What is the syllabus for SEAB MOE PSLE English?

Unveiling the Syllabus for SEAB MOE PSLE English: An In-depth Overview

All Data:

The examination format for the SEAB MOE PSLE Primary 6 English curriculum involves multiple components, each designed to assess a specific language skill. Here’s a summarized, simplified table representation of the format:

PaperComponentItem TypeNo. of ItemsMarksWeightingDuration
1 (Writing)Situational Writing, Continuous WritingOpen-ended1 each15, 4027.5%1h 10min
2 (Language Use and Comprehension)Grammar, Vocabulary, Vocabulary Cloze, Visual Text Comprehension (Booklet A); Grammar Cloze, Editing for Spelling and Grammar, Comprehension Cloze, Synthesis/Transformation, Comprehension (Booklet B)Multiple-choice and Open-endedVariedVaried47.5%1h 50min
3 (Listening Comprehension)Listening ComprehensionMultiple-choice202010%About 35 min
4 (Oral Communication)Reading Aloud, Stimulus-based ConversationOpen-ended1 passage, 1 visual stimulus10, 2015%About 10 min (5 min preparation time; about 5 min examination time)

Total Marks: 200 Total Weighting: 100%

Please note: MCQ refers to multiple-choice questions and OE refers to open-ended questions.

Here is the same data for examination format information in simplified data points:

  • Paper 1 (Writing):
    • Component: Situational Writing, Continuous Writing
    • Item Type: Open-ended
    • Number of Items: 1 for each type
    • Marks: 15 for Situational Writing, 40 for Continuous Writing
    • Weighting: 27.5%
    • Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Paper 2 (Language Use and Comprehension):
    • Component: Grammar, Vocabulary, Vocabulary Cloze, Visual Text Comprehension (Booklet A); Grammar Cloze, Editing for Spelling and Grammar, Comprehension Cloze, Synthesis/Transformation, Comprehension (Booklet B)
    • Item Type: Multiple-choice and Open-ended
    • Number of Items: Varies per section
    • Marks: Varies per section
    • Weighting: 47.5%
    • Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Paper 3 (Listening Comprehension):
    • Component: Listening Comprehension
    • Item Type: Multiple-choice
    • Number of Items: 20
    • Marks: 20
    • Weighting: 10%
    • Duration: Approximately 35 minutes
  • Paper 4 (Oral Communication):
    • Component: Reading Aloud, Stimulus-based Conversation
    • Item Type: Open-ended
    • Number of Items: 1 passage for Reading Aloud, 1 visual stimulus for Stimulus-based Conversation
    • Marks: 10 for Reading Aloud, 20 for Stimulus-based Conversation
    • Weighting: 15%
    • Duration: Approximately 10 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time)

Total Marks for the entire exam: 200 Total Weighting for the entire exam: 100%

Back to our main article: English Primary Overview

Parent’s Review

Review by Caroline Neo

“When my daughter started preparing for the SEAB MOE English examination, I was initially overwhelmed by the components like Situational Writing, Continuous Writing, and Visual Text Comprehension. However, as we dove deeper into the syllabus, I appreciated the comprehensive coverage of the language skills, especially the Listening Comprehension section. The 1h 50min duration for Paper 2 was a bit long, but the shorter Oral Communication test balances it out. Overall, the exam ensures a holistic assessment of English proficiency.”

Review by Arun Mehta

“My son recently took the SEAB MOE English exam. The format is quite rigorous. The emphasis on Multiple-choice and Open-ended questions in Language Use and Comprehension certainly challenges the students. He particularly enjoyed the Stimulus-based Conversation during the Oral Communication paper, as it allowed him to express his thoughts more freely. While the total mark 200 may sound daunting, the weighting system is fair and helps overall score distribution.”

Review by Lena Koh

“The breadth of the SEAB MOE English syllabus initially took me aback. Components like Grammar Cloze, Synthesis/Transformation, and Editing for Spelling and Grammar felt a lot for my child. However, the clear breakdown of marks and weightings made it easier to prioritise areas for revision. With its 10% weighting, the Listening Comprehension section was a refreshing change and gave my child a break from writing. Overall, it’s a thorough curriculum that prepares studentswell for their English mastery.”

The SEAB PSLE English Syllabus

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board’s (SEAB) Ministry of Education (MOE) English curriculum follows a comprehensive examination format that assesses candidates across various competencies. The examination consists of distinct paper components, each carrying a specific weighting and scheduled for a defined duration.

The English paper tests the students’ writing skills through two open-ended questions in the form of situational and continuous writing. These components aim to probe the students’ language use and comprehension, with tasks encompassing grammar, vocabulary, vocabulary cloze, and visual text comprehension. Grammar cloze, editing for spelling and grammar, comprehension cloze, synthesis, and transformation make up the rest of the paper’s challenges.

Listening comprehension, assessed through multiple-choice questions, and oral communication, comprising reading aloud and a stimulus-based conversation, are also vital components of the examination. The oral communication test requires a student to read a passage and engage in a conversation based on a visual stimulus, necessitating an impressive array of English skills.

The MOE English syllabus promotes language proficiency in primary school students by focusing on the acquisition of writing skills, comprehension skills, listening skills, and oral skills. It seeks to inculcate an understanding of text and language, including vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. The examination challenges candidates with an array of question types, from dialogue-based start to description-based start, pushing them to create compelling stories with engaging characters and intriguing plots.

The English curriculum is designed to foster writing proficiency and enhance the creativity of student writers, helping them improve their language use, tone setting, and character development skills. The journey of a student in this curriculum is not just an educational one; it’s a creative journey as well, filled with story crafting, brainstorming, and idea generation.

Students are encouraged to experiment with their writing, using narrative creation to express their thoughts and ideas. They learn to create a coherent story structure, using vivid descriptions and crafting compelling dialogues. This process is not only about language improvement but also about the enjoyment of creative writing and the discovery of one’s unique style and voice.

The aim of the MOE English curriculum is not only academic success in terms of scoring high marks but also the development of confident writers who can engage readers and express themselves through the written word. The curriculum equips students with practical language tools for their linguistic journey, fostering a love for language arts and the confidence to tackle the daunting task of English examinations. Ultimately, the goal is to empower students to embark on their composition adventure, turning the examination challenges into an exciting and fulfilling experience.

The SEAB MOE English examination is an integral part of the educational journey for primary school students in Singapore. It is meticulously planned to develop a wide range of language skills, stimulate creativity, and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the English language.

Or back to Navigating the Terrain of PSLE English Composition Writing: A Comprehensive Guide


The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE), is responsible for the administration of national examinations and the determination of examination syllabi in Singapore. The SEAB MOE English syllabus is one such comprehensive framework, designed with the overarching goal of fostering effective language use and developing critical thinking skills amongst students.

Core Objectives and Components

At the heart of the SEAB MOE English syllabus is the aim to develop learners who are confident, effective, and discerning users of the English language. The syllabus instills in students a strong foundation in language learning, with an emphasis on grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and the four essential language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Listening and Reading

The listening component aims to develop students’ ability to understand spoken English in various contexts, ranging from daily conversations to more formal discussions. This proficiency allows students to interpret and infer meaning from spoken language, fostering aural comprehension skills that are essential in their academic and personal lives.

The reading component, on the other hand, exposes students to a wide range of texts such as articles, books, and online resources. The goal is to equip students with the ability to comprehend, interpret, and evaluate these texts, thereby enhancing their reading fluency, vocabulary acquisition, and critical thinking skills.

Writing and Speaking

Writing is a significant aspect of the syllabus, emphasizing text types, composition writing, and functional writing. Students are taught to organise their thoughts logically, express ideas clearly, and use language accurately. This skill set is fundamental to writing different text types such as narratives, expositions, and argumentative essays.

The speaking component of the syllabus nurtures students’ oral communication skills. It provides opportunities for students to articulate their thoughts, engage in productive dialogues, and present speeches effectively. This aspect of the curriculum fosters not only linguistic proficiency but also confidence in public speaking.

Visual Text Comprehension

The syllabus further includes visual text comprehension, designed to develop students’ ability to interpret and evaluate visual and multimodal texts. In an increasingly digital age, such a skill is invaluable, enabling students to navigate a variety of media with discernment and understanding.

Literature Appreciation

Recognising the importance of literature in language learning, the syllabus integrates literature appreciation. This encourages students to engage with literary texts, promoting a deeper understanding of different cultures, human experiences, and values.

Assessment and Examination

The SEAB MOE English syllabus culminates in the PSLE examination, which assesses the various skills developed throughout the primary school years. The examination encompasses components like listening comprehension, oral communication, written paper (comprising composition and language use and comprehension), and visual text comprehension. Each component is designed to evaluate a specific skill set, underscoring the comprehensive nature of the curriculum.

How the syllabus works from Primary 4, Primary 5 to PSLE Primary 6 transition and its trajectory

The Singapore English curriculum, administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and assessed by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), is designed with progression in mind, ensuring that students gradually develop the necessary English language skills over their primary school years. Here’s an overview of how the syllabus transitions from Primary 4 to Primary 6:

Primary 4 (P4):

Focus: At this level, students are introduced to slightly more complex texts and language structures. The curriculum aims to deepen their understanding and enhance their proficiency in the English language.

  1. Reading & Comprehension: Pupils are exposed to different genres, from narratives to non-fiction. They are trained to identify main ideas, infer, and extract information.
  2. Writing: There’s a shift from simpler, guided compositions to more structured and freer expressions. Pupils are taught how to organize paragraphs, use varied sentence structures, and integrate a broader range of vocabulary.
  3. Grammar & Vocabulary: The grammar topics introduced at P4 can be more complex, like the use of the passive voice, phrasal verbs, and direct/indirect speech.
  4. Listening & Oral Skills: Students start engaging in more advanced listening exercises and are encouraged to express opinions during oral communication exercises.

Primary 5 (P5):

Focus: This year serves as a bridge between the foundational skills instilled in the earlier years and the rigorous demands of the Primary 6 syllabus, which culminates in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

  1. Reading & Comprehension: Students tackle more sophisticated texts and are trained to answer higher-order thinking questions.
  2. Writing: Emphasis is placed on writing multi-paragraph compositions with clear introductions, supporting content, and conclusions. Personal voice and varied writing techniques are encouraged.
  3. Grammar & Vocabulary: While reinforcing previously learned structures, new, more advanced grammar concepts are introduced.
  4. Listening & Oral Skills: There’s a focus on developing clarity in speech, understanding implicit meanings in listening exercises, and engaging in in-depth discussions during oral examinations.

Primary 6 (P6):

Focus: This is a crucial year as students prepare for the PSLE. The syllabus is geared towards ensuring that pupils have a solid grasp of the language and can apply their skills effectively in the examination.

  1. Reading & Comprehension: The complexity of texts further increases. Pupils hone their skills in synthesis, inference, and critical analysis.
  2. Writing: There’s a significant focus on refining writing skills, ensuring that pupils can express ideas clearly, coherently, and in a well-structured manner under exam conditions.
  3. Grammar & Vocabulary: Mastery of all previously taught grammar structures is expected, with frequent exercises to ensure retention.
  4. Listening & Oral Skills: Pupils practice under exam-like conditions, focusing on nuances in language, tone, and intention.


The trajectory from P4 to P6 is one of increasing complexity and depth. As students progress, they’re expected not just to understand and use the language but to engage with it critically. The skills they pick up are not only for the PSLE but also to prepare them for secondary education where English remains a critical subject. By the end of P6, students should have a firm foundation in English, allowing them to engage with more advanced content in their subsequent years of education.

Preparing for the PSLE English Examinations

Here’s a worklist for parents to help their child prepare for the SEAB MOE English examination:

WeekFocus AreaActivitiesMaterials/Resources NeededExpected Outcomes
1-2Situational & Continuous Writing– Brainstorming sessions for varied topics
– Daily writing exercises
– Peer or parental review of written content
– Sample prompts
– Writing journals
– Grammar and vocabulary books
Improved structure and vocabulary in writing
3-4Grammar & Vocabulary– Grammar exercises and quizzes
– Vocabulary flashcards review
– Interactive online grammar games
– Grammar workbooks
– Vocabulary flashcards
– Grammarly or similar tools
Enhanced grammar usage and enriched vocabulary
5-6Comprehension Skills– Daily reading of varied texts
– Summarizing articles
– Comprehension question practice
– Newspapers
– Magazines
– Comprehension practice books
Improved understanding and interpretation of texts
7-8Visual Text Comprehension– Analyzing visual advertisements
– Practice questions based on visuals
– Discussions on visual cues and messages
– Old magazines/advertisements
– Visual comprehension workbooks
Enhanced interpretation of visual content
9-10Listening Comprehension– Listening to English programs/podcasts
– Practice listening comprehension exercises
– English podcasts
– Listening comprehension CDs or online resources
Improved auditory understanding of English
11-12Oral Communication– Regular reading aloud sessions
– Stimulus-based conversations on current events
– Video recording and review of speaking sessions
– Newspaper – Stimulus visuals
– Camera/phone for recording
Enhanced fluency and confidence in speaking
13-14Review & Mock Exams– Mock tests for all components
– Reviewing and understanding mistakes
– Time-bound practices to simulate exam conditions
– Past year papers
– Examination-focused revision books
Familiarity with exam format and improved time management
15-16Final Preparations– Revisiting challenging areas
– Relaxation and confidence
-building activities
– General discussions in English
– Notes from previous weeks
– Motivational resources/books
– English movies or shows
Mental preparedness and confidence for the exam

Parents can adjust the timeline based on the child’s specific needs and areas of improvement. Collaboration, regular feedback, and encouragement are key throughout the preparation process.

Other relevant materials:


In summary, the SEAB MOE English syllabus is a robust and comprehensive curriculum that holistically develops students’ language abilities. It goes beyond mere academic objectives, fostering lifelong learning, critical thinking, and effective communication skills – qualities that extend beyond the classroom and resonate throughout a learner’s life. It is a syllabus that truly encapsulates the essence of language learning in the 21st century.

FAQs: SEAB MOE English Examination Syllabus

  1. What is the total marks and weighting for the SEAB MOE English examination?
    • The total marks for the examination is 200, with the overall weighting distributed across different papers to amount to 100%.
  2. How long is the Writing Paper (Paper 1) and what are its components?
    • The Writing Paper, or Paper 1, has a duration of 1h 10min. It comprises two main components: Situational Writing and Continuous Writing.
  3. What can my child expect in the Language Use and Comprehension Paper (Paper 2)?
    • Paper 2 assesses various skills including Grammar, Vocabulary, Vocabulary Cloze, and Visual Text Comprehension in Booklet A. Booklet B delves into Grammar Cloze, Editing for Spelling and Grammar, Comprehension Cloze, Synthesis/Transformation, and general Comprehension. It has a mix of multiple-choice and open-ended questions, with a duration of 1h 50min.
  4. Is the Listening Comprehension section multiple-choice based?
    • Yes, the Listening Comprehension section, which is Paper 3, is based entirely on multiple-choice questions. It consists of 20 questions with a total of 20 marks, making up 10% of the overall examination weighting. It typically lasts about 35 minutes.
  5. How is the Oral Communication section structured?
    • The Oral Communication paper, or Paper 4, involves Reading Aloud and a Stimulus-based Conversation. Students will read out a passage and then engage in a conversation based on a visual stimulus. This paper takes about 10 minutes in total: 5 minutes for preparation and approximately 5 minutes for the examination.
  6. Are there any resources to help with preparation for the Visual Text Comprehension and Stimulus-based Conversation sections?
    • While specific resources can be found through MOE-approved textbook publishers and tuition centers, general practice can also come from analyzing visual advertisements, posters, or news articles for the Visual Text Comprehension and discussing current events or visual prompts for the Stimulus-based Conversation.
  7. How important is Grammar Cloze in the overall weighting?
    • While the exact marks for the Grammar Cloze component aren’t specified in the overview provided, it forms a part of Paper 2 which has a significant overall weighting of 47.5%. It’s essential to prepare thoroughly for all parts of this paper to achieve a good overall score.

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