PSLE Oral Questions In Stimulus-Based Conversation

1. PSLE Oral Picture And Questions From A Past Year Paper

Before we commence discussion on the standard types of PSLE Oral questions asked by examiners, let’s take a look at an example of a PSLE oral picture and the accompanying prompts.

Stimulus-Based Conversation Topic Modelled After PSLE Oral Exam 2020
Stimulus-Based Conversation Topic Modelled After PSLE Oral Exam 2020

(a) Look at the picture. Would you be interested in participating in this event? Why/ Why not?
– Does the spread of food at the party interest you? Why/ Why not?

(b) What do you like about your neighbourhood?
– What is one suggestion you would give to improve your neighbourhood?

(c) What does being a good neighbour mean to you?
– How would you like your neighbours to treat you?

The above PSLE oral picture is modelled after that in the actual PSLE Oral Exam 2020 Day 1 Paper. We are unable to publish the actual picture on our site due to copyright concerns, but this picture captures all the essence of the actual picture. The prompts are reproduced exactly, that is, these are the actual prompts that were used by examiners during the PSLE Oral Exam 2020.

Read the prompts carefully. We will base our discussion below on this example.

On a side note, the above PSLE oral picture and the accompanying prompts can be found in our Stimulus-Based Conversation full module. The full response to each of these prompts using our proprietary APRICOT model is provided in the module. You can also find 31 other Stimulus-Based Conversation topics and questions, all modelled after actual PSLE papers, in our module. We have another PSLE Oral Stimulus-Based Conversation post on assessment objectives and grading criteria of this exam. Do check it out!

2. Standard Types Of PSLE Oral Questions

In every PSLE Oral Stimulus-Based Conversation paper, there are always three prompts for the examiners to use as a guide. There are several trends which we have picked up over the years from past year PSLE papers.
1. The first prompt is directly linked to the picture.
2. The second and third prompts are broadly linked to the theme or topic of the picture.

In the sections below, we will elaborate further on these two trends.

One burning question from students has always been “How many questions will I be asked?”. It is true that examiners are given three prompts. However, it does not mean that students will be asked three questions exactly.

If a student is able to answer a question well and provide elaborations and personal responses, the examiner is likely to stick to the prompts given. However, if a student provides short responses or does not answer the question well, the examiner will need to ask more questions in order to elicit more response from the student.

Asking more questions is not a way of penalising a student. Rather, the examiner is trying to help the student by rephrasing a question (in case the student misunderstands the original question) or asking an alternate question (in case the student can relate to this alternate question better).

(a) Directly Linked To The Picture

Refer to the sample picture and prompts we have provided above. The first prompt states:

“Look at the picture. Would you be interested in participating in this event? Why/ Why not?”

In the PSLE oral exam papers we have seen so far, the first prompt is always directly linked to the picture. It requires the student to examine the picture in detail and analyse the given texts in the picture before basing his or her response on them. In summary, the student MUST make use of these details to craft his or her response.

For this prompt in particular, the examiner is expecting to hear responses like:

“I would be interested in participating in this event because the spread of food is very enticing.”
“I feel it will be a fantastic chance to get to know my neighbours in a relaxing atmosphere as we can talk and enjoy local delights at the same time.”
“My favourite food is roti prata, so I can talk about it as a conversation starter or as an ice-breaker topic with my neighbours.”
“The party is on a Sunday, which is also family day for us. It is perfect because my whole family can attend and we can all meet our neighbours together.”

Note that the above responses are all directly linked to the details given in the picture.

The student will lose points if responses not related to the picture are given, like:

“I would be interested in participating in this event because I think active participation in such community events is important.”
“Residents live in close proximity to one another so good neighbourly ties are important. We can help one another out if the need arises, so I would be interested to attend the party to know my neighbours better.”
“I would also love to hear my neighbours’ interesting stories about living in this neighbourhood.”

Although the above responses are well-structured, they do not explicitly call attention to the details given in the picture. Hence, the student will not score well for this first question.

After making use of the details in the picture to answer the question, the student must be able to share a personal experience and a story in order to provide a complete response. Do remember that the ability to share personal opinions, ideas and experiences is one of the criteria stated in the marking scheme. Finally, the student must provide a good ending to his or her response to link back to the question. Our proprietary APRICOT strategy will enable students to answer ALL questions relating to PSLE oral conversation topics.  Students will learn how to provide a full, structured response that examiners are looking out for.

(b) Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture

Again, let’s refer to the sample picture and prompts we have provided above.

The second prompt states:
“What do you like about your neighbourhood?”

The third prompt states:
“What does being a good neighbour mean to you?”

Do you notice that the prompts are now related to the general theme/ topic on neighbourhood and neighbourly relations? These prompts call for the student’s personal opinions, experiences, ideas, suggestions etc. Details that are found in the picture are no longer needed to form part of the response.

For these second and third prompts, the examiners can ask about anything under the sun. A student who reads widely is likely to be able to generate more ideas when faced with themes related to general topics, current affairs and global issues. News websites like Channel NewsAsia and The Straits Times offer easy-to-read news articles even for primary school students. These are extremely good sources for students to gain first-hand knowledge on current affairs. Websites like National Geographic Kids and Britannica are treasure troves of general knowledge which students can benefit immensely from. It would also be very helpful if a student has a few keywords and key phrases from which ideas can be branched out. To help students in this, we have prepared a list of useful words and phrases specific to each theme for students to be familiar with before the PSLE Oral Exam 2022. This will greatly help in the generation of ideas within the short preparation time during the oral exam. Our APRICOT strategy can then be applied to generate the full response.

3. Examples of PSLE Oral Questions For Different Themes

Theme 1
Family/ Current Affairs (COVID-19)

Directly Linked To The Picture
(a) Look at the poster. Do you agree that engaging in fun activities with family when staying home during the COVID-19 outbreak promotes bonding?
– Why do you think a photo of a family is shown in the poster?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(b) Tell us about an activity you engage in on a regular basis with your family.
– Would you prefer spending time with your family or with your friends? Why?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(c) Do you think parents spend enough time with their children nowadays? Why/ Why not?

– What do you think are some factors preventing parents from spending enough time with their children nowadays?

Theme 2
Gadgets/ Technology

Directly Linked To The Picture
(a) Look at the picture. Would you purchase the e-book reader? Why/ Why not?
– How is an e-book reader more appealing than regular books?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(b) What is one gadget which you find most useful in your daily life? Tell us about it.
– What is one gadget which you would like to own? Why?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(c) What do you think are some disadvantages of relying too much on technology and gadgets in our daily lives?
– Do you think technology affects our daily lives in a negative way? Why/ Why not?

Theme 3
School/ Bullying

Directly Linked To The Picture
(a) Look at the poster. Do you think the advice given is useful to a victim of bullying? Why/ Why not?
– Who do you think a victim of bullying can seek help from?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(b) Have you ever witnessed a bullying incident? Tell us about it.
– How do you think a victim of bullying feels?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(c) What can the school and teachers do to prevent bullying from happening?
– How do you think bullies should be punished?

Theme 4
Occupations/ Choices

Directly Linked To The Picture
(a) Look at the poster. Which job would you like to experience for a day? Why?
– Does the picture of people in an occupation interest you more in the particular occupation?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(b) What is your dream job? Why?
– What do you think are some qualities you need to possess in order to be qualified for your dream job?

Broadly Linked To The Theme/ Topic Of The Picture
(c) Do you think parents should play a big role in deciding their child’s future occupation? Why/ Why not?
– What are some ways by which you can find out more information about different types of occupations?

More PSLE Oral topics are available in our online module. Do check them out!

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