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How to Allocate Your Time in the PSLE English Exam to Score AL1

Updated: Mar 21

Allocate Your Time in the PSLE English Exam to Score AL1

The PSLE English exam can be a daunting experience for Primary school students, but with proper preparation and effective time management, achieving AL1 (Advanced Level 1) is within reach. One crucial aspect of success in this exam is allocating your time efficiently across its various components. Here's a detailed guide on how to do just that.

Understanding the Structure of the PSLE English Exam

PSLE English exam is divided into several components, each demanding a different set of skills and time allocation strategies.

English Paper 1

Total time for paper: 1 hour 10 minutes

Consists of 2 components: Situational Writing (SW) and Continuous Writing (CW)

Situational Writing (SW): This section requires quick thinking and concise writing. It is essential to manage your time effectively to address the prompt adequately.

Suggested time allocation:

15 minutes for SW

  • 5 minutes to read and identify points

  • 10 minutes to write out and check answers

Continuous Writing (CW): In this section, students have more freedom to express themselves creatively. However, time management is still crucial to ensure all ideas are adequately developed.

Suggested time allocation:

55 minutes for CW

  • 5-10 minutes to read the topic, analyse pictures, select a picture and plan the plot or graph

  • 40-45 minutes to write

  • 5 minutes to check for grammar, and spelling and make revisions

Understanding the Structure of the PSLE English Exam

English Paper 2

Total time for paper: 1 hour 50 minutes

Consists of 2 booklets: Booklet A and B

Approximate Time Allocation: There are 80 questions in total so it should be less than 1.5 minutes per question, including time to read, understand and answer. Therefore, about 38.5 mins for Booklet A and 71.5 min for Booklet B.

Suggested time allocation:

30 minutes for Booklet A (~1 min per question)


  • All questions are MCQs only

  • The first 20 questions are short questions and answers

The last 8 questions are visual text, which requires more time to understand and locate answers

80 mins for Booklet B


1. Except for Synthesis and Transformation questions, all parts are passages to read

  • Read the passage to understand the context and general tenses used before attempting to answer

  • Additional time is necessary to comprehend and digest passages 

2. More time can be allocated for Comprehension Cloze (about 20 mins) and Comprehension Open-Ended (about 30 mins)

  • May need to read the Comprehension OE passage a few times to get a better understanding before attempting questions, hence more time

  • More time is needed for tackling challenging questions such as question 80, True/False, and inference questions

3. Ideally, there should be a 5-minute window to review both booklets before the end of the examination 

PSLE English Tips for Effective Time Management

PSLE English Tips for Effective Time Management

Preparation for the PSLE English Exam

  • Familiarise Yourself with the Exam Format: Understanding the structure and requirements of each component allows you to plan your time more effectively during the exam.

  • Practise Time Allocation: During practice sessions, simulate exam conditions and allocate time according to the suggested guidelines. This helps in building a habit of managing time efficiently.

  • Prioritise Questions: In Booklet B of Paper 2, prioritise questions based on your strengths and weaknesses. Allocate more time to challenging questions while ensuring you have sufficient time to attempt all questions.

During the PSLE English Examination

  • Read Instructions Carefully: Spend a few seconds reading instructions thoroughly to avoid making unnecessary mistakes.

  • Allocate Time Proportionately: Divide the allocated time for each section based on the number of questions and their complexity. Prioritise questions that carry more marks but remember not to spend too much time on a single question.

  • Stay Calm and Focused: Maintain your composure throughout the exam. If you encounter a challenging question, skip it temporarily and return to it later if time permits.

  • Check Your Answers: Reserve a few minutes at the end of each section to review your answers, ensuring accuracy and completeness.

During the PSLE English Examination

Achieving AL1 in the PSLE English paper requires not only a strong command of the English language but also effective time management. By understanding the exam structure, practising time allocation strategies, and staying focused during the exam, students can maximise their performance and achieve their desired results. With diligent preparation and smart time management, success in the PSLE English exam is well within reach.

AGrader Learning Centre Primary English Programme offers a revolutionary 'Cyclical Approach' that covers key exam sections, including oral, cloze, grammar, comprehension, and word order. This comprehensive study system has been proven to help thousands of students not only improve their English skills but also develop a genuine love for the language and consistently score top marks in exams—regardless of their previous proficiency level.

AGrader Learning Centre Primary English Programme

At AGrader, we take pride in providing high-quality, in-house curated educational materials that are aligned with the MOE syllabus. Our high-technology classrooms are equipped with SMART boards to enhance the learning experience and ensure engagement. Exclusively available for AGrader students, our educational materials include weekly worksheets, comprehensive notes and cheat sheets, and concept maps—all designed to support your child's learning journey effectively.

But that's not all! AGrader Learning Centre also offers EverLoop Improvement System as the free after-class resources that enable students to revise and reinforce what they've learned, along with step-by-step video explanations of solutions to provide clarity and understanding.

Don't let your child struggle with English—enrol them in AGrader Learning Centre today and give them the tools they need to excel. 

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