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How to Bag Full Marks in Situational Writing in PSLE English

A student hands holding a blue pen and practicing and taking the PSLE English test. Practicing and revising English

In Singapore, when children come to Primary 5, they are introduced to a new section in English Paper 1: Situational Writing. This section carries 15 marks, as opposed to the more challenging Continuous Writing, which carries 40 marks. Let's take a closer look at this new section.

Situational Writing: The Complete Details

Situational Writing is designed to assess the student's ability to understand a functional piece of communication such as an email, letter, report, or recommendation for a given situation. This section is interesting because it allows students to score full marks, thereby boosting the possibility of scoring impressively well in PSLE English.

Mark Distribution

This section carries 15 marks, with 6 marks for Content and 9 for Language. To score the full six marks for Content, your child needs to master the three CAP aspects:

1. Context

This section denotes the situation, the writer's identity, and the Context.

2. Audience

Who is the informative piece being addressed to? It could be the town mayor, police, principal, company manager, classmates, or the general public.

3. Purpose

What is the purpose of communication? Is it a letter of information, complaint, or commending someone?

Lastly, your child should also identify six content points required by the question and the tone of voice--whether it should be formal or informal.

Marks Distribution for Language

In situational Writing, 9 marks are awarded for your child's ability in Language, such as:

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Use of transitional words and phrases

Duration allowed for Situational Writing

The duration for Paper 1 is 1 hour and 20 minutes. Therefore, your child needs 15 to 20 minutes to complete this section. Which brings us to the big question, " How can your child score a full 15 marks in situational writing?"

To find out, read our tips in the next section.

7 Excellent Tips to Score Big in PSLE English Situational Writing

1. Give an introduction

In situational Writing, a good introduction is essential for the examiner to ascertain your identity. The student should introduce themselves at the very beginning, even before stating the purpose.

For example, they can state: "Hello, I am XYZ, the principal of ABC School.

To write a good introduction, follow these steps:

  • Ascertain your identity from the task box.
  • Check to see if your identity has a name or if you can use your own name.
  • Check the stimulus to ascertain if the character's name is given there.
  • Introduce yourself with your name and surname.
  • Use the same name to sign off.

2. Make a checklist of details

The question for situational Writing is usually given as an illustration with bits and pieces of information. Reading the entire question is vital because there could be hidden clues in the background, such as:

  • Names
  • Terms
  • Time
  • Place
  • Terms and conditions
  • Age
  • Numbers
  • Date and day

The next crucial detail is the Task Box, which contains the CAP information.

3. Identify the 6 required points

Every situational writing section in PSLE English will have six content points, with the sixth hidden in the task box or part of the context. Your child should:

  • Identify the six points.
  • Highlight the relevant points in the question.

4. Use the right tone

Using the right tone of voice is a challenge most students face with situational Writing. There are two tones to use when writing the task:

  • Formal tone- To be used only for people of authority like the police, college or school principals, town mayor, etc.
  • Informal tone- To be used for friends and family members.

Points to remember to use the right tone of voice:

  • Be persuasive and affirmative, but not demanding.
  • Be polite but do not use emotional words.
  • Do not lecture the reader.
  • Use relaxed Language for informal context.

5. Link your points

Using transition words to link the points and write a coherent and interesting passage is a brilliant way to secure the full 9 marks for the Language component in PSLE English Situational writing. Here's a list of good transitional words and phrases your child can use:

  • Hence
  • As a result
  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • To
  • Additionally
  • Moreover
  • Besides
  • Subsequently
  • Immediately after

6. Complete the task

Remember that of the 15 marks for situational Writing, 6 marks are allocated for Task Fulfilment. Examiners will award task fulfilment marks if the six-point information is fulfilled. A complete Task Fulfilment should have the following information:

  • When the incident happened..
  • What the audience is doing.
  • What the audience says to you.
  • Names or title
  • What happens after the incident.

7. Give an appropriate conclusion

Most students struggle with the conclusion, especially when writing the composition or situational writing section in PSLE English. Two common mistakes that students often make with conclusions are:

  • Ending the passage abruptly.
  • Using the wrong tone.

In a white dress, a girl is writing a PSLE English composition and practicing at her study table with her pencil and notebook

Let's deal with the first mistake- ending off abruptly. Whether it is a formal or informal communication, there is usually some form of action you want the addressee to take after reading the mail or letter. At this juncture, using phrases like, " I hope you will...." or "I look forward to......." and "Thank you for your kind attention."

To avoid the second mistake, you should maintain a suitable tone of voice, especially if it is formal communication. Avoid lending an emotional tone to the conclusion. The right ending should always convey the right message with a polite tone.

Take PSLE English Situational Writing Seriously!

Situational Writing is but a small component in PSLE English. However, this component will help you refine your communication skills in the real world. There will be many situations requiring your child to write a letter or an email regarding an incident. Therefore, emphasise the importance of Situational Writing and use our tips to train them to obtain full marks in this component.

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