Critical Thinking and PSLE English Examinations Composition Writing: An Important Connection

Advanced Composition Skills for PSLE English Language Grade AL1: Mastering Critical Thinking and its connection to Composition Writing

As the nature of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in Singapore evolves to focus more on assessing a child’s understanding and application of knowledge, critical thinking skills have taken center stage, particularly in the PSLE English Composition examination. English composition writing requires students to convey thoughts, ideas, and stories effectively and creatively. Critical thinking, a skill set that includes the ability to analyze, interpret, and evaluate information, plays a significant role in this process.

So, what exactly is critical thinking, and how does it connect with the PSLE English Composition examination? At its core, critical thinking involves questioning rather than merely accepting information. It is about making reasoned judgements that are well thought out. It is the process of actively analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating information gathered from observation, experience, or communication.

In the context of the PSLE English Composition examination, critical thinking comes into play in various ways. From the initial stages of brainstorming ideas for a composition, to the development of characters and plot, and finally in the crafting of an effective and engaging narrative, critical thinking is paramount.

Brainstorming, the first step in composition writing, is where critical thinking begins. It is not enough to come up with ideas; students must be able to evaluate their ideas’ feasibility, relevance to the given topic, and potential impact on the reader. They need to assess how their chosen idea can be developed into a narrative with a logical flow, engaging characters, and a compelling plot.

Character and plot development are other areas where critical thinking is vital. Students must think deeply about their characters – their motivations, personalities, and how they would realistically react in different situations. This requires an understanding of human behavior, empathy, and the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, all aspects of critical thinking.

When it comes to plot development, students need to ensure that their story unfolds logically and coherently. Each event should lead naturally to the next, creating a domino effect. This requires the ability to sequence events logically, anticipate potential plot holes, and think about the cause-and-effect relationships between different events in the story.

The actual writing process is where critical thinking truly shines. Students must constantly make decisions about the best way to express their ideas, choosing the most effective words, phrases, and sentence structures. They need to consider the tone and style of their writing, making sure it suits the story’s mood and effectively conveys the intended message.

Critical thinking also plays a crucial role in reviewing and editing the composition. Students need to read their work critically, identifying areas of improvement and making necessary changes to enhance clarity, coherence, and overall impact.

Teaching critical thinking skills can be integrated into regular English lessons and practice. Encourage students to discuss books, current events, or ethical dilemmas. Teach them to question what they read, to look for assumptions, biases, and logical fallacies. Encourage them to express their opinions and provide sound reasoning for their views.

Regular practice of composition writing also provides an excellent platform for honing critical thinking skills. Provide students with varied composition topics and prompts that challenge their thinking and push them to explore different perspectives.

Remember, critical thinking isn’t a skill that students can master overnight. It takes time and consistent practice. However, the effort is worth it. Students who are adept critical thinkers will not only excel in the PSLE English Composition examination, achieving the coveted A1 grade, but they will also be well-equipped to handle the challenges of higher education and the real world.

In conclusion, the connection between critical thinking and PSLE English Composition is an important one. By nurturing critical thinking skills, we can help our children to become more competent and confident writers, ready to excel in their PSLE English Composition examination and beyond.

What is Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined and active process that allows us to think clearly, rationally, and independently. It involves conceptually, analytically, and evaluatively processing information gathered from various sources, such as observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication. It encompasses understanding the logical connection between ideas and has been the subject of philosophical discourse since the times of Plato and Socrates.

At its core, critical thinking involves applying universal intellectual values like clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, depth, breadth, and fairness. These values enable us to understand the relationships between ideas, determine the relevance of arguments, build and evaluate arguments, identify inconsistencies in reasoning, and reflect on personal beliefs and values.

The process is divided into two primary components: a set of information-processing skills and the habitual application of these skills to guide behavior. However, our ability to think critically can be influenced by our emotional state and mindset. Therefore, developing critical thinking skills requires consistent practice and effort. We can improve these skills by questioning information we receive, considering the source, context, timing, purpose, and manner of presentation.

Critical thinkers are active learners who question assumptions and ideas, seek a comprehensive understanding of issues, and systematically identify, analyze, and solve problems. They strive to minimize their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies, continually improving their reasoning abilities while acknowledging their susceptibility to human irrationality, prejudices, biases, and distortions.

Unchecked human thinking is often biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or prejudiced, making critical thinking crucial. Excellence in thought needs to be systematically cultivated, as poor thinking can be costly, affecting the quality of life and our outputs. A well-cultivated critical thinker raises vital questions, gathers and assesses relevant information, thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, and communicates effectively in problem-solving.

Critical thinking plays a crucial role in decision-making processes, helping in evaluating various possibilities and achieving the best possible outcomes. It requires foresight, anticipating potential outcomes, and taking steps to avoid or mitigate negative impacts. However, it’s essential to be aware of personal biases that may influence our decisions.

Edward Glaser defines critical thinking as a triad of an attitude of thoughtfulness, knowledge of logical inquiry and reasoning, and skill in applying those methods. It involves the ability to recognize problems, gather and analyze information, comprehend language accurately, interpret data, appraise evidence, evaluate arguments, recognize logical relationships, draw warranted conclusions, reconstruct belief patterns based on wider experiences, and make accurate judgments.

In summary, critical thinking is a skill that enables us to make informed and rational decisions by comprehensively evaluating information. This process involves questioning assumptions, evaluating evidence, identifying potential implications, and considering different perspectives. While the ability to think critically can vary, it can be developed and improved through consistent practice and awareness of personal biases. It remains relevant in the modern age, particularly in distinguishing genuine information from fake news.

here’s a table format to teach a PSLE Student how to use critical thinking when doing their Composition Paper PSLE Exams:

1. Understand the TopicUnderstand the essay question or prompt thoroughly. Read it multiple times if needed. Use critical thinking to analyze what the question is asking for and identify the key points you need to address.
2. Brainstorm IdeasBrainstorm ideas relevant to the topic. Question your assumptions and ideas, and seek a comprehensive understanding of the issue. Don’t accept the first idea that comes to your mind. Evaluate each idea for its relevance and feasibility.
3. Organize Your ThoughtsOrganize your thoughts in a logical manner. Identify relationships between your ideas and build a clear, coherent argument. This will form the structure of your essay.
4. Gather Relevant InformationDo research if needed to gather more information. Use critical thinking to evaluate the sources of information, considering the source, context, timing, purpose, and manner of presentation.
5. Write the EssayStart writing your essay based on the structure you’ve created. Make sure your arguments are clear and precise. Use evidence to support your arguments and demonstrate the depth of your understanding.
6. Review and ReviseAfter writing, review your work. Look for inconsistencies in reasoning, and check if you’ve addressed all key points from the prompt. Reflect on your personal beliefs and values to ensure they haven’t biased your work. Revise your essay based on your review.
7. Practice Critical ThinkingContinually practice critical thinking skills in your daily life. This can include questioning information you receive, evaluating evidence, and considering different perspectives. This consistent practice will improve your critical thinking skills over time, helping you perform better in your Composition Paper PSLE Exams.

Remember, critical thinking is a life-long skill that goes beyond just the Composition Paper PSLE Exams. It will help you in various aspects of your life, from decision making to problem-solving.

Let’s talk about Logic

Logic, as derived from the provided source content, is a discipline studying logical reasoning. It involves the mental process of arriving at a conclusion based on a set of premises in a rigorous manner. This means that conclusions reached through logical reasoning aren’t just any conclusions, but they are supported by the premises and act as reasons for believing them. This support is not restricted to a specific reasoner; any rational person would find the conclusion convincing based on the premises.

Logic is divided into formal and informal logic, which study formal and informal logical reasoning. Formal logic primarily deals with deductive reasoning, offering the strongest possible support and implying its conclusion with certainty, like mathematical proofs. Non-deductive reasoning, studied by informal logic, makes the conclusion more likely but does not ensure it. The support comes in degrees: strong arguments make the conclusion very likely.

Now, let’s look at how we can use logic to come up with an idea for a composition:

  1. Start with a general theme or topic: Let’s say the topic of the composition is “The importance of a balanced diet”.
  2. Brainstorm related ideas: Think of related concepts or ideas, such as different types of food, the concept of a balanced diet, the effects of not having a balanced diet, and so on.
  3. Use logical reasoning to create a coherent argument or narrative: For example, you could use deductive reasoning to argue that because all nutrients are necessary for good health and because a balanced diet provides all nutrients, therefore, a balanced diet is crucial for good health.
  4. Develop your argument using inductive reasoning: For example, you could mention several instances where people improved their health by switching to a balanced diet, and argue that this demonstrates the importance of a balanced diet in general.
  5. Use abductive reasoning to handle counter-arguments or create a twist in your narrative: Suppose someone argues that certain individuals maintain good health even without a balanced diet. Here, you could use abductive reasoning to suggest that such individuals may have other factors contributing to their good health, like regular exercise or good genetics, which doesn’t negate the importance of a balanced diet.
  6. Avoid logical fallacies: Be aware of the pitfalls of faulty reasoning, such as making hasty generalizations or appealing to irrelevant authority, and ensure your argument is robust and logically sound.

Remember that a good composition isn’t just about presenting information; it’s about crafting a compelling, logically sound argument or narrative that engages the reader and convincingly communicates your point.

How to use logic in PSLE English Composition and the genres

The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in Singapore typically involves different genres of composition writing, including personal recount, descriptive, argumentative, and narrative compositions. Here’s how students can use logic in these different genres:

  1. Personal Recount: This genre typically involves describing personal experiences. Here’s how logic can be used:
    • Topic: A memorable trip to a wildlife sanctuary.
    • Logical Approach: Use deductive reasoning to set up the narrative – “I love animals, and visiting a wildlife sanctuary allows me to see a variety of animals, hence I was excited about the trip.” Then, chronologically recount the events and experiences, ensuring each event logically follows the previous one.
  2. Descriptive: This genre requires students to describe a person, place, event, or idea in detail. Here’s an example:
    • Topic: Describe your favorite place in your home.
    • Logical Approach: Use inductive reasoning by detailing specific aspects (quietness, comfort, availability of books) and then generalizing why it’s your favorite place. For instance, “My bedroom is my favorite place because it provides me with peace, comfort, and knowledge.”
  3. Argumentative: This genre involves presenting an argument on a particular topic. Here’s how logic can be used:
    • Topic: Should students be required to wear uniforms to school?
    • Logical Approach: Use deductive reasoning to present your argument – “Uniforms ensure equality among students, and schools should promote equality. Therefore, students should wear uniforms.” Counterarguments can be handled using abductive reasoning.
  4. Narrative: This genre involves telling a story, often with a moral or lesson. Here’s an example:
    • Topic: An experience that taught you the value of honesty.
    • Logical Approach: Set up the narrative with deductive reasoning – “I believe in honesty, but I once told a lie that led to unexpected consequences.” Then, chronologically narrate the events, ensuring each event logically follows the previous one. The conclusion should tie back to the initial premise.

Remember, in all genres, avoid logical fallacies and ensure that your arguments or narratives are logically sound and coherent. This approach will not only make your composition more compelling but also help you score better in your PSLE English Composition.

Why PSLE English Compositions need to sound coherent and logical?

The study of logic and its application is pivotal to enhancing the quality of composition writing, especially for students preparing for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in Singapore. In essence, logic provides a structured approach to thought, empowering students to construct coherent, sound, and compelling narratives or arguments in their compositions. But why exactly is it so critical for a composition to be sound and coherent? To answer this question, we must first delve into the nature and purpose of logic and its relationship to composition writing.

Logic is the science of correct reasoning. It provides a rigorous framework for deducing conclusions from premises, ensuring the consistency of the reasoning process. In the realm of composition writing, logic acts as the backbone of the narrative or argument, allowing for an orderly progression of ideas and fostering clarity of thought.

Firstly, let’s discuss the importance of coherence. A composition is coherent when its ideas logically flow from one to the next, creating a unified whole. Coherence is vital as it allows readers to follow the writer’s line of thought effortlessly. A logically coherent composition prevents the reader from becoming lost in a maze of unrelated ideas, enhancing the overall readability and impact of the piece. In the PSLE English Composition examination, coherence directly contributes to a student’s score, as examiners assess the logical flow of ideas. The ability to see progression reflect the maturity of the student’s mind.

Now, let’s consider soundness. In logic, an argument is sound when it is not only valid (i.e., the conclusion logically follows from the premises), but the premises are also true. Applying this to composition writing, a sound composition is one where the narrative or argument holds up under scrutiny. The events in a narrative should plausibly lead to the conclusion, and the arguments in an argumentative essay should be supported by accurate and relevant evidence. Soundness is crucial as it lends credibility to the composition. In an examination context, a sound composition demonstrates a student’s ability to reason accurately and use evidence effectively, which are key skills assessed in the PSLE English Composition.

Beyond coherence and soundness, logic also makes a composition more compelling. Just as a logically coherent and sound argument is more persuasive, a logically structured narrative is more engaging. Logical reasoning enables students to construct narratives where each event naturally leads to the next, heightening suspense and interest. Similarly, in argumentative compositions, logic allows students to construct strong arguments that convincingly support their stance. Consequently, a logically crafted composition is likely to engage the examiner’s interest, potentially leading to a higher score.

Furthermore, understanding and applying logic can help students avoid common pitfalls in composition writing. For instance, knowledge of logical fallacies can prevent students from constructing weak or flawed arguments. Awareness of the principles of logical reasoning can also help students critically evaluate and improve their own writing, fostering the development of self-editing skills.

As such, the application of logic in composition writing is a powerful tool for students. It ensures the coherence and soundness of their compositions, making their writing more compelling and enhancing their performance in the PSLE English Composition. By mastering the principles of logical reasoning, students can unlock their full potential as writers, capable of crafting engaging narratives and persuasive arguments that resonate with their readers.


The application of logic in composition writing is paramount, particularly for students preparing for exams like the PSLE. Logic, as the discipline of correct reasoning, offers a structured approach to thinking that can significantly improve the quality of written work. It acts as the narrative or argument’s backbone, driving clarity, progression, and interconnectedness of ideas.

The concept of coherence, meaning the logical and seamless flow of ideas, is crucial to any composition. Coherence ensures that a narrative or argument is easy to follow, preventing readers from getting lost in a jumble of disconnected thoughts. In the context of exams like the PSLE, a logically coherent composition directly contributes to scoring as it demonstrates the student’s ability to present a clear and organized line of thought.

Soundness, another critical aspect, refers to the validity and truth of an argument. In composition writing, a sound piece is one where the narrative or argument withstands scrutiny, with plausible events leading to the conclusion and arguments backed by relevant evidence. Soundness is vital because it enhances the composition’s credibility. In an exam, a sound composition showcases the student’s capability to reason accurately and employ evidence effectively, both of which are key skills examiners look for.

Logic also heightens the compelling nature of a composition. A logically structured narrative enhances the story’s intrigue, while a logically crafted argument persuasively supports the student’s stance. Consequently, a logically formed composition is likely to captivate the examiner’s interest, leading to potential score improvement.

Moreover, understanding logic helps students evade typical composition pitfalls, like constructing weak or flawed arguments. Knowledge of logical fallacies can aid students in critical self-evaluation and refining their writing skills.

In summary, logic is a powerful tool in composition writing. It guarantees coherence and soundness, enhancing the impact of the composition, and potentially boosting exam scores. By understanding logical reasoning, students can realize their full potential as writers, creating engaging narratives and persuasive arguments that resonate with readers.

More about these subjects in the article below:

%d bloggers like this: