Chinese Oral O Level

Chinese Oral O Level Mark Weightage

The weightage for Chinese Oral for O Level (classified under Paper 3) is quite high, at 25%. The duration of the Chinese Oral exam is only 15-25 minutes in total, hence this short period of time determines quite a lot of marks!

Chinese Oral O Level Topics

There is a wide variety of topics that can be tested for the Chinese O Level Oral in the “Daily Conversation” section. The old format used to be based on a picture or photograph, but nowadays students view a video clip and answer or discuss questions based on the video clip.

For an extensive discussion of Topics for Chinese Oral (口试话题), check out this page on Chinesetuition88.com. Popular topics are those that are important to Singapore, such as saving water, fake news, inclusive society, and 个人代步工具 PMD (personal mobility device).

Chinese Oral O Level Tips

Firstly, one common problem for some students is talking too little. Clearly, the content marks is proportional to the amount of relevant content the student says. Hence, ideally, the student should keep talking until the time is up or the teacher says stop. If only a few words are spoken, the content marks cannot be high. This is the same concept as in Chinese composition, basically if the student only writes one page, his/her composition marks will be low.

Secondly, another problem is peppering of the speech with English words like “then”, “but”, or acronyms like MOE. Even names like “Joseph Schooling” should ideally be translated into Chinese (约瑟林). A few of these English words are not fatal, but too many English words would indicate a lack of mastery of Chinese vocabulary. Hence, students are advised to memorize a key list of Chinese terms that have high chance of appearing in Chinese O level exams.

List of Ministries in Singapore (Chinese)

  • 新加坡国防部(Ministry of Defence (MINDEF))
  • 新加坡环境及水源部(Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR))
  • 新加坡教育部(Ministry of Education (MOE))
  • 新加坡律政部(Ministry of Law (MINLAW))
  • 新加坡贸易和工业部(Ministry of Trade and Industry ( MTI))
  • 新加坡人力部(Ministry of Manpower (MOM))
  • 新加坡社会及家庭发展部(Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSFD))
  • 新加坡通讯及新闻部(Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI))
  • 新加坡卫生部(Ministry of Health (MOH))
  • 新加坡总理公署(Prime Minister’s Office)
  • 建屋发展局(Housing and Development Board、简称:HDB)
  • 国家传染病中心(National Centre for Infectious Diseases,简称NCID)
  • 新加坡文化、社区及青年部(Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY))

Lastly, one tip would be to memorize a list of “powerful Chinese idioms and proverbs”, for instance sayings of Confucius or Tang poetry. If any one of them are used appropriately, it is an instant boost to your vocabulary score and place you in the top 5% of the student cohort. Imagine if a student uses the phrase below correctly, the examiner will be impressed beyond words:

天将降大任于斯人也,必先苦其心志,劳其筋骨,饿其体肤,空乏其身,行拂乱其所为,所以动心忍性,增益其所不能.  In English, Mencius is saying that, “whenever heaven invests a person with great responsibilities, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his muscles and bones with toil. It exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty. In this way his patience and endurance are developed and his weakness is overcome.”

A list of 500 proverbs (including many by Confucius) can be found in the book below, in Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin and English translation. The author, Qin Xue Herzberg, is a native speaker of Chinese and a graduate of Beijing Normal University in Chinese Language and Literature.


Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings: With Observations on Culture and Language

O level Chinese Oral Marking Scheme, Grading and Format

The official information on the O Level Chinese Oral Marking Scheme and Format is found on the SEAB website:

试卷三:口试 10 -15 分钟 50 分/25%

这份试卷包括朗读短文和会话。在考试前,考生有 10 分钟的时间默 读短文和观看录像短片。考生在限定的时间内,可以多次默读短文和 观看录像短片。

第一部分 (Reading):朗读短文 考生必须朗读一个短文。

第二部分 (Conversation):会话 考生针对所提供的录像短片,以及主考员的提问,跟主考员进行一段 对话。

Basically, the Reading portion is 10 marks (5%), while the Conversation portion is 40 marks (20%).

Within the Conversation portion, the official marking scheme does not mention how the marks is broken down, but traditionally it is common that 20 marks (10%) is for Content while another 20 marks (10%) is for Vocabulary/Proper usage of Chinese Language. Alternatively, the 20% could be allocated evenly among the 3 or 4 questions asked (but note the Vocabulary is still important as it contributes to Impression Marks 印象分 that is subconsciously applied by the examiner).

How to Improve Chinese Oral O Level

As mentioned above, the key aspects to improve Chinese Oral (O Level) are in the aspects of Content and Vocabulary.

For Content, students are advised to watch more Chinese television, especially news broadcasts on current affairs. Also, students can read more Chinese newspapers to improve their general knowledge. For example, Dengue Fever is a common O Level Chinese Oral topic, at minimum students should know that Dengue is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes (some students thought that it is transmitted by houseflies).

For Vocabulary, students should aim and target for speaking in Chinese 100% without usage of English words. To achieve that, a list of common Chinese terminologies should be memorized, especially words that are unique to Singapore (see the list of Singapore ministries listed above). To achieve the highest distinction, students should in addition memorize a list of “powerful” Chinese idioms and proverbs to further improve their vocabulary score.

This book below has over 500 powerful Chinese proverbs in Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin, as well as English translation, including proverbs by Confucius. Proper usage of such proverbs have a high chance of impressing the examiner in Chinese Oral and even Chinese composition.


Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings: With Observations on Culture and Language


Do read more on O Level Chinese Oral Tips at:

Hardest Questions in Additional Mathematics (A Math)

Additional Mathematics questions can range from standard all the way to super challenging among the secondary schools in Singapore.

Certain schools (such as IP schools), and also some schools such as Anderson, Chung Cheng High School, are well known for setting hard A Math papers.

Note that even though top schools set hard A Math papers, it is not often the case that top schools teach or prepare well their students for the tests! Often, the teachers in school teach at a basic level (due to time constraints or other factors), but still test at an advanced level. Hence, many students in top IP schools are not well prepared for their school’s tests (unless they have excellent self study skills or have a parent or tutor to guide them). It is not uncommon for a student in a top IP school to be failing his/her math tests due to the above phenomena (difficult tests which do not match what is taught in school).

Some of the more difficult types of questions in the A Math syllabus are listed below.

Algebra

  1. Conditions for ax^2 + bx + c to be always positive (or always negative).
    This type of question has potential to be very tricky. Somehow, many students will assume wrongly that b^2-4ac is always positive as well (where it should be the opposite).
  2. Partial Fractions with Improper Fractions.
    Only top schools tend to test improper partial fractions. Many students will miss out long division or make mistakes along the way.
  3. Binomial Theorem.
    Many students have serious problems with this topic. Also, not many seem to know that {n\choose 2}=\frac{n(n-1)}{2}.

Logarithm

Trigonometry

  • Sketching of Tangent graphs.
    90% of all sketching questions are on Sine or Cosine. Only top schools will set tangent sketching questions, and many students will be caught unaware.
  • Half-angle formula sin(x/2) or Quadruple angle formula sin(4x)
    Top schools like to test half-angle formula, many students who have not seen such questions will be stuck.

Integration

  • Finding area to the left of the curve, i.e. \int x\,dy.
    Most schools kind of brush off this type of questions during teaching. But it is a hot topic for testing among top schools. Hence, students will have a hard time solving it if they lack practice for this type of questions.

Physics Exam Papers

Free Exam Papers (Physics)

Do check out our main page on Free Exam Papers as well!

‘O’ Level / Prelim Physics Exam Papers

  1. Maths Physics Hub
    Quite a large collection of recent (2017) Physics Exam Papers, ranging from top schools (ACS, Nan Chiau, etc.) as well as neighborhood schools (Fuhua, Zhonghua, Xinmin, etc.).
  2. Test Papers Free
    A large collection of Pure Physics as well as Combined Science (Physics) exam papers. No login is required, however the interface is a bit messy. But you should be able to find quite a few Physics Test Papers.
  3. https://testpapers.com.sg/
    A treasure trove of school papers (including Physics Pure and Combined, Express and Normal Academic (NA)). Needs login to download.

‘A’ Level / Prelim Physics Exam Papers

  1. http://tinyurl.com/holygrailrepo2
    This weirdly titled Google Drive (“Electric Boogaloo”) contains a mega-database of JC Prelim papers for Physics. Exam papers ranges from H1 to H3, and from the years 2008 to 2019.

Note: The Free Physics Test Papers listed above are hosted on external sites independently. Sometimes, the site may be down or the link may be broken.

 

Poll Results: How many marks to get ‘A’ for H2 Math

Almost 100 people have voted on the poll on “How many marks to get ‘A’ for H2 Math“.

The results show that the majority (57.6%) of voters think it takes at least 75 marks to get ‘A’ for H2 Math. Notably, a significant percentage (27.17%) think that it takes 80 marks and above to get ‘A’ for H2 Math.

Students who have taken the H2 Math exam can actually estimate the cut-off point for ‘A’ grade quite well. Basically, the worked solutions are typically released by seniors/tutors, and students can estimate their own marks rather easily. Then, they can compare with their actual grade received.

Nevertheless, the above is just a poll, it may not be 100% accurate and it also depends on the difficulty of that year’s exam. An easier exam would naturally lead to a higher mark required for ‘A’ grade for H2 Maths.

Is there bell curve for ‘A’ levels?

This is a tricky question. The technically correct answer is that there is no bell curve, but there is a similar thing called “grade boundaries”. It is like certain schools saying that they have no Midyear Exam, but there is a “Block Test”. Read more about whether there is bell curve for ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels.

Key Topics for IP Additional Mathematics

The following are some of the most important topics for Integrated Programme (IP) Additional Mathematics. Also applicable for the usual ‘O’ level Additional Mathematics.

Notice that Secondary 3 topics are very important as well, for the final Promo or ‘O’ levels. This can be a major problem for students who only start to study seriously in Secondary 4 — it can be a tough job to catch up with the important Secondary 3 topics.

Secondary 3 topics

  • Binomial Theorem
  • Indices and Logarithms
  • Coordinate Geometry of Circles
  • Linear Law

Secondary 4 topics

  • Trigonometry: R formula and Graphs
  • Differentiation and its Applications
  • Integration and its applications (including area under the curve)

O Level Bell Curve

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/singapore/comments/73cmgi/o_level_bellcurve/

It is well known that the “bell curve” is applied to the O Levels result. The most notorious example is E Maths, where 90+ or high 80s is required for the top grade of A1. The traditional mark of 75 is only enough for B3/B4 in the actual O levels.

Update: According to official sources, “grade boundaries” instead of bell curve is being applied to O Levels / A Levels. Technically, there is a subtle difference between the two since the bell curve refers to the normal distribution in statistics. Hence, technically, “bell curve” is not applied to O levels. However, for laymen, “grade boundaries” and “bell curve” are essentially the same thing, meaning that the percentage of A1s or As is being externally controlled by the examiners in the form of “grade boundaries”. It is definitely not the case that 75 marks is sufficient for A1 in ‘O’ Levels, or 70 marks is sufficient for A in ‘A’ Levels. It is being moderated and controlled via the “grade boundaries” determined by Cambridge which depends on the difficulty of the paper and possibly other factors like the cohort’s overall performance.

The quintessential discussion on bell curve in O Levels is this Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/SGExams/comments/c1jqzr/o_levels_no_bell_curve/.

According to multiple users on Reddit, the bell curve estimate for Maths in 2016 is:

Emath: 95

Estimated a 92. Was pretty confident that I’ll get an A1. My math teacher even said that it’ll be ~88 due to the difficulty of the paper. Ended up with an A2 zzz.

Amath: 90

Paper 1 was tricky but paper 2 was manageable. Same thing as above. Estimated a 87, but got an A2.

“2015 O levels, I got double A1s for both maths. My E-Math estimate is on 96% and A-Math on 90%. The curve on E-Math is far steeper than A-Math, but if you wanna get the double A1s, grind and aim for perfection.”

For the A2/B3 grade, it is less demanding, but still significantly above 70:

Bellcurve is always unfavourable to E Maths student but kinda favourable to A Maths student.

I think I only got 78-79% for E Maths and I got A2 in the end.

While for A Maths, I know I only got 60-64% and in the end B3.

Other sources like Kiasuparents gave the following estimate:

Even if people minus a lot of marks for working… The emath A1 won’t be less than 85.. The paper is too easy. That’s why They moderate the bell curve up by so much.

And not only my teachers, but teachers in other schools as well have told their students that if they think a score of ~75 can get them an A1, they should b expecting a B3/B4 instead.


Do you have any experience with the bell curve? Share your experience in the comments below!

A1 marks for A Maths / E Maths

How many marks to get A1 for A Maths / E Maths for O Levels?

The official answer is not released by Cambridge / MOE, but it is definitely not 75 as the papers are subject to the bell curve (using normal distribution).

According to popular forum Hardwarezone:

Hello! Was wondering how much marks do I have to get in order to get A1… Many have been saying you need to get 90%. Is it really 90% for both Maths?

Cambridge has never revealed its score. Was wondering what you hve heard from your teachers or from other reliable sources. Thank you!

Appreciate it very much.

Ans by a forummer: 90 marks for emaths. 80+ for amaths

Now, getting 90 marks for E Maths is no mean feat. But it is possible with practice and the right coaching!

Getting 80+ for A Maths is no joke either. If you have taken A Maths before you know how difficult it is, and usually for any test in school more than half the class will fail.

We must approach the O Levels with the right positive mindset:

1) It is always possible to improve. No matter how weak the student is in Maths, it is always possible to improve. The key thing is to:

2) Start revision and practice early. The earlier you start revision and practicing Maths, the more chance of improvement you have!

3) Learn to love math and appreciate its beauty, or at least try your best not to hate math. Since Math is pretty much compulsory till JC, why not try to like it? Adopt a positive mindset and you will be able to study for longer hours for Maths, which will translate to a better score in the end.


If you are looking to brush up on your A Maths / E Maths skills and learn some tips on scoring during exams, join our weekly group tuition at Bishan!

https://mathtuition88.com/group-tuition/

Finding E Maths or A Maths Difficult?

Are you finding Elementary Maths (E Maths) or Additional Maths (A Maths) Difficult?

Do not be discouraged if you find E Maths or A Maths difficult. The main reason why you are finding it to be difficult is that it is new. You have not gotten enough exposure to the type of questions asked. It is like learning to ride a bicycle, at the start it is difficult and you may even fall down. But after you have mastered riding the bicycle, you will be able to ride as fast as you wish. You need to get over the initial difficulty of learning in order to master the art of riding the bicycle.

At our Group Tuition at Bishan, we constantly practice actual exam questions, be it on Trigonometry, Differentiation or Integration (A Maths), or Vectors, Matrices and Probability (E Maths). We learn different methods to check and do the questions. You will find out, at last, that once you master the art of solving O Level questions, all the O Level questions are just repackaging the same questions in different forms. Once you know how to do one question, you will know how to do all similar questions. Expanding your repertoire of questions you know will enable you to get that coveted “A”. Constant practice, as opposed to cramming one month before the O Levels, is absolutely necessary to avoid panic and to consolidate our Mathematical memory.

Some Math formulas like the quotient rule, \displaystyle\frac{d}{dx}(\frac{u}{v})=\frac{v\frac{du}{dx}-u\frac{dv}{dx}}{v^2}, you will automatically memorize it once you have done enough practice.

In the end, you may even find that E Maths or A Maths is easy!


Motivational Story to motivate you

(Source: http://www.indianchild.com/inspiring_stories.htm)

THE OBSTACLE IN OUR PATH
In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.

Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand.

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.


Chinese Version

石头的故事

从前有一个国王,他故意派人搬来一块大石头放在道路中间。然后这个国王躲在旁边静静地观察,想知道是否会有人过来把这块大石头搬走。有几个富有的商人经过这块石头,只是直接绕过它。之后又来了几个人,他们只是埋怨国王居然没有找人来清理道路,然后仍然是绕过这块巨石走掉了。又过了一会,一个农夫经过这里,他身上背着沉甸甸的蔬菜。走到巨石的前面,把身上背的蔬菜放下,然后试着去把这块巨大的石头移到道路的旁边。农夫竭尽全力去推那块巨石,终于成功得把石头推到道路的一侧。农夫背起蔬菜准备继续赶路,却发现石头原来所在的地方下面有一个袋子。农夫好奇得打开袋子,里面有许多金币还有一个纸条。纸条是国王留下的,原来金币是用来奖励移走石头的人。
这个小故事讲述了一个简单的道理:困境也有可能是机会。遇到困难的时候,有些人会像商人那样,直接选择放弃。有些人会像那几个埋怨者,只会抱怨却不想着付出行动来改变现状。很少人会像故事中的农夫那样选择迎难而上。然而,最终收获最多的往往就是这部分迎难而上的人。
平常生活中和工作中也是这样,遇到问题,首先要不抛弃不放弃,积极寻求解决方法。无休止的抱怨只会白白错失机会,抱怨多了,好运气也会绕道而行。在困境中寻找机会方法,在挫折中吸取经验教训,那么就会很容易走出困境了,说不定还会有意外的收获哦!

O level fail maths

O level fail maths

Students should try their best to pass O Level Maths, as it is absolutely essential to enter JC and Poly. Passing O Level Maths is not as difficult as it seems, sufficient practice usually can enable a student to pass.

Do check out the following forums on what next steps to do, in the unfortunate event that O level Maths is failed. Do not despair though, there are always alternative options, which are explored in the following forums:

1) Failed O’Level maths can’t go into poly?

2) O level results fail maths Poly how??

Remember it is never too late to start improving your studies now. Learning is a lifelong process; it is a journey, not a destination.