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3 Little-Known Tips That Your Child Must Know To Score AL1-3 for PSLE English Compo (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second article of a 3-part sharing series.

TIP 2: Memorising Essays Does Not Help 

For a start, model essays do help your child pick up the Organisation (or what we call the Paragraphing Structures) that is required for the Narrative / Recount styles of writing.

However, a BIG MISTAKE that many misguided parents often commit is to get their child memorise model essays of different themes for ideas.

There are two problems with such an approach:

Firstly, many of you may have noticed that the model essays in guidebooks often vary in terms of the writing quality. 

Guess what? – You are right! These essays are often written by different students with different writing standards. 

Now, let’s assume for a moment that these essays were all written by the same student and they are Band A essays.

This still serves little to help students because the benchmark may be too high for them. What happens in such a scenario is that students may end up even more confused or even demoralised.

The second problem is that when students memorise essays, the natural tendency for them is to regurgitate and “force” what they have memorised into their composition during exams.

BIG MISTAKE AGAIN because once a compo is written out of point or not answering the question, students will be heavily penalised with deduction of marks.

In any case, it is near impossible to try to spot the compo theme / topic that will be tested during the exam. 

Take the 2016 PSLE exams for instance. 

Students were tested on this idea of ‘Secret’, which is a theme which is largely unfamiliar to most students. 

That’s why we’ve heard of stories whereby some students, who normally score A / A* in English, fumbled and scored only a B in the end. While they may be exam-smart, they do not have a FULL understanding of how they should be approaching writing the right way.

Rather than memorise essays and “pray” that the right topic has been spotted, your child has much better luck when they have the Right Thinking Strategy so that they can tackle all writing topics easily.

That’s why at EduEdge, for students on our programme, we do not tell our students what to think, we guide them how to think using our unique methodology of learning English using formulas so that they develop their own thinking skills over time. 

So how can you help your child develop the Right Thinking Strategy?

There are many ways but we’ll share one way in this article.

When your child approaches any essay topic, they have to think in terms of a Problem and a Complication.

Every essay will involve a problem or complication which the characters in the story will seek to solve – this is what makes the essay engaging / interesting for your child’s teachers and PSLE Markers.

Here are some examples:

(1) Theme: Honesty / Integrity
Problem: A school friend visits me late at night.
Complication: He wants to borrow my school assignment to copy.

 

(2) Theme: Thrift / Love
Problem: A school friend visits me late at night.
Complication: He had to scrimp and save to buy the present.

 

A common mistake which many students make is to NOT give proper thought to how they should develop their Problem or Complication.

In other words, the Problem or Complication is solved too easily or simplistically.

Here’s an example:

A Simplistic Storyline without any proper thought
Davis and James were fighting in the toilet. The teacher came and asked them to make peace with each other. End of story.

 

A better approach is to further escalate the problem. Ask your child to ask questions to generate more ideas.

 

A More Sophisticated Storyline with proper thought
  • Why were Davis and James fighting?
    (reason – perhaps, rivalry at competition / sports meet) 
  • What happened before, during and after the fight?
    (sequence of events leading to the brawl)
  • How were they fighting?
    (e.g. Using a karate chop? Using a flying kick? Defending with a mop? Dodging the punch which was coming towards him?)
  • What were the injuries sustained?
    (e.g. One of the boys had a bloody cut on his forehead; the other had scraped his knees while he fell to the floor)