PSLE Synthesis | STEP BY STEP ON HOW TO ACE THEM! (2019 Review)

Hello everyone, I am Ms Celina and welcome to my very first blog post! As we usher in the brand new year, let us take some time to reflect on one of the important events that happened last year – PSLE 2019!

In today’s post, I will be touching on the 2019 PSLE English Language Paper 2 – Synthesis and Transformation section. Some of you may know the answers by now. However, the more important question is, do you know HOW to identify these question types and get them right should they appear again? Let us analyse the questions together and learn some tips on how to tackle them in the future.

PSLE Synthesis

1. Introduction: What is Synthesis and Transformation?

Synthesis refers to the act of combining two separate sentences together, often with the use of connectors. Transformation refers to changing the sentence without changing the meaning of it.


2. Unpacking PSLE 2019 – Synthesis and Transformation

Let us now look at the type of questions which appeared in the 2019 PSLE English Language Paper 2 for Synthesis and Transformation.

Type 1: Changing of tense forms for ‘be’ verbs

Changing of tense forms for ‘be’ verbs

In this question, we first identify that the verb ‘being’ is used in the answer stem. This is a type of ‘be’ verb and indicates the state of being.


Step 1: Identify the ‘be’ verb

Identify the 'be' verb

By identifying that ‘being’ is used, we need to find a ‘be’ verb in the given statement to express this same state of being. Hence, we can zoom in to the ‘be’ verb, ‘was’. (he was shy —> being shy)

Since the word ‘was’ has been changed to ‘Being’ in the sentence starter for the answer blank, we will need to write down the information which appeared after the verb ‘was’.Identify the 'be' verb


Step 2: Remove any irrelevant words or repeated information

Step 2: Remove any irrelevant words or repeated information


Step 3: Write down the final answer

Step 3: Write down the final answer


Type 2: Conjunction ‘Unless’

Type 2: Conjunction 'Unless'

‘Unless’ is a conjunction and it means that something can only happen or be true in a particular situation (Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, 2020). When we use ‘Unless’ in a sentence, a conditional clause usually comes after it. Let’s take a look at the steps for the question above.


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

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

Since ‘unless’ means ‘if… not…’, the condition usually will be a positive one i.e. without words like ‘not’.


Step 2: Remove ‘if’ and form a false statement

Form a false statement after removing ‘if’ —> you listen hard, you will NOT hear the bird chirping. With ‘Unless’, this false statement will become true.

 


Step 3: Write down the final answer with the conditional sentence after the conjunction ‘unless’

Step 3: Write down the final answer with the conditional sentence after the conjunction 'unless'


Type 3: Direct to Indirect Speech Question

Type 3: Direct to Indirect Speech Question

The speech question is a popular question type that has been appearing in almost every PSLE! In 2019, a direct to indirect speech question was tested.


Step 1: Check the Tense (T) and use the do/does/did spectacle strategy

Step 1: Check the Tense (T) and use the do/does/did spectacle strategy

In this case, the word ‘did’ tells us that it is the past tense. Now, let us draw and arrow to the verb that it is describing and circle that as well. Take note that ‘sing’ is actually a base form verb due to ‘did’.

Check the Tense (T) and use the do/does/did spectacle strategy

From the diagram, ‘did’ is linked to the word ‘sing’ to remind you that the sentence should be in the past tense. When we write our answer, the verb ‘sing’ should therefore be changed to the Past Perfect Tense ‘had sung’.


Step 2: Change ‘this’ to that’

Another thing that we need to change is the word ‘this’. Since the event had already occurred, when doing reported speech, we need to change to the word ‘that’.

Change 'this' to that'


Step 3: Write down the final answer

Step 3: Write down the final answer


Type 4: Active to Passive Voice + Word Transformation

Type 4: Active to Passive Voice + Word Transformation

This question actually tested the pupils’ ability to carry out word transformation and active to passive voice transformation.


Step 1: Word Transformation

Looking at the answer stem, we can see that there is a possessive noun (winner’s). However, the given sentence does not reflect this possessive noun. Hence, pupils will need to find this noun, ‘winner’ and check what is something that belongs to it. The trait, ‘humble’ is used to describe the winner and hence, we will need to transform this adjective to a noun, ‘humility’ or ‘humbleness’ to attach to the answer stem.

Word Transformation

Word Transformation


Step 2: Identify the Subject and the Object/Receiver and switch their positions

Step 2: Identify the Subject and the Object/Receiver and switch their positions

The pronoun ‘It’ in the given sentence refers to the winner’s humbleness or humility.

Sentences in the Active Voice always includes the Subject at the beginning of the sentence and the Object at the end of the sentence. Whereas for Passive Voice, the Object/Receiver is at the beginning of the sentence and the Subject will be at the end of the sentence. In this case, ‘it’ (the winner’s humility) has now been shifted to the end of the sentence.

Identifying that an active to passive voice switch is required, we need to move the ‘viewers’ to the start of the sentence.

Checking the tense of the given sentence, ‘moved’ is in the simple past tense. Hence, the verb in the passive voice sentence will be ‘was moved’ or ‘were moved’.


Step 3: Check agreement

Since ‘The viewers’ is a plural noun, it will agree with ‘were moved’.

Check agreement


Type 5: Word Transformation

Type 5: Word Transformation


Step 1: Check answer stem and sentence starter

Step 1: Check answer stem and sentence starter

The answer stem starts with ‘Malar is not’, which means to say that it is describing a trait which Malar does not exhibit. From the given sentence, we can identify it as Malar not relying on others.


Step 2: Change the Verb to Adjective. Remove unwanted information

Step 2: Change the Verb to Adjective. Remove unwanted information


Step 3: Write down the final answer

Step 3: Write down the final answer

We have come to the end of unpacking the Synthesis and Transformation section for the 2019 English Language PSLE Paper! I hope you have understood and benefitted from the information shared.

If you would like to learn more strategies in tackling PSLE questions or how to improve in your English Language, do come and join us at our Lil’ but Mighty Open House, happening this Saturday, 18 January 2020 at our Bukit Timah branch! Find out more information here. See you there!


 

 

 

 

 

Synthesis Skill-Wers

Synthesis Skill-wers

1. 30 over bite-sized video lessons! (On Golden Rules for synthesis and focused question types)

2. Unique strategies to tackle a wide range of synthesis question types e.g. Active/Passive voice, Direct/Indirect Speech, No sooner had… than…, Not only… but also etc.

3. Topical worksheets accompanying each video consisting of at least 5 questions + A bonus 20-question quiz upon completion of course! (over 150 practice questions in total)

Ms. Celina

Ms Celina is a dedicated educator, committed in nurturing students with various abilities. She believes in the joy of learning and collaborative effort. In her years of experience, she has helped every child maximise his or her learning potential, instil positive values and the love of the English Language in them.

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