What is the syllabus for SEAB MOE English?

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

All Data:

The examination format for the SEAB MOE 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

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.


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.

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