Paper 1 is an important paper component because it makes up 27.5% of the entire PSLE English Exam.
It has the potential to change a student’s grades by up to 1.5 bands – in other words, from Cs to Bs, and Bs to As.
However, many parents we’ve spoken to often have little knowledge as to how they can help their child excel in Paper 1 writing.
They shared with us that they’ve tried getting their child memorise essays and creative phrases, write essays regularly by practising on assessment books or attend weekly Creative Writing classes –
Yet, they still see little or no improvements in their child’s writing scores despite their best efforts.
If this describes what your child is facing right now, you need to pay close attention to these little-known tips that we’re going to share with you so that your child can finally ACE their Paper 1 writing exams.
TIP 1: It Is Not Just About The CONTENT (Ideas)
CONTENT is not king.
Many students often assume that if they have good ideas, they will do very well in their compositions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Grammar (or Language) has equal if not, more importance than Content.
Think about this: Have you ever wondered why the subject is called “English Language” and not just “English”?
Well, the very fact that the subject is named as such already gives us a very clear indication of the importance of Language – but this is a fact that is often overlooked by many students.
If students have a poor grasp of their language, it does not matter how good their ideas are because they will still have difficulty communicating their ideas clearly.
And if their teachers and PSLE Markers cannot understand what is it that they are trying to convey, how then can they award a high mark?
Now that you know this important fact, how can you help your child?
If your child is currently scoring below 15 out of 20 for Language in Continuous Writing and below 6 out of 9 for Language in Situational Writing, then your child has to work on brushing up their Grammar.
Firstly, identify the Grammar Rules in which your child is committing errors. From our experience, students with borderline language scores will benefit greatly from strengthening their Verb Rules such as Subject-Verb Agreement, Tenses and Verb Formation patterns.
For students who already do not have problems with their Verb Rules, they should strengthen their understanding of punctuation rules – notably the use of their full stops, commas and quotation marks – when and how to use them.
At the same time, they should pay close attention to their Sentence Structures – they must know how to write Simple, Compound and Complex Sentences so that they can add variety to their sentences without ‘sounding’ repetitive.
So how can your child improve his / her grammar?
Well, the most obvious method is to refer to a good Grammar guide. There are several quality titles out there in the market and they will get the job done.
An important point to note, however, is that Grammar is learnt through real application and not just through reading grammar guides or practising on grammar MCQs.
We’ve seen diligent students working on Grammar MCQ practices after practices, but still haven’t seen improvements in their English grades.
A more effective method is to involve your child with Paragraph Exercises rather than Grammar MCQ practices or even full Essay exercises.
- Have your child write a paragraph for a particular essay topic – make sure your child checks through her work after writing the paragraph – this habit of Proofreading is invaluable and will be a life skill in time to come
- Each sentence should be carefully checked to ensure that no grammatical errors are committed.
- When each sentence is right, the paragraph will be right.
- When each paragraph is right, the whole essay will be right.
Remember: Content is nothing without good Grammar.