How to ace your Editing: Part 1

The Editing section of the secondary English paper requires students to pick out 8 errors and correct them from a short passage. It is worth 10 marks, and compared to the rest of paper 1, which consists of two essays of over 300 words, it seems well worth the effort. Afterall, it only requires eight corrections and two ticks.

Unfortunately, many students find it difficult. They struggle to score more than 6 marks and when asked, they reply that the passage ‘looks perfect’. There are no errors, they complain.

Editing: The Problem

The problem is that students do not read the whole text as a unit and evaluate each sentence in isolation. Hence, they immediately try looking for errors sentence by sentence. After a few rounds of failure, they get discouraged and end up thinking that scoring well for Editing is impossible. They give up easily and move on to other sections quickly.

Editing: A Solution

How can students do well for Editing? There are a few strategies, but the most basic strategy is to figure out common errors Cambridge likes to include for the Editing section.

At RG Channel, we use the One-Page Summary (OPS) as a easy way to memorise common errors.  These four errors make up 80-90% of errors in an Editing passage. When you are able to understand and correct them, and learn the advanced strategies we teach in our classes, students will be able to score 10 out of 10 marks for the Editing section!


Issues with verbs, or action words, are the most common errors in the Editing section of the ‘O’ level paper.

(a) Tenses

Ensure the tenses match the time they take place.

  • “One special bear cub used to dine at this table; it ate mangoes and drink (drank) champagne.” – 2014 (Past tense)

(b) Verb Form

Check that correct participle is used.

  • “I am very lucky because I was borned (born) on August 9th, a special day in Singapore.” – 2013 (Past participle form)
  • “It brushed past Dean before landed (landing) on the board.” – 2017 (Present participle form)

(c) Subject-Verb Agreement

Singular subjects require singular verbs. Likewise, plural subjects require plural verbs.

  • “This allow (allows) those waiting for a flight to visit many beautiful places such as the rooftop Cactus Garden and the large Koi Pond.” – 2016 (SVA)

A Step-by-Step Forumla


With this strategy, you should have no problems with any verb errors in the Editing passage. Watch out for further blog posts about the other Three common errors. You can download the OPS here.


Do you want to know more about our One-Page Summary courses? You can get more information here.

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