Last Minute English Paper 2 Tips to Ace Your Exams

It’s the PSLE English paper tomorrow.

To help you with the paper, here are some quick tips for Paper 2.

It’s difficult to do last minute revisions for languages as you need constant exposure to the language.
I will focus on the few segments that we can be exam-smart on.

Synthesis & Transformation tips:

What they need you to do:
– Combine two sentences without changing the original meaning

Transform a sentence to active voice from passive (or vice versa)
Transform a sentence into reported speech

To get good scores, just follow the usual rules of writing well.

-it must be grammatically correct

-there’s no spelling or punctuation error

-there’s no word echo, i.e. no repetitive words or unnecessary words
-Most importantly, the meaning of the sentences remain the same

Below are a few things to note:

– prefer… to…

– Never use “although” with “but”

– I look forward to seeing you, not I look forward to see you
– Use in, at, on correctly.

– Use during, for, since correctly.

– Use the right tense after “if”


Open-ended Comprehension

1.Skim through the passage and the questions once very quickly. Now that you know what the questions are, read through the passage again; this time, try to spot the answers needed for the questions. Spend just about 5 minutes doing this.

2. Before you attempt the questions, remember to note if the question is asking how, what, why, who or when. Misreading the question can be very costly.

3. Remember not to lift whole sentences to answer your questions. Just paraphrase the answers.

4. Sometimes, the questions may be tougher, because they require you to make judgments.

For instance:
The passage says: The suspect looked down solemnly. Tears welled up in his eyes and his hands trembled when he was given the death sentence.
Question: How did the suspect feel when he was sentenced?
To be fair, such a question isn’t all that clear. Who knows how he’s feeling, we shouldn’t be putting words in the suspect’s mouth, right? However, this is not the time to make philosophical queries.
So, in such a case, just make the best judgment with clues that we have. Death sentence. Solemn. Tears. Trembled.
I think it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say the suspect was sad and scared.

5. Remember to manage your time well. The marks must be proportionate to the time spent. When you have extra time, please read through your answers again. Do they make sense? Do they answer the questions? Are they grammatically correct?

Comprehension Cloze

1. Remember these are what they are testing you: your grammar, comprehension, vocabulary skills.

2. If there are any blanks that you can’t fill, leave it and come back to it after you attempted the entire paper. This applies to all segments of the paper.

3. Scan through the entire passage (around 200 words) to understand what the story is about.
-When you know what the examiner is looking for, it’s easier to match the appropriate words and look out for clues.

(I got these paragraphs from Straits Times today Sept. 23)

Q:Tuition is not just for the (a)____ and struggling. Many
straight-A students are seeking help so they can (b)____ their standards or do even better.

Answer for (a): If you look at the sentence, it says tuition is not for the struggling and xxx. So, it must be similar to “struggling”. Think of the synonyms you can use- the correct answer is “weak”.

Answer for (b) The second part of the sentence says “or do better”. I assume it’s trying to say straight-A students want to be as good as they are now or better, right? So what’s another way of saying “as good as they are now”? The correct answer is “maintain” their standards.

Q: The number of marriages ____ to 27,936 from 24,363 in 2010 last year.
Answer: After reading the whole sentence, you know the number of marriages last year is higher than 2010, right? With this knowledge, I can guess the answer is “rise” or “increase”. And to make it grammatically correct, I would write “rose” or “increased.”

4. During your checking of the paper, always read through to make sure a) it’s grammatically correct b) makes sense.

5. Even if you don’t know an answer to one of the blanks, never leave it blank when you submit the papers. Just write something. Who knows? You may be lucky.

Final tips:

-Manage your time well. Divide your time in proportion to the marks allocated.
-Don’t dwell on questions you can’t answer. Leave it blank. Come back to it after you finish the paper.
-Don’t leave any question unanswered before you submit the paper. If you leave it blank, it’s a definite zero. If you attempt it, there’s a chance it may get some marks.
-Check, check again, check for the third time if you have time.
-Write legibly. You don’t get marks if your teacher can’t understand what you are writing.

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