How To Score Well for The PSLE Mother Tongue Listening Comprehension

The PSLE mother tongue listening comprehension exam is considerably one of the hardest exams to pass as a young individual with regards to language-related topics. While many Singaporeans may be well-versed in Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, which are often considered their mother tongue language, there are certain individuals that choose to master English first due to its effectiveness in conversing with foreign individuals.

Learning another language will be tough especially for a growing child, but learning to master the listening comprehension skill of that said language is even more difficult to pull off. This is why this article is dedicated towards giving you the top 8 tips on how to score well for your PSLE mother tongue listening comprehension exam.

Why is mother tongue important?

Languages in your mother tongue may possess little benefit when compared to learning and using a language that everyone knows. However, there are still unique perks that can only be gained from learning and practicing mother tongue.

• Allows better communication to the people around you

Most of the time, the people residing within certain proximity share the same culture and language. This is also true for the people around your community. Whether it be conversing with your family or asking your local neighbors for random questions, it is much easier to speak in your mother tongue as that is the language that they are most familiar with.

Each individual will be able to express themselves better and be able to understand each other when they are both speaking the same mother tongue. There are also certain jargon and slang terms that cannot be translated into English and can only be understood properly once spoken with your mother tongue.

• Strengthens ancestral connections

If you want to be connected to your ancestral heritage better and want to preserve their culture and traditions, then speaking and mastering your mother tongue is one exceptional way to do it. Language is one of the primary basis for establishing a strong and prosperous community. And it is this language that you will be mastering when learning your mother tongue.

If passing your PSLE mother tongue exam is the only thing you have in mind, then this benefit may be more or less irrelevant to you. However, when you really want to be part of your ancestor’s rich and wonderful culture and history, then learning and mastering your mother tongue will surely take you a long way.

• Improves brain function

There have been multiple studies that prove the fact that learning new languages improves brain and cognitive function in an individual. The same also holds true for when you are learning and mastering your mother tongue. This challenges your brain with the task of constantly having to make out the words spoken, translate them in your head, process the information, and think of a reply all in the span of a few seconds.

Some might argue that you do not need to learn your mother tongue as it is instilled into you the moment you develop the ability to understand words. However, as globalization continuously innovates our perception of foreign, a lot of individuals in the newer generations are taught English and other languages that are widely used internationally first before they are actually taught to speak in their mother tongue.

Tips to score well in mother tongue listening comprehension

Now that we have finished discussing the perks of learning and mastering your mother tongue, let us now proceed towards how to master your mother tongue so that you may score well in your PSLE mother tongue listening comprehension. Here are the top 8 tips on how to do so:

1. Expose yourself to the language regularly

The first and most effective method to effectively get better at your mother tongue, or any language, in fact, is to regularly expose yourself to the language. One can achieve this by speaking the language on a daily basis for regular conversations with your family members or friends.

This will greatly improve your ability to understand, translate, comprehend, pronounce the words in your mother tongue. Not only that, but you are also doing these activities in real-time, which will greatly enhance the rate at which you process the words and what they mean.

Being familiar with your mother tongue will also allow you to remain in a calmer state when you take the PSLE. This will allow you to make better decisions and avoid unnecessary panicking which could hamper the scores you get.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for text guides

If you are having trouble hearing or making out the words that are spoken to you in your mother tongue, then there might be a problem with your familiarity with the words spoken in your mother tongue. To get past this hurdle, the most effective way is to use text guides or subtitles.

Reading unfamiliar and novel words is considerably easier than actually making out the word in your head when someone speaks it to you. So, up until you can make out the words on your own or until you are familiar with a lot of vocabulary from your mother tongue, then you can always ask for text guides or ask other people to write down the words you find difficult to make out. Just remember that this is only until you are familiar with the words in your mother tongue and should not be completely relied upon.

3. Work on your pronunciation

Communication is a two-way process that requires both parties to understand each other. However, when one of the parties has problems with pronunciation, then the communication process can experience turbulence and difficulties. The same goes with your PSLE mother tongue listening comprehension exam. No matter how well you can make out the words and translate them in your head, if you have trouble with the pronunciation of the words in your mother tongue, then your marks may be lower than what you originally anticipated.

4. Constantly increase vocabulary

When mastering another language, it is best to increase one’s vocabulary about the language as much as possible in order to better understand sentences in the said language. This also holds true for your mother tongue.

In order to maximize the chances of you gaining a high result in your PSLE mother tongue listening comprehension exam, you need to expand your vocabulary on your mother tongue as much as you can. This allows you to be able to better understand the words that will be thrown during the exam and prepare words that would fit the message of your sentences better.

5. Practice at home

There is no easy way to gain a high score in any exam, you need to put in a considerable amount of effort and hard work to gain the results you desire. This is why it would be advisable to continuously practice at home in preparation for the exams. Practice and perseverance are the two things you will need the most which will dictate the results you will gain from the exam.

Practicing allows you to become more familiar with the words in your mother tongue along with their definitions and uses. It also allows you to have experience conversing in real-time which will greatly improve your ability to comprehend and understand the words in your mother tongue. 

6. Write down new words you hear

It is a common occurrence for young individuals to hear words that are completely alien and unfamiliar to them. And if these words are from your mother tongue, then it will do you good to write the word down and ask someone knowledgeable about what they mean later on.

This is a great way to improve your vocabulary and listening abilities. And just like what was previously mentioned earlier, more words in your vocabulary almost always equates to better chances of gaining higher marks. Improving your listening skills will also be rewarding in the long run as it is the skill that is most used when comprehending words from different languages.

7. Try doing mock exams

Mock exams are a great way to get yourself accustomed to the pressure and stress you will feel when the actual exam takes place. So, try to make it as realistic as possible by allocating time limits, asking someone to watch over the process, and giving yourself an honest evaluation of your skills based on how you answered the questions. By doing so, you are training yourself to get more accustomed to the stressful environment you will face when the actual exams occur. This will allow you to remain calm and make more rational decisions when the actual test happens.

8. Don’t beat yourself up over failure

The final tip we can give is to avoid beating yourself up over small failures. There will be times when you will get things wrong, which is a common sight as you are only still mastering the language. During these times, try to not be too hard on yourself. Learn to take it slow and steady if fast and furious isn’t the thing for you. Everybody learns at their own pace, what is important is that you continuously stick to your daily commitment of learning and mastering your mother tongue.

Find a Home Tutor

A bonus tip we can give you with regards to scoring well for your PSLE mother tongue exams is to hire a professional to help aid you through your learning process. And we have just the place for you: FamilyTutor, Singapore’s leading home and online-based tutoring agency. There are courses for Chinese, Tamil, Hindi, Malay, and other mother tongue languages.

Want to know more about PSLE Tuition? Find out more at our PSLE Tuition blog section!



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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