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PSLE English Oral 2025 - An increasing emphasis on oral and communication skills

The PSLE 2025 will bring forth new recognition on the evolving and increasing importance of effective verbal communication in the 21st century. The key changes that will take place in 2025 for the oral component of the English exam includes the following:


1.     Increased weightage from 15% to 20% of the overall English score (from 30 marks to 40 marks, with 15 marks going to Reading, and 25 marks going to Stimulus-based Conversation (SBC)).

2.     Reading  - context of the passage is now provided, therefore requiring the student to showcase the ability to utilize an appropriate tone that conveys the message in the most effective manner for that specific circumstance. In addition, the theme of the reading passage may or may not be linked to the SBC.

3.     SBC – the picture prompt will change from what has primarily been an illustration with text (e.g. posters) to a photograph of a real-live situation. No text will be provided, therefore requiring the student to observe, infer, rationalize, and then convey their thoughts based on their situational awareness.


What new skills are required to excel in the PSLE Oral 2025?


1.     Recognize that your voice is a tool

As interview skills and communication skills specialists, this has always been the foundation of what and how we coach, whether for oral, for DSA interviews or for any interview you are preparing for. Our voice can influence thinking and emotional receptiveness – this is Neuro-Linguistics Programming at work. How we use our voice in terms of tone, pitch, volume and pace can change the dynamics significantly, giving meaning and effectiveness to the words we say.


Recognizing that our voice is a tool and that this tool can be improved, sharpened and trained to function at its maximum potential is important. It is not an acceptance of  “that’s just the way I sound all the time” but that the ability to use the voice can be honed.


Once you recognize the role of our voice as a tool, this is where you can take into account the context of what you are saying, and make adaptations to the audience, the environment, the situation and be able to convey your message at its highest effectiveness. This is effectively what the reading component now requires – the ability to combine foundational reading aptitude with the recognition of situational appropriateness.


2.     Link observations with self-awareness and past experiences

This is not a new skill as it has been something we have always encouraged our students to do to excel in the SBC. However, with the use of real-live situations, rather than illustrated posters with text, the skill required is now more pronounced.


The key to excelling in the SBC is to recognize that it is effectively a discussion on common occurrences. To communicate well during an SBC (and in any situation which requires you to hold a conversation with a stranger), it involves self-awareness, situational awareness and an appreciation of past observations and experiences. Brainstorming what you have seen, heard, felt, and done before and linking it to daily occurrences is the foundational skillset that can carry one very far in any communication task.



Students taking an exam

What can we do to prepare well for the PSLE Oral 2025?


1.     Talk about daily activities, observations, and segments from the news. Using pictures or what you can observe in real life, discuss questions such as what you think about the issue, what you think the person(s) in the situation feels and why they are doing what they are doing or why you think a situation happened. In other words, practice empathy on a daily basis so that it becomes natural to be able to observe an occurrence, infer from what you see, and then present your comments and thoughts.

2.     Learn to observe how others use their voice as a tool. For example, contrast the reading of a formal piece of news versus a persuasive speech. Listen out for the nuances and the use of the voice to convey both a logical and emotional tone.

3.     Practice. Even the best readers and communicators need practice. The more you practice, and the more diverse the topics you have been exposed to, the more confidence you will build and the easier it will be to make communication a daily skill and not just one that is for the PSLE but for any situation that requires strong communication skills.



Written by Siew Ling Hwang, Founder, Discovering Potential Pte Ltd

Siew Ling is the founder of Discovering Potential and she specialises in providing Interview Skills Coaching and Communication Skills Coaching to youths and adults. Her experience includes both 1-on-1 coaching and workshop coaching for clients that come from a wide range of industries and age groups.

Siew Ling coaches students for their PSLE Oral examinations. In addition, Siew Ling coaches students for their Primary 6 and JC DSA interviews as well as university entrance interviews in many areas including medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy, law, business, accounting, renaissance engineering and more for both local Singapore universities and overseas universities. She has also coached students for internship opportunities in several of the large consulting firms and financial institutions, as well as scholarship interviews including ASEAN scholarship, PSC scholarships, SAF scholarships, MOH scholarships, MOE scholarships and others.

In 2023, the candidates that Siew Ling coached have received confirmed DSA P6 offers for the following schools:

RI, RGS, HCI, NYGH, MGS, SCGS, NUSH, Catholic High, St Nicholas Girls, SOTA, NJC, Fairfield Methodist, Nan Chiau High, Temasek Junior College as well as entrance into international schools including SJII, ACSI and Hwa Chong International.

Her 5 star Google reviews can be seen on the homepage



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