Challenging parts of PSLE Tamil paper
Tamil Language paper for PSLE comprises of 3 components, Paper 1, Paper 2 and Oral. The first 2 components concentrate on writing and understanding of the language whereas the third component insists on listening and spoken skills.
Paper 1 is essay writing in which out of 2 given questions students are asked to choose one. Paper 1 is for 40 marks and time limit is 50 minutes. The weightage of this Paper 1 is 20%.
The second component is Paper 2 which is for 90 marks and time allotted to finish this paper is 1hr 45 minutes. The structure of the paper is as follows: There will be 4 sections of Multiple Choice Questions and 2 sections of Fill in the Blanks and 1 section of Open Ended Questions testing various aspects of the language. Paper 2 has 41 questions altogether comprising of 45% of total weightage of the subject paper.
The third and final component is Listening Comprehension and Oral which has 35% of total weightage. Among these, LC is for 20 marks, which has 10 MCQ questions. The Comprehension is of various types including Conversation, a NEWS passage, an advertisement, an announcement or a story.
Oral is for 50 marks and has 3 divisions, Reading Passage, Picture Description and Picture Conversation. First two divisions hold 20 marks each and the last division holds 10 marks.
Among these various tasks 80% of students mostly struggle in Paper 1, Essay writing and in the last element of Paper 2, the Open Ended Comprehension.
Usually students find it easier to handle MCQ type of questions and Fill in the blanks Question types as they need to apply the knowledge gained by indicating just the corresponding numbers or just write a single word as the answer. But in the above two mentioned areas, they have to explain the story or situation in sentences / paragraphs.
Regarding Paper 1, they have to compose a story based on the given situation or picture sequences. If they opt for situational writing, they have to imagine the whole scenario based on the topic given. Unless otherwise their imagination is flawless and their vocabulary bank balances with their scene, it works out. When either one goes wrong, it ends up with a flop.
If they opt for Picture Sequences, they will be provided with a sequence of 5 pictures and the 6th picture is left blank, and the student has to imagine the appropriate concluding part to finish the story. Maximum number of students are advised to opt this type of essay writing since the prompts are given through pictures. They just have to make proper knots of pictures and conclude it smoothly.
In both cases, students are expected to use good phrases and rich vocabulary to make their story more interesting and tend to create excitement for readers and at the same time, it is a tool to develop and test the language skills among students. Most of the students become blank if they lack in ideas, vocabulary or good phrases. Some will just fill up pages without a proper plot of story. Some stories may have holes lacking in proper storyline or conclusion.
On the other hand, some students will end up in an overdose. A lot of unnecessary phrases to explain the scene, unpredictable words, irrelevant vocabulary usage are their style of writing and it will be in a great mess.
Regarding the last element of Paper 2, the open ended comprehension, the questions are asked from the given passage. The questions are of various types including direct, indirect and inference. Students might find easier while answering direct questions whereas the struggle begins with indirect and inference type questions. They will make mistakes including spelling, sentence structure and content.
Proper understanding of the passage, their language skills and correct form of answering technique will solve this problem, so the students need to practice them in correct way.
Strategies pupils should follow when attempting PSLE Tamil written papers?
The first and foremost thing the students should keep in mind while taking Tamil language written paper is Time Management. Usually students can manage with Paper 2 in given time, whereas in Paper 1 they will end up with hurry. So proper planning of time for each and every section is vital for both papers.
For MCQ and Fill in type of questions, read the sentences together with the chosen answer. This technique will help to correct the errors in most cases. More particularly, in Vetrumai section, you are asked to choose one option from four. Just with your chosen option filled in, read the sentence. If your option is correct, the sentence will make sense. If not, change your option and try the same technique.
Regarding Oli Verubadu section, the more you practice the more you score. Learning these words repeatedly and learning by memory techniques also helps to some extent.
In Munnunarvu Karuthutharithal (Cloze Passage comprehension), while reading the sentence, guess what word will be suitable there, and check your chosen word in the helping word list, if it is there, you hit the target at first try, if not try to search the word with same meaning in the list. After finishing the whole passage in similar manner, read the passage from top. The whole passage should make sense now. That’s it. You’re done.
In other types of comprehension, ie., Picture Comprehension, MCQ Comprehension and open ended comprehension, make a habit of highlighting the answers first in the passage and then start to answer.
The second part of MCQ comprehension is vocabulary, where most students lose marks by choosing generic meanings. Always keep in mind that vocabulary questions asked are related to the passage given. So choose your answer relevant to the passage given and make sure you checked your answer in the passage.
Regarding the Open ended Comprehension, cut down unwanted words from highlighted part. Don’t start your answer with a pronoun. The checking key for your answer is, the reader should have no questions to ask from your answer. That is your answer should be complete. Also always try to make a complete sentence instead of a single word answer, especially for the last inference based question.
Tips and strategies for preparing for the PSLE Tamil oral and listening exams
For oral exams, the most important component is vocabulary. Students should have rich vocabulary bank and they should be confident in using them in correct sense. This make them to cross halfway.
For reading passage, students are tested for their pronunciation, clarity, voice modulation, voice expression and fluency. Students should keep these in mind.
For picture description, the sequence of explaining the situation is most important. One way of explaining is what they observe in picture. But students should keep in mind that the picture shown is effect, and they have to create the cause for that effect. And most importantly, the created cause should be relevant to the scene. For example, the picture shows that a lady slipped down in the wet market, then the student has to imagine that the lady slipped down in the puddle of water over there.
Students should follow some specific order to describe the scene. If he/she stared randomly, chances are high that some parts or incidents may be left out. Picture can be described from left to right, right to left or from center to surroundings, depends on the context of the picture.
Don’t use repeated words to define the action whether it is good or bad. Use different vocabulary matching to the scene.
Giving examples that involve themselves in that situation is also a good approach, but overdoing doesn’t work.
Relevant answers with good vocabulary may yield good result in picture conversation.
Regarding Listening Comprehension, while the students are to listen for first time they have to make a rough idea of the context. What the content about, what are the character involved, any incidents highlighted are criteria to be noted. And after the questions are played, students are alerted to specific parts where they should be more conscious during the second time passage listening.
Problems that parents face in coaching their children for PSLE Tamil
Most of the parents face the problem with their children is about their concentration. Most of them complain that their kids can’t concentrate for more than an hour. “Attention span” refers to the amount of time an individual can remain focused on a task without becoming distracted.
If kids are stuck, don’t force them to do on the same environment. The best solution is probably to let them have a break to do something fun. “Distracting yourself from the task at hand allows you to let go of mistaken assumptions, re-examine the clues in a new way, and come back fresh,” says Carey. Brain will continue to work on it during the break offline, subconsciously, without the (fixated, unproductive) guidance you’ve been giving it.
Proper guidance in language skills, speaking the language at home, reading story books to kids regularly, making them learn new words in fun way, making them to use the learned words in correct sense and relevant situation all these can help children to excel in their language. The most important thing is overloading with work may result in negative effect.
Tips and strategies for scoring high in Higher Tamil paper
Higher Mother Tongue paper is a bit high for the students who are struggling in their vocabulary and basic conversation. Strengthening and honing vocabulary can yield marks in editing.
Students with good reading habits, undoubtedly can handle the synthesis and transformation part well, because it mainly deals with sentence structures. If they are avid readers, they won’t make mistakes in making sentences is the simple logic behind.
Next comes the comprehension part. In open ended comprehension, make a habit of highlighting before starting to write. Cut down unwanted words from highlighted part. Don’t start your answer with a pronoun. The checking key for your answer is, the reader should have no questions to ask from your answer. That is your answer should be complete. Also always try to make a complete sentence instead of a single word answer, especially for the last inference based question.
The other comprehension comprises mixed questions. First one is the true/false question.
For such questions, students need to identify whether a given statement is entirely true or if there is a false detail given. A true statement is usually paraphrased from an original sentence in the passage. Following that, students are to provide evidence to prove why the statement is true (by picking out the original sentence) and if there is a false detail, what will be true according to the passage. Find the correct sentence and write it in a way that contrasts with the statement.
The next question is Vocabulary in context. Questions testing this will ask about the use of a word or phrase in the passage.
Which word/ phrase has the same meaning as…?
Find the words with opposite meanings to the following words…
Which two adjectives in paragraph 3 describe the particular character?
The other type of question is Applied vocabulary. This type of question is different from vocabulary in context as it requires pupils to analysis and use their own words to give the title to the passage.
How will you describe the personality of the character in the passage? (e.g. timid, proud)
What should student be doing the night before the papers?
Make sure students are getting the recommended amount of rest in a conducive environment. Increased sleep efficiency has been linked to better academic performance, and according to science reporter Benedict Carey, who also authored the book “How We Learn”:
“’Deep sleep,’ which is concentrated in the first half of the night, is most valuable for retaining hard facts—names, dates, formulas, concepts… [The] stages of sleep that help consolidate motor skills and creative thinking—whether in math, science, or writing—occur in the morning hours, before waking.”