PSLE English Essay

Contributed by ex-MOE English Teacher Mrs Wong, click here to contact her for online or face to face tuition

What are the requirements for PSLE English Essay Paper 1?

In Paper 1 English PSLE, students will be required to do Situational Writing and Continuous Writing both of which will add up to 55 marks (approximately 27.5%) of the entire PSLE English grade.

How can students improve their continuous writing?

Use the “Show, not tell”technique

Anton Chekhov once said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” His widely popularized adage truly encapsulates the idea of “Show, not tell.”

“Show, not tell” is a writing technique whereby writers use imagery (sensory details and actions) to draw readers into the story rather than merely providing exposition, background information. By showing, the reading experience is definitely more immersive for the reader, allowing them to “be in the room” so to speak, with the characters.

Telling: Gerald is a Nyctophobia who was terribly afraid of the dark.

Showing: Caught off guard by the sudden power outage,  Gerald tensed up completely. He curled tight under the covers, gripped the sheets, and his breathing became more rapid, more shallow as the wind blew through the house and brushed past the curtain. Every fibre of his being commanded him to run, but he was rooted to the spot.

In the “showing” example, rather than merely saying that Gerald is afraid of the dark, we show the readers his experience of that fear and how it takes over him completely. ‘Showing’ is a much better way to bring the readers into the story and convey Gerald’s fear to them in a much more compelling way.

Using this method will definitely allow students to achieve a much higher grade. If you need more help for PSLE English Essay, sign up for two days PSLE English Essay intensive workshop on 20 and 21 July – Intake 1 / 22 and 23 July – Intake 2. Slots are limited. Alternatively, you can engage a private tutor to take your writing to greater heights.

Here’s a sample essay for our PSLE students.

Question: Write about a time a unforgettable or memorable experience

Sweat rolled down my skin in thick, salty beads. Panting furiously, with my feet pounding the pavement, the warm humidity is making my skin feel sticky and suffocated. My uniform and hair, slick with perspiration, clung to my skin. I raced to the train station – if I want to avoid the hassle of jostling with crowds,  I definitely could not afford to miss this train! It had been a long day in school, made worse by the fact that I had to attend two dreary hours of Mathematics supplementary lessons. Joining a queue of adults shuffling onto the bus that had arrived, I speedily dug out my EZ-link card from my bag, praying fervently that there would be vacant seats left

It seemed that Lady Luck was smiling at me – I managed to find one, next to a little girl who was dozing off.  I guessed that she could be no more than five years old. I began to wonder…hmmm…all by herself on public transport at such a tender age? My thoughts then whirled around recent reports of children being abandoned… but on a train? In law-abiding Singapore/ that would be a first!

However intrigued as I was about the possible scenarios, my curiosity about the matter waned as weariness soon took over. Just as I was about to drift into slumberland, a noise jolted me wide awake! The noise had apparently come from the girl next to me – she was bawling uncontrollably!

“Where is my brother?” she sobbed. Trying my best to calm her down, I asked her what had happened.

“He …he was taking me to a movie with…with his friends,” she replied, still sobbing. “I fell asleep and…and now they…they are gone!”

Taking a quick glance at the water bottle the girl was firmly holding on to – I espied a ‘Jennifer Chen’ sticker on the cover. I asked her to open her backpack, hoping to find some form of identification. Thankfully, there was a school handbook bearing a contact number. I let out a sigh of relief and dialled the number promptly.

“KidzGenius Kindergarten, how may I help you?” a staff member answered warmly. After having identified myself and relating the circumstances I was in, I asked if there was a girl in the school by the name of Jennifer Chen and whether I could have his parents’ contacts, of which she duly provided. 

I then called the girl’s mother. Hearing her mother’s voice is as comforting as a hug, Jennifer finally stopped sobbing. I told her mother not to worry and that I would arrange for her to pick up her child at the next station. I even had the presence of mind to take a book from my bag and read a story to her while waiting for her mother to arrive at the station.

Finally, a lady dressed in black approached us with quickened footsteps.

“Mummy!” the girl choked, barely holding back her tears. She immediately sprinted towards her – I had never known five-year-olds to be able to run that fast.

PSLE English Essay

Jennifer’s mother pulled her into her chest, wrapping her arms around her tightly. The emotional reunion that unfolded before my eyes remains a poignant moment etched in my memory. That hug was an exchange of pure joy between the two. Just as I was about to leave, she thanked me profusely for having taken care of Jennifer for her.

Her mother, Mrs Chen, thanked me profusely. Words could not express her gratitude. Later that night, I received a heart-warming text message from Mrs Chen, thanking me again, as well as relating to me how Jennifer’s brother, Thomas, had been too engrossed in chatting with his classmates on the train that he totally forgot about his sister’s existence.

It has been said that ‘every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.’ This brief encounter with Jennifer and her mother has definitely left an indelible mark in my memory.

Looking for tip for PSLE English Oral? Watch this video.