What are the common mistakes to avoid in PSLE English compositions? How to improve Composition Writing?

Learning English language skills is crucial, and that significance doubles when your child is preparing for the PSLE English exams. Often, parents ask, “How to improve my child’s English skills for PSLE?” and “What are the common mistakes to avoid in PSLE English compositions?”. In this article, we address these crucial questions and offer actionable tips and solutions to enhance your child’s English language proficiency and ensure their success in PSLE English Exams.

Or back to the main page: Navigating the Terrain of PSLE English Composition Writing: A Comprehensive Guide

Areas of FocusStrategies and Approaches
Fostering a Love for English LanguageEncourage reading, engage in discussions and debates, explore different genres of English literature, use English language games and apps, emphasize the value of English beyond academics
Implementing ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ TechniqueUse descriptive language and sensory details, revise sentences to ‘show’ instead of ‘tell’, encourage this practice in writing
Regularly Reviewing and Proofreading CompositionsTeach the importance of proofreading, use spell-check tools and grammar apps, reiterate the need for personal proofreading
Understanding the PSLE English Composition Marking SchemeUnderstand the aspects of language use, content relevance, and organisation of ideas, structure compositions according to these aspects
PracticeRegular practice of composition writing, revising drafts, applying learnt techniques
Enjoying the Learning ProcessFoster a positive attitude towards learning, motivate child to enjoy English language learning

Developing Strong English Language Skills for PSLE

  1. Fostering Love for English Language: The first step to helping your child improve their English skills is to instill a love for the language. Encourage your child to immerse themselves in English, both in academic and recreational contexts. Make English a part of their everyday life by integrating it into their daily routine.
  2. Creating an English Immersive Environment: Surround your child with English literature, movies, and music. An environment rich in English resources can stimulate their learning and deepen their interest in the language. Interactive games, puzzles, and quizzes can also make learning English more enjoyable.
  3. Practicing with Past Year Papers and Mock Examinations: Exposing your child to past year papers and mock examinations can significantly enhance their English skills. This practice familiarizes them with the exam format and allows them to understand their strengths and weaknesses better.
  4. Leveraging Online Resources and Interactive Learning Tools: Today’s digital age offers an abundance of online resources and interactive learning tools. These platforms can be an excellent supplement to traditional learning methods, providing engaging and fun-filled learning experiences.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in PSLE English Compositions

Understanding and avoiding common mistakes in PSLE English compositions can lead to improved performance. Here are some errors students often make and how to avoid them:

  1. Not Answering the Question Directly: One of the most common mistakes in PSLE English compositions is not answering the question directly. Encourage your child to read the question carefully and understand what it is asking before starting their composition.
  2. Lack of Coherent Structure: A composition should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Ensure your child understands the importance of maintaining a coherent structure throughout their composition.
  3. Incorrect Grammar and Spelling: Ensure your child has a firm grasp of basic grammar rules and spelling. Encourage them to proofread their work to correct any grammatical errors and misspellings.
  4. Overuse of Complex Vocabulary: While it’s essential to display a broad vocabulary, overuse of complex words can make a composition difficult to read. Teach your child to use advanced vocabulary appropriately.
  5. Inadequate Planning: Teach your child the importance of planning before writing. A well-thought-out plan can help them write a well-structured and coherent composition.

Enhancing Your Child’s English Skills for PSLE

  1. Joining English-Language Enrichment Activities: Enrichment activities like English drama clubs, debate societies, or public speaking workshops can greatly enhance your child’s English skills. These activities provide an interactive and fun platform for your child to apply their language skills.
  2. Regular Practice with Feedback: Regular practice is key to language mastery. Ensure that your child receives regular feedback on their work to identify areas of improvement and track their progress.
  3. Reading Widely and Extensively: Reading is one of the most effective ways to improve English skills. Encourage your child to read a wide range of materials, such as newspapers, novels, and informative articles.

By fostering a love for English, creating an immersive learning environment, leveraging online resources, avoiding common mistakes, and practicing regularly, your child can significantly improve their English skills for the PSLE English Exams. Remember, the goal is not only for them to excel in the PSLE English Exams but also to develop a lifelong proficiency in the language that will continue to serve them in many ways beyond academics.

Implementing and Understanding ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ Technique in Compositions

A common problem that many students face when writing compositions is the inability to make their stories come alive. The “Show, Don’t Tell” technique is a method that can significantly help improve a child’s writing skills by making their stories more vivid and engaging. Instead of merely telling the reader what is happening, this technique encourages the student to show the reader through descriptive language and sensory details.

For instance, instead of writing, “She was happy,” a student could write, “Her eyes sparkled with joy, and a broad smile spread across her face.” By showing the reader that she is happy through descriptive language, the writing becomes much more engaging.

Encourage your child to use this technique in their compositions. They can start by identifying parts in their writing where they tell something to the reader. Then, they can try to revise these sentences by showing the reader instead.

Regularly Reviewing and Proofreading Compositions

One common mistake that students make in their compositions is failing to proofread their work. Spelling and grammatical errors can easily slip into their writing and affect their scores. Teach your child the importance of regularly reviewing and proofreading their work. They can also make use of spell-check tools and grammar apps to help them catch any errors. However, remind them that these tools are not 100% accurate, and the best way to catch errors is still through careful proofreading.

Understanding the PSLE English Composition Marking Scheme

Understanding how their compositions are marked can also help students improve their writing. The PSLE English composition marking scheme takes into account language use, content relevance, and organisation of ideas. Ensure your child understands what each of these aspects entails. For example, language use involves the appropriate use of vocabulary and grammar, while content relevance means how well they have answered the question and used the pictures given in the paper. Organisation of ideas refers to how well the student has structured their composition.


Improving English skills for the PSLE involves a multifaceted approach. From instilling a love for the English language to understanding the common mistakes in composition writing, there are numerous ways to help your child excel in the PSLE English Exams. Remember, practice is key. The more your child practices, the more comfortable they will become with the language. Above all, encourage your child to enjoy the learning process. After all, the love for learning is the most effective motivator there is.