Ace the Oral Examination: Groom An Eloquent Speaker

Posted by Denise Lee on June 15, 2017

In the next two months, your PSLE or GCE ‘O’ Level child will be preparing for the oral exams. How do you encourage your child to speak with confidence and poise?

The oral examination accounts for 15% of  your child’s PSLE English grade or 20% of your child’s ‘O’ Level English grade. Find out how to help your child to secure crucial marks in this exam component.

What Exactly Does the Oral Exam Entail?

The PSLE and ‘O’ Level oral exams each have two components as seen below:

- Reading aloud
- Stimulus-based conversation

‘O’ Level Examination
- Reading aloud
- Spoken interaction

For both exams, students are required to read from a short passage. They will also be tasked to verbalise their views on agiven stimuli (usually an image) and respond to questions posed by the examiner.

Each candidate is given time to prepare before meeting with the examiners. What do examiners look out for? We detail 3 key characteristics of an eloquent speaker.

Characteristics of An Eloquent Speaker

1 Confident and Calm

Not everyone is a natural born orator. Hesitation and anxiety is not uncommon as your child may find it unnerving to voice his or her opinions in front of others.

At The Learning Lab ...
- our classrooms are safe spaces for your child to express himself or herself
- ample practice with reading aloud, responding verbally and sharing ideas put students at ease
- teachers encourage your child to communicate ideas with confidence

At home ...
- encourage your child to openly share his or her thoughts with you
- encourage a love of reading as this will help your child familiarise himself or herself with pacing and intonation

2 Quick-thinking and Genuine

Your child may encounter mental blocks when  faced with a particularly tough question during the stimulus-based conversation (PSLE) or spoken interaction component (GCE ‘O’ Level). When asked to provide a personal example or anecdote to substantiate a point during the examination, he or she may find it hard to draw examples from their memory banks.

At The Learning Lab ...
- time is built into our English lessons for oral exam practice
- your child is prompted to think of people, places, objects and memories who / which are significant to him / her
- your child will think of ways to describe the emotions and insights related to these people, places, objects and things

At home ...
- reflect on key family moments: anecdotes with emotional resonance are often easier for students to recall and express sincerely
- play word association games to help your child become familiar with responding quickly and correctly

3 Clear and Logical

Examiners look out for candidates who are able to express themselves clearly. Logical thinking can help your child to ensure that his or her response is not only organised but also relevant to the question

At The Learning Lab ...
- teachers encourage your child to use key words of the question in his or her answer to demonstrate clarity
- your child is taught to use numbering cues such as “Firstly . . . secondly . . . thirdly”, to demonstrate logical thinking

At home ...
- encourage your child to refine his or her expressions even in casual conversations
- ask "why" questions to help your child develop logical responses in conversations

Crucial Cues For Eloquent Speaking

Pronunciation, pacing and intonation are just some essential parts of eloquent speaking and reading aloud.

Download our special Mini Guide to Eloquent Speaking below!

The Learning Lab's Guide to Eloquent Speaking

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Topics: oral, PSLE, O levels, speaking, eloquent