Content in Continuous Writing – Part 1

Here we are going to look at content expression in the Continuous Writing section of PSLE English Paper 1.


It is interesting how a simple picture like the graph above, can easily express an idea in an engaging and entertaining way. While a student cannot use pictures in their compositions, there are strong tools that they can use to provide the imagery that is needed to express those same ideas just as well.

The Continuous Writing section has 40 marks in total:

  • 20 marks are allocated to Content
  • 20 marks are given to Language and Organisation

For Content, the markers are looking at whether the student has relevant ideas, how they develop their ideas and if their ideas have any interest value.

For Language and Organisation, markers are marking for grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, paragraphing and linking of ideas and facts.

Many parents and tutors will say that its too late in Primary 6 to improve on Language and Organisation since it consists mostly of grammar, spelling and so on. These are fundamentals and cannot be improved overnight. Therefore their children will lose marks there. There are strategies to minimise the loss of marks, but we will leave that for the next feature.

For this article we want to focus on how parents can help their children score well in the Content section. This strategy will also help the vocabulary marking in Language and Organisation.

So, how can parents improve their children’s writing content?

The Strategy – Emotions

You must realise that great content and story lines require emotions. Remember the last time you saw a movie and you loved it? That’s emotions tugging at you. So, to help make your child’s story engaging, the child must be able to describe emotions effectively.

If you analyse the previous year’s PSLE English papers, you will realise that the most commonly used emotions are happiness, excitement, sadness, anger, anxiety and shock.

To help your child express and describe these emotions, they need to be familiar with synonyms of these emotions. They then need to expand these synonyms to phrases. You will want to help them build templates of words and phrases which they can use to make their writing more interesting and relevant.

Although it seems like just memorising stock words and phrases, there is one important trick to this strategy.

The phrases in the template must be the creation of your child.

With these templates, expressing emotion will become easy for them, and with this tool in your child’s repertoire, they can create relevant, engaging content so that the marker can give your child the best marks possible for the Content section of Continuous Writing.

How we do it?

While there are many ways to do what we just described, at RG Channel we have worksheets that are used to guide our students through the thought process. If you would like to see how we do it as reference, follow this link to read part 2.