Primary School Chinese Tuition

The seeds for a good foundation in the Chinese language start at the primary school level. And as such, we believe our Primary School level Chinese tutors have a very important role to play towards the long-term Chinese proficiency of our students. 

Based on our years of experience, teaching a primary level student requires a different skill set from teaching an O-level student. Our Primary School Chinese tutors need to be creative, approachable, and effective all at the same time. They need to be able to relate to younger students, to gain the trust of the student, and at the same time deliver the Chinese teaching content in a professional way. 

At The Education Lab, we have a specialised team of Primary School Chinese tutors who have been specifically selected to teach primary level students based on their ability to nurture and motivate young kids. In addition, our curriculum has been designed to align with the PSLE Chinese syllabus. 

Primary School Chinese Creative Writing

Creative Chinese writing comprises a large section of the PSLE Chinese examinations. Our Chinese tuition syllabus seeks to enable students to express themselves well in the Chinese language. Amongst the writing skills we teach are creative writing techniques, and the use of exemplary Chinese phrases (such as 成语). Chinese composition practices are also given every two weeks, so that students will have a sustained exposure to writing the Chinese composition quickly and proficiently.

We find that once a student starts improving in their composition grades, they start to gain confidence and are even more accepting towards learning more composition specific phrases and sentences. The PSLE Chinese tuition classes also call for practice compositions sessions every 2 weeks; some of which will be done in-class while the rest of the practices are homework so we do not use too much class time.

Finally, all compositions are marked and graded by our chinese tutors and returned to each student (usually within 1-2 weeks). Our teachers usually spend about 10-15 mins then going through the common mistakes made by the class. If a student is exceptionally weak, the teacher may ask the student to stay back to go over the mistakes personally. We find that this practice & feedback approach, which is one of the most tried and tested methods of improvements, consistently works in significantly improving the composition grades of our students. 

Primary School Chinese Comprehension

The Chinese comprehension section comprises a piece of text which students will have to read and understand correctly before they answer a set of short questions. While the composition is meant to teach creative writing, the Chinese comprehension teaches analytical reading and reasoning. Together, the composition and comprehension from the two basic tenets of the Chinese examination.

As with the composition, chinese tuition students are given comprehension passages to work on every fortnight. The large number of practices also mean that we are able to cover a huge variety of topics given in comprehension passages. Moreover, there are also different types of SAQ questions, and we have specific chinese tuition modules to teach students how to answer each type of SAQ question. WIth practice, we find that most students will be able to complete the comprehension quickly while also analyzing and answering the questions accurately.

Primary School Chinese Oral & Listening

The Chinese oral exam is arguably one of the most nerve wracking to students. Students will have to walk up to two elderly teachers, read a piece of moderately difficult Chinese text as proficient as they can, before answering a series of questions, all the while knowing that they will be graded based on every single word they say. It also doesn’t help that many Singaporean children these days do not converse in Mandarin at home anymore. The result is that many kids stutter and struggle to speak properly because of the nervousness and the pressure of the moment. 

At The Education Lab’s Chinese tuition programme, we want our students to learn to speak almost perfect Chinese. Our head linguistics teacher is a Beijing native that regularly assess our other Chinese tutors to ensure they are speaking accurate Chinese (标准中文) during classes. We normally start our Oral Exam training module in the month of March for our PSLE students, this gives us ample time to allow the students to practice enough to be comfortable and confident when the actual PSLE examination comes. 


  • Primary School Chinese Creative Writing
  • Primary School Chinese Comprehension
  • Primary School Chinese Oral & Listening



PSLE Chinese Language Exam Preparation Class

The PSLE Chinese Language Exam covers 3 papers, with 2 papers being written exams and the last paper being the oral & listening comprehension paper. Here we describe in detail how our Primary 6 Chinese tuition classes addresses each of the papers. 

50 mins
Paper 2
100 mins
A : Language Use, Cloze Passage, Comprehension (MCQ)
B: Complete Dialogue, Comprehension (Open-ended)
Paper 3
Oral 10mins;
Listening 30mins

Paper 1: Composition Writing (40 marks, 20% total weightage, 50mins Duration)

In this paper, students will have 2 question types and will have to pick 1 to do, either based on a topic (命题作文) or based on a set of pictures (看图作文). Given that this is a time-sensitive question, students are trained to take only 5 mins to do question analysis, another 5-10 mins to draft their main essay points, and finally about 35-40 mins to write the actual composition. 

Selecting the right topic during the exam is one of the most crucial parts of doing well in the composition. Prior to the exam, our Chinese tutors sit down with each student and go through their interests and experiences, so that we can determine which topics are suitable for specific students on an individual basis. Closer to the exam, our Chinese tutors would give out customised topic notes to each student, so they can focus on doing the topics they’re best at. Similarly with the picture composition, students are taught not to pick a question if they are unable to fully understand the picture given — as this can lead to writing out of point, and a huge loss in content marks. 

It’s important to note that to score an “A” essay in the PSLE exams, students taking Chinese are must be able to read about 1,600 to 1,700 characters, while being able to write about 1,000 characters. (Higher Chinese students must be able to read about 1,800 to 1,900 characters, while being able to write about 1,400 characters.) MOE has emphasized that the ability to read and write Chinese are the 2 main goals for students, and these abilities are necessary to build the proper foundations as students progress to higher levels. To address this point, our Chinese tuition syllabus focuses on vocabulary expansion exercises for almost every single lesson in the first semester (during the 2nd semester our time will be more focused towards teaching technical exam skills). 

Finally, our Composition Module also teaches students the various technical steps to writing a good essay, from question analysis to technical skills like sentence structures and good paragraphing. On a week-to-week basis, our Chinese tutors will cover various aspects of creative writing – to allow students to learn how to express themselves accurately and empathetically in their compositions. 

We find that with repeated guidance, almost any student will be able to score significantly higher grades than they had previously attained. And based on our past track record, we believe we are doing quite well. 

Paper 2: Comprehension (90 marks, 45% total weightage, 1hr 40mins Duration)

The Chinese Comprehension paper is similar to most other comprehensions, but has its own nuances and pitfalls. Our Chinese tuition classes first start with word activities (starting from our Primary 3 syllabus) such as “play and learn” to allow students to memorise regularly used words that are required to solve vocabulary type questions. 

As students develop more awareness of the comprehension requirements, later Chinese tuition lessons then focus more on techniques for reading the passage, such as looking for topic sentences, and simpler speed reading techniques. In addition, the lesson plan starts to introduce different types of short answer questions, and of varying difficulty levels so that students can slowly get accustomed to the various question types, and understand what they must do to address each question. 

During practices, our Chinese tutors always teach students to read the passage at least twice. The first reading is to understand the layout of the passage, and to identify the main theme or topic. It is useful to know that there are only a finite number of main themes, common ones include themes such as “honesty” or “being filial to parents” etc. During the second reading students are taught to identify the 4Ws: the why, where, when, and what of each paragraph. 

In addition, our chinese tuition students are also taught to read each comprehension question 2 times. The first reading it’s meant to enable students to understand the question, while the second reading is for a student to identify the question type and find the keywords. Student will learn to mark out the keywords in each question such as in this example: 

Once a student is able to professionally identify question types, it is only a matter of practice before they will start to more readily identify the answers within the comprehension passage and answer the questions correctly. 

Moreover, one of the biggest differences between Chinese and English comprehension is that Chinese comprehension exams allow students to lift entire phrases when answering a question. (For English or GP, a large part of the content marks goes towards paraphrasing the answer phrase concisely and accurately.) 

The last module of our Chinese tuition comprehension programme teaches students how to use the number of allocated marks to determine how many separate points an answer has. Generally, a 2 mark question will require 2 separate points in the answer, and a 3 mark question will require three separate points in the answer. There are exceptions to this rule, and we will teach students when and how to identify such questions. 

Paper 3: Oral Exam & Listening Comprehension (70 marks, 35% total weightage, 10mins Oral & 30mins Listening Comp.)

Paper 3 comprises 2 separate parts. The first part is the oral examination, and the second part is the listening comprehension. 

The oral exam is not a paper you can study for at the last minute. It requires months of consistent practicing for young students to be able to speak clearly and confidently in such a stressful exam setting. At The Education Lab, our Chinese tutors believe in teaching the oral speaking skills very well, simply because this is one of the skills which has very practical real life applications. Whether the student is going for an interview with a Chinese company, or doing business in China, or simply wants to communicate to their relatives in mandarin — the ability to speak good mandarin pays dividends for a lifetime. 

On a weekly basis, usually at the beginning of the Chinese tuition class, students are taught how to enhance their conversational skills in Chinese. Students will be coached in presenting their points of view in a more effective way, and with greater clarity. We do this with a variety of exercises, usually involving presentation and group discussions. As we get closer to the oral examination dates, usually around June, teachers will hold individual reading & conversation sessions with each student. Ultimately, one of the core goals of our chinese tuition programme is to enable our students to be able to communicate effectively, using appropriate phrases, and proper articulation techniques. 

*We find that students who have learnt to be able to speak Chinese properly tend not only to do well in the oral exams, but also generally have greater confidence about themselves. 

As for the listening comprehension exam paper, Students will be asked to listen to a recording, and then answer short questions about that recording. Naturally, students with a higher proficiency in the Chinese language will tend to better understand the narrative in the recording. However, there are also techniques that weaker students can learn to give themselves an advantage in answering the questions. 

During our Chinese tuition listening comprehension practices, students are taught how to scan through the questions in the short interval before the passage is being read, and then mark out the keywords in the questions. When the recording is played, students are then taught to listen for matching keywords (or similar keywords), to be able to quickly identify the answer to the question. With practice, we find that even students that are weak in Chinese are able to significantly improve their listening comprehension scores using exam techniques such as these. 


  • Paper 1: Composition Writing (40 marks, 20% total weightage, 50mins Duration)
  • Paper 2: Comprehension (90 marks, 45% total weightage, 1hr 40mins Duration)
  • Paper 3: Oral Exam & Listening Comprehension (70 marks, 35% total weightage, 10mins Oral & 30mins Listening Comp.)