Final PSLE English Exam tips – Situational Writing

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As the PSLE examinations draw near, students will be gearing up for the final push towards securing good grades. The English Paper 1 PSLE examination comes in two main partsSituational Writing and Continuous Writing.

Many make the mistake of putting less effort into practising Situational Writing because its total marks are less than Continuous Writing. However, every mark matters, and the one area that can make a big difference in the overall score is Situational Writing.

To do well, students must nail grammar and punctuation, tone, content, and the question’s objective. But with the proper preparation and approach, you can excel.

Here are some last-minute tips that will help you bag the full 15 marks for Situational Writing with ease:

A. Mind the Time

In the PSLE, you are given 70 minutes for Paper 1, which consists of Situational Writing (15 marks) and Continuous Writing (40 marks). With that in mind, you should ideally allocate approximately 20 minutes to the Situational Writing portion of the paper:

    • 5 minutes to do the groundwork,
    • 10 minutes to write the actual letter
    • 5 minutes to check.

B. Identify clearly PACW

Understanding PACW is crucial for achieving success in Situational Writing tasks. Remember to closely examine the visual stimulus and taskbox to identify the Purpose, Audience, Context, and Writer elements.

As these elements are vital to creating a well-crafted piece of communication, here is a brief reminder of what PACW is

    1. Purpose. Look out for sentences that consist of phrases like “Write an email to the chairman of your school board to…” OR “Write a personal note to Kaizen to… “It is not compulsory to do so. You should state the letter’s purpose at the beginning to avoid forgetting to include it later.
    2. Audience. Make sure to watch out for any clues like names, job titles, or salutations. If you come across the name or position of the recipient, be sure to address them using it in your letter.
    3. Context. The context of your writing determines if it should be formal or informal, affecting your message’s tone. This context is determined by the writer’s relationship with the recipient and the purpose of the message. Identifying the context is crucial because it helps you choose the appropriate tone and language for your writing.
    4. Writer. The use of phrases such as “Imagine you are…” or “Who you are…” in writing implies the creation of a fictitious character rather than writing in the first person.

C. Plan and Organise

It is essential to have a well-organised plan and structure if you want to excel in situational writing. Brainstorming and outlining ideas will help ensure your writing includes a clear introduction, a detailed body, and a comprehensive conclusion.

D. The 6 Content Points

As you read through the material, address the six bullet points provided. You may only identify five content points, with the sixth implied or hidden. To ensure you have identified all six, number the points and rearrange them if needed. Additionally, it’s important to use complete sentences when addressing each content point.

Many students believe that addressing all the content points in their writing is enough, but this isn’t necessarily true. Failing to provide background information or using meaningful time connectors can result in disjointed writing. Simply listing all the content may not lead to a high score for language.

E. Not All Sign-Offs Are Equal

Lastly, students may confuse signing off their letters or emails properly. The two commonly acceptable ways to do so are “Yours sincerely” and “Yours faithfully“, with both “sincerely” and “faithfully” being lowercase. Additionally, it is common for students to misspell “sincerely”, so do ensure you are familiar with its spelling.


Valediction you use Situation
Yours sincerely When you know the name of the person you are writing to.
Yours faithfully When you do not know the name of the person you are writing to.


It is essential to avoid abruptly ending your letter or email after restating the information you’ve identified for the six content points. To prevent this, make sure to add a conclusion. A simple way to do this is by restating the purpose of the letter or email, which you’ve identified as the Purpose in PACW earlier.

In conclusion, Situational Writing may seem challenging, but proper preparation and approach can help you excel in your PSLE English Paper I examination. Understand the format, plan and organise well, use appropriate language, pay attention to grammar and spelling, and finally, practice to improve your chances of success. Strong situational writing skills are essential for success in the professional world, so it’s best to start honing this skill early.


Other articles in our PSLE Final Exam Tips miniseries:

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