Updated: Nov 2
It’s just about two weeks left to the first PSLE paper – English. Here’s some tips to help with your Situational Writing and Continuous Writing tasks for Paper 1.
List Out and Number Your Points
Before you start writing, take a minute or two to jot down each piece of key information from the pictures in point form. You should number each point as you write them out – there should always be six points that you can find.
Refer to this list and tick off each point as you compose your answer. That will help to make sure that you don’t miss out anything and get full marks for content!
Sign Off Correctly
One error that students often make in Situational Writing is signing off incorrectly. This is something that is easy to overlook, so do be extra careful!
For informal letters or emails, you should end with Best regards. Please make sure that you get the name of writer correct too.
For formal letters, you should sign off with either Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully, depending on the identity of the recipient.
Yours sincerely: Used when you are given the name of the recipient, e.g. Mr Tan, Mrs. Raj.
Yours faithfully: Used when you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, e.g. The Manager of the Community Club, The Store Owner
Plan Out Your Storyline
Always take five to ten minutes to plan out your storyline using a plot graph. Start by breaking down the topic or theme, and use that to come up with a problem and solution. Remember your focus is on the theme. Your story needs to be about the theme or it might affect your score for content.
For example, if the theme is courage, what kind of a problem will you need? Courage is about overcoming fear to do something. Hence, your main conflict should not just be difficult or challenging but one that is frightening or intimidating. If you can illustrate this feeling of fear well in your plot, the theme of courage will naturally come through. (Read also: The #1 Tool to Build Your Plot)
If you are having trouble coming up with a story, look at the pictures given. They will usually help you to come up with a storyline.
Don’t get too caught up trying to incorporate them into your story though. Remember that you only need to mention one picture in your composition. You won’t get any bonus points for including more!
Do NOT use any contractions like “I’m”, “Don’t”, or “We’ve” in your writing, except in dialogue. This is a pitfall that even experienced writers can sometimes succumb to. As we often use these in our day to day communications, it is easy to slip up and write a contraction or two, especially when rushing.
Always check your compositions after writing to make sure you have not used any contractions, and for any careless spelling or grammatical errors.
With these tips, we hope that you will able to ace your Paper 1. All the best!