2020 PSLE English Composition Question Part 1 - Breaking it Down in Terms of Pictures & Plot

Updated: Jan 27

Write a composition of at least 150 words about something that was lost.


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

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


Consider the following points when you plan your composition:

  • How did it get lost?

  • Was it found?

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?

  • Where in the story should the chosen picture be featured?

Let’s break the process down into discrete steps!

Step One: Understand the topic

What does the word lost mean?

Definition: unable to be found


What does the word something mean?

Definition: a thing that is not known, named, or specified

In the context of this composition question, we should interpret this something as being an object, instead of a person.


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.


Unattended handphone on a bench











  • Where is this place?

  • Whose handphone is this?

  • Does the owner know that his/her handphone is missing?

  • Who finds the handphone?


Boy approaching information counter










  • Where is this place?

  • Why is the boy approaching the information counter?

  • Did he lose something or did he find something?

  • Is the customer service officer able to assist the boy?


Missing cat poster











  • Where is this poster displayed?

  • Who saw this poster?

  • How long has the cat been missing?

  • Is the cat found at the end?


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.


However, for the sake of flexing your creative muscles, let’s brainstorm possible plots using the four-part story structure (INTRODUCTION-RISING ACTION-CLIMAX-CONCLUSION) based on various picture combos.


Whichever picture(s) you choose, the story can be written from the perspective of either the person who loses something or the person who finds the missing thing.


Chosen picture: Unattended handphone on a bench


Chosen picture: Unattended handphone on a bench


Chosen picture: Boy approaching information counter


Chosen picture: Missing cat poster


As it might have occurred to you, it is difficult to pair "boy approaching information counter" with either "missing cat poster" or "unattended handphone on a bench" because of the mismatch in settings. An information counter is likely to be located in an indoor environment whereas the park bench and missing cat poster are more likely to be found in outdoor environments.


Another pairing we should probably avoid is "missing cat poster" and "unattended handphone on a bench" as that would mean two missing things instead of just one.


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.

If you have found this planning framework useful, click the like and share buttons below.

Click here for a suggested response to this composition question.

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