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  • Writer's pictureLim Wei Bin

How to Score for Chinese Oral Passage Reading

Oral Strategies (Chinese Language) for Secondary Express students

Please take note that the timing and marks allocation is based on Secondary Express syllabus. Other than that, techniques are mainly the same.

You have 10 minutes to complete passage reading 朗读篇章 and video preparation 看录像说话. The last part on conversation 会话, you won’t be able to prepare on the spot within this 10 mins.

Oral takes up 50 marks of the whole paper Chinese Papers of 200.

How do you actually spend the 10 minutes preparing?

Keep in mind that we should never allocate the timing of the preparation based on the marks alone.

We should strive to maximize the time used in order to help us operate in the most effective manner. So how much and how long is effective? Why and how to do it?

My personal suggestion on allocating the 10 minutes preparation is:

Passage Reading: 3.5 to 4 minutes

Video Preparation: 6 to 6.5 minutes

This post, I will mainly talk about the techniques in handing Passage Reading.

Passage Reading 朗读篇章:

It is made up of 5 marks on the correct pronunciations of words, the other 5 on the momentum and rhythm.

You may have to read a few times, but each time take note and prepare for different parts or segments.

1. Pauses

- This is probably the most important, because if the sentence is too long, you need to breathe in between, how and where do you break down in order to smoother the reading, and brought the comfort to the listener.

- Pauses will help to ensure that your momentum is there, slowing down can help you foresee the words that are coming up, so that you can actually prepare ahead.

For eg. 居民对待组屋区垃圾的态度,反映了他们的修养。(/ = pauses)

居民对待组屋区垃圾/的态度,反映了/他们的修养。(if you are more comfortable to read more words at the same time)

居民/对待/组屋区垃圾/的态度,反映了/他们/的修养。(if you are less comfortable, and you actually read more accurately)

2. Tonality

- Take note is there any conversation in the passage. Tonality could have helped you in acting out as a character in the passage. A grandfather will sound different from a grandson. These are the parts which will help you score point.

- Another to take note is the tone of reading. Avoid monotone. Try to inject rhythm in it, that would give some live to the passage.

3. Emphasize

- When you met words that are very important, do emphasize with a stronger tone, eg. 最,主要,不。That could help the listener in their understanding of the main points in the passage, which would give the passage an additional level of layering. (层次感) In laymen term, emphasize on the most important word. That would allow one to speak effectively.

4. Emotions

- When you read words that involve or spark emotions like happy 开心 or laugh笑, do feel happy and laugh a bit, not only it shows your understanding of the vocab, it also channels the happiness across to the examiner.

- Another scenario would be in a conversation, there may be some stern sentences in which you can sound off with a heavy tone or low voice to add emotions which could project sadness or disappointment in it. Eg. 父亲语重心长地说:“孩子,你已经长大了,我们再也管不了你了。”

5. Tackling of unseen Vocabulary

- This is a common scenario, most students would run into this issue.

- There are a few ways to tackle:

a. jump or skip, it probably works if its 1 or 2 vocab, but think about this, if it’s a noun especially scientific noun. Eg. Carbon Dioxide 二氧化碳, how are you going to skip? It would be very obvious.

b. find a similar word or sound to replace. This seemed to work better, so long it does not affect your reading momentum.

Do take note that if you can’t read the word, and it does not affect your reading momentum, you only minus marks on 1 category, but if you pause while trying to figure out how to read, you showed the examiner that you can’t read, you will be minus off marks from both categories, the reading of words and momentum.


Lin Lao Shi has a wealth of teaching experience and is a MOE-trained teacher. Trained in Differentiated Instruction, he has helped many students with different learning needs with their Chinese language. If you have any enquiry, call or message him at +65 9727 9365.

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