Most of my P5 students were tested on Paper 1 compositions – composition or situational writing for their WA2. Some were given results while others were marked according to a marking band. I am pleased with the progress of our P5 students. Scoring 13 – 15 for SW or 30 and above for compositions in P5 means that they are on a good track to the PSLE year.

What makes a good English composition?

Using one of my students’ WA2 compositions – A Surprise (she scored 34/40), we will explore 3 key ways to score for your P5 Composition.

Note to students

The model compositions in this blog are to help students generate ideas and to be used as a guide. Students are not allowed to copy the model compositions and then pass them off as their own work, especially in school. It is called plagiarism.

Note to students

The model compositions in this blog are to help students generate ideas and to be used as a guide. Students are not allowed to copy the model compositions and then pass them off as their own work, especially in school. It is called plagiarism.

              As I looked at the calendar, memories of my birthday flashed through my mind. I recalled the surprise given to me and the happy moments that I had spent with my family on that day.

              The hot, sweltering sun shone brightly at me I trudged my heavy legs back home. My bag felt as if there were rocks inside of it. It was my birthday. However, for the past three years, I had been celebrating it alone since my parents lost their jobs and had to juggle multiple jobs. I had wished for many gifts over the years but my wishes came crashing down due to financial problems.

              When I arrived home, I treated myself to ice cream while watching television. Why don’t my parents care for me? I thought angrily as I kicked my school bag. I sat on the mattress that had been on the floor for the past three years. The floor beneath it was dusty and dirty.

              “Ding Dong!” the front door rang. Curiously, I walked to the door and opened it.

“Hello son!” my father exclaimed.

I stood rooted to the spot. Why are my parents home in the middle of the day? I stood there with my mouth agape, bewildered about what was happening.

“Is this a dream?” I replied pale-stricken.

“Surprise! We wanted to give you a surprise as today is a special day. It is your birthday!” my mother shouted in delight.

Tears welled up in my eyes but these were not tears of anger. Instead, they were tears of gratitude. I took back my words earlier as I realised how much they cared about me by leaving work early and preparing this surprise.

              My mother prepared a plethora of food for us and baked a cake by herself. I had not eaten her cooking for three years and I was moved by her gesture. Although she was busy, she still made time for me on my birthday. For the second time, tears rolled down my cheeks like raindrops. After the feast, my mother brought out a deck of cards to play with. Even though some of the cards were missing, we still had a wonderful time together. How I wished that my parents could do this every day.

              All’s well that ends well. It was the simplest of birthdays but I was grateful that my parents had prepared the surprise for me. I knew how difficult their lives were after they had lost their jobs, yet they had taken the time to surprise me on my birthday. I would always remember this special surprise and promised to return my parents’ kindness one day.

              “Son, what are you doing here?”my father questioned me.

I was jolted back to the present.

“Surprise! Happy Birthday!” I shouted in delight. It was my mother’s sixtieth birthday and I was keeping my promise of returning my parents’ kindness and surprising them the way they had surprised me fifteen years ago.

1. Have a good introduction and conclusion

Whether you choose to use a flashback or a descriptive start or even dialogue, ensure that you have a cohesive start and end to your story. Make sure to mention the theme at the end of your story and at the start too if possible.

My student chose to use a flashback and she made sure that she had a clear timeline between the past and present narration of the story. The flashback is not confusing and the reader understands clearly when the protagonist is narrating in the present or the past.

She also adds a little twist at the end when the protagonist surprises his parents on his mother’s birthday.

2. Develop the theme

Theme development is essential to score. Looking at the above compo, you can see that she develops the theme from as early as the introduction. She is mindful of using the theme throughout the composition as well and even ends off reflecting on the theme.

By doing this, she makes sure that she does not go off point in her theme and her plot stays relevant.

3. Use descriptive words and phrases

Descriptive words and phrases make your story come alive! Words such as ‘I stood there with my mouth agape, bewildered‘ and ‘a plethora of food ‘ allows the reader to imagine the story unfolding.

We hope that this model and the three ways to help you score in your composition have been useful.

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