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Mother and daugther practising chinese oral

In this post, I’m going to share some useful tips on how to improve Chinese oral to rid you of your Chinese oral struggles in primary school.

The Chinese oral exam in Singapore is usually made up of a few components. Depending on your primary level, you’ll read an oral passage, describe a picture/video or have a conversation with your teacher.

I’ll focus on the oral passage reading component here to help you maximise your oral score. We’ll talk about how to improve the oral video component in another post.

3 tips that instantly improve your Chinese oral skills

1. Be less self-conscious

Yes, throughout the years of coaching my kids in school, I realised that the number one thing that is holding them back is the fear of being judged.

They’ll worry about things like “what if I don’t know how to read some words?” or “will I get a mark deducted for every mistake I make?”.

Those are valid concerns. I worry about the same things too when I was a primary school kid. But the thing is, you need to know that the more you worry, the more mistakes you tend to make.

Truth be told, the examination rubrics of the Chinese oral exam are more flexible than you think! Not everything needs to be perfect, but teachers need to see the confidence.

Instead of spending time thinking about how you will be judged, just focus on reading the oral passage in a loud and clear voice. Yes, skip those unfamiliar words and continue reading.

Your oral examiner will know anyway, but you get extra brownie points for reading everything else fluently and expressively. It’s still possible to get a good grade.

So start training your confidence and be a little less self-conscious today. This is the most effective way to improve your Chinese oral reading.

2. Remember to breathe

Yes, I know that this tip sounds weird.

But if you are extremely nervous during your Chinese oral exam, your examiners can tell.

High-pitched voices, trembling voice, whispers, these are some examples I’ve heard from students during an actual Chinese oral exam in school. And all it takes to cure that is really to take deep breathes and breath like how you would.

3. Read the oral passage with emotions

Reading the oral passage as accurately as possible is only half the battle won. The other half lies in how expressive you can be when you are reading.

This can make a difference between an excellent chinese oral versus an ok chinese oral score,

For example, you can raise your tone slightly at the end of the sentence when you are reading a question or sound a bit more surprise/shock when you are reading a sentence that ends with an exclamation mark.

To help you improve on this, try putting on the right facial expression when you are practising your Chinese oral at home.

Try smiling as you read something happy in the passage and try frowning when you read something angry. Sounds like acting? But it does work!


Now that you’ve learnt these tips to improve your Chinese oral, try them out during your next Chinese oral exam and let me know how it went!

If you want to know how to prepare for your Chinese oral exams with daily habits, these 3 habits can help you out.

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