‘Why did my child get 0 marks for a seemingly correct answer?’ ‘What determines whether my child gets 0, 1 or 2 marks for an open ended comprehension question?’ In this post, we uncover what can your child do to score full marks for inference questions.

Types of PSLE Comprehension Open-Ended Questions – Inference

Comprehension, especially the open-ended type in paper 2 is one component that many students struggle with. Although students have no control over the type/topic of the passage and the questions asked, we can equip them with strategies to help them answer the comprehension questions correctly.

Reading widely, consistently and exposing your child to a wide variety of text types and general knowledge helps expand his/her prior knowledge. On the other hand, answering comprehension questions with rigor requires a different set of skills.

How do we craft a correct answer for an inference question from PSLE comprehension Open Ended paper?

Take this passage for example:

Inference question asked:

Here’s an answer that will score 0 marks:

Teacher’s Remarks:

  • Beginning an answer with ‘It was because’ or ‘because’ constitutes a sentence structure error and will lead to an answer being marked wrong with 0 mark awarded.
  • The question is asking for the reason that made Sushila felt a certain way, not how she felt. Therefore, it is incorrect to craft the answer as ‘Sushila felt…’.


Similarly, another answer that will score 0 marks could look like this:

Teacher’s Remarks:

  • ‘the monitor lizard basking in the sun’ was lifted indiscriminately from the passage and no attempts were made to structure the phrase grammatically to answer the question.
  • This is a good example of an inferential question that requires a student to interpret an answer. Student B’s answer does not reflect an accurate inference of the reason behind Sushila’s emotion.


In another situation, 1 mark will be deducted if students do not answer the question directly:

Teacher’s Remarks:

  • To score the full 2 marks, the question stem must not be copied in the answer. A direct answer is exactly what the marker is looking out for.

In order to score full marks, student’s answer must answer the question directly without lifting from the passage (on top of having correct sentence structure and grammar):

At GATE, our students take on Comprehension Open Ended questions confidently because they are consistently mastering techniques during their weekly lessons to aid them in scoring the highest marks possible. Our GATE curriculum ensures that concepts and examination strategies are reviewed periodically to allow maximum retention and application of skills learnt.

Based on the comprehension questions from past PSLE papers, we have identified 7 other types of questions.

  1. Inference
  2. True / False (Table Format)
  3. Sequencing
  4. Cause and Effect
  5. Before / After
  6. Vocabulary in Context
  7. Applied Vocabulary
  8. Factual (Direct Transfer)


Our next blog post will be on true/false questions in table format and sequencing questions!

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