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How to Prepare Your Child for the Primary 5 English Syllabus

Primary 5 English Syllabus

Why it Matters

Primary 5 English offers a preview of what your child can expect from the PSLE. At this level, students will need to learn new topics and concepts that would be pitched at a more difficult level.

At AGrader Learning Centre, we believe in building strong foundations and developing the right study habits early. This supports students in understanding new topics while managing the mental pressures that come with examinations.

In this blog post, learn common mistakes and tips to avoid them. This way, you and your child can better prepare for the transition from Primary 4 to Primary 5 and develop strong foundations to get ready for the PSLE.

What to Expect

English continuous writing

Paper 1: Continuous Writing (Composition) and Situational Writing

Situational writing is often introduced in Primary 5. In addition to this new format, students would need to draft more in-depth compositions. Here, most students struggle to provide sufficient descriptions and tend to go off-topic.


Planning is key. It may feel more productive to start writing immediately, but don’t skip this step. Taking time to map out where the story is will help your child to stay on topic and offers a way to get unstuck if they face this hurdle during the exam.

Memorise and practise using good phrases. At AGrader Learning Centre, students get a list of expressions to describe characters, settings and feelings that can be used across different themes and stories. For example, students may use ‘head pounding with panic’ or ‘eyes lit up’ as descriptions in multiple situations.

For more frameworks and techniques, explore AGrader’s English composition writing system here.

Primary 5 English Syllabus

Paper 2: Language Use and Comprehension

The syllabus gets more challenging at Primary 5 and the shift in allocated marks for Paper 2 is a clear indication of the increased difficulty. At Primary 4, if it’s even tested, Comprehension Cloze usually makes up 4 to 6 marks. In Primary 5, it makes up 15 marks of the paper.

The added challenge demands that students show a range of skills such as comprehension, vocabulary, grammar and spelling – which can be challenging for most students.


Read frequently and widely. Exposure to various texts and styles of writing will help them to improve their vocabulary and comprehension. Encourage your child to set aside some time each day to read. Even 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

In addition, make sure they’re exploring different sources such as narrative stories and news articles. (Ready to build a habit of reading? Find how here.)

Reinforce grammar concepts through practice. There are a finite number of grammar concepts. This predictability means: if your child can master these grammar concepts, they can avoid losing marks unnecessarily.

Primary 5 English listening comprehension

Paper 3: Listening Comprehension

Listening Comprehension tends to be overlooked as it makes up a small part of the examination. But a poor score on Paper 3 can have a big impact on your child’s overall grade – so don’t skip preparations!

Most students tend to be tricked by multiple-choice answers that appear similar to have similar meanings and lose precious marks.


Before the audio starts in the examination, take the time to really read the questions in advance. Highlight key things to look out for. This way, your child can pick up the answers more easily when they listen.

Listen to podcasts together. This trains your child to listen actively for a longer period of time and reduces the risk of zoning out during the exam. It’s also a good way to build comprehension skills.

Primary 5 English Oral Communication

Paper 4: Oral Communication

Oral communication requires students to offer an opinion and the reasons behind their views. Most students struggle with the latter.


Practise this in daily life. In conversations with your child, encourage them to go beyond yes/no or good/bad. Prompt them to explain the ‘why’ behind their views – even if it’s regarding everyday events or activities. This helps them get comfortable and more fluent in sharing their opinions.

The Support System

Preparations for any examination, much less the PSLE, can be challenging. Practising the above tips with your child can show them that they’re not alone on their learning journey. It also offers opportunities for bonding and providing your child with emotional support to get through this stressful stretch.

At AGrader Learning Centre, we’re committed to helping you support your child in building strong foundations with systems to achieve top marks. For Primary English, we use the ‘Cyclical Approach’ – an all-in-one English study system that covers key exam sections (oral, cloze, grammar, comprehension, word order). Find out how we can help your child here.



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