10 Tips to Prepare Well for the O-Level Chinese Exam

1. Decide on the grade you wish to achieve

Set a realistic goal by recognizing your ability, yet not improperly belittling yourself. You want to aim higher but still set a comfortable target, such as a grade that is slightly above what you’ll usually achieve for Chinese. For example, if you currently score B3, aim for A2. Once you have a goal in mind, map out your implementation plan and work towards that target.

2. Plan your schedule

Remember the examination dates and make a study plan accordingly.

3. Don't take the mid-year paper too lightly

It is unwise to assume that, since there are two O-Level written tests in a year, you have a second chance to perform better at year-end if you didn’t score ideally during the mid-year. In fact, the Mid-Year Chinese exam provides a better opportunity for Sec 4 Express and Sec 5NA students to excel in as you can concentrate fully on preparing for it, unlike for the year-end one, which takes place amid all the other subject papers that you have to revise for.

4. Improve your vocabulary

Sort out the key words that you have learned from Sec 1 to Sec 4, as well as the words that appear frequently in your test papers which you don’t quite understand or often write wrongly. Reinforce your memory of these words by going through them daily.

5. Pay attention and take notes in class

The methods and skills taught by the teacher are crucial during the critical period of review. Don’t let learning doubts accumulate and try to clarify questions with teachers or classmates on a timely basis.

6. Practise on past year exam papers

Doing these exercises, combined with revising the methods taught in class, not only give you an idea of the questions that can come out in this year’s exam, they also help you identify the topics and areas you require more effort to improve in.

7. Find resources to improve your writing

Gain exposure by learning from excellently written compositions and keep a notebook of good vocabulary and sentences, sorting them out according to: practical writing, narration, argumentation and hot topics. Additionally, keep abreast with current affairs by watching the Mandarin news broadcasts or read the latest topics of “zaobao xiaoyuan早报校园” or “zaobao comma逗号”.

8. Pace your self-study to avoid burn-out

Ensure you get adequate sleep to minimise pre-examination stress. After more than two hours of studying, take a break and relax – listen to music, watch TV or have a snack. However, avoid activities that could drain your energy like playing mobile games or strenuous exercise. Decide on the best time of the day to do your revision, which can vary from person to person, whether it’s first thing in the morning when you feel most refreshed or in the quiet evening.

9. Adjust your mentality and build up confidence

When taking a test, understand the questions thoroughly, think though and don't blindly pursue to answer the questions. In the event that you make mistakes, don't get discouraged. Take it as a learning experience and build up your arsenal again by revising your notes and memorizing more articles and words. Stay positive and never think that it's too late to improve your results. As with every exam, the final lap in your revision effort can make a significant difference. At the end of the day, be at peace by knowing that you've tried your best.

10. Seek help of experienced teachers

As the Chinese saying goes: “An accomplished teacher produces a good student” (名师出高徒), a good Mandarin tutor can greatly complement a student’s own study efforts. While the level of Chinese language tuition in Singapore is varied, there are very few tutors who focus solely on teaching O-Level Chinese language.
Sophia Education offers highly personalized tuition catered to each and every individual student's learning needs and is guaranteed to have you improve at least 2 Grades in just 12 weeks.
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