Mastering PSLE English Composition: Top Strategies Revealed

Mastering PSLE English Composition: Top Strategies Revealed

When it comes to the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in Singapore, English composition is an essential component that requires strategic preparation. It is not just about understanding the language; it’s about knowing how to convey thoughts, stories, and ideas effectively in written form. This article unravels top strategies for mastering PSLE English composition.

Understanding the PSLE English Composition Format

Before delving into the strategies, let’s have a brief overview of the PSLE English composition format. It comprises a Picture Composition section, where students are given a few pictures and are expected to write a composition based on at least one of the pictures. The emphasis is on the development of coherent and cohesive narratives.

1. Reading Widely and Regularly

Reading is the foundation of good writing. Encourage children to read a diverse range of books, newspapers, and magazines. This helps to improve vocabulary, comprehension skills, and understanding of different writing styles. Moreover, reading exposes students to a wide range of topics, helping them to be prepared for any theme in the PSLE composition exam.

2. Building a Robust Vocabulary

An expansive vocabulary adds colour and interest to compositions. Students should keep a vocabulary notebook, jotting down new words and phrases they encounter and their meanings. Regularly revisiting these words will embed them into the students’ active vocabulary, ready to be used in their writing.

3. Mastering the Art of Storytelling

Effective storytelling is key in PSLE composition writing. Students should learn the elements of a good story—introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion—and practise incorporating these into their writing. They should also understand the use of literary techniques, such as foreshadowing, metaphors, and similes, to add depth to their narratives.

4. Strengthening Grammar and Syntax

While good storytelling and a broad vocabulary are important, they must be underpinned by strong grammar and correct syntax. Regular grammar exercises and reviews can be very beneficial. Online resources, grammar books, and practice worksheets can provide good support in this area.

5. Understanding the Theme

In PSLE composition writing, understanding the theme is crucial. Each picture given in the exam will relate to a particular theme, and the composition should revolve around this. Students should practise identifying themes from various picture prompts and writing stories accordingly.

6. Developing Characters

The best stories often have well-developed characters. Teach students how to portray their characters effectively, considering traits, motivations, and conflicts. The use of dialogue can also help bring characters to life.

7. Planning Before Writing

Planning is an important step often overlooked by students. Teach students to spend the first 5-10 minutes of the exam brainstorming and outlining their composition. This helps to organise thoughts, maintain focus, and ensure a logical progression of the narrative.

8. Reviewing and Editing

Lastly, stress the importance of reviewing and editing. After writing the composition, students should go over their work to correct any grammatical errors, ensure that the story flows smoothly, and confirm that all the composition requirements have been met.


Mastering PSLE English composition doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistent practice, patience, and dedication. Encourage your child to cultivate a love for reading and writing, and with the right guidance and the above strategies, they will be well on their way to achieving composition success.

The journey might be challenging, but remember that every small improvement counts. Learning is a journey, and mastering English composition is an essential part of it. With dedication and perseverance, your child will not only be well prepared for the PSLE English Composition exam but also develop a lifelong appreciation for the English language.