Chinese composition holds 20% of the total grade for PSLE.
Unlike Comprehension, this component relies entirely on the primary school child’s ability to write what they’re thinking…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
Kids’ learning styles and habits vary. But we talked to some of our very own educators to churn out these suggestions that they find most practical and usable for primary school students. Some tips might work better for your kid. Here’s what we have for you:
1. Memorise great Chinese composition startings and endings (开头, 结尾)
First impressions matter.
Instead of taking time to craft a killer introduction, memorise choicy Chinese composition startings (开头) instead. These should only be a couple of lines long but make a big impact!
Here are some Connected Learning Teachers’ favourite easy startings (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 ones together. That way, your child is more involved in the process and they will remember it better and feel less stressed in the exam hall.
2. Talk about their compo (联想力)
Practice makes perfect, but children often detest writing Chinese compositions. That stops them from getting enough practice in quickly crafting a good essay from scratch.
To get those precious minutes of practice done, why not think out loud?
Find some questions, get your child to pick one, and then let them tell you the compo verbally. (You can choose to record it.)
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 news is very important, but if your child can’t (or won’t) do that, they should at least understand trending words. For example, if the school chooses to test on “Zika virus”, or “Donald Trump”, students have to know what these are in Chinese to write about them. So, you or their Chinese tutor should compile a list of important phrases and words. Then, use pictures or videos whilst explaining so your child will remember them…forever!
4. Have handy catchphrases (成语)
When I was in Primary School, my Chinese composition catchphrase was “风和日丽”. 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, we find it better to get your child’s Chinese tutor, school teacher, or yourself to look through past compositions and identify which idioms the child is comfortable with. Going from their knowledge, expand to other areas whilst involving them in the process. Then, help children incorporate more into their compositions naturally.
While you’re at it, memorise some good and versatile composition phrases to beef up the compo’s 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.
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 wrong words = minus marks. Keeping essays short means less room for error! We recommend sticking to 2.5 pages maximum. Adding conversations help reveal things about the characters, and/or their habits, thoughts, and interesting details.
Many parents (and us!) swear by this method.
If children love reading, they will naturally know how to write well and use appropriate sentence structure, grammar, and idioms. Check out 杨红樱 books; they are very popular!
If your child hates reading Chinese, start with comics such as 哥妹俩 as a start. They will grow more interested in Mandarin and eventually become open to reading Chinese books.
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 compos even more after that.
It’s important for you and teachers to praise notable improvements and guide students in the right direction.
For example, at Connected Learning, we 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. 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, especially for children in Primary School!