PSLE Exams are just 8 days away! We at TCA are busy preparing our kids for their main papers next week, and we thought we’d share some of our knowledge!

  1. This is the section with THE MOST allocated marks! (It’s 20 marks!) Also the section that gives the most headaches to markers/teachers (sigh)…
  2. Comprehension OE questions are set SEQUENTIALLY. That is, Q1 will be from the beginning of the text (e.g Paragraph 1) and Q2 may be from the same paragraph (depending on how much info there is in that paragraph) and Q3 from the next portion and so on.
  3. The final Question in Compre OE is usually a ‘Agree or Disagree’ and ‘Support your answer with facts from the passage’ type of question. State your Yes or No, then find the facts to support your answer! Giving just a yes or no will get you ZERO marks.
  4. From the PSLE Marking Guide, marks are awarded FOR CONTENT ONLY. What this means is, grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes do NOT matter and will NOT lose marks (unless…see point 6)
  5. From the PSLE Marking Guide, NO 1/2 marks will be awarded.
  6. From the PSLE Marking Guide, if there are language errors that result in a lack of clarity or distortion of the content, the content mark will NOT be awarded
  7. 2 mark questions USUALLY demand (at least) 2 CONTENT POINTS. Or it is usually a higher order/inference questions. Do check you have ALL the points. Don’t lose a mark for this.
  8. You ARE ALLOWED to LIFT answers from the text to support your answers in the True/False section (from SEAB). ONLY this section! However, not ALL True/False statements can be proven by lifting. Some have to be inferred or pieced together from different parts of the story.


Follow these steps when doing Compre OE

  1. Read the text once for enjoyment (as if it’s just a story)
  2. Read the text again, this time for information. Read it with a highlighter/pencil in hand. Annotate key ideas (5W1H) and difficult vocabulary.
  3. Read the questions. Annotate these:
  • the marks allocated (1 mark = 1 detail / 2 marks = 2 details / parts) This is important as it tells you how many details you need to answer the question.
This question has 2 parts. Sally’s father had not written in 6 months after going off to fight in the war (1m), so she was worried that he might be hurt / dead (1m)
  • the reference numbers (line 15, paragraph 3) These narrow down your search so you do not waste time looking elsewhere.
  • keywords or phrases. Keywords also act as signposts that help you find your answers in the text.
I would underline URGENCY and FIRST TWO ACTIONS. Not her 3rd or 4th actions. Her FIRST TWO.

4. Read the text ONE more time. Now that you have annotated the questions, you’ll know what to look out for.

5. Summarise the story into these 3 questions:

i – who is/are the main character/characters

ii – what happened to him/her/them?

iii – what happened in the end?

IF you can answer these 3 questions, congratulations, you DO understand the story!

6. Start answering questions. Highlight or underline answers you find in the text, write the question number (e.g. Q72) next to the info in the text. This is your EVIDENCE, that you have found in the text to support your answer.

How to answer True / False section accurately:

This section always terrifies students. It’s actually pretty simple.

i. Start by replacing the word Reason with EVIDENCE. Reason is the wrong word choice, it confuses students into making up their OWN reasons. Never do that. You’ll need evidence from the text to prove your T/F

ii. Each statement will have a keyword or phrase you have to PROVE or DISPROVE. Highlight that keyword / phrase. e.g. Sally wanted to follow…Keyword is WANTED. IF you agree write (T), if you disagree write (F).

iii. Evidence is ALWAYS based on something the character EXPERIENCED, DID, SAID or THOUGHT in the text. Find that information. You can paraphrase OR lift it (intelligently…for example, you are not the writer so you cannot use ‘I’). Sometimes, the answer must be INFERRED using evidence in the text e.g. Sally had never met…answer is inferred because she KNEW the children’s names.

How to answer Refer To questions:

i. Find and highlight that word in the passage

ii. the answer is usually in the previous/next sentence

iii. the word/phrase you choose MUST be able to replace the bolded word.

e.g. here (line 16)

“In here!” the word HERE can be replaced by “the cellar” e.g. “In the cellar!” Mrs. Jen ordered. However, it cannot be “the stairs” because “In the stairs!” would not make any sense.

Hope these tips will help you raise your compre OE scores. I know my kids have benefited from following these routines and steps!

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