How to Write a Good Compo in Primary School (P3-P6)

How to Write a Good Compo in Primary School (P3-P6)

In your average Singapore classroom, many children seem to have a natural talent for writing. But does this mean only the gifted can create compelling compositions? Not at all! Even among young children, writing skills can be developed and nurtured, even at the primary school level. So if your child struggles with writing, there are strategies to help them succeed.

With insight from our English teachers, we will impart to you the do’s and don’ts for primary school compo writing, and how your child can gear up for their PSLE English exams.

Key Takeaways

  • When it comes to good writing, remember these 4 things—always plan first, start with a solid introduction, use methods to express your ideas creatively, and work on your English fundamentals.
  • Primary school students should avoid losing focus in their story and making it overcomplicated. They should also practice the golden rule of "show, don't tell".
  • If your child is struggling with writing compositions, external guidance by tutors can be helpful.

The Do’s: 4 Tips on How to Write A Good Composition

From their decades of combined teaching experience, here’s what our English teachers advise when it comes to the composition writing process:

1. Plan Your Composition

Many teachers always like to say—"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. 

This truly applies to exams like PSLE. Under timed conditions, students only get 1 hour 10 minutes to complete two writing tasks (situational & continuous writing). Students who jump into the essay may end up changing their ideas halfway. When this happens, students tend to rush through, resulting in subpar writing along with spelling and grammar mistakes.

To prevent that, students should take 5-10 minutes to plan. Here are 5 basic elements of effective composition you should include: 


Ask Yourself



What kind of opener do you want to use (e.g., speech, sounds)? Our next point touches on this.

Dialogue of friend denying their actions.


How do you want to bring in the core problem (e.g., you)?

She saw her close friend shoplifting.


To build up suspense, what emotions do you want to show (e.g., urgency, anxiety, excitement)?

Wanted to fit in with her friend. Show her feelings of loss and discomfort about calling out her friend on it. She starts to pace around the store.


What is the most thrilling/exciting moment in your story (e.g.?

She confronts her friend to put the item back and lets her parents know.


How do you want to close your story?

Was difficult losing a friend but did the right thing.

2. Give a Good Introduction

Kick off with a bang! Start your story with something super interesting to grab your reader's attention. Think about beginning with a cool question, a fun fact, or maybe even a little bit of your story's action.

PSLE Composition Example with Missing Cat

Let’s take a look at this PSLE example above. For this image, here are different ways you can start your composition:




  • Ask a Question: “What happened to Milo?”
  • Express a Feeling: “Oh dear!”

Hypothetical Question

  • Instead of: "Many people go on adventures"
  • You could say: "What if you found a map to an uncharted galaxy in your backyard shed?"

Intense Action

  • He dashed out of the house, almost tripping over himself.


  • As I opened my gallery to find a picture of Milo, tears flowed down my cheeks. She was my loyal, affectionate friend. I still remember the day it happened, as if it was yesterday…


  • Crinkle, crinkle. He squeezes Milo’s favourite Whiskies treats, wishing she would come home soon. 

Here are more ways on how you can write your introduction.

3. Practice Creative Expression

When teachers ask students to write creatively, they mean to write with a unique voice and paint a picture in the reader's mind.

To achieve this, most written compositions include the following:




Vivid descriptions

Include vivid descriptions that appeal to the senses.

Wearing his bright yellow rainboots, he began to splash about in a muddy puddle.

Literary devices

Metaphors, similes, idioms, etc.

His cheeks were as red as an apple.

Sentence structure

Try using different lengths and types of sentences to make your writing more interesting.

He breathes heavily, his legs are moving as fast as they can, nearby onlookers are now turning their heads in confusion. He suddenly stops.

4. Improve Your Basic Language Skills 

One of the most overlooked advice is to help your child establish a solid foundation in the English language. It can mean the following:

When your child improves their English, they don’t just write better compositions, they will also do better in other English papers (e.g. oral, listening comprehension). Most importantly, you are preparing your child to write and speak proper English in secondary school and beyond.

The Don’ts: What to Avoid When Writing Your Composition

1. Losing focus

Sometimes, in creative writing, you may lose focus of the main theme and ramble about unnecessary story details.

To prevent this, regularly refer back to your outline to ensure all elements contribute to the main story. If a character or subplot doesn't serve the central narrative, consider modifying or removing it. Keep the narrative centred on the protagonist's key challenges and growth.

2. Inconsistent pacing

If you do not plan adequately, you may make simple mistakes such as writing too long of an introduction.

For better pacing, balance the development of your story by planning each section of your narrative. Allocate a proportional amount of text to significant events. For the climax, build up gradually to increase tension, ensuring it's neither rushed nor drawn out.

3. Show, Not Tell

This advice has probably been said too many times. But it is a crucial step that needs to be put into practice. Many students “tell” when writing essays by giving too many details, with nothing left to imagine.

So instead of just telling your readers what's happening, show them! Use words to create a picture in their minds. Describe how things look, sound, smell, feel, and even taste to make your story come alive.

Here’s the difference between the two:



Example 1

Example 2


Describe the information upfront.

Xiao Ming was elated after winning the race.

The park.


Play the situation out rather than explain it.

His cheeks were as red as an apple.

The sunny, green park filled with the sweet scent of flowers and the sound of laughing children.

4. Incomplete Conclusion

Many students may not complete their composition in time, which leads them to end the story abruptly without providing closure or a final thought.

It is easy to avoid this by having a template for your conclusion. For instance, your conclusion can tie back to your introduction, or it could include the protagonist's reflection on their adventure.

Let’s Breakdown A Good Sample Composition 

Now, let's dissect a sample to understand what makes a primary school composition stand out.

PSLE Composition Example of Old Rolled Up Map




"On a bright and sunny morning, Max discovered a mysterious, old map tucked away in the dusty pages of a book in his grandmother's attic. Little did he know, this map would lead him on an adventure of a lifetime."

This introduction sets the stage for a narrative composition by introducing the main character, Max, and a mysterious map that hints at an upcoming adventure. It grabs the reader's attention with the promise of an exciting story and provides a context for the adventure that is about to unfold.


1. First Paragraph



"As Max studied the map, he realised it marked a hidden treasure in the Forbidden Forest, a place full of legends and whispered secrets among the townsfolk. Fueled by curiosity and the thrill of adventure, Max decided to follow the map, despite the warnings he had heard."

This paragraph introduces the central problem or challenge - the treasure hidden in the Forbidden Forest. It builds on the introduction by showing Max's decision to embark on this adventure, setting the stage for the story's development.

2. Middle Paragraphs



"Throughout his journey, Max encountered various obstacles - a swiftly flowing river he had to cross, a riddle posed by an ancient guardian of the forest, and the challenge of finding his way when the paths became indistinguishable. Each obstacle tested his courage, wit, and determination."

These paragraphs detail the sequence of events and challenges Max faces, showcasing his character development. The use of descriptive language and sensory details makes the story engaging and vivid for the reader.

3. Climax Paragraph



"Finally, Max reached the heart of the Forbidden Forest, where the treasure was said to be hidden. As he solved the final riddle, the ground beneath him shifted, revealing an ancient chest filled with golden coins and jewels, just as the legends had described."

This paragraph brings the story to its climax, where the main conflict or challenge is resolved. It provides a satisfying payoff to the buildup of tension and excitement in the narrative.




"With the treasure in hand, Max made his way back home, his heart full of pride and his mind buzzing with tales of his adventure. He had not only found the treasure but had also discovered his own bravery and ingenuity. And so, the map that seemed like just an old piece of paper became the key to a journey that Max would never forget."

The conclusion wraps up the story by summarising the outcome and reflecting on Max's journey. It highlights the personal growth and insights gained through the adventure, leaving the reader with a sense of closure and a lasting impression of the story's moral or message.

These examples demonstrate how to structure a narrative composition with a compelling introduction, a detailed and engaging body, and a reflective conclusion. Each section plays a crucial role in creating a coherent and captivating story.

If you’re a weak writer, here’s how you can improve…

Young girl doing her homework in a classroom

Sometimes, it’s not that our children don’t know how to write a good composition. More often than not, they were simply not given sufficient guidance.

If you’re a worried parent who is concerned about your child’s English grades in primary school, sometimes external help can be more effective than trying to teach your child alone. Our educators are dedicated to helping every child:

  • Every year, we update our learning materials after a careful analysis of PSLE exam questions.
  • We provide video resources with must-know rules for national exams that students can rewatch whenever necessary.
  • Each of our students will receive meticulous marking and personalised feedback on their writing work.

Let us make English fun, interesting, and purposeful for your child! Start writing well with our English primary school tuition today.

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