PSLE Oral Tips: Does The Cat Keep Getting Your Child’s Tongue During Oral?


by Mrs Elaine Loh

In my last blogpost, I talked about the structure of the stimulus-based oral conversation component and how your child can prepare for it. In this post, I will talk about the main problem children face when it comes to the PSLE oral examination and how you can help your child overcome it. 

“My child is usually quite a chatterbox at home but tends to stumble in his speech for oral conversation!”

A parent once told me the above in exasperation. Sounds familiar? Even the chattiest child may find himself totally tongue-tied during the oral conversation component of the exam. For a child who is more reserved, the stimulus-based conversation poses an even bigger hurdle. Not only can a child find himself tongue-tied, anxiety can cause his ideas to become one incoherent jumble. Does the cat get your child’s tongue too? It’s totally understandable. Under examination conditions, putting your thoughts together and articulating them clearly to a complete stranger can be a nerve-racking experience even for an adult. During the PSLE oral examination, even the most confident child can find himself tripping up as performance anxiety mounts. When this happens, you will notice your child becoming less coherent in getting across what he wants to say.

Train your child to P.E.E.L his ideas.

One of the ways to help your child get over his fear of expressing himself is to help him organise his thoughts into a coherent whole using the P.E.E.L structure. We use this in our classes at RGC Futureschool, to help our pupils achieve coherency in the SBO component of the PSLE oral exam.

What’s P.E.E.L?

When answering a question posed in the stimulus-based oral conversation section, your child should use the P.E.E.L to structure in his answer. He should ask himself:

1. What is the Point or idea that I want to put across?

  • it is your child’s answer to the examiner’s question.

2. How can I Elaborate on my point to make the examiner understand what I am saying better?

  • your child should use the details given in the stimulus and use observation skills to elaborate on his point.

3. What examples/experiences can I use to Explain what I have just said?

  • your child can give examples by comparing and contrasting. E.g. Fun-fair versus selling flags to raise funds
  • Giving cause and effect examples. E.g. In a fun fair, there are game stalls where you can win prizes (cause). As a result, people tend to buy more tickets to play more games to try to win those prizes. (effect)

4. How does what I have said link back to the main idea?

  • the link usually supports the main point your child has mentioned at the very start.

To help each child in my class organise his thoughts using the PEEL method, I find it useful to use a template on which each child can use to jot his ideas down as a pre-oral activity. While your child may not be able to do this at the exam, the template acts as a good visual mental map to help him organise his thoughts so that he can articulate them coherently.

To see an example of the template and how it is used, please click on the button below!

Need a blank template for your child to practise on?


Teaching your child where to begin for the stimulus-based conversation component and how to structure and expand on his original idea using PEEL will give him the confidence he needs to articulate what he needs to say clearly and coherently. Being able to bring an idea across clearly is a life-long skill that every child should aspire towards. You can encourage your child to achieve greater coherency in his oral conversation by getting him to practice our PEEL method at home. Practice builds confidence and a little confidence goes a very long way. Don’t let the cat get your child’s tongue!

Like this post? Watch out for the next one on what your child needs to focus on to read aloud fluently and what oral examiners are looking for as they listen to your child read.

For more help on the reading aloud component, check out this blog post. If you need our help, do check out our PSLE Oral Prep (POP) Classes!