7 tips to Get Exam-Ready for Secondary English Oral
You would probably be aware by now of the change in the oral syllabus for your secondary one child. If this is brand new information, don’t panic yet. The information is, after all, really new – so new, that most schools would probably only have just started teaching it, if they have started at all.
The basics, however, remain:
Content: where your child will be tested on what to say and
Delivery: where your child will still be tested on how to say it
With that in mind, here are 7 tips to get your child up and ready to score that ‘A’ for the English Oral examination!
1) Be familiar with the syllabus
There are two parts to the paper: Planned Response and Spoken Interaction.
In Planned Response, students will
watch a short video, and
answer a prompt
The prompt will be given with the video, and students are allowed to take notes on the paper provided and refer to them during the examination.
Hot tip! Make notes in point form and then rehearse
The Spoken Interaction part of the paper is not new to students, as most would already have experienced it for their PSLE. Examiners would ask questions to which your child needs to provide a response to.
2) Gather knowledge broadly
If there is ever a collection that one should start, let it be knowledge. For the secondary oral examinations, how thoughtful and well-rounded students’ responses are in their attempt to address the topic, will count towards their final grade.
So read widely, and from a variety of sources. The newspapers are always a good bet, and as expository essays are introduced at the secondary level as well, being less ignorant about world issues and current affairs will boost your child’s ability to craft better responses. Kill two birds with one stone, aye?
Get comfortable with organising ideas according to the PEEL structure. Start with a strong Point, Elaborate on the logic of the point, offer Examples, and finally Link it back to the question. (Do note that there are other guides that your child may prefer to use; OREO, is one other such example.)
Forming responses around this will steer your child towards a more coherent, logical and well-developed response, simply because of the way it streamlines a student’s thought process.
4) Show off your language ability
This is after all, part of the English examination. Therefore make sure your child uses a wide range of well-chosen vocabulary and structures.
For example, if the topic is on the environment and global warming, the words chosen to speak about the subject has to be relevant and appropriate. Bonus points goes to the candidate who can engage in a sustained discussion, and who is able to even move beyond the prompts given.
5) Bear in mind PAC
Purpose, Audience and Context
Ah, the English exam version of the Holy Trinity. A student who has a clear idea of what the purpose of the conversation is, and is highly aware of the audience he is addressing, all within the context of the given information, will very likely be well on his way to scoring an A in the oral examinations.
A good response is one where there is a clear awareness of PAC. Make sure to highlight to your child to have that in mind when planning his or her response.
6) Make good use of prep time
Preparation time is there for a reason, so make sure your child makes full use of it. The video they watch and the conversation that they have will be broadly related, so encourage your child to anticipate what the examiner will ask him and prepare for it.
There are a couple of ways your child can go about doing this, and the first way is to try speaking to themselves in front of a mirror. This helps them be aware of their facial expressions, the gestures they make, as well as helps them be aware of how they present themselves.
The other thing that your child can do would be to record himself. Not only would his tone and expression be made much clearer for tweaking that way, your child would also be able to easily spot any adjustments he or she needs to make with regards to the speed and pronunciation of his delivery as well.