Score in the PSLE: Composition Writing
When it comes to composition writing, students need to think and write strategically from the beginning of the story. This sounds like a given, but a child’s mindset differs greatly from that of adults. If your child has missed the opportunity to attend our English Tuition (ET) Boot Camp, which covered a wide range of skills and strategies to tackle Papers 1 and 2, fret not! Below we have summarised some key points to help your child tackle challenges in Paper 1.
POINT 1 ) TAKE A STEP BACK AND ANALYSE THE TOPIC
The topic of a writing task prompts a student to focus on a specific theme in their writing. Thus, it is crucial for students to unpack the topic so they have a clear understanding of what must be explored in their composition before they embark on the writing task.
POINT 2 ) USING PICTURE(S) MEANINGFULLY
Candidates who are able to craft an interesting plot relevant to the given topic and fully develop it by using one or more of the given pictures will receive a higher content score. Here’s a sample question from one of our lesson materials. Notice how we have unpacked the topic?
Source: The Write Connection, P6, English Tuition Boot Camp Lesson Materials
What is a ‘close shave’?
nearly getting into danger
narrowly escaping being severely injured / killed
Therefore, the composition should:
KISS the plot (Keep It Simple and Succinct)
include a vivid description of a dangerous situation
include character(s) who were nearly killed / severely injured
include a reason for the near-mishap
POINT 3 ) EXECUTE YOUR WRITING WITH A PLAN
If your child has been attending our Writing Enrichment classes, they will be very comfortable completing a draft in 30 mins. Reassure them that there is plenty of time in the examination to plan. Allocating 5-10 mins to jot down key words to plot the whole story will pay off when they do the actual writing. Remind your child to do a 3- or 5-point summary as taught in our classes. Keep the plot simple and impress the examiners by using good descriptions in the story. Craft a crisp plot using a 5-point summary! (1) Orientation > (2) Rising action > (3) Climax > (4) Falling action > (5) Conclusion
POINT 4 ) UP YOUR 'A' GAME. THINK LIKE THE TOP 1%
Using knowledge learnt in our Mentor Texts, your child can enrich the content of their writing and gain an edge in the examination. New knowledge can easily be woven into their story in the following areas:
when describing actions
when choosing a setting
Help your child gain strength, not pressure The examination period can be stressful for both child and parent. Here are some ways to help your child stay positive and motivated:
Set realistic goals with your child. Help them understand that success is a journey and not a one-off achievement. Although grades are important, they are not a reflection of their fate. By acknowledging that not all goals can be achieved overnight, your child will feel more at ease sitting for the examination.
Praise the process. It is easy for a child to feel inadequate when their intelligence and talent go unrecognised. Instead of praising them for their grades, commend them for their effort and celebrate small successes.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Even as adults, we fall prey to thinking that one mistake marks the end of our lives. Helping your child recognise that mistakes are part and parcel of life will take away the pressure of having to attain perfection every time they embark on a learning task. Seeing failure as part of success will also strengthen your child’s tenacity.