Understanding the PSLE Oral 2025 Changes to SBC

Understanding the PSLE Oral 2025 Changes to Stimulus-Based Conversation (SBC): What You Need to Know

Welcome back, lil’ ones! My name is Mr Joel Lim and I am a Specialist English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. We’ll be going through the changes that have been made to Stimulus-based Conversation (SBC) in the PSLE Oral from 2025 onwards.

Consistent with how the SBC has been carried out, there will still be 3 questions tested with question 1 directly linked to the stimulus. Question 1 will still require candidates to respond using details from the stimulus while questions 2 and 3 are broadly linked to the topic.

However, based on the new format, the topic in Reading Aloud will no longer be thematically linked to the SBC. Additionally, the stimulus will now typically be a photograph of an authentic situation. For example, the stimulus may be a photograph of a group of individuals who are doing a particular activity.

Here’s an example of what this stimulus might look like!

PSLE 2025 SBC Changes

Let’s take a closer look at this!

Now, you may have a few questions about how these changes would affect you.

Let’s find out two notable changes with the shift to the use of a photograph as the stimulus.

1. The new stimulus may not have any text

For example, some of the types of stimulus given in the past would be of posters promoting a certain event.

PSLE Oral 2025 Changes to SBC

In such situations involving posters, you were encouraged to pick out details from the text on the poster. Once you did that, you were to use these details to come up with your content points.

However, this is something that you might not be able to do anymore!

2. The types of questions that will be asked will be different
Typically, the question posed by examiners in the new PSLE 2025 oral examination will have you think about the people in the stimulus and the activity that they are doing or are about to do.

Some examples of questions that might be asked would be:

  • What do you think the people in the photograph are feeling / thinking?
  • What do you think the people in the photograph are about to do?
  • Would you behave/ Are you like the people in the photograph?

So what should you do to come up with your content points well?


(a) Pay attention to the question requirements
Listen carefully to the question given and consider what you need to zoom in on in the stimulus. For instance, if the question is “Are you like the boy in the photograph?”, our focus should be on the boy.

Compare that to the question “How are the people in the photograph feeling?”, we will want to pay attention to the different people who might be present in the stimulus. In this case, do take note to consider the different groups/ types of people present.

(b) Analyse the stimulus carefully for

  • The actions of the people in the picture
  • The facial expressions which the people in the picture are making
  • Any other interesting elements in the picture. For example, is there any difference between how the people are behaving?

As these are what you will be using to come up with your content points, it’s important to be observant and pick out as many details as you can!

(c) Put yourself in the shoes of these characters
To elaborate your points, it is important to consider not just what you see in the stimulus but also make inferences. Hence, think about what the characters are experiencing and how they would feel about what is happening. This will help you to better explain and extend your points relevantly.

Example Time!

Question: What do you think the people in the photograph are feeling?

Can you think of the content points which you can talk about? Which are the details you used?

PSLE Oral 2025 Changes to SBC

Bearing in mind the tips above on how to come up with the content points, think about the following:

  • what the two girls are feeling as they are doing their work.
  • elaborate on your response by sharing about their actions and facial expressions!
  • be sure to share about how the teacher might be feeling as well!
Final Tip!

In order to do well for this component, it is important for you to be well-prepared for your response!

Use the preparation time given wisely! Try to predict what question your examiner might ask you and prepare your response accordingly. This will mean looking at the stimulus closely to identify key details. Remember that one way you can substantiate your response is by paying close attention to the actions and facial expressions of your characters! Even if the question which you predicted is not what is tested, you can stay calm and be ready to use the details to answer the actual question.

When you share these ideas as part of your elaboration or example, you’ll be able to give a well-substantiated response that will impress your examiner!

Interested to find out more about how else you can ace the SBC? Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing more useful tips and strategies soon! See you then!

Mr Joel

As a teacher, Mr. Joel believes in nurturing independent learners. He hopes to be able to impart his love for English and particularly, writing, to his students by ensuring that the classroom is a safe space where students can come to learn. Learning should be fun and enjoyable! With that in mind, Mr. Joel believes that every student can excel, and he looks forward to helping his students achieve their best in his classes!

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