The latest revision to the PSLE English syllabus took place in 2015.
Below are the text types that were tested in each year since then:
2015: Informal email
2016: Formal letter
2017: Informal email
2018: Formal email
2019: Informal email
2020: Informal email
In the last 6 years, the text type email appeared every year except for when letter made a guest appearance in 2016. At PSLE level, there is no real distinction between email and letter text types as students are not assessed on format (i.e. placement of date, addresses and title for letter).
And since informal writing appeared in 2019 and 2020, it would be prudent for 2021 PSLE candidates to work on formal writing…
Below is the 2020 PSLE English Situational Writing question.
The picture shows three children discussing a poster that they saw at Greenwood Community Club on 30 September 2020. Study the picture carefully.
2020 situational
Your task
Imagine you are Sulin.
Write an email to Devi to encourage her to join your team.
You are refer to the given picture and information for your email.
In your email, include the following key information:
  • the date and venue of the competition
  • two reasons you want her to be in your team
  • what the winning team can look forward to
  • the last day to register for the competition
You may reorder the points. Remember to write in complete sentences.
Situational Writing is meant to be a straightforward writing task with the objective of assessing a student’s ability to communicate information clearly and succinctly in writing.
At 15 marks, Situational Writing comprises 27% of Paper 1 or 7.5% of the full English paper.
The marking rubric for Situational Writing looks like this:
Task Fulfilment (6 marks)
  • Awareness and understanding of the purpose, audience and context
  • Reporting of key information
Language and Organisation (9 marks)
  • Accuracy in language with respect to grammar, expression, spelling and punctuation
  • Linkage and sequencing of ideas, facts and information
Interpreting the Picture
The information is usually presented in the form of a visual text. In the visual text, characters are having a discussion about something that has just happened or is about to happen. Sometimes, additional information is embedded in an object in the visual text (e.g. a poster or a movie ticket).
In the 2020 question, the information we need to process includes
  • text and visuals contained in the poster
  • dialogue among the children
Key information we would need to pay attention to in the poster would be things like dates, fees/cost and contact information. The dialogue, on the other hand, reveals the characters’ thoughts, feelings and motivations.
Dissecting the Question
Use the question template below to organise all the information before you begin writing.
  • Whose identity are you assuming as the writer? Sulin.
  • Whom are you writing to? Devi.
  • What is the purpose of your communication? To encourage Devi to form a team with Sulin, Rafi and Jim to participate in the competition.
  • What key pieces of information do you need to include in your writing? The date and venue of the competition: 28 November 2020, Orchid Bakehouse. Two reasons you want her to be in your team: She is great at baking / She works well or has great rapport with the rest of the team members / She fulfils the participation criteria of the competition / Any other good reason. What the winning team can look forward to: $1000 cash prize. The last day to register for the competition: 30 October 2020.
Writing the Response
Here are some tips for writing a situational writing response.
  • Address your reader and sign off appropriately.
  • Keep your communication short and straightforward.
  • Pay attention to the tone (i.e. whether formal or informal) of your communication.
  • Avoid the use of overly descriptive or verbose language.
  • After you have finished writing, check off each required key information point in the question against your draft to make sure you have not left anything out.
Below is a sample response.
Dear Devi,
Did you know that there’s a baking competition coming up in two months? It’ll be held on 28 November 2020 at Orchid Bakehouse from 2 to 5 pm. To join the competition, participants need to have completed the Junior Baker’s Course at Greenwood Community Club (which we would have by then) and compete in teams of four.
Rafi, Jim and I are keen to participate and we think you’re the ace that will complete our team! As you’ve demonstrated in the last baking class, you’re an extremely talented baker. When I tasted your strawberry shortcake, it was so good I couldn’t believe it wasn’t made by our instructor. You have good rapport with all three of us so I think we’ll make a great team.
Registration in the competition is free and every participant will receive a free baker’s hat. Here’s the best part – if we win, we’ll get to split the $1000 cash prize! That’s $250 for each of us.
Registration closes on 30 October 2020, so we’re really looking forward to your favourable reply before then.
See you at our next baking class!
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To see an improvement your child’s writing, enrol your child in English or The Thinking Writer classes at Joyous Learning. Our experienced English Specialist Teachers will show your children how they can put their own stamp of creativity in their writing and enjoy the process of writing.
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