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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.

Let’s Learn Mathematics (Primary Level) 3

Disclaimer: This Mathematics question is purely created for discussion purpose. Any resemblance to actual questions from books or schools is coincidental.

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We have discussed about simple algebra in Let’s Learn Mathematics (Primary Level). Though algebra is formally introduced in secondary schools, the model method is taught in primary schools as an introduction to algebra. Thus, you can see the importance of learning algebra.

The question of this post is considered advanced for primary students, nonetheless it is for primary students. Take your time to understand the question and the solution; they are helpful in learning algebra up to secondary schools.

Q: 3 shirts and a pair of trousers cost $63.50. A shirt and 2 pairs of trousers cost $27. Find the cost of a shirt.

A: First you need to draw the diagram to show the relationship of the equations, based on the question. The first sentence (3 shirts and a pair of trousers cost $63.50) forms an equation and the second equation forms another equation. [Please refer to The Almighty Algebra for notes.]


Diagram to show the relationships

In the above diagram, the blue rectangle represents the shirt and the yellow triangle represents the pair of trousers.

If the student has been solving similar questions, he / she will start by adding or subtracting the two equations.

s = a shirt, t = a pair of trousers

Equation 1, 3s + t = 63.50

Equation 2, s + 2t = 27

Adding equation 1 and equation 2, 4s + 3t = 90.50

Subtracting equation 2 from equation 1, 2s − t = 36.50

This is where students may face the problem to continue solving the problem. They have all the equations but the equations are leading them to nowhere. No matter it is adding or subtracting, you end up with more equations with no solution.

You can apply any Mathematics operation to any equation.

The Mathematics operation includes adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Yes, many students have not thought of multiplying the equations. Nonetheless, we do not encourage students to divide the equations because it will lead to decimals or fractions. It is difficult to solve the question, it is more difficult to solve the question with decimals or fractions.

Back to the question, the question is only asking for the cost of a shirt. So, to simplify the question, we must “eliminate” the cost of a pair of trousers.

Equation 1, 3s + t = 63.50

Equation 2, s + 2t = 27

The fastest way to get rid of “t” is to multiply 2 to equation 1 and then subtract equation 2 from the new equation (equation 3).

Equation 1 x2, 6s + 2t = 127 (Equation 3)

Equation 3 − Equation 2, 5s = 100 [There is no more “t” because 2t − 2t = 0]

                                                    s = 100 ÷ 5

                                                    s = 20

The cost of a shirt is $20.

Let’s Learn Mathematics (Primary Level) 2

Disclaimer: This Mathematics question is purely created for discussion purpose. Any resemblance to actual questions from books or schools is coincidental.

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Q: In a seminar, the ratio of the number of men to the number of women was 2:3. On the following day, two more men attended the seminar. The ratio became 5:6. How many participants were there in the seminar at first?

Understanding the question

This is a question about ratio. The ratio has changed because the number of men has changed. Thus, steps to solve this question are:

1. Make the ratio with the same number of women on the first and second day of the seminar. It is because the number of women is unchanged.

2. Find out the change (difference) of the number of men on the first and second day of the seminar.

3. The difference of the number of men on the first and second day is 2, which is also equivalent to the answer from step 2.

4. Find the number of participants on the first day.

Step-by-step Answer

1. The men-women ratio on the first day => 2:3 = 4:6

The men-women ratio on the second day => 5:6

2. Comparing the men-women ratio on the first and second day => 4:6 and 5:6

The difference of the number of men on the first and second day = 5 – 4 = 1

3. 1 unit of difference = 2 more men attended the seminar on the second day.

4. Total units on the first day = 4 + 6 = 10

Total participants on the first day = 10 x 2

= 20 participants

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Checking the answer

On the first day, there were 20 participants with the ratio 2:3. Thus, the number of men on the first day was (20 x 2) ÷ 5 = 8.

On the second day, two more men attended the seminar. Thus, the number of men on the second day was 2 + 8 = 10.

The number of women on the first and second day was = 20 – 8 = 12.

The men-women ratio on the second day = 10:12

= 5:6

Thus, the answer, 20 participants, is correct.

Note to parents: If your child encounters difficult questions, asks him / her to check the answer. Checking the answer is a good way to reassure your child that he / she has answered the question correctly.

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!

Let’s Learn Mathematics (Primary Level) 1

Disclaimer: This Mathematics question is purely created for discussion purpose. Any resemblance to actual questions from books or schools is coincidental.

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Q: An orphanage owner fed some biscuits to the orphans for afternoon tea. One day, he gave each child 4 biscuits and had 2 biscuits left.

To give each child 6 biscuits, he would need another 22 biscuits. How many children were in his orphanage?

A: It seems like a difficult question at first glance. But if you understand the question, you can solve the question with simple steps. For easy understanding, draw a diagram to show the relationship of the number of children and the number of biscuits. Once you get the diagram correct, that means you have understood the question and it is easier for you to find the answer.


4 biscuits or 6 biscuits?

To give the children 6 biscuits each, he would need another 22 biscuits. That means 2 extra biscuits + 22 biscuits = 24 biscuits to be equally divided to the children.

2 + 22 = 24

There is an increase of 2 biscuits for each child, from 4 to 6.

6 – 4 = 2

To find the number of children, we divide the biscuits equally,

24 ÷ 2 = 12

There are 12 children in the orphanage.

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Checking the answer

When there are only 4 biscuits to each child,

(4 x 12) + 2 = 50

The owner has 50 biscuits initially, as there are 2 biscuits left.

He adds in another 22 biscuits and now he has 72 biscuits.

50 + 22 = 72

72 biscuits are divided equally by 12 children, each child gets 6 biscuits.

72 ÷ 12 = 6

Thus, the answer, 12 children, is correct.

Note to parents: If your child encounters difficult questions, asks him / her to check the answer. Checking the answer is a good way to reassure your child that he / she has answered the question correctly.

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!


PSLE Chinese Reading Comprehension

Disclaimer: This article is open for discussion. I do not own this reference book with the title PSLE 华文阅读理解 (PSLE Chinese Reading Comprehension), 第一版 2012年. Some questionable examples are found in the book.

1. Answer that does not exist?

Below is the extract of a full passage inside the book:

joyfulyue.wordpress.com_PSLE Chinese Comprehension

The passage, please read carefully.

On the next page is the questions relate to the passage above, below is extract of the questions:

joyfulyue.wordpress.com_PSLE Chinese Comprehension

Notice the deleted question 18.

In the answer page, the answer given for question 18 cannot be found in the passage, as below extract of the answer page:

joyfulyue.wordpress.com_PSLE Chinese Comprehension

The answer that cannot be found in the passage.


2. Extra, missing or wrong words?

Below are the three extracts from the book on different pages. After much discussion and consideration, it is confirmed that they are errors. Please feedback if you think otherwise.

(a) Missing word of “生” as the correct noun should be “小学生”.

joyfulyue.wordpress.com_PSLE Chinese Comprehension



(b) Extra word of “胡”

joyfulyue.wordpress.com_PSLE Chinese Comprehension

Extra word of “胡”


(c) The original word is “卖”, which has been amended to “买”. From the context of the passage, the passage is about consumers who has bought (买) the goods and found that the goods are not suitable for use.

joyfulyue.wordpress.com_PSLE Chinese Comprehension



With these examples, I hope parents and students will be careful when referring to any reference books available in the market. If you have any doubt, always find a third opinion. Most importantly, have confidence in yourself, do not feel discouraged if you find questionable information in any reference book. Knowledge is gained through questioning.

I am not sure if they have rectified the error, just want to alert parents and students if you have bought the same book with the same version as mine. I welcome comments and feedback. Thank you.