Composition Planning is an essential part of the Paper 1 writing process. Every student who has scored AL1 for the PSLE English has mastered the art of planning. No matter how good a writer a student is, there is a risk of going off a theme or missing out on an important part of the plot if no planning is done before writing.

At TF, our students start planning out their compositions from Primary 3. We may guide them for every paragraph or we may leave out certain paragraphs for them to plan on their own. During our regular mock tests, students are expected to plan all on their own within the 5-6-minute time limit given to them.

In Primary 5 and 6, students are given three pictures which are not linked together. This allows them to create a different plot for each paragraph and to be as creative as possible. This is the time that planning plays a very important role.

What steps do students need to plan out their compositions?

Step 1 : Study the pictures and the theme

Ask yourself the following questions :

Regarding the theme:

  • What is the theme?
  • How can I develop it from Rising Action to the Conclusion?

Regarding the pictures

  • What plot can I write about for each picture?
  • Which plot can bring out my writing style the best?

Step 2 : Character creation

  • Who are my characters?
  • How can I create an interesting and realistic main character?

Step 3 : Map out a cohesive sequence of events

Using the Story Mountain or whatever Planning template you are comfortable with, map out each paragraph of your story in a cohesive sequence of events. You do not need to write a lengthy paragraph for each sequence. Simply jot down points that you will need when developing your story.

Step 4 : Watch the time

Planning in P6 should take no longer than 5-6 minutes. Spending too long on planning can result in less time for writing.

Before the June holidays, we gave our P6 students the 2022 Preliminary Composition themes to plan. Please find list HERE. I advised them to use the Story Mountain as a template.

The purpose of this exercise was simple. While we cannot predict what theme will come out for PSLE, common themes such as some in the list below can come out for the English Preliminary examination.

By taking the time to plan these themes, students get to explore various plots that they may be able to modify and re-use for another similar theme.

This comes in very handy for PSLE. For the past few years, many TF’s students have successfully used plots that we wrote in class for their PSLE Compositions. They have understood through practice that plots can be modified to suit the theme given and the picture chosen. As long as they remember to develop the theme in line with their plot, they will never go out of point.

During the June holidays, we worked on one of the 2022 Preliminary Composition themes which is ‘An Opportunity‘. That year, one of the students from that school scored 39/40 for his Preliminary composition.

P6 composition pictures - theme - an opportunity

He used Picture 2 and wrote about a singing competition. One of my students in class this year, chose Picture 1 and wrote about friendship.

Two different pictures with the same theme. Both compositions are very different but they suit each student’s writing style.

Both scored well despite the use of different pictures, different plots, and writing styles because they planned out their compositions well and remembered to develop the theme given.

As you read the model composition below, keep in mind the way the student has developed the theme.

Composition Model on the theme of ‘An Opportunity’

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.

An Opportunity

Lily and Sarah were best friends. In fact, they were the best of friends in the whole wide world. However, because of some ‘boy trouble’ their friendship fell apart. No, shattered. It was all because of that one boy, Buckler Sterling, who had shattered their friendship. One year ago, when Lily and Sarah were twelve-years-old, a new transfer student was welcomed into their class. His name was Buckler Sterling. When she saw him, Sarah immediately had a crush on him. It was like love at first sight.

Unlike Sarah, Lily hated him. She was utterly disgusted by him. There was no attraction at all. She hated the way he looked, walked, acted, and did everything. She hated every single part of his being. Unfortunately, Buckler liked Lily instead of Sarah. It was no secret. Every single day in class, Buckler would spend hours staring at Lily. Sarah always thought that he was staring at her as she was seated next to Lily. Sarah knew of the “rumors” that Buckler liked Lily. She refused to believe they were true. Once the “rumors” were confirmed by Buckler himself, Sarah’s heart shattered. She refused to talk to Lily, no matter what. Their whole friendship shattered too. Their daily conversations? Gone. Their weekly playdates? Gone. Lily tried to fix their friendship, but it was all hopeless. Sarah did not budge at all. Lily tried to grasp even a single opportunity to be best friends with Sarah again. However, nothing worked. Their friendship had gone cold like Antarctica level freezing cold. Over the year, Lily stopped trying to find an opportunity to mend their friendship. So, they just drifted apart.

Until one years later on a cold and rainy Monday afternoon. It was the end of the school day. Lily made her way to the school’s front gate to walk back home. She was her usual gloomy self, trudging every step of the way out of school. She hated school. Especially because she was alone everyday and school lessons had sucked the life out of her. Also because it was a Monday. She removed her umbrella from the side pocket of her bag as it started to rain heavily. She then opened her umbrella and started her journey back home.

Just then, she spotted a familiar figure. It was Sarah! She happily ran towards Sarah then abruptly stopped. They were not friends anymore, were they? Then, she realized that Sarah was standing under a small shelter to avoid the rain. Where was her umbrella? Did she forget it? “Ding!” A bell rung in Lily’s head. This was an opportunity to become best friends with Sarah again! However, she was in a dilemma. Was their friendship too far from saving? Or could it still be saved? She had to make a decision fast. First, she mustered all the courage she had and walked up to Sarah. Then, she asked her the question.

“Hello Sarah! I saw you were standing here without an umbrella. If you do not have one, we can share this one!” Lily said nervously while pointing to her umbrella.

There was a brief awkward silence but, Sarah nodded. Mission success! The walk was slow but, the both of them decided to initiate some small talk.

“Lily, I just want to say that… I love you! You are my best friend and always will be! I did not know what I was thinking last time, breaking off our friendship just because of that dumb Buckler! I hate him now. I absolutely hate him. I was thinking, could we be friends again?” Sarah had let out what she wanted to say to Lily for years.

Lily burst out crying happy tears. She knew the opportunity that she had grasped would work out this time. All because of that one opportunity, they had mended their friendship. She dropped the umbrella and tightly hugged Sarah. Although they were not as close as last time, Lily was happy that they were friends again.

After they reconciled, everything went back to normal. They had daily conversations and, they had weekly ‘study dates’. This was all thanks to an opportunity Lily had grasped. “The opportunities are endless. As long as you put the opportunities to good use, you will succeed.” Just like this quote, Lily succeeded.

Check our library of Paper 1 articles for Primary 6 students. You will find other models and useful tips to ace your PSLE.

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