The PSLE English Paper 1 comprises two parts: situational writing and continuous writing. In Part 2 Continuous Writing, students are given three pictures on a topic and asked to write 150 words on it based on one or all three of its pictures. Guiding questions are included as well to help the student plan their PSLE English composition.
Spotting PSLE Composition topics may be a stumbling block for some students and their parents. Many hope that being able to predict the question in advance may grant an added advantage. However, instead of simply narrowing one’s approach, try looking for more ways to practise writing composition. Here are some tips for lessening the guesswork and helping you find content to write about.
1) Practise Past Year Papers
This one comes as no surprise. Practising past year papers is known to help students get used to writing on a wide range of different topics. Practising writing different PSLE Composition topics enables students to think on the spot and train their versatility in writing different composition topics. Setting a time limit similar to the actual exams also replicates the exam environment.
2) Rehearse by Writing; Retrieve through Pictures
If the PSLE English composition is the performance, then past year papers are full-dress rehearsals! Writing helps with rote memory. This works especially if a student is a visual-kinaesthetic learner. It is for this reason why visual-kinaesthetic learners may prefer mind-mapping, jotting, and making personal exam notes. Moreover, the pictures on the PSLE composition topic can serve as a trigger or memory cue to retrieve what was written previously. If there was something a student wrote about previously in their practice papers that was similar to this topic, they may be able to recall from the pictures and tweak what they wrote to fit the context of the question.
3) Frame Your Compo
Study the pictures and guiding questions. Pick out all the clues and information. Who are the characters? What is the plot and the setting? Frame the story in your head and decide what you want to say, and how you would like to start, tell, and end your story. Set aside five minutes for planning.
4) Focus on the Topic
If there is a common reason why students do poorly, it is due to irrelevance. Many students lose marks for not answering the question by writing out of point. This shows the marker that the student did not understand what the question required of him or her.
What is the question asking of you? Identify the theme. Is it courage? An unforgettable experience? Jot the theme down somewhere visible to help you stay focussed while writing.
5) Draw on Personal Experience
Personal experiences are powerful. For instance, if the PSLE Composition topics are about losing something, recall a time when you lost something or how you felt when you lost it. Channelling personal experiences or a memory of a book or show can help with your thought-process for writing.
6) Keep a Diary or a Journal
Keeping a diary or a journal allows you to record your personal experiences while exercising your writing skills. Practise writing several times a week on topics such as a memorable event, a disappointing situation, or a careless act. Not only does this help with preparation, it also provides you with a memory bank of personal experiences to draw upon so that you don’t run out of ideas. You can also return to your diary or journal entries whenever you like—to read your stories and review your writing.
7) Repackage Your Experience
If you have a personal experience that matches a topic, you may swap the nouns to make the story relevant to the pictures and the context. For instance, if you lost a phone but the picture shows a lost cat, swap the phone for the cat. Change the names if you need to. Repurposing your personal experiences according to the composition topic, will ensure that you never run out of things to write about.
Distinction Tutors can help
Finding PSLE composition topics need not be a struggle. Distinction Tutors are here to help. Whether it be related to paragraphing, sequencing, and finding or summarising content, our English tutors always seek creative and inventive ways to develop students’ love for the language and have them writing effortlessly. Request for an English tutor today!