PSLE 2021: Types of Synthesis & Transformation

Hi everyone! I’m Mr Joshua, a teacher at Lil’ but Mighty, and welcome to my very first blog post! The Synthesis and Transformation (S&T) section is possibly one of the trickiest sections in the PSLE English Paper 2. Making errors, such as using the wrong tense or missing out words, will cause you to lose the whole two marks for that question. That is why it is imperative to know what types of questions are tested and the strategies you want to use for each type. In this post, I will be looking closely at the questions that were tested in the PSLE 2021 paper and sharing some tips on how you can tackle them. Let’s get started on PSLE 2021: Types of Synthesis & Transformation!


Type 1: Word Transformation

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Step 1: Check answer stem and sentence starter

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

The answer stem ends with “her”, meaning to say that the word that follows must be a thing or trait belonging to “her”. From the question, we are quickly able to identify that “her” refers to “Ella” and that Ella’s trait is being “not careful”.

Step 2: Change the adjective to noun

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Step 3: Write down the final answer

PSLE 2021 Synthesis


The next two questions can also be classified as the Word Transformation type of question. However, there are small differences that you need to be take note of. Let’s take a look at them:

Step 1: Take note of any word transformation

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

If you take a look at the question closely, you will notice how the noun “discussion” in the question has been changed to the verb “discussed” in the answer stem. Hence, for this question, the word transformation part has already been done for you. This tells you that you will need to change the way the sentence is structured.

Step 2: Identify the correct preposition to use. Remove unwanted information

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

We need the preposition “for” to show an amount of time, i.e. for an entire hour. As a result of using the verb “discussed”, we can also remove the phrase “took the team”.

Step 3: Write down the final answer

PSLE 2021 Synthesis


The last question which tested the students’ knowledge of word transformation will be the following one.

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Step 1: Check answer stem and sentence starter

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

The answer stem ends with “great”, which is an adjective that means “extreme”. In this case, “great” is similar in usage to “very” in the question. This tells you that the noun form of “pleased” should come after it.

Step 2: Change the adjective to noun. Remove unwanted information

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Step 3: Write down the final answer

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Take note that for this question, you should have checked for tense. The word ‘was’ in the question tells you that the past tense is used. As such, the verb “receive” needs to be changed to “received” in the answer to reflect the correct tense.


Type 2: Direct to Indirect Speech

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

For Direct to Indirect Speech questions, we use TPTP to check that all the different parts of the question have been changed correctly. We check for:

Tense
Pronoun
Time
Place

When we check for TPTP, we will circle the word and write the answer above it. Let me show you how it’s done step by step:

Step 1: Check the Tense (T)

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

“Drove” is in past tense, so we need to change it to the past perfect tense.

Step 2: Check the Pronouns (P)

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Since it is a boy who spoke, change the pronouns “my” to “his” and “me” to “him”. Remember to check if there are more than one pronoun to change!

Step 3: Check if there are any expressions of Time (T)

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Step 4: Check if there are references to any specific Place (P)

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

For this question, there is no mention of “here”, “this” or “these” so it is safe to say that there is no reference to any specific place.

Step 5: Write down the final answer

PSLE 2021 Synthesis


Type 3: Fixed phrase + preposition

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

The phrase “in the event” in the answer stem refers to a possible future situation, especially one where a person is planning what to do if it occurs. It is similar in usage to the conjunction “if”. As such, we should follow these steps when answering such a question:

Step 1: Label C (Condition) and R (Result)

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

Labelling the question this way helps us to know how to arrange the ideas in the answer. We should place the Result (R) before the answer stem and the Condition (C) after it. Think of it this way:

When I replace “in the event” with the conjunction “if” and put it in the middle of the sentence, the answer would be: The outing to the beach will be called off if it rains.

Step 2: Identify the correct preposition to use with the fixed phrase. Remove unwanted information

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

The phrase “in the event” goes with the preposition “of”. We can also remove “if” and “it”. Remember to change the verb “rains” to the noun “rain”.

Step 3: Write down the final answer

PSLE 2021 Synthesis

How did you find the questions? I hope you found the steps that I have shared useful and now feel ready to ace this section in the PSLE. If you have any other tried and tested methods of answering Synthesis questions, do share them with us in the comments section. See you in my next post!


Mr. Joshua

Mr Joshua believes that learning does not happen in a vacuum and strives to bring the real world into the classroom. He enjoys telling stories and works hard to ensure his classroom is a welcoming environment in which all students are comfortable to share their thoughts and ideas – It’s fine to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Mr Joshua has a passion for English Literature and encourages his students to read widely and write earnestly.

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