Compiled PSLE Prelim 2023 Oral Topics + Questions in Schools

Hello everyone! I am Teacher Sze Li from Lil’ but Mighty and today, I’ll be sharing with you a list of Prelim oral topics and questions that have been tested this year. We were able to compile this list thanks to the sharing of our students after their recent preliminary examinations. As we gear up for the upcoming PSLE Oral Examination, we hope that this list will be a useful resource for you to get your hands on some additional practice questions!

Do bear in mind that this compilation does not come with the actual stimulus so it may be difficult to practise Q1 since this question is directly linked to the stimulus and will require the student to reference details from the stimulus in his/her answer. However, you can still refer to Q2 and Q3 as these questions no longer require the reference to the stimulus.

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Based on the information that we have collected, I would like to share with you 3 observations that I’ve made.

3 Observations on Prelim Oral to take note of:

1. Range of topics tested

During this round of Prelim oral examinations, we have noticed a wide range of topics being tested. Here are some of the more common ones:

  1. Personal traits and values – kindness/helpfulness/leadership/punctuality
  2. Self-management – exercising/keeping healthy/managing stress/time management/hobbies
  3. School events – art exhibitions/excursions/national education

The selection of topics is usually based on what is accessible to a 12 year-old and this is what we see consistently in PSLE too. When revising, do revise suitable phrases related to the different topics. Having a few stock phrases will help you to form your responses quickly even when under pressure.

Other than memorising related phrases, it is also helpful to collect relevant stories or news that you can use to share during your response. For example, under the topic of exhibitions, you may have seen in the news that Singapore recently held a Vincent Van Gogh art exhibition at the Resorts World Sentosa. However, when you mention this in your response, it is ideal that you furnish it with more details. What else do you know about this exhibition?

Collecting such information will allow you to draw on them more easily when you elaborate on your responses. Even if you have not personally experienced it, you can always draw on such information from the angle of how you are interested or not interested in it. The point here is that the more you know, the greater the opportunity is for you to develop your ideas from it.

2. Different types of Q1 tested and how you can prepare for them

Students should know by now that question 1 is always linked to the stimulus, regardless of how the stimulus looks like. As a result, it is common for students to try to predict what the first question may be as soon as they see the stimulus and then proceed to plan their response and points in their head. In fact, we do recommend all students to try to do so as this will give them some level of preparedness before meeting the examiners.

Over the last few years, SEAB and schools have demonstrated creativity in their design of the stimulus and this has led to a greater variety in the types of Q1 tested. This means that the ability to predict may be harder, though not impossible! The prediction can be done as long as students have an understanding of the stimulus.

Here are some examples of the types of Q1 that may be tested. Do take note of how Q1 differs based on the information in the stimulus/ design of the stimulus.

Having said that, it is possible that Q1 might be different from what a student had expected it to be or that it might be phrased differently. Let’s take a look at an example.

Based on this stimulus and its details

You may anticipate the following question

However, what is Q1 turns out to be different from you have anticipated?

It is important not to fret just because the question which you have predicted is different from the one you were asked. The key here is to remember that this is still Q1! This means that no matter what the question may be, you still need to pick out the stimulus details to support your answer. Your direct answer to the question may have changed but the response and points which you have planned in your head (for the question which you have anticipated) are most definitely still relevant!

Returning to the example above, let’s look at how the responses compare.

Can you see how the points overlap even though the questions are different? Hence, it is crucial not to succumb to your nerves and always fall back on what you know, along with trusting the preparation you have done!

3. Questions that require sharing of personal experiences

There is a whole range of questions that can be tested for Question 2 and 3 as they no longer require the stimulus reference. However, Q2 and Q3 generally fall under 2 broad categories — sharing of opinion or personal experience.

First and foremost, students need to know that there are no model answers when it comes to the oral examination. When a question is asked, examiners are looking at how students are able to express their personal opinions, ideas and experiences clearly and effectively. Every student can have a different answer and it is perfectly fine! It all boils down to how each individual student elaborates on their opinions, ideas and experiences.

During this round of preliminary examinations, I’ve noticed that many schools tend to test students on the sharing of their personal experiences. It may sound pretty straightforward. After all, isn’t it easy to recount something which we have been through before? However, I observed that many students struggle with it. They face difficulty in the following ways

(i) not being able to elaborate on the personal experience
(ii) not having the experience to speak of

For the first problem, it is useful for a student to use 5Ws1H as a guide when sharing the personal experience — e.g. What did I do? How did I feel? Why did I feel this way? In attaining the 5Ws1H in your sharing, you will naturally have elaborated on the experience.

The second problem may be trickier for some. After all, how can a question asking about one’s personal experience be answered if you have not had the chance to experience it? There are two ways in which you can still answer this question well:

  1. share about someone else’s experience
  2. share what you would do if you were to undergo the same experience

I hope the above observations and examples have been useful for your revision! You’ve all come so far and we are proud of your effort. During the oral examination, remember to pay attention to the question and answer calmly to the best of your ability. We are all behind you!

Need a last minute boost before your PSLE Oral Examination? Why not check out our Oral Self-Paced Online Course – Lil’ Chatterbox? 

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  1. Find out essential tips and key points to excel in reading and stimulus-based conversation

  2. Learn our unique and easy-to-apply framework to tackle SBC questions

  3. Practise with the Lil’ Chatterbox Workbook that includes 10 SBC exercises with model answers using our RASE strategy!

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Ms. Sze Li

Ms Tan Sze Li is an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. As a teacher, she strongly believes that learning is a journey for everyone – student and teacher alike. After every lesson, the students leave with new knowledge. Her hope is to inspire students to become inquisitive learners who will spark a change in the world with their thirst for knowledge.

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