How much time is allocated for the PSLE English Composition examination?

The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in Singapore is an important stepping stone in a student’s academic journey. It marks the end of their primary education and serves as a gateway to secondary school. Among the different subjects evaluated, English holds a significant place, with the English Composition Examination playing a pivotal role. Parents and students often wonder: How much time is allocated for the PSLE English Composition Examination? Let’s explore this question and provide some strategies to make the most of this time.

The PSLE English Composition Examination comprises two major parts: Situational Writing and Continuous Writing. Students are given a total of 70 minutes to complete both sections.

Understanding the Time Distribution:

It’s crucial to understand the time distribution for each section of the PSLE English Composition examination to manage time effectively. Typically, students are advised to spend around 15 minutes on Situational Writing, where they respond to a given situation in 150 words or less. The remaining 55 minutes can be utilized for Continuous Writing, where they write a composition of about 500 words on a given topic.

Sections of the PSLE English Composition ExaminationSuggested Time AllocationActivities
Situational Writing15 minutesPlanning (5 minutes), Writing (10 minutes), Reviewing (5 minutes)
Continuous Writing55 minutesPlanning (10 minutes), Writing (40 minutes), Reviewing (15 minutes)

Managing the Time Effectively:

Now, having 70 minutes to tackle both Situational Writing and Continuous Writing might seem ample at first, but it’s essential to use this time wisely. Efficient time management is key. Below are some strategies to ensure your child makes the most of the allotted time:


Encourage your child to spend the first few minutes of each section planning their response. They should brainstorm ideas, think about the sequence of their response, and jot down key points they want to include. For Continuous Writing, this could mean outlining the introduction, body, and conclusion of their composition.


The bulk of the time should be dedicated to writing the responses. Teach your child the importance of sticking to their plan and writing clearly and concisely. This phase should consume around 10 minutes for Situational Writing and 40 minutes for Continuous Writing.


Lastly, it’s important to leave some time for reviewing and editing. Your child should read through their work, check for any errors, and make necessary changes. This should ideally take around 5 minutes for Situational Writing and 10-15 minutes for Continuous Writing.

Simulated Practice:

The best way for your child to get comfortable with the time limit is by practicing under simulated conditions. Make it a routine to have your child complete practice papers within the given time frame of 70 minutes. This will help them get used to the time pressure and improve their time management skills.


While the PSLE English Composition Examination has a time allocation of 70 minutes, it’s not just about the quantity of time but also about how effectively that time is used. By understanding the time distribution, applying effective time management strategies, and practicing under exam-like conditions, your child can develop the skills necessary to complete the examination confidently and efficiently. Remember, the goal isn’t just to finish within the given time, but to produce a well-thought-out, high-quality composition that showcases your child’s understanding of the subject and their ability to express their thoughts effectively. Happy preparing!

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