Mistakes to avoid with your PSLE English Composition.

Teaching your PSLE child to avoid common mistakes made in PSLE English Paper 1 Composition

One of the core subjects in the PSLE is English, and the PSLE English Paper 1 composition section plays a pivotal role in determining a student’s overall score. The following highlights the common mistakes that students make while writing their English compositions, and how to avoid them in order to excel in the examination. The following points outline the common mistakes:

  1. Proper planning: Allocate sufficient time for brainstorming, outlining, and developing main points.
  2. Avoid overused expressions and clichés: Use fresh and interesting phrases and develop a unique writing style.
  3. Ensure proper grammar and punctuation: Familiarize with grammar rules, practice writing, and proofread.
  4. Use appropriate vocabulary: Expand vocabulary through reading and practice using new words in different contexts.
  5. Develop strong introductions and conclusions: Avoid general statements and focus on clear, engaging openings and meaningful closures.
  6. Maintain coherence and cohesion: Use transition words and ensure a clear focus for each paragraph, maintaining a consistent tone and style.
  7. Address the question and stay on topic: Carefully analyze the question and ensure the composition remains focused and relevant.
  8. Balance description and narration: Use descriptions to support the plot and character development without overpowering the narrative.
  9. Avoid repetition and redundancy: Use diverse vocabulary and sentence structures, and eliminate unnecessary words or phrases.
  10. Time management and proofreading: Practice writing within set time limits, allocate sufficient time for proofreading, and correct errors before submission.
  11. Embrace feedback and continuous improvement: Seek feedback from teachers, peers, and family members, and practice self-assessment.
  12. Build confidence through practice and preparation: Engage in regular practice, familiarize with examination format, and cultivate a positive mindset.
  13. Read widely and actively: Read diverse texts, analyze authors’ techniques, and apply these in compositions to improve writing skills.

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Understanding the Importance of Proper Planning

The first mistake that students often make when writing their English composition is neglecting the planning stage. Planning is crucial as it allows students to structure their thoughts and ideas, ensuring a well-organized and coherent essay. To avoid this mistake, students should allocate sufficient time for planning, which should include brainstorming, outlining the essay structure, and developing the main points. This planning process will help students create a mental roadmap that will guide them throughout the composition.

Avoiding Overused Expressions and Clichés

Another common mistake students make is using overused expressions and clichés in their compositions. This not only makes the essay less engaging, but it also suggests a lack of originality in the student’s writing. To avoid this, students should focus on using fresh and interesting phrases, which will help them convey their ideas more effectively. Additionally, students should strive to develop a unique writing style that sets them apart from their peers.

Ensuring Proper Grammar and Punctuation

One of the most critical aspects of writing a good English composition is using proper grammar and punctuation. Unfortunately, many students make mistakes in this area, which can significantly impact their overall score. To avoid grammatical errors, students should familiarize themselves with the basic rules of grammar and practice writing regularly. They should also proofread their essays to identify and correct any errors before submitting them. Likewise, proper punctuation is essential for conveying the intended meaning and ensuring the essay is easy to read.

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Using Appropriate Vocabulary

Many students make the mistake of using inappropriate vocabulary in their compositions, either by using overly complex words or by employing colloquialisms that may not be suitable for formal writing. To avoid this, students should focus on using a wide range of appropriate vocabulary that accurately conveys their ideas. This can be achieved by expanding their vocabulary through regular reading and practicing the use of new words in different contexts. By doing so, students can enhance the overall quality of their compositions and demonstrate a strong command of the English language.

Developing a Strong Introduction and Conclusion

The introduction and conclusion are essential components of any well-written essay, yet many students struggle with crafting these sections effectively. A strong introduction should capture the reader’s attention, provide context for the essay, and present the main argument. To avoid a weak introduction, students should avoid starting with overly general statements and instead focus on presenting a clear and engaging opening.

Similarly, the conclusion should effectively summarize the main points of the essay and provide a sense of closure. To avoid a weak conclusion, students should refrain from introducing new ideas or simply restating the introduction. Instead, they should aim to create a lasting impression by emphasizing the significance of their argument and its implications.

Maintaining Coherence and Cohesion

A coherent and cohesive essay is one in which the ideas are logically connected and flow smoothly from one point to the next. Many students make the mistake of writing disjointed essays that lack a clear structure, making it difficult for readers to follow the argument. To avoid this, students should use appropriate transition words and phrases to connect their ideas and ensure that each paragraph has a clear focus. Additionally, they should strive to maintain a consistent tone and style throughout the essay to enhance its overall readability.

Addressing the Question and Staying on Topic

One common mistake students make while writing their compositions is deviating from the given topic or not adequately addressing the question. This can lead to a disjointed and confusing essay, which may not score well. To avoid this mistake, students should carefully read and analyze the question, ensuring that they understand its requirements and expectations. They should also keep the question in mind throughout the writing process, regularly checking to ensure that their composition remains focused and relevant.

Balancing Description and Narration

In their compositions, students sometimes focus too much on descriptions, neglecting the narrative aspect of their essay. While descriptive writing can enhance a composition by creating vivid imagery, overdoing it can detract from the overall flow and impact of the story. To strike a balance between description and narration, students should focus on using descriptions to support the plot and character development, rather than allowing them to dominate the essay. By doing so, they can create a well-rounded composition that effectively engages the reader.

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Avoiding Repetition and Redundancy

Repetition and redundancy are common mistakes that can negatively impact the quality of a composition. Students often repeat words, phrases, or ideas, which can make their writing appear unpolished and tedious. To avoid repetition, students should focus on using a diverse range of vocabulary and sentence structures, ensuring that their writing remains engaging and varied. Likewise, they should avoid redundancy by eliminating unnecessary words or phrases and ensuring that each sentence contributes meaningfully to the overall argument.

Time Management and Proofreading

A final mistake that students often make is poor time management during the examination, which can result in rushed and incomplete compositions. To avoid this, students should practice writing compositions within a set time limit, gradually increasing their speed and efficiency. They should also allocate sufficient time for proofreading, ensuring that they can identify and correct any errors before submitting their work. By developing effective time management skills, students can improve the overall quality of their compositions and increase their chances of success in the PSLE.

Embracing Feedback and Continuous Improvement

Another essential aspect of improving one’s composition writing is being open to feedback and embracing continuous improvement. Students often make the mistake of dismissing constructive criticism or failing to learn from their past mistakes, which can hinder their progress. To avoid this, students should actively seek feedback from their teachers, peers, and family members, using their insights to refine and enhance their writing skills.

Additionally, students should practice self-assessment, critically evaluating their compositions to identify areas for improvement. By cultivating a growth mindset and embracing the learning process, students can continuously enhance their composition writing skills and, ultimately, achieve better results in their PSLE English examination.

Building Confidence Through Practice and Preparation

A lack of confidence can often contribute to the mistakes students make in their compositions. This lack of confidence may stem from inadequate preparation, unfamiliarity with the examination format, or self-doubt. To build confidence and avoid mistakes, students should engage in regular practice, both in terms of writing compositions and familiarizing themselves with the examination format. By doing so, they will not only develop their writing skills but also become more comfortable with the expectations and requirements of the PSLE English examination.

Furthermore, students should cultivate a positive mindset, recognizing their strengths and achievements while acknowledging areas for improvement. By focusing on their progress and the steps they have taken to improve their writing, students can build confidence in their abilities, which can ultimately lead to fewer mistakes in their compositions.

Reading Widely and Actively

Reading widely and actively is another crucial aspect of improving composition writing and avoiding common mistakes. Students who read regularly expose themselves to a diverse range of vocabulary, sentence structures, and writing styles, which can, in turn, enhance their own writing abilities. Moreover, engaging with various texts can help students develop critical thinking and analytical skills, allowing them to better understand and respond to the questions posed in the PSLE English examination.

To maximize the benefits of reading, students should not only read for pleasure but also actively engage with the texts, analyzing the author’s choices and techniques and considering how they can apply these in their compositions. By doing so, they can broaden their understanding of effective writing and cultivate the skills necessary to avoid common composition mistakes.


Avoiding the common mistakes outlined in this essay is crucial for students aiming to excel in their PSLE English composition. By focusing on proper planning, using appropriate vocabulary, ensuring proper grammar and punctuation, crafting strong introductions and conclusions, maintaining coherence and cohesion, addressing the question, balancing description and narration, avoiding repetition and redundancy, and managing their time effectively, students can enhance the overall quality of their compositions and improve their performance in the examination. Through regular practice and a commitment to continuous improvement, students can develop the skills and confidence necessary to achieve success in their PSLE English composition and beyond.

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