Despite the disruptive academic year, we have been working hard for the Oral component since September. The PSLE year will appear in a flash. It will also pass in a flash. The P5 year is the time to lay down the foundations firmly and develop good studying habits. Oral is one component that requires time to improve. Depending on a child’s natural character, an introverted child can take longer to gain the confidence to give detailed answers.

Almost all my P5 students were not tested on the oral component for their P5 SA1. The few who were tested scored well and I am eager to see how the other students manage their SA2 Oral. This will be a predictor of how much work each child will require to ace their oral component in the P6 year.

Unlike the other English components, students are unsure of what picture or questions will be set for each school’s oral exam. While those students, who have been with us in their P4 year, have had enough practice with the usual P4 oral type of pictures and questions, the likelihood of them being tested in the same way will be slim. I have reiterated this point to my P5 students many times and have varied their SBC practices, challenging them with more PSLE type of opinion questions such as Is this poster effective..? or How can schools encourage students to be more…?

What can P5 students expect during their P5 oral examination?

1. Marks

The total marks for the P4 oral examination are out of 16; 6 for reading and 10 for SBC. For P5, the total mark is 30; 10 for reading and 20 for SBC. What I tell my students is that when done right, the oral component is a way to bring their English AL score to a higher grade. By fine-tuning their skills and having adequate practice, oral can be a helpful component.

2. Stimulus-based Conversation

In P4 the SBC picture usually contains 3 or 4 pictures with little information and students need to choose one. The theme can be about different sports, types of food or activities at a birthday party etc. In P5 (and P6), SBC pictures usually consist of a poster advertising a product or advertising an event. The event can be about a carnival, a sporting event, volunteering or a school campaign etc. There will be more information given in the picture such as the time, price or venue of an event or product.

3. Questions & Responses

The questions asked during the oral examination also differ in both levels. While the first question is usually a choice question type, a P5 student is expected to give a more detailed answer with more personal experiences and opinions or suggestions.

For example, in P4 the first questions would usually be Which sport/activity would you choose and why? In P5, the first question would be Would you buy this product and why? or Would you participate in this event and why?

With little information in the picture, a P4 student’s responses need not be as long as that of a P5 student. Hence, the higher marks awarded to the P5 & P6 oral components.

Now, let us take a look at the last SBC practice I did with my students this week. I hope that the information given above is helpful and I wish everyone all the best for their SA2 Oral Examination!

Stimulus-based conversation practice – Theme: Magazines and newspapers

sbc oral english p5 magazines

Question 1: Would you subscribe to this digital magazine in this poster?

Yes, I would subscribe to this digital magazine.

Reason 1 & Example

The magazine covers look interesting and I am sure that the content inside will be too. The poster says that the magazine is about current events and climate change. I am interested in environmental issues in the world so I would enjoy reading up the magazines.

Reason 2 & Example

The price of $19.99 is reasonable and it is now on sale. The price includes magazines for one year.

Reason 3 & Example

Lastly, the magazines are digital which will allow me to keep them for a long time without having to throw them away when I do not have enough space in my room. The pages will also not become yellowed with age.


My English and Science teachers encourage us to read magazines that talk about current events or the newest Science discoveries. This will broaden our knowledge of what is going on in the world today and how our world is evolving. When I go to the library, I will borrow magazines such as National Geographic for kids. Some of the articles are so interesting that I would like to keep the magazines but I can’t. Subscribing to these magazines will allow me to have my own magazines that I can re-read over and over again.


I would suggest that all children read articles in magazines even if reading is not their cup of tea. Articles are short and easy to read and they can gain knowledge about the world.

Question 2: Do you think that reading the newspaper is important?


I think that keeping abreast of current news is important.

Reason 1 & Example

My parents believe that knowing what is going on in the world and in Singapore is important. We discuss some current events like the Covid-19 situation and speculate what will happen in the future.

Reason 2 & Example

Some local news also give me ideas for school work, especially for writing my Compositions or for Oral. I can use what I read in the newspapers as examples for some stimulus-based conversation questions.


Even though reading the newspapers is important, I do not like to read all the news articles. Some of them like the Financial Section is too complicated for me. Some of the news articles also make me sad, especially when I read about tragedies in the world. My mother thinks that some news are not appropriate for young children so when she sees an interesting article in the newspaper, she will ask me to read it. Sometimes she will email me some links to newspaper articles she finds online for me to read them on my smartphone.

In conclusion

 I think it is important to read the newspapers.

Question 3: Tell me about the last book that you read and would you recommend it to your friends?

(Student describes the last book that they read)

I would definitely recommend the book/series to anyone who loves the fantasy/ adventure/ horror/ mystery genre. The book is exciting and quite suspenseful so my friends would be engrossed in the story like I was.


In conclusion, I really enjoyed reading (name of book) and I would recommend it to all my friends

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