PSLE Chinese Passage Reading (朗读篇章) Guide

The first component of the PSLE oral examination is reading a short passage (constituting 20 marks out of the overall 200), and is typically the easiest component to manage. Highlighted are some of the common issues students face, as well as suggested ways to improve their overall performance.

1. Adding Or Omitting Words

Students sometimes might accidentally add or skip certain words featured in the passage.

Possible causes:

• They are not entirely focused

• They are unfamiliar with the enunciation of some words

2. Monotonous Rambling

Some students would read aloud the entire passage from start to finish in a dull uninspired manner, without proper pause or articulation.

Possible causes:

• Students are not aware of the requirements of the passage, or simply do not appreciate the passage's context sufficiently to be able to adjust their speed and tone of narration (as and when required)

• Students may have cultivated the bad habit of reading monotonously since young

3. Words Are Read Out As Individual Characters, Instead Of Collectively As A Sentence Or Phrase

Because students are barely able to recognize individual characters, consequently they are not of the realization that certain words must be strung together to output a coherent sentence and they end up sounding rather fragmented.

Possible causes:

• They are unfamiliar with the existence of specific sentence structures or phrases

• They are unaware parts must be read in an uninterrupted manner to effect the proper flow and meaning of things

4. Reading Too Quickly

On the contrary some students are inclined to rush through the reading process. Although they may have been reasonably fluent, they could not fully express the various intonations and emotions embedded implicitly in the passage.

Possible causes:

• Nervousness has gotten the better of them

• They are oblivious to the necessary interpretation of the passage's underlying intentions

Now, here are some pointers students should pursue when practicing the reading of passages themselves:

1. Proper pronunciation

It should be noted students will not encounter foreign words (or idioms for that matter) within the examination passage that they have not previously learnt. Thus, theoretically there is no genuine vocabulary barrier to surmount.Obviously students must also be cognizant of special characters that may possess more than one manner of pronunciation.

2. Intonation and pacing

Fluency demands no backtracking, appropriate pauses, as well as sensible variation of both speed and tone in accordance with the contents of the text. Knowing where and how long to pause is very important; punctuation marks within the passage deliver prominent clues.




3. Feelings and expressions

Students should also strive to hone their abilities to emote (not over theatrically though) so that they can adequately render the soul of the assigned passage.


Before The Exam:

- Out of the allocated 5-minute preparation time, utilize 2 minutes to practice reciting the entire passage, preferably at least twice

- Take note of words that may possess more than one manner of pronunciation

- Program within one's consciousness to anticipate and accommodate shifts in mood/emotional requirements of the passage

During The Actual Exam:

- Walk to the table, and greet the examiners first before sitting down

- Politely introduce oneself: "Good morning teachers, I am so-and-so, my exam index number is xxx."

- Sit up straight

- Do not speak too softly

- Employ appropriate intonation and pacing

- Upon finishing a paragraph, cursorily glance at the examiners

- Upon completion of the passage, look up at the examiners and maintain an air of confidence


The above content is contributed by Mdm Wang, who has more than 2 decades of experience in teaching the Chinese language. Visit her site at for more information.



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