Saturday, August 20, 2011

Queries for English

Remember we discussed this?

Mary is one of the students who have done honour to the college.
(Adjective clause modifies the plural noun "students." "Students" is the antecedent of "who."
In the above sentence Mary is just one of the students. So at least two students have done honor to the college.

Compare that to:
Mary is the only one of our students who has achieved national recognition.
In this case, "one," not "students," is the antecedent of "who."
Compare to the sentence above:
Of all our students, Mary is the only one who has achieved national recognition.

IT IS  AN ANNUAL event. Not "A". Why? If you check the transcript of "annual", it starts with "a". :)

I hope this clarifies...

Notes for English Preliminary Examinations 2011

- Scrutinize the graphic... explore all options available.
- Think through before writing down the answers.
- Some answers can be quite close. You really have to READ carefully.


- He saw Yvonne steal the money yesterday. (After a verb in past tense, the next verb should be in present tense.)

- Use of articles: Listen to the sounds. Words that sound like "YOU", silent "h" in "hour", "w" in "one" etc should not be used with "an". He went to A unique restaurant for lunch .

- Use of "If" (conditionals): For events that's unlikely to happen, use "If I WERE the king of the world, I would not have examinations!" For events that's like to happen, use "If I AM well enough, I will go to the party."

- Either Henry or his friends WANT to have ice-cream for dessert.
Neither of the classes WANTS to go to the zoo.
Neither Ben nor his sisters WANT to have ice-cream for dessert.

- Question tags: Larry does eat his lunch regularly, DOESN'T he?
Nancy admitted her mistakes, didn't she?

- Indefinite Pronouns: Everyone IS proud of THEIR achievements.
Each student has their strengths and weaknesses.
All students are to gather their belongings now.

- Each other (only 2 people) / One another (more than 2 people)
- Among - use for more than 2 people. Between - only 2 people

- Use of modals: present tense after modals. You must submit your assignment today.
Can you not rub it in?

- Anthony's cousins, together with Antony, enter for the drawing competition.  (dependent on "Cousins")/ Ethan, as well as his sister, loves reading. (dependent on "Ethan")

- The class decide that they will go for their recess at 10a.m.
- The class decides to have recess at 10a.m.

Had he known better, he would not have committed such mistakes.
Should you believe him, you would have been taken for a ride.
Not sooner had he found out the truth than he faced punishment.
However difficult it may be, I will hang on there.
Not only is Ken smart, he is ALSO hardworking.

- British verbs: travel --> travelling  tranquil --> tranquilling  compel --> compelling


- Exclamation marks --> used when words like "exclaimed", "roared", "shouted" etc.
- I wonder what I had done to offend you.
- Tom asked, "Why are you here?"
- "You should be here," he reasoned, "the students were waiting for you."
- "You should be here," he reasoned. "The students were waiting for you."

- study all commonly misspelled words
- look for clues in sentences. (highlight them!)


- read the ENTIRE passage first... look for contextual clues. (Highlight clues!)
- A word may have 2 or more meanings. Therefore contextual clues are important.

- one higher order question
- read carefully. Highlight tenses!

- read once first
- insert possible answers
- READ again after inserting the answers. Check that structurally it sounds right.
- Look for clues like whether the answer should be in PAST TENSE OR PRESENT TENSE / PLURAL OR SINGULAR


- Determine tense of passage
- Check whether it is plural or singular
- for spelling, check the phonetics
- study your spelling list of COMMONLY MISSPELLED WORDS

- Determine tense of the passage
- Read ONCE or TWICE beforehand
- Highlight clues
- Use pencil to fill in the blanks
- Read again to check if it sounds right
- Write answers in pen

- Do not miss out words / letters when transforming. E.g. examinations vs examination
- Must have full stops.
- Relative pronouns: Who, whose, which, whom, where etc... either 2 COMMAS or NO COMMAS
- Do not change the tense of the question unless it's meant for reported speech. Identify reported speech through inverted commas

- look for clues in the passage
- determine tense of passage. Information text should be in present tense.
-highlight tense of questions
- Mixture of tense: Do you think the author had made the right choice? I think the author DID not make the right choice...
- Remember your FULL STOPS
- Remember your closed inverted commas when answering questions like "Which phrase/ sentence/ word etc..."
-For yes/no questions: Answer as "No, I do not think so "... not "No."
-Do not make spelling errors for words that appear in the passage.


- Check that you have SIX ticks. Ask yourself, did the way you write answer all 6 questions.
- Write using conjunctions. There can be up to 2 points in a sentence. Do not answer comprehension style.
- Please conclude. Like "I look forward to your favourable reply.", "I cannot wait to see you.", "Your prompt attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.", "I hope this information will help you in your investigations."
- Remember your year and date. (Spell the month in full)
- Remember format required for emails, letters (formal and informal), notes/messages, diary/journal, report etc.

- Use "Mother", "Father" etc. Not "mum", "dad" etc.
- spell seven year-old. Spell eleven children
- Bloodcurdling is one word
- Note punctuation errors, especially in dialogues.
- Plan your story. Make sure the sequencing of events is logical.

Essay Endings

Ending an essay well is just as important as starting it well. Good endings evoke an emotion, bring home certain truths that jolt one into a realisation. Craft your endings carefully so that they end with impact. Try to end your conclusion back to the introduction. 

Previously we learnt on ending with a reflection, a lesson learnt, a proverb etc. Here's some endings based on themes of stories.


  • I looked at the evening sky. It had turned into an angry red. I vowed silently that I would not be at peace until I found who had destroyed my father.
      2. REFORMED (Turned over a new leaf)
  • Ah Huat stepped into the open. The brilliant sunlight radiated warmth, and he received it gladly. He thought of Mei and Rita. Would they be there? He hoped so. He felt no more jealousy for his sister. Jealousy thwarts your actions. He basked in the sun for a while more than moved to a taxi stand nearby. He was going home. He stopped in his tracks. Home. He had never used the word before to describe 17 Holland Road. He continued to walk again, smiling to himself. There was a first time for everything.     

       3. TRAGIC DEATH
  • Ultimately, we would all see the face of death and know the paralysing power of fear. What differs is the way we encounter death and for Jane, it is just a more tragic encounter than most people.  

      4. A NEAR MISS
  • It was a terrifyingly, harrowing experience. Had it not been for the old lady who happened to sauntered past the dark alley that night, the gang would have had his head in their display cabinet. "How close", he thought, still shaking from the incident, "How close." 
  • "It's no use," Mr Sim said. "I'm a weak man who can't even will myself not to take some stupid chemical substance called nicotine." He brooded over the matter for a long time. Then he shrugged his shoulders almost indifferently. "I could try again.. Maybe I could try."
  • The late afternoon sun shone on the vast stretch of tennis courts. Coca-cola cans, packets of potato chip and plastic bottles were strewn all over the spectators' stand. In that mess, hunched a small, isolated figure against the side of the court.   

  • At last I knew and for the first time, I understood. 
  • To meet, to know, to love and to part - that's the saddest tale of human heart. 
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 
  • He waved his hand saying, "See you!" but I knew he meant "Goodbye!"

  • She stared at John's back as he walked away. All this time she had imagined him to be her best and true friend, only to discover that he was making use of her. Then a horrible realisation cut through her thoughts. She had no friend. 

Essay Beginnings


  • Crash! My grandfather tumbled down the staircase.
  • He pointed the knife at me, grinning menacingly. 
  • The man, his face half-hidden in the shadows, turned slowed and stared at me intently. 
  • "Haven't you seen John, lately?" my grandmother exclaimed as she clambered down the stairs breathlessly. 
  • "He's dead!" cried little Andy, as he scampered into the room, almost knocking into my grandmother's hand-painted, blue-and-white Ming vase. 

To start with a graphic description of scenery or atmosphere, ensure that the mood created supports the theme.
  • The evening sky had just reddened, casting long, lonely shadows on the sandy beach.
  • The air was still - very still, despite the laborious whirring of the ceiling fans above. The slow, sunny afternoon yawned through the sleepy town. 
  • The dark gloomy clouds envelop the entire sky into a cloak of grey. and the wind howled like cries of a hungered wolf.
Bring on the main or interesting character and lead directly into the story. 
  •  Uncle Lee ambled into the room, a huge, generous and jovial man.  
  •  One would only associate Henry with words like "loyal", "trustworthy", "honest" or even "down-to-earth". Never would I expect that he is not what I had known him to me.
To begin a story with a recount, you need clever rearrangement of events.  As such, proper planning is needed. 

  • Sandy watched as the letter curled in the flames and slowly disintegrated into ashes. She had burnt his letter without even opening it. 
  • Grandfather watched as Henry was being escorted in by the medical attendants. It was not the first time Henry had turned himself in for treatment and it would not be his last either. 
Adapted from "Distinctions for English Essays"


Friday, August 19, 2011

Maths Solutions (For Questions that you need help in)

Click on the picture to see it more clearly...





SA1_2011 _Practice 2

Thursday, August 18, 2011

English Paper 5 and 6 Synthesis and Comprehension Answers


66) Due to the heavy rain, the motorists had to slow down as they could not see well.
67) You cannot take the cake out of the oven until it turns brown.
68) No sooner had Mr Tan washed his new sports car than it started to rain.
69) The spectators were enthralled by the acrobats' stunning act.
70) Neither the girls nor that group of boys is attending the concert. OR Neither the group of boys or the girls are attending the concert.

71) He heard a rumbling sound.
72) He did not want more rocks to fall.
73) He imagined the view from the top of the mountain and convinced himself that he would be able to reach the top.
74) He looked at the position of the sun in the sky.
75) The slope at the bottom half of the mountain was gradual/more gentle but the slope at the top was steeper.
76) He did not have any mountain climbing gear and he had to hold on continuously to the mountain.
77) The word is "unease".
78) The wind could fling him off the mountain and into the ridge below.
79) It refers to the times when the wind was not blowing.
80) Climbing the mountain required skill and effort and the old couple and the young boy would not have been able to do that.

Paper Six

66) However difficult the problem sum is, I will try to solve it. / However difficult it is, I will try to solve the problem sum.
67) Neither Siti nor Nadya was happy with her seating arrangement.
68) Despite his handicap, Dr William Tan took part in several marathons.
69) Everyone in the class likes her because of her humility/ humbleness.
70) Unless you agree with your father, he will be angry with you.

71) He kept touching them in his pocket, making sure that they were still there.
72) He was excited because he could finally make his escape but was nervous about getting caught by the guard.
73) It refers to Uncle Kpee's scar.
74) He was afraid that the last key might not work and he would not be able to escape.
75) He knew that the door would squeak and that might wake the guard up.
76) It was Yewa's scream. / The sound of fighting between the writer and Yewa woke him up.
77) She went back to her bed.
78) He had died.
79) The sentence is "As I lay on the mattress, memories of Uncle Kpee flooded my mind."
80) He was too focused/concentrated on running away and trying outrun his sister's cries to pay attention to the pain.

Picture Discussion

To score... Take note of the following points:
- do your D.I.E for everyone in the picture
- Use good vocabulary. Hence, study your Wow Wow Words for possible good phrases. Remember, phrases related to smell etc... may not be appropriate for picture discussion
- DO NOT say things like "good" or "bad" behaviour...
- Delve deeper to explore your personal opinions.
- Use words like "I strongly believe that", "In my opinion", "If I were the person", "If I were in the picture", "Perhaps", "He is most likely" etc.
- Do not provide one-sentence conclusion. Elaborate more. It can be summary of everything in the picture.
- Use phrases like "In the background", "In the foreground", "To the right of the picture" etc.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Dear P6 Graciousness,

All the best for your FINAL oral examinations for your primary school days!

Give your very best and may every single one of you excel...

Remember, chances are... you won't see the examiners ever again so don't be nervous... just do your best.

Share your views about your oral examinations here...How was your experience? How you think you fare?  :)

Last Hurdle for Oral Practice Five

Post what you will say about the picture and conversation under comments. 

Learn from what your friends can say and share your thoughts too. Learn good vocabulary from each other. 


Ramesh’s father was hospitalized a few days back due to high fever. He was kept under observation and the doctors ran regular blood tests on him. Feeling worried about his father, Ramesh seemed out of sorts in school.

“Are you all right?” asked Lisa, Ramesh’s good friend.

Ramesh buried his face in his hands and sobbed quietly. “My father is in hospital. I don’t know what’s wrong with him but his fever doesn’t go away.”

Lisa wrapped her arms around Ramesh’s shoulder and gave him a tight squeeze. “Don’t worry, he will be fine. Why not I go with you to visit your father after school?”

Ramesh dried his tears with the back of his hands and looked at Lisa with grateful eyes before saying, “Thank you, my friend.”

CONVERSATION: Have you been to a hospital?
                              : Have you ever been ill?