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Tips on Composition Writing and the Oral Component

After poring through the examination papers, our teachers have noticed the following problems students face:

1. During Essay Writing and Oral Practices, many students have memorised certain key vocabulary words and phrases, and try to force-fit these words and phrases. Sometimes, this can come off awkwardly. (e.g. John was over the moon to be punctual for school).

2. During Essay Writing, students conclusions tend to be cliched (e.g. I learnt that honesty is the best policy.)

3. During Oral-picture practices, while the students would give short and direct responses, they were unable to elaborate or think wider than the teacher’s initial question or prompts.

The following are suggestions to improving essays and orals:

  • Brainstorming-- Prior to Essay Writing, going through key vocabulary words and phrases that the students think they will use or is important. This helps everyone to learn new vocabulary and how to use them effectively.
  • Planning-- Students can improve their conclusions by planning more natural or meaningful conclusions (e.g. “…and receiving the bicycle it was one of my best birthday present!” vs “…I learned the importance of cycling safely and considerately”). At Creative Campus, we construct essay conclusions as a class by experimenting and penning down various ideas prior to writing the essay.
  • Structured Responses-- For Orals, our teachers set aside a certain structure students should use to answer for every question. E.g. Direct answer (Yes / No / I’ve visited this before / I’m interested in this / etc) + Reason + Example + Lesson learnt or other thoughts (if any). Excelling in orals takes time, but students can take baby steps to learn and adapt.

The new PSLE syllabus has a stringent rubric. By applying the essential skills and techniques, students can break that 35-mark barrier in essay writing, thereby having the added advantage of clinching that AL1 in the English paper.

Here are more exam tips from our specialist teachers

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