Now that the P6 CA1 examinations are over and the results are out, it is time to start focusing on the upcoming SA1 examinations. The first one is the Oral component. This is one component that requires time and practice to improve on. This is why at Thinking Factory, we begin working on the Oral component from mid-March. The Oral component is a 30 mark contribution to the total English score and our aim is to ensure that this component is a positive contribution to our students’ total English score.

The first Oral examination will be in mid-April for most schools. This will give students just a month to prepare for the examination. Every PSLE year, my students will tell me that there is one day of oral testing that is more challenging than the other.

The topic may be a surprise or the questions more difficult. The other day would usually be a topic that is considered easier or more straightforward. It is impossible to predict what themes may emerge. Not all themes are based on school life. The theme of the PSLE 2020 Day 1 was about community and neighbours. This is one of the reasons why I work on many different themes and topics with my students.

While I like to watch the trends and predict possible themes and questions every year, I feel that preparing students to answer questions based on a wide variety of themes can help them greatly should they be faced with a challenging theme, a confusing picture, or a stern examiner. It can also be a great help for DSA interviews.

In today’s post, I have used the PSLE 2020 Day 1 picture and 2 questions as an example of how to answer Stimulus-based questions using the TREES approach. The responses and ideas are from my students who scored A-star for English in 2020.

I hope this is will be helpful to all those who have started revising for their SA1 Oral.

How to answer Stimulus-based questions using the TREES approach?

PSLE English oral testing 2020 day 1

Question 1: Look at the picture. Would you be interested in participating in the event? Why? Or Why not?


Yes, I would definitely participate in this event and so would my family members.

Reason 1 & Example

This looks like a fun neighbourhood event. Getting to spend time with your neighbours in a social setting means that we can improve on our relationship with one another by catching up with them or getting to know new neighbours.

Reason 2 & Example

It will be held on a Sunday evening and I do not have any activities on a Sunday evening. The event begins relatively early at 7pm so it would not affect my bedtime which is at 9.30pm. The event will also be held on November 1st and my PSLE would be over by then. I do not need to revise for any examinations over the weekend!

Reason 3 & Example

I am a ‘foodie’ and I love local food such as satay and chicken rice! The dishes in the poster appeal to me. It looks like there will be dishes from our different races and cultures in Singapore so I will definitely be at the event to share the delicious food!


Before the pandemic, my Community Club would organise events in the neighbourhood such as this one. They would do so every time there was a festival. All the neighbours would get together to celebrate the festival. Sometimes, the event would be held at the Community Club or sometimes it would be held under the void deck or the park. There would always be food after and all of us would have a great time together. I hope that such events can start up again in Singapore soon.


In conclusion, I would love to participate in this event.

Question 2: What do you like about your neighbourhood?


There are many things that I like about my neighbourhood.

Reason 1 & Example

One of the things that I like about my neighbourhood is the amenities. There is a playground close by my block and a park five minutes away. When I was younger, I would spend my evenings at either the park or the playground with my siblings and neighbours. It was the best time of my day and we would always have fun with our imaginary games and adventures.

Reason 2 & Example

The library is within walking distance of my home. It takes me 8 minutes on foot to get there. As I am an avid reader, having a library so close to home is a luxury.

Reason 3 & Example

Aside from the amenities in my neighbourhood, I also like the people living in my neighbourhood. I feel that it is the best part of living where I do. I have many friends whom I have grown up with and even though we may not all go to the same school, we are all still close friends. Whenever I need help, I will turn to them for advice. Everyone in my neighbourhood is kind and caring.


Even though there are many things I like about my neighbourhood, I would suggest that the neighbourhood be kept cleaner. Over the past two years, I find that more litter is strewn all over the playground and park. Food and drink wrappers and containers are left behind instead of being disposed of. This attracts pests. I hope that something can be done about this.

Get ready for the PSLE!

Check our E-learning PSLE Oral Video Series

Check the other articles from this section

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