiate a discussion about those pictures or photographs. Using the example of the picture about students in the Science Centre, parents can ask some questions based on the theme. For example: Would you like to visit the Science Centre? In your opinion, do the students look happy to be at the Science Centre? What exhibits would interest students?

Talking about current issues can also be a way for students to formulate opinions and practise critical thinking. For example, road safety and the recent road accidents in Singapore. Or reasons why students should display moral values in school. Or the hot debate of how much screen time should students be allowed to have per week.

The key here is allowing children to develop critical thinking and form their personal opinions, then proving that their opinions are valid. As we often tell our students at TF, there is no right or wrong opinion in Oral but you need to prove that your opinion is valid by giving at least two reasons why your opinion is valid. If you cannot, then marks will be deducted.

We hope that this post will help parents understand the changes in the Oral component and has given parents some idea on how they can help their children at home. You can read about the changes in the Situational Writing component. Check our the other P5 Oral articles to help your child.

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