Starting Sec 1 is a thrilling experience. You are entering an unknown territory and you will be learning new subjects and ‘old subjects’ at a deeper level. While it might scare some, for others, it is quite exciting. Do not be afraid – what’s for sure is that you will get to learn new concepts and techniques. To better prepare yourself for Sec 1 English Language, I’ve prepared some information about the new components in the subject so that you will know what to expect. In addition, I’m also sharing with you a few tips on how to prepare for Sec 1 English.

Paper 1 (Writing)

Primary 6 :

This paper comprises two parts: Part 1 – Situational Writing and Part 2 – Continuous Writing.

In Part 1, students are required to write a short functional piece (e.g. letter, email, report) to suit the purpose, audience, and context of a given situation.

In Part 2, students are required to write a composition of at least 150 words in continuous prose on a given topic. Three pictures are provided on the topic offering different angles of interpretation. Students may also come up with their own understanding of the topic.

Secondary 1 :                    

This paper comprises three sections: Section A – Editing, Section B: Situational Writing & Section C: Continuous Writing.

In Section A, students identify and edit grammatical errors in a short written text.

In Section B, students write 180-200 words on a given situation that involves viewing a visual text.

In Section C, students are required to write 200 – 250 words on four topics set.

Paper 2 (Language Use and Comprehension)

Primary 6 :

This paper comprises two booklets A & B.

In Booklet A, students attempt MCQs on Grammar, Vocabulary, Vocabulary Cloze and Visual Text Comprehension.

In Booklet B, students attempt Grammar Cloze, Editing for Spelling and Grammar, Comprehension Cloze, Synthesis/Transformation, and Comprehension Open-ended questions.

Secondary 1 :

This paper comprises three sections:

In Section A, students respond to questions based on Texts 1 & 2, one of which is a visual text.

In Section B, students respond to a variety of questions based on Text 3 which is a narrative or a recount.

In Section C, Students respond to a variety of questions based on Text 4, a non-narrative text, and write an 80-word response to a summary writing task.

Paper 3 (Listening Comprehension)

Primary 6 :

This paper comprises 20 MCQs that test students’ ability to understand spoken English. The texts may be in the form of news items, announcements, advertisements, instructions, explanations, conversations, speeches, and stories. Graphic representations are used for the first seven items. Each text is read twice.

Secondary 1 :

This paper comprises two sections.

In Section A, students respond to a variety of listening tasks based on a number of audio recording which the students will hear twice.

In Section B, students listen to an audio recording and do a simple note-taking exercise. Students will hear the recording only once.

Paper 4 (Oral Communication)

Primary 6 :

This paper consists of two sections: Reading Aloud and Stimulus-based Conversation.

For Reading Aloud, students are tested on their ability to pronounce and articulate words clearly and read fluently with appropriate expression and rhythm.

For Stimulus-based Conversation, students are assessed on their ability to give a personal response to a visual stimulus and engage in a conversation on a relevant topic.

Secondary 1 :

This paper consists of two parts.

In Part 1, students plan and deliver a response to a video clip and accompanying prompt presented on a computer screen.

In Part 2, students engage in a discussion with the examiners on a topic based on the same video clip.

(Source: SEAB)

Now that you know what to expect for your English subject in Secondary 1, let us take a look at how you do simple preparations this holiday.


TIPS ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR SEC 1 ENGLISH

1. Read Often and Read Out Loud

Reading will help in the repetition of seeing what English words look like. Reading out loud will help you pair the sound of words with the text on the page. Remember that reading books with dialogue is also great for deriving meaning from context clues and will usually involve conversations that you would hear in everyday life.

2. Build Your Vocabulary

Work on building your vocabulary every day by choosing new words to learn and repeating each word over and over to reinforce the memory of those new words.

Underline words you don’t know. Look up the word in an English dictionary such as Merriam-Webster. You’ll get much more out of reading the definition, and then reading sentences using the word to get to know the meaning.

  • Choose five new words that you would like to learn each day.
  • Write the words and their meanings out on paper at least ten times each.
  • At the end of the week, go over each day’s 5 words for a total of 35 new words a week!

3. Active Listening

Listen intently to a variety of English content anywhere you can. Paying close attention to sources like the news, popular songs and everyday conversations can greatly increase your knowledge of words, word patterns, phrases and expressions. By focusing on the audio alone, you can learn a great deal about inflections and nuances of specific words. You can consider listening to Channel News Asia (CAN) podcasts.

4. Watch English Films, Cartoons, and Television Shows

Hearing and watching characters in film and TV will help your English skills immensely. It’s an entertaining way to pick up on visual cues from the characters, like their facial expressions or their tones, paired with the words they are saying. You can consider watching literature books converted to films, biographical films, documentaries, and programmes from Channel News Asia (CNA) Channel.

5. Suggested websites for reading materials

(Adapted from 2022 ESL Directory – Envisage International Corporation)

2023 Bukit Timah Branch Secondary English tuition timetable

LevelDayStart timeEnd time
S1SAT2.00 pm4.00 pm
S2SAT4.30 pm6.30 pm
S3SAT6.30 pm8.30 pm