How to Prepare and Ace PSLE Mother Tongue Listening Comprehension

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Some students may find the PSLE Mother Tongue listening comprehension exam challenging as they often don’t speak the language enough. Although it is compulsory for all students in Singapore to take a Mother Tongue language, many young children prefer to use English when they converse with their family and friends. Even most lessons in school are taught in English, leaving them lesser exposure to their Mother Tongue language. But, it’s never too late to start preparing your child and here are some ways you can try to help your child:


1.Speak the Mother Tongue language to your child everyday


This is the most important first step in getting your child to understand, listen and speak their Mother Tongue language — take time to expose your child to the language every day. Speaking the language will help your child improve their mastery of the language and also increase their vocabulary.



Your child should also start practicing speaking the language at home. Speaking the language helps them to use linking words, expose them to phrases, and form proper sentences.




2.Learn with Resources


Your child can use online resources such as podcasts, audio books and radio programs to help improve their understanding of the language. Podcasts are great for understanding how words can be used in dialogues and conversational Mother Tongue, while audio books are a great way to understand how words are being used. To start with audio books, pick one that your child have already read in English, so that he can relate to what he’s listening to.


Another helpful resource is watching Mother Tongue movies or shows with subtitles. These helps younger children to put meaning to the words they hear, and also understand the context of its usage.


3.Practicing Pronunciation


To be proficient in a language, it is important to learn how to speak the language. For example, young learners may find Chinese difficult to learn because the syllables ae short and there are various tone levels in each word, giving it different meanings depending on the way you pronounce them. And, even when they may be pronounced the same manner, they can still be very different words with different meanings and way of writing.


Pinyin pronunciation guides are helpful to learn pronunciations as your child will learn to listen and catch on the different words used.


Similarly, students learning Malay may easily get confused with words that are pronounced similar with English words. Hence, regular practice of clear pronunciation will help your child’s listening skills.


4.Increasing their Vocabulary


A very important tip to improve listening skills is to first improve their vocabulary. If our child’s vocabulary is not enough, he/she will not be able to understand the dialogue and will lose attention. Use vocabulary cards or reading materials to increase their vocabulary bank.


5.Learn to Identify Types of Questions


Every exam uses several types of questions to test if students are able to comprehend the subject. In the Mother Tongue listening comprehension exam, students can expect factual, summary and inferential type of questions.


Factual questions require students to listen and identify the details in the dialogue. Summary questions ask students to give a summary of the main idea of the listening passage, while inferential questions tend to ask students to deduce the right information that is not directly read to them.


Help your child practice by prompting them questions after letting them listen to an audio passage. Your child should take note of key information of the listening passage to help them practise and be ready for the exams.



6. Write What You Hear


In a listening comprehension exam, it is more than just listening. It is important that your child is able to listen, comprehend the message and write the right information down. As your child practises this, his or her listening comprehension skills will grow to improve.




For young learners, it is easy to fall back into their comfort zone of using English in their daily conversations and forget about honing their Mother Tongue language. However, it is never too late to get your child to love their Mother Tongue language. With the tips listed above, your child will surely be able to find it easier to get used to the language and this will in turn help with their listening comprehension exams.