Debunking the Myth – You CAN Study for English Exams
Some parents think that English is not a subject that their child can study for. Mastering the English language requires a lot of time and effort and will sometimes not yield a linear pattern of progress unlike some other subjects where the answers are more straightforward, such as Mathematics. However, it is flawed thinking that English is not something you can study for, and this blog post hopes to debunk the myth that sitting for the English exam is like “going in and hoping for the best”.
Here are some tips to help students and parents prepare for the English exam in secondary school!
To excel in English, students must start from the basics, like having good grammar. Grammar, like Mathematics, consists of a set of rules which students must follow. In Paper 1 and Paper 2, ensuring that you have good grammar will help you pass your English exams with flying colours.
If you are unsure of the grammar rules, you can read many good examples of how to use these grammar rules online or ask your brilliant W@W teachers! An example of a grammatical error is in the sentence, “Either you nor me will do badly in this English examination”. The correct sentence is: “Neither you nor me will do badly in this English examination”.
A good tip to improve your grammar is to revise your past worksheets and note down the different grammatical errors. Students should rewrite the corrected sentence so that they remember how to write the correct sentence in the exam. Knowing how to correct your grammatical errors as you write is a valuable skill which will help you score well in your English examination.
Before starting an exercise, it is important to the read the instructions carefully. At times, students will miss important information about the context of an exercise because they skip reading the instructions. For example, the instructions before a comprehension passage sometimes contain the context behind the passage, and the student will be left feeling confused about what the passage means (especially if the language in the passage is not clear about what it is describing). Reading the instructions will help students overcome this challenge and have a better understanding of what they need to do to score well in their exams.
Building up a good vocabulary seems like a difficult task, as the true way to increase your vocabulary is to read widely such that difficult words become more natural to use over time. However, we understand that as students approach an exam, reading widely may not be the best technique as such habits are better built up in the long term. At W@W, there are spelling quizzes and phrases to learn and memorise which are given to students often as an advantage over their peers.
Here is an example of a sentence that would be penalised for having a limited range of vocabulary:
“Dennis looked at his examination score, then he screamed in joy, then he fell to his knees, then he cried tears of happiness, then he hugged all his friends.”
Instead, consider the following sentence which has a wider range of vocabulary:
“Dennis looked at his examination score and screamed in joy, following which he fell to his knees and sobbed tears of happiness before proceeding to hug all his friends.”
Regardless of whether the question involves composition writing or comprehension cloze, students will need to change their vocabulary to suit their writing. The vocabulary needs to be precise, with words that fit the context and situation for the student to score even higher marks in their exam.
Sentence structure is an important part of every student’s essay, as having good sentence structure means half the battle won. Good sentence structure will help students avoid grammatical errors. Furthermore, students will be able to deliver their ideas clearly with good sentence structure. To achieve this, students need to practice Synthesis and Transformation.
These exercises will help the student gain exposure to different types of sentences as well as their rules. For example, some types of sentences will start with “Either” and follow with “or”, while sentences which start with “Neither” will follow with “nor”.
Sentence structure is especially important in Paper 2 as knowing how to apply the correct sentence structure will prevent the student from “lifting” answers, which the student cannot do too many times if they do not want to lose marks unnecessarily. It is important to have good sentence structure in Paper 1 as well as students who use “varied sentence structure for particular effects” will attain higher marks, which will enable them to be in the higher bands.
Students need to have good spelling for them to be able to score higher marks in their English examination. To do this, students should not rely on how the word sounds in their head to determine how it is spelt, as some words like “refrigerator” (which has a different spelling from the word “fridge”) and “pronunciation” (which is spelt differently from the word “pronounce”) will prove to be a stumbling block which keeps them from scoring high marks.
Firstly, students facing difficulties with spelling things correctly should look through their previous English assignments and compile a list of commonly misspelled words. They should then rewrite the correct words again so they can remember them, and then practice using them in a sentence. To help students do this, Google and other online resources have spelling exercises which students can do to refresh their memory and improve their spelling.
W@W produces a spelling list which could be a useful resource for students trying to improve their spelling. Students should study this list and try to use these words in sentences so that they can kill two birds with one stone – improve their vocabulary and get better at spelling simultaneously.
At WR!TERS@WORK, we are committed to providing the smoothest learning experience for your child sitting for their English exams at both primary and secondary school levels. With our carefully curated methods of teaching English for PSLE, O Levels, and A Levels, your child will be able to identify the answers to the questions and present them in a concise manner in no time.
English is a compulsory subject that has direct impact on your chances of advancing to upper secondary. Overall, English tuition and writing courses can help primary school students enjoy a smoother transition between education levels by reinforcing their language skills and providing a strong foundation for academic success.
Engaging in English tuition and writing courses can greatly assist students in smoothly transitioning between education levels. These programs reinforce their language skills and establish a solid foundation for academic achievement. For more exam tips, parents and students can explore our website and watch our YouTube videos.
If you are interested in our primary English tuition and secondary English tuition in Singapore, WR!TERS@WORK has expanded to 8 convenient locations. To find the nearest location that suits your needs, please explore our options. If you have any inquiries regarding our range of programs or class schedules, please feel free to contact WR!TERS@WORK.
1. What are some important skills in English?
The English language requires the understanding of simple rules such as grammatical rules and sentence structure. Moreover, it requires more complex skills such as inference and synthesis which come later on as the student progresses to more difficult exercises.
2. Which English language skills is most difficult?
Synthesis is one of the most difficult skills in the English language as it involves using present ideas to generate new opinions and viewpoints.
3. What is the most difficult part of English class?
The most difficult part of English class is to understand how to craft your own ideas from an existing body of work, and how all the individual parts of English – grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, clauses, etc. – fit together in an essay as a whole.
4. How do you structure an English essay?
Firstly, you need a good hook as an introductory paragraph. Next, the body of content follows, which will answer the essay question provided. Lastly, a strong conclusion which “comes down on one side” is needed.
5. What is a good paragraph starter?
It depends on the essay. For narrative writing, the student can start in media res. For argumentative essays or discursive essays, a thesis statement is needed which outlines the central tenet of your argument.
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