What are the different types of questions that can be asked in the Paper 2 Comprehension section?

The Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) have meticulously structured the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) English Examinations to evaluate students’ comprehensive English language skills. Among the multiple sections of these examinations, Paper 2, and specifically its Comprehension section, has a pivotal role in gauging a student’s ability to read, understand, and interpret a range of written texts effectively.

ComponentDuration / MarksSkill(s) AssessedFormatFurther Details
Paper 2: Language Use and Comprehension1 hour 50 minutes / Total 95 marksStudents’ ability to use language correctly and understand visual and textual information
Booklet AMultiple-Choice Questions (MCQs)
Grammar MCQ10 marksAssesses grammatical understanding
Vocabulary MCQ5 marksAssesses vocabulary understanding
Vocabulary Cloze MCQ5 marksAssesses context-based vocabulary understanding
Visual Text Comprehension MCQ8 marksAssesses comprehension of visual text, e.g., posters
Booklet BVarious formats
Grammar Cloze10 marksAssesses understanding of grammatical structure
Editing for Spelling and Grammar12 marksAssesses ability to identify and correct spelling and grammatical errors
Comprehension Cloze15 marksAssesses understanding of text through cloze passages
Synthesis & Transformation10 marksAssesses ability to combine and transform sentences
Comprehension Open-Ended20 marksAssesses understanding of a longer text passageQuestions may include tables for students to fill in
Overall Weightage47.5%

Paper 2’s Comprehension section is divided into two parts, known as Comprehension Booklet A and Comprehension Booklet B. Each part presents a passage of text, followed by a series of questions intended to evaluate a student’s understanding of the text, as well as their ability to infer, summarise, and extrapolate from the information given.

In Comprehension Booklet A, students are typically given a non-fiction passage which may be drawn from various genres such as reports, news articles, and informational texts. The questions in this section are typically factual, literal, and vocabulary-based. They require students to locate and extract specific information directly from the visual text, understand and explain the meaning of certain words and phrases in context, and make straightforward inferences based on the given content.

Comprehension Booklet B, on the other hand, often features a narrative or a descriptive passage, which could be a story, a personal anecdote, or a character sketch. The questions in this section are more complex and varied. They test students’ ability to infer and deduce meanings, understand and interpret characters and their motivations, identify the mood and tone of the passage, and appreciate the use of figurative language and literary devices. They may also involve summarising parts of the passage, making predictions, and providing personal responses or reflections based on the passage.

Moreover, some questions could require students to rewrite sentences or paraphrase passages while maintaining their original meaning. These questions test students’ command of the English language and their ability to manipulate language structures effectively.

It’s worth noting that both Comprehension Booklet A and B are designed to assess not only students’ reading comprehension skills, but also their visual confirmation, critical thinking and analytical abilities. This is reflected in questions that require students to evaluate the text, identify the author’s purpose or viewpoint, and draw conclusions based on the information given.

The Comprehension section of the PSLE English Examinations Paper 2, as defined by MOE and SEAB, provides a comprehensive and multi-faceted assessment of students’ reading, understanding, and interpreting abilities. It offers a valuable opportunity for students to demonstrate their proficiency in English language comprehension and their capacity to think critically and analytically about written texts.