What are some effective techniques for brainstorming for PSLE English Composition?

Brainstorming is an essential part of writing a compelling composition for the PSLE English Examination. Here are some effective techniques to brainstorm and organize your thoughts before you start writing.

Understanding the Topic:

Begin by understanding the given topic or picture stimulus in the PSLE English Composition section. Take note of the characters, setting, and possible situations. Ask yourself questions about the stimulus and write down your answers. This process can stimulate ideas for your composition.

Mind Mapping:

Mind mapping is a visual technique for brainstorming. Write down the topic or main idea in the centre of a page, then draw lines outwards to smaller circles or boxes where you write related ideas or subtopics. It’s an excellent way to organise your thoughts and generate more ideas.


The Listing method. Create a list of ideas or points relevant to the topic. Don’t worry about the quality of the ideas at this stage. The aim is to generate as many ideas as possible. Once you’ve compiled your list, you can then select the most promising ones to include in your composition.


Similar to mind mapping, clustering starts with writing the main idea in the middle of the page. But instead of branching off into smaller ideas, you draw lines connecting related ideas together, creating a “cluster” of related points. This can help you see connections between your ideas.


Freewriting involves writing continuously for a set period of time without worrying about grammar, punctuation, or spelling. The aim is to let your thoughts flow freely and naturally. After the freewriting session, review what you’ve written and highlight or underline the useful points for your composition.


Starbursting involveswriting the topic in the center of the paper and then writing questions around it. The questions should cover the six main interrogatives: who, what, when, where, why, and how. This method encourages you to think about your topic from multiple angles.

Rapid Ideation:

Rapid ideation involves setting a timer (say, for 5 or 10 minutes) and writing down as many ideas as possible within that time. The pressure of the time limit often encourages your brain to think quickly and creatively.

The 5 Ws and 1 H Technique:

This 5W1H method involves asking the six big questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Answering these questions about your topic can help generate a wealth of ideas for your composition.

Remember, the best ideas often come from combining or refining the ideas that you generate during brainstorming. It’s also a good idea to practice these brainstorming techniques regularly so that they become second nature by the time you sit the PSLE English Examination.

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