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Assessment Book Suggestion

New school year is starting soon. Are you thinking of buying a Chinese language assessment book for your children?

I have been using this book and found it comprehensive. I would like to share why I like the book in this post:

  1. The exercises are arranged by chapters you learn at school.
  2. It does not separate into two books for each semester (For example, book 3A for semester 3A and book 3B for semester 3B) and thus you only need to buy one book each year.
  3. It includes a composition exercise (看图作文) at each chapter.
  4. There are two exercises on oral and listening (one at mid-year revision and another one at year-end revision).
  5. It is available for each primary school year.

Whether your children are attending tuition or not, this book can be used as a revision after they have learnt each chapter at school. If I want to nitpick, I would like to see 命题作文 to be included for higher primary books. It is because PSLE Chinese Language has both 看图作文 and 命题作文. Exposure to both types of composition exercises will help to boost the confidence of the students taking PSLE.

A note for international students who would like to learn Chinese language using the book, please consider buying the textbook of the same academic year as well.

Book Title:《小学华文综合练习》 (Chinese Complete Practice)

Publisher: Educational Publishing House Pte. Ltd.


The example shown here is for Primary 5

Disclaimer: This is just a suggestion for parents and students. You can get the book from major bookshops. I do not earn anything from anyone, anywhere, anytime by writing this post. This post is just for sharing.

A Story After PSLE 2013

Now that PSLE is over, what is the first thing that you, the P6 students, want to do? What is your next plan?

For some students, the first thing that they want to do is to take out the calculator and calculate what is the T-score that they can get. They are sad if the score is under their expectation, even by one mark.

Stop right there!

The T-score that you calculate is only an estimated mark. It is highly dependent on overall P6 students’ performance for the year. Thus, keep the calculator, relax, and read the story below. The story is on parenting, but it gives you a thought on why you should keep the calculator now.


A boy got 0 marks in the exam. He took the exam paper back to his mum and asked for signature. The exam paper was empty with only the boy’s name on top of the first page. The mum, though shocked by the result, asked whether the boy understood the questions.

The boy said he understood the questions and he would be able to answer all the questions. But, during the exam, the teacher said if they handed in the exam paper, they were allowed to play at the school field. It was a fine day during the exam and the boy did not want to waste the time on answering exam questions. So, he wrote his name on the top of the first page of the exam paper, handed in the exam paper to the teacher and went to play at the school field.

The mum did not ask further questions. She smiled and happily signed the exam paper.


I do not remember whether it is a true story. If you are a parent, you would say: What was the boy trying to do?! Was the mum out of her mind? She did not even scold the boy for playing instead of answering the exam questions.

Isn’t it obvious that the reason for not answering the exam questions is to play on a fine day? So, there is no need for scolding or beating.

On the other hand, if you are a student, you would say: I wish I have a mum like the boy’s mum.

The mum is smart. What is the main purpose of having an exam? It is to test whether the children understand the concepts and knowledge taught. Thus, the mum only asked one question. As long as the child understands the concepts and knowledge taught, why not let him enjoy himself on a fine day?

It really takes a lot of courage to let your child do such a thing. Moral of the story: The marks are only a value. What is the most important thing is to understand the concepts and gain knowledge, and able to apply the knowledge in life. The PSLE T-score is important, but it is not the ultimate goal in life. You have a long way to go, by the time you are 50 years old, PSLE will not be one of the most memorable events in your life.

There are (less than) three months before you start your secondary school. So, keep the calculator, relax, and plan your next move. Where do you want to go for holidays? How do you want to prepare yourself for secondary school? Is there any interesting thing that you would like to do, but put off because of PSLE? PSLE is over, do it now!

Tips on PSLE Chinese Reading Comprehension

It is the time of the year when both the P6 students and their parents are stressed out. Yes, PSLE is here! The Chinese Reading Comprehension, unlike MCQ, has no choices. Thus, some students find it difficult to score high marks.

For any reading comprehension, either English language or Chinese language, do the following in sequence:

1. Read the whole passage

Please do not skip this step. Many students want to save time by reading the questions first. Reading the whole passage quickly helps you to get a general idea of what the passage is about. Some answers are from different parts of the passage, thus reading the whole passage first helps you to answer better.

2. Read the questions one-by-one

When you are reading the questions, focus on the keywords:什么 (What),为什么 (Why),怎样 (How), etc.

3. Read the part of the passage that is related to the question

From the keywords in the question, you know (roughly) where the answer is. Try not to “copy and paste” the whole part, especially if the answer is from a conversation.

4. Answer the question and check the answer

Check the marks allocated for the question; if the mark is 4, you know you should write longer than the question with 2 marks.

Note: Some students lose marks by not writing the correct Chinese characters. It is not because the teacher is strict, but because a single stroke makes a different character. A wrong character means a wrong answer, please be extra careful.

Different types of questions

(a) 找出表达下列意思的词语

Some answers are easy to find, for example 不重视 = 忽视. When you see “视” in the passage, you will pay attention to the character and check if 忽视 can replace 不重视.

Note: Not all answers are of two characters only. Some answers may be of one character or four characters as in idioms (成语).

(b) 从哪里可以看出?

For this type of question, read the passage carefully. As mentioned, the answer may be from different parts of the passage. This is a “copy and paste” question, as long as you understand the question, you can get the answer directly from the passage.

(c) Comparison questions

This type of question asks you to compare two things. Frequently, the question asks for 之前 (before) and 之后 (after), but the question can also ask you to compare two things.

(d) 你认为。。。?

This question asks for your opinion. More often than not, it is asking whether you agree or disagree regarding the action taken by someone in the passage, and why do you agree or disagree? Though it is about your opinion, sometimes you can still find hints from the passage. Furthermore, the question relates to moral qualities, such as honesty (诚实), being helpful (乐于助人), etc. Thus, reading moral stories will help you in using the correct descriptive words.

Above is the summary from my personal teaching experience. Students are advised to be prepared for other types of questions in case the format is changed in future. All the best to all the P6 students!