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PSLE Listening Comprehension Examination
One component of MTL PSLE examination that we tend to neglect is the Listening Comprehension paper. That’s understandable as it stands at 20 marks, a mere 10% of the total marks. However, the Listening Comprehension paper consists of 10 questions, and that would give us 2 marks per question, we should try and work on this to minimise the loss of marks in this paper.
Listening Comprehension paper is used as a good measure of a child’s language ability. What is a systematic way to prepare them for the Listening Comprehension paper?
Some Facts to know
The Listening Comprehension paper has 10 questions and 7 texts. The total marks for this paper is 20 marks. The text types include a dialogue between two persons, a notice, a set of instructions, an advertisement, a story or an introduction of a person, a place, a product etc.
Students are given a printed test paper that contains only the questions. The readers will read out the text, followed by the questions, after which the text is repeated.
How should we approach the Listening Comprehension paper
My first advice is to read the question of the first text at the start of the examination (please do that only after the invigilator gave the instruction to open the question booklet!) Why should we read the question first before we listen to the text? By reading the question, students will now have a guide when listening to the text, this will help them know what information they need to draw from the text.
When looking for an answer for a text that is a dialogue between two persons, students must pick up the tone of the speakers, the relationship between the speakers and the setting for the dialogue. These are contextual clues for choosing the correct answer.
The way we approach Text 4 and Text 7 (there are 2 or 3 questions for each of these texts), is to read the questions before the text is read, try and pick up the key focus word (关键字眼). When listening to the readers read the text, listen to the key focus word in the text, most of the time, the answer can be found somewhere there. The sequence of the questions is such that the answer for the first question precede the answer for the second question. Sometimes, this rule does not apply, most often it is question 10, as the question might need the students to understand the text as a whole and make a conclusion.
As the texts are being read, students should listen and take note of the answer that they have heard. The readers will read out the questions, listen closely to all the options being read, do not just focus on the answer. It is always prudent to be careful. The readers will repeat the text, at this time, students should check their answers.
Text 3 is a rather interesting question format, 路线图题型, choose the correct route. If we look at the question paper, we will see 3 identical pictures with different routes. As students listen to the text, they should make a note of the sequence of all the places the text mentioned. Denote the first place as “1”, then “2”, and so forth on the picture. This question can be rather tricky for students whose MTL is not strong, but with enough practice, they can do it with much ease. There are some connecting phrases that students must be familiar with, 在那之前，在到(venue)前，先, these are what often misled the students into choosing the incorrect answer.
Without the texts in front of them, students must depend solely on their auditory senses to complete the Listening Comprehension paper. To make this a less stressful situation, parents can provide the students with more opportunities to practice the skill needed for the Listening Comprehension paper.
Finally, students must pay lots of attention listening to the readers read the texts and questions, to do that effectively, students must be alert and concentrate well. A good night’s rest and healthy breakfast goes a long way in helping your child be prepared for the examination.
Tips on getting ready before the LC paper
There is a Chinese saying, 积少成多，when we accumulate things little by little, it will soon become substantial. It is the same with language learning. Let your child listen to MTL podcasts, watch the news on television, listen to the news on the radio, listen to stories online, these can be done weekly if not daily.
Practices are crucial. Doing Listening Comprehension practices trains the child to get used to listening for information without visual cues. Doing Listening Comprehension practices also trains the child to get used to listening to recorded audio, rather than hearing a person face-to-face. Doing more Listening Comprehension practices will allow the child to get accustomed to the different pitches and speech speed of someone other than family members or friends. Most importantly, just like in sports practices, Listening Comprehension practices give them training to pick up the needed skills for Listening Comprehension examinations.