Write a composition of at least 150 words about a long wait.

The pictures are provided to help you think about this topic.

Your composition should be based on one or more of these pictures.

PSLE English Composition

Consider the following points when you plan your composition:

  • Why was it a long wait?
  • What happened in the end?

You may use the points in any order and include other relevant points as well.

Most students would have been taught to plan before writing.

Now, what does planning actually entail?

The questions a writer would have to consider are these:

  • Which picture should I choose to base my story on?
  • What should the plot of the story be based on my chosen picture(s)?
  • Where in the story should the chosen picture(s) be featured?

Let’s break the process down into discrete steps!

Step One: Understand the topic

What does the word long mean?

Definition: lasting or taking a great amount of time or more time than usual

What does the word wait mean?

Definition: an act of waiting; an amount of time waited

What constitutes ‘a long wait’ really depends on the context. For example, if you’re queueing in front of a popular stall at the school canteen, anything longer than 15 minutes would be considered a long wait. On the other hand, a month-long wait for say, the delivery of the latest model of a popular bicycle, would be considered normal.

Since our objective is to produce an ‘exam-savvy’ composition (i.e. a ‘safe’ composition that will garner a good score), our recommendation is to write a story in which the ‘long wait’ gets resolved in the end. In other words, what the protagonist has been waiting for should materialise by the end of the story.

Step Two: Choose your picture(s)

Before choosing which picture(s) to base your story on, make sure to study each one in detail.

Let’s think about what each picture is about and examine how easy or difficult it is to relate it to the topic. We do this by asking ourselves pertinent questions about how each picture might fit in a story.

Picture 1: Girl with a drink beside her

PSLE English Composition
  • What is the significance of the drink?
  • Where is this place?
  • What does the expression on her face tell you about how she is feeling?

Picture 2: Calendar with a date marked out

PSLE English Composition
  • Who marked out the date on the calendar?
  • What is expected to happen on the marked out date?

Picture 3: Long queue

PSLE English Composition
  • How many people are there in this queue?
  • What are the people queueing for?
  • What are the people in the queue feeling?

Step Three: Plan your composition

Using more than one picture does not guarantee a higher mark, so the easiest option is to simply pick one picture and focus on building a story around that picture.

Indeed, if we think through carefully, it seems best to use only one of the three pictures for this question. Any other picture combination will likely jeopardise the integrity of the topic and the plot. What do we mean? Let’s consider the following picture combos.

Picture 1 + Picture 2

The ‘long wait’ suggested by Picture 1 is only for the duration during which the girl is seated at the table. On the other hand, the ‘long wait’ suggested by Picture 2 seems to be in terms of days. It seems like a stretch to reconcile both pictures for use in the story.

Picture 2 + Picture 3

Like the previous example, the ‘long wait’ suggested by Picture 3 is only for the duration during which the people are queued up whereas the ‘long wait’ suggested by Picture 2 is in terms of days.

Picture 1 + Picture 3

Both pictures suggest different instances of ‘waiting’. In Picture 1, a girl is waiting for something while seated at a table whereas in Picture 3, the people in the queue are waiting for their turn for to be served. While it is possible to use both pictures in the story to show an extended period of waiting (e.g. the girl waited a long time in the queue and had to wait again when seated to be served), it complicates the story unnecessarily and makes the story harder to write.

Now, let’s brainstorm possible plots using the four-part story structure (INTRODUCTION-RISING ACTION-CLIMAX-CONCLUSION) based on each picture.

Chosen picture: Picture 1

PSLE English Composition

Chosen picture: Picture 2

PSLE English Composition

Chosen picture: Picture 3

PSLE English Composition

Step Four: Write your composition

While we should be as descriptive in our writing as we can throughout our composition, we need to pay particular attention to

(a) making sure that the keywords used in the question are repeated in one form or another in the composition. Typically, it makes the most sense to do this at the introduction and/or conclusion of the story.

(b) describing the chosen picture(s) in sufficient detail. As a rule of thumb, dedicate at least three sentences in your story to describe the picture in order to show the role it plays in the plot of your story.

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Click here for a suggested response to this composition question.

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