PSLE composition exam series (Part 3) – PSLE composition topic for 2018

For the PSLE composition exam, strong content is the most important element to scoring well. Although descriptive language through the use of vocabulary words and phrases is necessary, fully understanding the PSLE composition topic is the one crucial factor to achieving an excellent score in the PSLE composition exam. With understanding , a pupil can create a good story structure which sets his story apart from the rest and delivers a strong moral message.

In this post, we will be examining the 2018 PSLE composition topic for the possible content ideas and exam considerations.

Let’s examine the title and three pictures for the topic.

PSLE composition topic for 2018

Title : Teamwork

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3

Examining the title

Writing a story according to the title is the most important requirement of the PSLE composition exam.  To meet this requirement, understanding the title is the first step in the PSLE composition exam.

In our previous post, we explained the types of titles and which are considered indirect and direct titles. The title “teamwork” is considered a direct title as the moral value is quickly and easily derived by reading the title.  In fact, teamwork can be considered as a moral value.

For this particular PSLE composition topic, pupils should write a story which focuses on teamwork and cooperation.

Let’s look at the first picture:

Picture 1

Picture evaluation

Pupils tend to avoid such pictures which do not clearly point towards any obvious *conflict (main problem of the story) and seem more “open-ended”. However, such a picture can present more possible story ideas due to its open-ended nature.

Not only so, the storyline is likely to be less-commonly written in the PSLE composition exam.  Imagine the marker has been marking hundreds of stories with similar storylines, a story with a different storyline will naturally catch the marker’s attention and present the possibility for a higher mark in the content section of the PSLE composition exam.

For this picture, the hands coming together can represent a team for just about any activity, sport or competition. However, pupils should take care to choose one which includes more action. In this way, it will be easier to include an *Additional Complication (a twist related to the conflict) to further develop the storyline.

Suggested story structure

Conflict – My team was lost when participating in a forest adventure race.

Additional Complication– My team mate fell and sprained her leg.

Solution – We found our way out together and completed the adventure race.


Let’s move onto the second picture:

Picture 2

Picture 2

Picture evaluation

The second picture gives a rather clear idea of the possible conflict. Since the three children are wearing aprons, they should be baking or cooking.  It is likely that the story is about the children working together as a team for a baking or cooking competition. 

Although it is possible to write a story on team work using this picture, pupils should note that in such a competition, it can be challenging to insert an additional complication as there are only so many problems that can happen during a cooking competition. This then limits the content for the story.

Suggested story structure

Picture 2

Picture 2

Conflict – We burnt the cake during the baking competition.

Solution – We worked together to bake another cake and won the baking competition.


Now for the last picture,

Picture 3

Picture 3

Picture evaluation

Based on the picture, pupils can quite easily deduce that some form of teamwork led to the winning of a competition.

For this picture, some pupils assume that it is sufficient to write a story on the characters working together as a team and winning the competition. Although such a storyline does meet the title, it is rather uneventful.

When writing a story based on this picture, pupils should always remember to create a conflict for the story. In order to achieve a good mark in the content section of the PSLE composition exam, there should be a turning point in the story. This means there should be a change from a negative situation to a good one. Ultimately, this leads to a strong conclusion on how teamwork can overcome adversity.

Suggested story structure

Picture 3

Picture 3

Conflict – Our team was losing a football match.

Additional Complication– Our star player injured himself during the match.

*Turning point : At halftime, I gave the team a pep talk on teamwork and support.

Solution – Our team won the football match.

Conclusion

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3

By using either Picture 1 or Picture 3, pupils should be able to write a story with significant content as there is considerable action in each of the suggested storylines.

Although a storyline on Picture 2 can be written according to the title, pupils will find it challenging to further develop the storyline and create meaningful content.

Understanding the PSLE composition topic and knowing exactly what to write for the chosen picture is the first step to scoring for the PSLE composition exam.

Join us for our Primary 5 and Primary 6 holiday workshop for the June holidays as we examine the most current exam topics and what to write for each of the topics.

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