PSLE Compo Writing Tips: How to Edit Your Compositions (Part 1)
Many students will exclaim, at the end of writing their compositions, “Teacher, I’m done!”
“You’re done writing, but have you checked your work again?”
“I checked already.”
“So quickly? You can take over my job then!”
It is no secret that writing compositions is tiring enough as it is. It is tempting to hand in your compositions right after writing them and say que sera sera – whatever will be, will be. Checking your answers again requires a lot of effort, which sometimes we are too tired for. On some other occasions, when we check, it seems satisfactory and it all sounds good.
The whole point of checking is to spot mistakes and correct them. As such, students should have a system for checking which is quick and efficient so that they can use the remaining time in their exams to spot mistakes and correct them in time to hand in.
Mental fatigue comes from prolonged focus and repeated reading where no new meaning is being created. Being tired after writing and reading the same things you have written from start to finish comes from your brain being bored and tired of reading your own writing.
As such, students need to rewire their brain to present the story to their mind in new ways so that the story remains fresh. By doing so, your brain will notice different mistakes, depending on how the student is reading the story and what the student is looking for in their essay.
The solution is to read the composition and check for specific mistakes. The student should do this one mistake at a time at first, but with practice, students will be able to check for several mistakes at a time. This article will outline some ways students can read through their compositions to help them check as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Another helpful tip for students who need to check their work easily and without getting a cluster headache is to have good handwriting. Practice writing neatly and quickly so your writing is legible to both your teacher and yourself. Remember – the neater your writing is, the easier it is for teachers to award you marks when they don’t have trouble reading your work. An added bonus of having good handwriting is that a student can spot mistakes more easily than if their handwriting was messy and illegible. Make sure to erase your mistakes properly and use a good eraser and a 2B pencil so as not to leave any unwanted marks on your paper.
General Tips for Checking
1. When checking for content, it is better to read the whole thing sequentially.
2. When checking for language, go paragraph by paragraph.
3. Correct your mistakes neatly!
There are two aspects of checking for content when writing your PSLE composition. Firstly, the student should read for relevance based on the essay question. Next, the student should read for logic and perspective to ensure that their story has a good flow.
Students should write essays based on the essay question provided in the exam paper. Some questions will consist of specific phrases which the student should base their essay around. An example of such a question is: “Write 150 words about being considerate.”
Here, the phrase “being considerate” should be used in your composition. When checking their work, students should look out for places in their composition where they used the words “being considerate” in your sentences. It is important for students to highlight these words in your composition. If these words are not there, look for places where they would logically fit and add them in, as it is important for the essay to answer the question being asked of it.
This next reading should focus specifically on identifying confusing sentences, odd ideas, and places where the student might have written from the wrong perspective.
Sentences which are too long may be confusing for the reader to grasp, and run-on sentences are a no-no as the student will be rambling too much. These sentences should be rephrased and shortened to a reasonable length to make it easier for the reader to digest.
Moreover, students should be careful not to confuse their character names. It is entirely possible for students to write the wrong character name and mix them up, especially when they are writing quickly. You may find places where you meant for your character Gary to do something, only to find that you’ve written that Bob has done it instead. Even worse – students may switch perspective from third-person to first-person halfway. Instead of Gary or Bob doing these things, students may write that they have done it themselves!
To conclude, students should first check for content as the first part of checking again. In the next part of the Editing series, students will be instructed on how to check for language errors in their PSLE Composition. Make sure to fix the mistakes that have been mentioned in this article, as not doing so could cost you valuable marks in your PSLE.
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1. How Can I Help My Child With Writing Difficulties?
Firstly, identify the reason why your child has writing difficulties. At times, children have different problems, such as a lack of knowledge of the grammar rules or not enough variety in their vocabulary. At other times, students face difficulties in crafting a well-written plot. Then, after the problem is known, steps can be taken to remedy it and practice writing techniques.
2. Why is Writing Difficult for Students?
Writing is difficult as students must grapple with many aspects of good writing at one time – grammatical rules, vocabulary choice, sentence structure, plot and character crafting – students can feel overwhelmed dealing with the many aspects of writing to produce a good essay as a whole.
3. What Are Poor Writing Skills?
Students with poor writing skills will make many grammatical and spelling errors. Moreover, there will be a lack of cohesion and coherence in their ideas. Ultimately, poor writing skills are most clearly seen when the student fails to communicate their ideas to the reader.
4. How Do You Motivate Elementary Students to Write?
Letting elementary students write creatively to emulate writers of books they love reading as a child could motivate them to write more as they will see it as an opportunity to unleash their creativity, much like drawing or colouring or doing arts and crafts.
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