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Composition Writing: Tips from a PSLE English Online Programme

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

Composition writing is a challenging art, even for those who can speak English with unhindered fluency. Putting pen to paper and allowing one's thoughts to take shape in the form of words is a task that eludes many people, especially students.

In Primary schools in Singapore, composition writing is one of the biggest hurdles in the PSLE English exam. Where do things go wrong? Well, it's all in the planning. Most primary students start tackling the composition without planning and writing whatever comes to mind. Big mistake!

Good composition requires a proper plan, and students should implement it whether they are revising PSLE English online or directly in class because it:

  • Provides the framework for writing.
  • Prevents them from straying out of topic.
  • Enables timely completion of the paper.

Generally, English composition is divided into three major parts:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

The easiest way is to break down the introduction and the body into smaller categories. Let's commence with the introduction.

3 Ways to Write a Good Introduction

In PSLE English composition, the introduction part is an opportunity for students to anchor the reader's attention. There are three ways to write a compelling introduction.

  • Begin with a direct, captivating speech that gets the plot moving from the word "Go." For example, " Arrest the man and bring him to me alive," said the king. This line will pique the reader's interest more than a sentence that merely says, " The king ordered the man to be arrested and brought alive." Ensure your direct speech lines are meaningful and aligned with the plot.
  • Begin with an action. Use verbs to describe what your character does.
  • Be descriptive. Use appropriate adjectives to describe the opening set of the story. A good description will help the reader imagine the plot in their minds and move on easily to the body of the composition.

3 Parts of the Composition Body

1. Events leading to the conflict

Every good story needs a core conflict or problem around which the other segments are created. A story without a conflict will not work because it will not give the reader a reason to continue reading. However, the trick here is to slowly build a series of events leading the reader to the conflict rather than abruptly mention it in the beginning. This building-up of events is known as the "rising action" of the story.

2. The turning point or climax

The climax is when the conflict reaches its peak, and a significant change occurs. Students can add multiple conflicts throughout the story, allowing themselves to describe emotions and actions. The conflicts can be of two types:

  • Internal conflicts
  • External conflicts are caused by another character or the surrounding environment.

3. The falling action or resolution

This part of the body is where a solution is found for the main conflict. For PSLE English composition, students often use an authoritative figure to enter the scene and solve the conflict. While bringing in an authority figure is not entirely wrong, students must at least mention the main character's attempts to solve the conflict.

The Conclusion

In conclusion, all loose ends are resolved, and the story comes to an end in a meaningful way. Primary students often underestimate the importance of a good conclusion, which should essentially talk about the character's:

  • Reflections and thoughts
  • Feelings about what happened.
  • Conclusive or futuristic actions.
  • A link to bring the main topic.

How to Write a Good Turning Point for PSLE English Composition

First of all, what's a "Turning Point?" As mentioned earlier, a turning point is the most crucial part of the body of the PSLE English composition, which changes the story's direction. The composition is crucial to score marks in PSLE English, and a good composition requires a catchy turning point. Primary 6 students in Singapore need to understand that it's vital to write right rather than to write more for the turning point in the story.
A girl uses her laptop and headset to study and revise
3 Ways to Write a Turning Point

To bring a positive spin to the story, the basic storyline should:

  • Begin with the main character's negative behaviour.
  • Have a turning point in the middle of the story.
  • Conclude with a positive change in the main character's behaviour.

For the PSLE English composition exam, the focus should be placed on the parts of the story that convey a positive message and lesson. Two parts require emphasis:

1. The turning point

The main character needs to be described in detail in one complete scene.

2. The positive change

This part of the story should explain how the positive change occurs in the main character. Writing the changes in detail will require at least a couple of paragraphs.

POVs in PSLE English: How & Where to Use Them

Even if your child is revising PSLE English online, it is important to learn to write a composition from a consistent Point of View (POV) with a logical sequence of events. There are two POVs used in English composition:

  • The first person POV.
  • The third person POV.

The First Person POV 

To write a story in the first person POV, you should write as if:

  • You are in the story.
  • You own the story.
  • You are narrating the story from your point of view.
  • Use first-person pronouns such as We, I, Us, Me, and My.

Every story-writing style has pros and cons, and writing in first-person POV is no different. First-person POV renders a very personal connection between the narrator and the reader. In this POV, the story reflects the main character's private thoughts and feelings, engaging the reader personally.

However, the downside to writing in first-person POV is that it restricts the writer to narrating only what the main character sees and experiences. Other characters' POVs are not included in the picture.

Third Person POV

A third-person POV story involves two or more characters in which you, the narrator, are not included. You are neither in the story nor a part of it. A story written in third person POV includes:

  • Pronouns such as He, She, They, Them, His, Hers, Their's.
  • Pronouns such as I, We, Me, Us, and Our are used only within speech tags.

Advantages of writing in third person POV:

  • Can express the feelings and thoughts of more than one character in the story.
  • Can describe all the expressions of each character.
  • Can continue with the storyline even if some characters no longer exist.

This POV can be disadvantageous if you fail to explain the character's feelings, thoughts, and reactions. Such a story can sound like a boring report and jeopardise the entire composition.

How to Choose The Apt POV

There are two ways to pick your POV and make the most of it.

  • Write in the first person to raise the reader's emotional connection with the story.
  • Use the third person POV to make the reader experience the characters' thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

Closing Points

PSLE English composition is not complex rocket science. All you need is the basic interest and a flair to make your composition the best one in class. Have fun writing your composition! And if you are looking to optimise your PSLE English online revision, go for StudySmart, our AI-powered PSLE app for students gearing up for PSLE in Singapore. Visit our website to know more.

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