Is it possible to get a score of above 35/40 for a P6 English Composition examination?

At the start of the year, my students are always skeptical when I tell them that it is definitely possible and list the ways how to achieve this. Like every year, some students scored above 30, while others missed their goal and scored below 30 for the recent examination.

At TF, I always review my students’ English exam papers and read through their exam compositions. The exam papers reveal the types of mistakes the students make in their compositions and I discuss with my students how we can rectify them for future papers.

What are the 3 key reasons why students score below 30 for compositions?

1. The Theme

Some students write off the point and fail for Content. Others get so involved in their stories that they forget the theme that they were supposed to focus on and simply mention it in the Falling Action part of the compo, which is too late to score.

Some themes require students to develop two parts in their compo. Failing to develop one part equally can result in a failure in Content. For example, the theme, A Problem that I Solved, requires the student to write about a problem that the protagonist faced and then how the protagonist solved that problem.

2. Grammatical mistakes

Students who scored below 30 had grammatical and structure mistakes. From punctuation to tenses to spelling, students who scored less than 30 had these mistakes in their composition. Some of my students, who hardly make any grammatical mistakes during our weekly writing sessions, suddenly had a number of them during the recent examination due to nerves.

Students who already know the grammatical rules, need to be more mindful while writing out their compositions, stopping to check after every paragraph and once again at the end of the composition. If a punctuation mistakes such as in dialogue is a repetitive mistake, memorise the rule.

3. Introduction and Ending

The way a student starts and ends a composition is as important as good descriptive phrases employed throughout the composition.

The introduction will perk the marker’s interest in the story. The ending is the last paragraph the marker reads before scoring the composition so it should be a good one. A good composition should end with a protagonist gaining knowledge and changing so a reflective ending is a perfect way to conclude a story.

Below, are the conclusions of two of my students who scored 38 and a half /40 (Something that you treasure) and 35 and a half/40 (Kicking a bad habit). Congratulations to both of them and also to my other students who scored 33 and above for their recent P6 SA1 compositions.

3.1 Example of a conclusion on the theme of Something that you treasure

“James, Jane, I’m home with dinner!” The familiar voice of my father snapped me back to reality. I realised that a puddle had formed on the ground; they were my tears. I set the picture down. As the sun set on that Christmas day, I remembered that the sun would set on everyone’s life one day. The purpose of life was to treasure the lives of others so that they could die without regret. As I walked out of the room with the picture in hand, I realised that my mother had died without regret. She had been treasured. We had treasured our time with her and I would forever treasure the memories of her.

3.2 Example of a conclusion on the theme of Kicking a bad habit

That experience was certainly harsh. Although I had failed my Science examination and had been on an emotional rollercoaster, the lesson that I had learnt was valuable. It helped me kick my bad habit. It also taught me that everyone makes mistakes and has bad habits; we just need to get rid of them. From then on, I found joy in learning and being in school. The experience would always hold a special place in my heart.

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