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A Singaporean Parent's Guide To Buying English Assessment Books

When it comes to buying assessment books, quantity doesn’t always equal quality. Meaning that buying a lot of books doesn’t mean that your child will do better in the subject.

In fact, a survey has shown that the majority of students only complete about half of the assessment books their parents bought for them. So, next time you go shopping for assessment books buy fewer of them but make sure they are of high quality and truly helpful.

So if you’re wondering which English assessment books satisfy these criteria and what kind of information they should contain, then keep reading.


How to spot a low-quality English assessment book.

When you are shopping for an English assessment book pick it up and quickly scan a couple of pages. If you notice any typos, grammatical mistakes, or words used incorrectly in a given context then this book probably shouldn’t end up in your shopping basket. If the publishers haven’t bothered to proofread their text for such errors it means that they most likely didn’t take much care when they were coming up with the exercises to include in the book.

Also, pay attention to the design of the pages.

Is the layout cluttered with a lot of unnecessary information or is it clean and easy to navigate?

Would this font be easy for a child to read?

Did they provide sufficient space to write the answers?

Are there any interesting visual elements such as illustrations and color-coding that would engage the learner?

Consider all of these factors because they speak to the quality of any assessment book including English one.


Choosing the right assessment book.

The type of English assessment book you buy depends on what exactly your child is struggling with. Some children struggle with reading comprehension, others need to practice clozes, some may need help enriching their vocabulary or fixing some grammatical mistakes they may be making.

Each of these problems requires a specific type of assessment book. If your child is quite good in all of these aspects then you should probably get an all-in-one book just to help them practice more.

How to determine what your child is struggling with?

To determine in which component your child would benefit from some extra practice simply observe them while they’re doing their English homework. Make notes about the things they struggle with and the types of exercises they make the most mistakes in.

If you are unsure whether you will be able to do so then I suggest you hire an english tutor. A knowledgeable and experienced English language tutor will be able to pinpoint the exact nature of the problem and tell you what kind of assessment book would be most beneficial for your child.

So now let’s have a look at some of the most popular English assessment books that are annually chosen by thousands of Singaporean parents.


Mastering comprehension.

This book arranges texts and questions according to difficulty levels (basic intermediate and advanced). The comprehension skills the students need to master are explained in detail and there are also some short samples to illustrate the correct approach to answering the questions. Although you should keep in mind that most of the students who used it found the questions rather difficult so this book is for those who have already done well and now want to push themselves even further to excel.

If your child struggles with the open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions then they would probably benefit from Conquer Comprehension Workbook. Not only are the 40 comprehension tests graded according to their levels of difficulty, but the book also includes a glossary after every exercise.

This glossary helps students comprehend the texts better. The book improves reading comprehension and teaches your child how to infer and draw conclusions, make predictions, use visuals, and pay attention to contextual clues.


Mastering Cloze.

Parents whose children have difficulty with the cloze buy Mastering Cloze. The exercises contained in this book are extensive and include many rather challenging questions. The book is divided into three different sections; these are comprehension cloze, vocabulary cloze, and grammar cloze.

This book will help students who are weak in the cloze component of the exam to hone their skills and answer any tricky questions that may come up in the future. If your child is already good at doing this type of exercise then this book will help them improve their skills even more since it might contain several challenging questions that your child has never encountered before.

The book also contains a very useful prepositions table and various notes. However many students said it was quite difficult and that it's only suitable for high-achieving students.


My Grammar Handbook.

If you have a young child who struggles with grammar then My Grammar Handbook is a useful resource for you. Other than basic grammar rules the book also contains vocabulary which is appropriate for young learners.

The book explains the basic grammatical concepts e.g. verbs, nouns, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, etc. The vocabulary section contains synonyms, antonyms, homophones, proverbs, idioms, etc.

Read also: Improve Creative Writing for your child


Conquer Vocabulary.

And if vocabulary is your child's main problem then you might want to purchase Conquer Vocabulary which was specially created to equip pupils with a wide range of English words. The book contains 1000 rather challenging questions, and its 100 exercises are organized according to various topics. The book also contains 40 revision tests.

Vocabulary is the fundamental component of any language and this book will help pupils build theirs.


Complete Practice Book.

And last but not least if your child needs to practice all components of the language then you'd better go for the Complete Practice Book (containing grandma, vocabulary as well as comprehension).

This book comprises cloze exercises, multiple-choice questions, as well as open-ended exercises that give your primary school child an opportunity to practice everything at once.


To conclude, some things indicate the quality of any assessment book. However, the exact nature of the English assessment book your child needs depends on the nature of the problems they have. If you cannot determine the problem by yourself then ask your child's English language tutor to do so.

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.