3 Tips to tackle the English Paper 2 component for P3 students

The jump from P4 to P5 is often discussed. With new, more challenging components added in the English paper, students grapple with the changes in the first 6 months of their school life.

So, how about from P2 to P3? Is there a big difference in the English curriculum?

While Paper 2 components remain fairly the same, this is the year that students are faced with examinations or WA. Paper 2 components become more challenging and students need to use more critical thinking skills. This is also the year when students should begin to learn how to identify grammatical rules when working on grammar components. This skill will come in very handy when they begin their upper primary years.

So how can P3 students prepare for their Paper 2 components?

1. Grammatical Rules

Learning how to identify grammatical rules is important. Personally, I don’t feel that grammar is practised enough in primary school. Often, students do not know how to identify a subject in a sentence or know what the past participles of irregular verbs are. When this isn’t corrected in the lower primary years, it can really cause issues in the upper primary years.

Practice grammar books such as Conquer Grammar and Grammar Handbooks are great tools for students to practice their grammatical skills.

2. Punctuation

While punctuation is part of point 1, I find so many punctuation mistakes in some of my students writing, that I have to make it a point on its own! Since they removed the section on Punctuation from the PSLE English paper, there has been a steady decline in students’ knowledge of using punctuation correctly.

As our students write on a weekly basis, punctuation is one area where they lose marks in. Lower primary students do not know where to place their full-stops and begin new sentences. They are also unaware of which words need to be in capital letters. Dialogue is another area where punctuation mistakes are rife. Commas and full-stops are wrongly placed in sentences that contain dialogue or personal thought.

When this isn’t nipped in the bud earlier on, habits are formed and it is harder to break these habits in the upper primary years.

There are resources out there for students to study punctuation rules such as The Oxford School Primary Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar Dictionary or the DK’s Visual Guide to Grammar & Punctuation. So, brush up on punctuation in the lower primary years and eliminate run-on sentences and ‘waste-of-marks’ mistakes in compositions in the upper primary years!

3. Vocabulary

Over the years, the vocabulary that is being tested in the PSLE English paper has become more challenging. While reading widely is the best way for any student to gain new vocabulary, preparing vocabulary lists from resources such as assessment books and past year papers is another good way to build on a student’s vocabulary bank.

In this digital age, online dictionaries and devices are available at the touch of a button or a screen. (While I remember having to lug around a heavy dictionary to find the meaning of words when I was a student!)

Try to have a weekly list of words for a student to learn. 4 to 5 words is sufficient for them to gradually build on their vocabulary. Ensure that he or she also make sentences with these words to apply what they have learnt them. Some words are part of a phrasal verb, thus knowing which preposition goes along with a word in a sentence is as important as memorising the meaning of the word.

Get started in lower primary and you will have a smashing vocabulary bank in upper primary!

So, these are our 3 tips for the P3 Paper 2 English component. We hope that this post has been useful.

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