3 Tips for Writing Effective Secondary English Compositions

Seeking tips on how you can ace Secondary English composition writing? Look no further! Here are some useful pointers to keep in mind when crafting a compelling narrative to impress at the English O Levels examination, brought to you specially by our teachers at Write Edge!

1) Situational Writing

For Secondary-level Situational Writing, keep high-scoring band descriptors in mind when crafting your written piece.

These descriptors include a coherent understanding of the given task’s purpose, a clear awareness of audience and format, as well as a suitably adopted tone and register for the given situation!

Always remember that the salutation must include your recipient’s title i.e. Dear Mr/Ms or Dear Sir/Madam, for unnamed recipients.

Ensure that your heading nicely encapsulates the subject matter at hand and that your introduction explicitly highlights your purpose in undertaking the given task, whether it is to present a written proposal or pen a letter of commendation.

For formal tone, use a range of rich vocabulary to provide a vivid account of events but avoid using over-dramatic language. Instead, convey neutrality in tone, stating facts in an objective and non-prejudiced manner. For informal tone, prioritise conveying sincerity and enthusiasm, especially if attempting to persuade your recipient, and use language that highlights genuity and warmth!

2) Personal Recount/ Narrative Essays

Beyond your Secondary English education, personal recounts are one of the most common texts that we face in our lives. They essentially involve retelling a story or a past event from your personal point of view.

For the O Levels, you are typically required to recall a past event, showcasing how you felt during the experience as it unfolded and how you felt about it afterwards, upon reflection.

Good personal recounts will allow your readers to gain a holistic sense of your personality and growth as a result of the event, so make an earnest attempt to convey these! As for narrative essays, these involve stories embodied by main characters in a particular setting, ideally crafted to entertain readers with an element of suspense and eventual resolution.

Some compelling and effective ways that you can use to kickstart a personal recount or narrative essay include depicting a setting description, provoking insight with a leading or rhetorical question, and recounting a vivid flashback! 

3) Descriptive Writing

When it comes to descriptive writing at the O Levels, you are required to textually create a vivid image of a place, person, object and/or experience, usually from the first-person point of view.

Good descriptive writing should also accentuate one’s feelings and sensations while anchoring readers in a specific time and place. In recent years, O Level examiners have incorporated a tricker and more nuanced type of descriptive writing question – requiring you to factually and emotively describe and explain aspirations, future plans or intangible character traits in yourself or others.

Some helpful ways to begin a descriptive essay include, but are not limited to; outlining a character’s overall description through their personality/behaviour/attitude, starting with “whenever” to show the habituality of your character, and finally tapping on an insightful quote or proverb. As its name suggests, vivid descriptiveness and imagery are key to scoring for this essay type!

We hope these tips have been helpful for you/your child in understanding what it takes to ace Secondary English Composition writing.

To find out more on how can help to elevate your/your child’s academic mastery, feel free to get in touch with one of our enrolment specialists. We hope to see you/your child in class soon!

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