Chinese composition holds 20% of the total grade for PSLE in Singapore.
Unlike comprehension, this component relies entirely on the primary school child’s ability to write what they’re thinking – all without prompts!
Though it may seem overwhelming, you can score more easily when you know what examiners are looking out for.
Besides the 7 expert-approved primary school Chinese compositions writing examples that we’ve listed out, we’ve also compiled the following 8 tips to help improve marks.
Here’s how to get the grades up for your primary school kid’s Chinese composition
A kid’s learning styles and habits can vary widely. Still, we’ve engaged with our own qualified educators to come up with practical and usable tips for primary school students to use:
1. Memorise great Chinese composition introductions and conclusions (开头, 结尾)
First impressions matter.
Instead of taking time to craft a killer introduction, memorise choice Chinese composition introductions (开头) instead. These may just be a couple of lines long but they do create a big impact!
Here are some Connected Learning Teachers’ favourite easy introductions (开头):
- 人物开头法： 小文是出了名的捣蛋鬼，胆子特别大，满肚子的坏主意。可自从发生了一件事后，他有了一百八十度的转变。
And here are some great conclusions (结尾):
We recommend asking your child to sit with their tutor or school teacher to craft original introductions and conclusions together. That way, your child is more involved in the process and they will remember it easily and adjust it to suit any specific angles they want to go for.
2. Talk about their composition (联想力)
Practice makes perfect, but children often detest writing Chinese compositions, stopping them from getting enough practice. But there are methods other than just simply writing it all down.
To get those precious practices done, why not think it out loud?
Find some questions, get your child to pick one, and then let them tell you the composition verbally. This allows them to work through the process of structuring the story in a short time limit, which is crucial in exam conditions. It’s the equivalent of writing essay plans.
3. Keep up-to-date with trending words
Reading the Singapore newspaper is very simple form of practice to familiarise themselves with keywords and phrases. But if your child can’t (or won’t) do it, they should at least familiarise themselves with trending topics. For example, if the school chooses to test on the “Coronavirus”, or “Donald Trump”, students have to know what these are in Chinese to write about them.
4. Have handy catchphrases (成语)
When I was in Primary School, my Chinese composition catchphrase was “风和日丽”. While time has moved on and other better phrases are deemed more fit for use, it helps to have a few stellar idioms (成语) that are versatile and add to vocabulary marks effortlessly. You can use popular ones such as these:
However, while general lists are great, different students have different styles of writing. Identifying and choosing the right idioms that our students can utilise effectively can help them incorporate the perfect idiom into their compositions naturally.
While you’re at it, memorise some good and versatile composition phrases to beef up the compositions’ body as well! For example:
- Scared – 我越想越着急，越想越害怕。我的心扑扑直跳，
- Ashamed – 他的话像打了我几个耳光，我感到脸上火辣辣的，
5. Make sure key points are included
After hearing your child’s train of thought or reading their past essays, you can identify what their weaknesses are. A common problem is a lack of consistency; stories often have confusing sequences or lack development. To prevent this, students should remember to always address Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How (5Ws and 1H). There are great reference books for this, such as 阶梯作文.
With these key points, make sure they explain what the key message/lesson is, creating a great story that ends on a good note.
6. Write succinctly
Less is more. Writing succinctly ensures the student can finish on time. It’s also good practice for weak students, as more mistakes result in poorer results. We recommend sticking to a maximum of 2.5 pages. Adding conversations can help reveal things about the characters and/or their habits, thoughts, and other interesting details.
7. Reading constantly
Many parents (and our tutors) swear by this method.
Children who love reading will naturally know how to write and use appropriate sentence structure, grammar, and idioms well. Looking for recommendations? Check out 杨红樱’s books; they are very popular!
If your child hates reading Chinese, start with comics such as 哥妹俩. Reading shouldn’t be a chore but something they enjoy so they will incorporate it into their reading habits themselves.
Even if this doesn’t make your child an avid writer, it will definitely make it easier for them to memorise and use good phrases.
Adding Natural Flow to Primary School Chinese Composition Part 1: Structure and Characters or Adding Natural Flow to Primary School Chinese Composition Part 1: Situations and Sceneries
8. Affirm their progress
When I was in Primary School, I was so proud when my tutor praised my essay and even passed it to other students to read. It made me feel very encouraged and I liked writing compositions even more after that.
It’s important for you and teachers to praise notable improvements and guide students in the right direction.
For example, we at Connected Learning provide monthly progress reports and use enquiry-based learning to help our students develop a passion for the language.
However, it’s not always easy to find a good teacher who understands and works well with motivating children instead of using old-school route learning. Still curious? See how Connected Learning’s tutors guide students in our free, online sample lesson.
Chinese compositions shouldn’t feel like a chore. We hope these 8 easy tips on Chinese compositions help your child score their best in their exams. If you are keen to help your child improve on all these aspects, send them for Chinese composition tuition with us. Our Chinese composition tuition is effective and engaging, and we’ll make sure you see results in time to come.