'O' Levels English Paper 1 2020: A Post-Mortem

The essay questions posed in the 2020 paper offered a mix of question types. Unlike most years, this year’s paper saw a higher dose of descriptive options and all questions took on a personal slant, rather than an objectively discursive one. There was a good range of subject matters that are familiar to students, and our student found the paper manageable.

The following are the essay questions from the 2020 O Level English Paper 1, according to feedback from several of our students who took the exam, as well as other sources. As such, variations in the phrasing of the questions exist.

You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on one of the following topics.

  • Describe some things you do to relax after you were busy. Why do you find them enjoyable?
  • ‘There is no place like home'. Is this true for you?
  • Describe a time when you tried to impress someone but ended up regretting it.
  • Learning from our mistakes will help us to be successful. What is your opinion?

Our students have had ample practice writing full essays on topics relating to youth issues and all things SIngaporean. They have also explored subjects that are more personal in nature.

The content to each essay topic has the potential to be elevated and the student who structures and expresses his ideas more eloquently will stand apart from the masses.

For the questions with the explicit requirement to ‘describe’, students would need to inject descriptive elements into their writing. Since all the questions require students to tap into their personal experiences, students need to be cautious that language is not overly casual nor conversational, as writing from the first-person perspective tends to be. Therefore, the differentiator to excel in Paper 1 2020 is likely to be language.

As part of our Secondary curriculum, we will be conducting an essay writing lesson with our students on how to competently answer these essay questions.

Should you be interested to receive the complimentary worksheet and lesson notes, fill in your email address below and we will send them to you on the week of the lesson. You will also receive worksheets and lesson notes to the O Levels English Paper 1 2019.

Secondary Regular Classes

O Levels 2019 Results: 100% Scored As and Bs. 2/3 Scored As

Early preparation is the key to scoring well for the exams.

About the author:

Ms Geraldine Chew is a Founding Director of Creative Campus. She is also the Director of Programmes for Secondary, General Paper and IB. With over 24 years experience in teaching and curriculum development, her first love is still teaching and interacting with young adults.