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Essential 'Must-Knows' of the New O level English (1184 Syllabus)

As you are probably aware, the new English O Level (1184 syllabus) will take effect in the O Level English exam from 2023 onwards.

We understand that these changes can be daunting to students and parents (especially the students sitting for the 2023 O level exams).

In this post, we summarize the key changes and share some tips on how you can prepare yourself for them.

There are two sections with significant changes:

  1. Visual Text Comprehension

  2. Oral Communication

1. Visual Text Comprehension (O level English 2023 onwards)

​Old Syllabus (1128)

New Syllabus (1184)

​Questions are based on only one visual text (5 marks)

  • Visual text is lengthy (e.g. Posters, Website)

​Questions are based on two texts (5 marks)

  • New question type: Comparative questions

  • Visual texts are now shorter (e.g. social media posts, website excerpts)

Key Differences to take note:

  1. Questions are now based on two texts (in the new 1184 syllabus) instead of one

  2. Visual texts given are closely related to real life (such as social media posts, excerpts from websites, etc)

  3. New question type: Comparative Questions. These are more analytical in nature (compared to the old syllabus)

2. Oral Communication (O level English 2023 onwards)

​Old Syllabus (1128)

New Syllabus (1184)

Part 1: Reading Aloud (10 marks)

Candidates read aloud a short text, presented on a computer screen.

Part 2: Spoken Interaction (20 marks)

Candidates engage in a discussion with the Examiners on a topic based on a visual stimulus in the form of a video clip.

**The two parts are thematically linked

​​Part 1: Planned Response (15 marks)

Candidates plan and deliver a response to a video clip and accompanying prompt presented on a computer screen.

Part 2: Spoken Interaction (15 marks)

Candidates engage in a discussion with the

Examiners on a topic based on the same video clip.

**The two parts in this paper may be thematically linked.

Key things to take note:

  1. 'Reading Aloud' section is replaced with 'Planned Response'

  2. The entire oral examination will be based on the given video. Candidates are expected to deliver a response of up to 2 minutes based on the question given (planned response).

  3. Candidates will engage in a discussion with the examiner based on the topic in the same video.

To view a sample of the GCE O Level 1184 English Language Paper 4 (Oral Communication), click here.

To download the detailed GCE O Level 1184 English syllabus, click here.


We hope this post provided insights to understand the key changes in the new O level English syllabus.

At Ace Clinic Education, we have updated our lesson delivery and materials to prepare students for the upcoming O level English exam. This includes new worksheets, practice questions, model answers and annotated notes to smoothen the learning curve and sharpen essential skills.

In the coming months, we are running intensive revision classes with targeted practices on selected questions that are tested in the O levels yearly. These are handpicked questions that students find challenging, and typically differentiates between the 'A1' and 'B3'.

To find out more about our O level English Final Sprint Program, click here.

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