Situational writing can be a unique challenge to students taking the English PSLE papers — its goal-directed nature can leave many confused as how they can best go about tackling the writing task directed at them.
Scoring well for situational writing requires a balance of attention to not just language proficiencies such as grammar and sentence structure, but also the content, tone, and objective of the writing piece in its entirety. This is by no means an easy feat to accomplish. However, there are steps that can be taken in preparation to improve students’ situational writing skills, and increase their chances of bagging the full 15 marks that are up for grabs.
Here are four things students can do to improve their situational writing:
1. Prime in on the Format
While other segments of the English PSLE papers have fixed formats, the situational writing format entails a little more complexity and preparation work in terms of familiarisation and understanding of the numerous writing formats that should each be used in different scenarios. As such, studying the format for situational writing can be arduous, but doing so remains necessary, nonetheless.
Below is a list of situational writing formats that students should take note of and apply accordingly depending on what is presented to them during their English PSLE paper:
- Informal letter situational writing format
- Informal email situational writing format
- Formal letter situational writing format
- Formal email situational writing format
- Report or proposal situational writing format
- Article or notice situational writing format
- Speech situational writing format
2. Practise Information Extraction
As situational writing is a segment of the English PSLE paper that aims to test students’ ability to process and communicate information in writing, it is of utmost important that students extract and deliver information in an accurate and articulate manner.
This means that students should be able to correctly identify the purpose, audience, and context of the task before even beginning their writing. This will then help them decide on the correct tone and word choice, and ensures that they fulfil the objective of the task at hand.
To practise information extraction, students can take questions from practice papers and other situational writing examples — or even short texts from newspapers, magazines, or the likes — and circle the keywords in each copy. When practising situational writing itself, students should also use these circles as visual cues and try inserting the same keywords into their answers while crossing them out as they write them.
3. Rehearse Personal Expression
Thirdly, to secure a grade of the highest tier for the situational writing segment, students must also include their personal interpretation and opinion of the handout and question given to them. Though information extraction and delivering on objectives is not exactly easy, they are—at the very least—relatively straightforward in nature. Including a personal response in their situational writing piece, on the other hand, may be a little less intuitive for most students.
Thus, students should practise thoughtful expression and giving personal responses in everyday conversations or structured exercises. Parents can help their children with the latter through picking out a piece of news or a topic their children are interested in and holding a verbal discussion while encouraging the student to give their personal opinions and insights.
4. Practise Self-Introduction and Signing Off Appropriately
Of course, no situational writing piece is complete without a proper self-introduction and sign-off. The self-introduction should include elements such as the student’s name, who they are in the given context, and their purpose of writing. Students should also end off their piece appropriately, with a call-to-action or an explicit statement of expectation or hope that fits the provided scenario. Then, students must sign off in a suitable manner that is apt for their relationship with the recipient and the assumed circumstance which they are writing under.
Students can pair up with several friends to form different pen-pal relationships — some formal, some informal — and rehearse self-introduction and signing off with imagined scenarios to fine-tune this nuanced skill. While seemingly easy to do, pulling off an impressive self-introduction and closing in a situational writing piece still takes substantial practice.
Perfect the Art of Situational Writing with MindChamps Enrichment
The aforementioned four actionable are great places to start with regards to improving a student’s situational writing skills. With that being said, fine-tuning the art of situational writing can still be difficult without a rigorous curriculum and structured guidance.
At MindChamps Enrichment, we understand this, and have put together a curated creative writing programme for K2 to P5 students in Singapore that promises results. As for P6 students looking to take the English PSLE papers at the end of the year, we have a separate course, PSLE – The Champion Mindset Way, that leverages an intensive curriculum to deliver swifter, substantial results in a shorter span of time.