The main body of an essay is where you develop your argument and present your evidence. It forms the ‘meat’ of your essay and is often the most substantial part of your writing. It is in the main body where you explore your ideas, explain your thoughts and engage the reader. In the context of the PSLE English examination conducted by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) under the Ministry of Education (MOE), structuring the main body of an essay effectively is vital for achieving high marks. Here’s how to do it.
Understand the PSLE English Essay Structure
The essay in the PSLE English examination typically consists of an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. The main body is where you develop your story or present your arguments. According to the MOE English syllabus, the main body should make up the majority of your essay, with roughly 70-75% of your word count allocated to this section.
Start Each Paragraph with a Topic Sentence
The main body of your essay should be divided into paragraphs, each starting with a topic sentence. This sentence introduces the main idea of the paragraph and sets the tone for the rest of the paragraph. For instance, if your essay is about an adventure in a forest, a topic sentence might be: “As we ventured deeper into the forest, the surrounding noises began to change.”
|Paragraph 1||As we ventured deeper into the forest, the surrounding noises began to change.|
|Paragraph 2||Despite the initial fear, the mysterious beauty of the forest began to captivate us.|
|Paragraph 3||The unexpected rainstorm added an element of thrill to our adventure.|
|Paragraph 4||As darkness descended, the forest seemed to take on a life of its own.|
|Paragraph 5||We found an unexpected refuge in a hollow tree during the peak of the storm.|
|Paragraph 6||When the morning light broke, it revealed the transformed forest, vibrant with life.|
|Paragraph 7||Leaving the forest, we were filled with a sense of accomplishment and newfound respect for nature.|
Expand on Your Topic Sentence
After the topic sentence, expand on the idea introduced. Use descriptive language to create vivid images in the reader’s mind and present any necessary details to support your point. If we continue with the adventure in the forest example, this could be a description of the changing sounds, the wildlife you encounter, or how the character’s feelings change as they journey further into the forest.
|Paragraph 1||As we ventured deeper into the forest, the surrounding noises began to change.||The chirping of birds was replaced by the rustling of leaves, the whispering of trees and occasional growls of unknown creatures.|
|Paragraph 2||Despite the initial fear, the mysterious beauty of the forest began to captivate us.||We began noticing the dazzling variety of colours in the flowers, the intricate designs of spider webs glistening in the sunlight, and the ethereal quality of light filtering through the canopy.|
|Paragraph 3||The unexpected rainstorm added an element of thrill to our adventure.||The forest came alive with the rhythm of the raindrops, leaves glistening with the fresh rainwater, and creatures taking refuge under the bushes.|
|Paragraph 4||As darkness descended, the forest seemed to take on a life of its own.||Shadows began to dance on the forest floor, night-time insects started their chorus, and the forest seemed to become a different world altogether.|
|Paragraph 5||We found an unexpected refuge in a hollow tree during the peak of the storm.||Nestled in the safety of the tree’s embrace, we listened to the symphony of the storm, as the wind howled and raindrops drummed on the tree bark.|
|Paragraph 6||When the morning light broke, it revealed the transformed forest, vibrant with life.||The rain had washed everything clean, dew drops sparkled on leaves, birds resumed their songs, and the forest was pulsating with new life.|
|Paragraph 7||Leaving the forest, we were filled with a sense of accomplishment and newfound respect for nature.||The adventure had tested our courage, taught us resilience and opened our eyes to the myriad wonders of nature.|
Use Transition Words
Transition words help make your writing flow better and guide your reader through your essay. They connect your ideas and make it easier for your reader to follow your thought process. Examples of transition words include ‘firstly,’ ‘in addition,’ ‘however,’ ‘for example,’ and ‘as a result.’
|Transition Word||Example Sentence|
|Firstly||Firstly, the hike was challenging but rewarding.|
|In addition||In addition to hiking, we also enjoyed bird-watching in the forest.|
|However||However, the unexpected rainstorm made our adventure more difficult.|
|For example||For example, we encountered various creatures we had never seen before.|
|As a result||As a result of our adventure, we developed a deeper appreciation for nature.|
|Furthermore||Furthermore, we learned important survival skills during the trip.|
|Moreover||Moreover, the experience brought us closer as friends.|
|Therefore||Therefore, despite the challenges, the adventure was well worth it.|
|Conversely||Conversely, if we hadn’t been prepared, the journey could have been dangerous.|
|Ultimately||Ultimately, the experience was a test of endurance and resilience.|
End with a Concluding Sentence
Each paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that summarises the main point of the paragraph and ideally, links to the next paragraph. This could be a comment on the events described, a reflection of the character’s feelings, or a hint of what’s to come.
Practice, Practice, Practice
There’s no substitute for practice when it comes to essay writing. Writing frequently helps you improve your structure, develop your ideas more effectively, and become more comfortable with the timing of the exam.
Considering the PSLE English examination’s time allocation, it’s recommended to spend approximately 45-50 minutes on the main body of your essay. This allows ample time for planning, drafting, revising, and proofreading your work.
Remember, the main body of your essay is your chance to show off your writing skills, creativity, and understanding of the English language. With careful structuring, thoughtful content, and consistent practice, you can excel in this crucial part of the PSLE English examination.