The PSLE Chinese Examination’s component on composition is a crucial aspect of the test, yet many students find it challenging. The authors of our assessment books and a team of top tutors provide us at HaoChinese with the most insightful advice on aiding students with the problematic composition component.
1. Correct Application of Wise Quotes & Phrases
Too often, students believe memorising and regurgitating wise sayings is the key to unlocking excellent grades. That is a huge mistake. Inadvertently causing complex expressions and disrupting the flow of the story by randomly inserting good phrases and quotes into a work will result in a markdown from examiners.
The foundational elements around which the story’s core is being formed are not good phrases and quotes; they are the frosting on the cake. Instead of rote memorization and plugging in, students should emphasise situational awareness and the need to know where and when to apply appropriate phrases.
2. Examining Previous Practices & Identifying Shortcomings
It is essential to review earlier compositions, sit down to analyse the numerous errors, and identify areas that need to be improved. Quality should come before quantity. It is not very helpful if students continue to write multiple practice essays without realising where they are making mistakes. The opposite will occur if this is done; the learner will internalise the errors, which will then become deeply ingrained in their writing habits.
To identify their areas of weakness, students should speak with their teachers or tutors. They should then practise in the future to eradicate their errors and perfect better expressions, concept structuring, etc. Progress should be monitored by comparing compositions created over time.
Instead of throwing the old compositions into a dusty cupboard where they will likely never be seen again, it is time to get them out and analyse them. One can keep track of their frequent errors in a notebook, turn them into a checklist, and occasionally consult it when composing new songs.
3. Ideas Must Be Structured Correctly
According to the proverb, “If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.” Suitable compositions are supported by a logical progression and skillful idea implementation, not by anything one feels like writing at the moment. Students frequently begin their essays without a clear plan in mind and register with the attitude of “flowing with the flow.” Rarely will a student suddenly acquire an idea while they are writing, and even then, it might already be too late because of time constraints or because it would take too much work to undo the previous sections of the composition.
The strategy is to divide and rule. Students must prepare ahead and divide their compositions into essential parts, developing a detailed game plan for each component while ensuring suitable interrelationships. Some approaches to visualise the flow of thoughts include rough sketching out ideas on a blank piece of paper or creating a mind map or flowchart. By doing this, students can stop thinking about ideas all the time and concentrate on writing and refining that particular section of the paper.
4. Timed Practices
Practices shouldn’t be taken at their leisure, and students should keep track of the time they spend on them. Many students do that, and during exams, when examiners tell them that they only have 10 minutes left to write, they suddenly feel a sense of urgency. They either leave their piece hanging without a conclusion or closing paragraph, or they hurriedly try to finish it up, which causes a severe decline in writing quality.
The top students practise under time constraints, imitating an exam setting, to improve their writing speed to the point where they can finish their papers not just on time but far ahead of schedule, giving them extra time to find and fix errors.
5. Read The Questions Carefully Before Beginning
Students will often rapidly scan the questions and choose the one they believe would give them the best chance of succeeding since it may appear like a question they have already practised or seen elsewhere. This can have severe repercussions, to the point where the essay is rated as failing for writing outside of context and for failing to address the question.
Students should avoid attempting to answer Chinese writing questions hastily because they contain numerous potential traps. Spend the first two minutes checking to see whether you are familiar with the question and reading every word to ensure your essay strategy is in line with what the question is looking for. The goal of the query can completely change with just a few word changes. By checking and checking again during the first two minutes, the student will be more likely to choose the correct answer in the end, saving a ton of time and remorse.
All in all, Chinese composition might be tedious but it will be very manageable once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Here are further summarised tips for improving your Chinese composition:
- Read extensively: Reading a variety of texts, such as news articles, fiction, and non-fiction, will increase your vocabulary and comprehension skills.
- Practise writing regularly: Set aside time each day or each week to practise writing in Chinese. Try writing about personal experiences, current events, or your thoughts and opinions.
- Use correct grammar and sentence structures: Pay attention to the correct use of grammar and sentence structures, such as verb tenses and subject-verb agreement.
- Improve vocabulary: Study new words and phrases regularly and practice using them in your writing.
- Get feedback: Seek feedback from native speakers or teachers on your writing, including suggestions for improvement.
- Study Chinese literature: Reading classic Chinese literature and understanding the cultural context and language used will improve your writing skills.
- Watch Chinese language media: Watch Chinese movies, TV shows, and listen to Chinese radio programs to immerse yourself in the language and pick up new expressions and vocabulary.
- Write in a variety of styles: Practise writing in different styles, such as narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and expository, to improve your versatility and creativity in writing.
If you still require assistance, HaoChinese Programmes will be able to help you. Our experienced tutors will be able to guide you to excel in this subject. Contact us to find out more! Join us now!