1. From Straight Fs to Straight As... [Read...]
  2. Tips for Composition Writing [Read...]
  3. 4 Things We Learned From Finding Out Cheryl's Birthday [Read...]


Tips for Composition Writing


Composition, also known as continuous writing, is part of English Paper 1 and is marked upon 40 marks. These marks are for content (20 marks) and language & organisation (20 marks). Thus, it is important for students to perform in these areas.


1. Language

Grammar - The most common and careless mistakes are those of the wrong use of tenses. It can be avoided by checking your work thoroughly as if you are the marker. In this way, these errors can be kept to the minimal.


Spelling - Always avoid words that you are not sure of. Use synonyms (words of similar meaning) as substitutes to avoid being marked down.


Sentence Structure - Avoid writing too many sentences that are too long. The length of a particular sentence can show your language ability. It might also expose your language weakness.


2. Organisation & Structure

Your composition has to be of adequate length (2.5 - 3.5 pages with 5 - 7 paragraphs). It also has to be well weighted on its introduction, body and conclusion. Paragraphs should not be too short/long. Thus, proper planning is essential.


Let's be realistic. It is impossible to have enough time to plan during the short 1 hour 10 mins. You will have to be well trained enough to work it out mentally. This will come naturally when you do proper planning for your practice compositions. Think through your storyline thoroughly. Make sure it is logical and down to earth. Make sure that you will not miss out a piece of the story that readers are dying to know. Make sure that you do not write an introduction that is too lengthy and cut short on the climax and conclusion.


The two points above (1. Language / 2. Organisation & Structure) will make sure that the composition will look good. Ask yourself! As an examiner, how would you grade a composition that looks "red" with plenty of underlines? How would you grade a composition with inadequate length and paragraphs of unequal length?


3. Usage of Creative Phrases

Add in a few creative phrases! The trick is to memorise a number of phrases that is general in nature and can be frequently used. For example, "The shopping mall was bustling with activity."


These are tips and techniques you/your child can look out for during exams. There are more techniques that require a lot of practices to master. Good things just do not come overnight. Other Techniques:

4. Writing a Composition = Creating a Movie

5. Varying Length, Establishing Style

6. Effective Para-transition - Commercial Breaks at the Right Time

With all these, achieving 35+/40 is a possibility! Good Luck!