What is Situational Writing in PSLE English?
In Singapore, school children who progress from Primary 5 to Primary 6 are introduced to a new component called Situational Writing, a part of Paper 1 of the PSLE English exam. Paper 1 also has another component called Continuous Writing.
This blog, however, is all about understanding PSLE Situational Writing rubrics and a step-wise approach to score maximum marks in this component. You will also find some excellent tips to help your child make the most of situational writing and boost their score.
Situational writing analyses a student's ability to communicate information clearly through writing.
Here's a quick compilation of the PSLE Situational Writing marking scheme. This component:
- Carries a total score of 15 marks, of which 6 marks are given for content and 9 for language and organisation.
- Comprises 27% of Paper 1 and 7.5% of the full PSLE English Paper.
Ideally, students are required to spend about 15-20 minutes on this section of the total 1 hour 10 minutes allotted for Paper 1. The remaining 50 minutes should be spent on composition planning and other components in the question paper.
Although situational writing carries only 15 marks, it can make a huge difference to the overall score in Paper 1. It depends on how well your child understands this component and optimises it. Grammatical accuracy, expressions, use of punctuation, and coherence in the sequencing of facts, ideas, and information together contribute to scoring the 15 marks for situational writing.
Seems intimidating? Fret not! The following step-wise guide will help your child ace situational writing with flair and ease.
7 Steps to Shine in PSLE Paper 1 Situational Writing
Step 1: Read the question carefully
The PSLE situational writing questions are presented in visual text formats. Read the entire question carefully. Your child should look out for:
- Additional information
- Text given next to the picture, if any
- Heading or titles
Step 2: Analyse the "task box" information
The "task box' is where you will find all the vital information that answers many of the questions, such as:
- Who you are
- The person you are writing to
- The purpose of your writing
This information will help determine whether to write formally or informally. Formal writing is for writing to people of authority like a principal, teacher, manager, etc. Formal writing is also used to communicate with unfamiliar people. Informal writing is best used for family and friends.
Step 3: Provide content clarity
In situational writing, the student must identify four key points abbreviated as PACW. They denote:
- Purpose refers to why the email, letter, or any mode of communication is written. Is it an invitation, recommendation, complaint, or a friendly letter? Remember that each scenario requires the use of different styles of writing and vocabulary.
- Audience refers to whom they are writing for. The student should analyse the relationship between them and the audience. Are they friends, family, strangers, or people of authority?
- Context refers to the formality or informality of the letter, which largely depends on the type of audience.
- Writer refers to the students themselves. For some questions, the student may have to assume another identity and write a letter donning that person's role. Students must understand the writer's identity to avoid confusion when answering the questions. Any mix up of the identity will result in a poor score.
Step 4: Use the right Language
In situational writing, language accuracy is crucial because it carries 9 marks, which is a big chunk of the total marks. Here are a few pointers to remember:
- Follow all the punctuation rules.
- Follow the accurate grammatical structure.
- Use connectors to link sentences and bring continuity.
- Keep the format only to the left.
- Use the appropriate salutation for formal letters.
- Use greetings only in informal letters.
- Use fully-constructed, complete sentences.
Step 5: Write only what's necessary
Keep it simple and to the point. Excessive writing is not only a waste of time but also increases your risk of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc. Besides, writing more will not garner more points unless it carries any value to the question.
Step 6: Give a good conclusion.
Ideally, you should start strong AND end strong! Regardless of how formal or purposeful your letter is, you shouldn't end it abruptly. For example, a letter of complaint, report, or commendation should conclude with a phrase that denotes hope that the addressee will take some kind of action upon receiving the letter.
The following phrases can be used to convey the same:
- "I hope you will...."
- "I look forward to......"
The letter should also conclude with, "Thank you for your kind attention."
Step 7: Recheck thoroughly
Reread the answers and verify that all the necessary information has been provided and that the language and tone of the answers are accurate.
Scoring in situational writing is quite easy, especially if the student is adept at vocabulary usage and expressive writing. The main objective here is to assess their use of English in a particular situation. We leave you with some very effective tips to improve your child's situational writing task.
6 Must-Know Tips to Ace Situational Writing
- List out your points, and jot down each piece of information clearly. Ensure there are at least six points for any list that's provided.
- Refer to the listed points and tick each one as you write the answer. This will ensure that you do not miss out on any crucial points that may cost you precious marks.
- Do not spend more than 15-20 minutes on situational writing. Since all the vital information is already provided, you need not create fresh content. Remember that the other parts of the paper also need adequate time and attention.
- Give a proper conclusion to the situational writing section. Do not overlook this point.
- Avoid using contractions such as "We've, I'm, Aren't, They've", etc., like how we often use them in our daily communications.
- Always check your answers and ensure there are no contractions, grammatical errors, or spelling and punctuation mistakes.
A Little Care Goes A Long Way
Mastering situational writing requires extra care and confidence in providing the answers. Continuous practice will also help in understanding the question and giving accurate answers. StudySmart is a smart way to help your child prepare for PSLE English confidently. Want to know how? Give us a call or check our webpage.