Exam Technique: Time Management for PSLE English Composition

Exam Technique: Time Management for PSLE English Composition – A Deep Dive

The Ministry of Education, Singapore and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (MOE SEAB) have laid down clear objectives for the PSLE English examinations. In particular, the composition component of the examination requires students to showcase their ability to communicate effectively through written English. However, this task doesn’t just challenge students’ command of the English language; it also tests their ability to manage time effectively under pressure.

Mastering Time Management: Tips and Strategies for Students

Understanding the PSLE English Composition Exam

To master time management, understanding the requirements of the PSLE English Composition exam is crucial. Students are given a total of 50 minutes to plan, write, and review a piece of continuous writing of about 150 words. This essay can be a reflective, argumentative, or descriptive piece. Given the time constraint, it’s essential that students have a strategy to ensure they efficiently allocate their time to the various aspects of essay writing.

The Importance of Time Management in PSLE English Composition

Effective time management is an essential skill for the PSLE English Composition exam. It helps to ensure that each component of the essay is adequately covered. Furthermore, it reduces stress and allows for revision, thereby enhancing the overall quality of the composition.

However, the challenge lies in finding a balance. Spending too much time on one component, like planning or writing, can leave students rushing through the other sections. Conversely, rushing through the planning stage might lead to a poorly structured essay, affecting its coherence and flow. Hence, a well-balanced approach is crucial.

The Balanced Approach to Time Management

A balanced approach to time management can be divided into three phases: Planning (10 minutes), Writing (30 minutes), and Reviewing (10 minutes). This is not a one-size-fits-all formula; rather, it is a general guide that students can tweak according to their writing speed and comfort level.

1. Planning (10 minutes): In the planning phase, students should brainstorm and organise their thoughts. They should think about their storyline, characters, and the general flow of their composition. This is also the stage to decide on the essay type and identify the language devices they plan to use. The planning phase sets the foundation for the essay; hence, spending adequate time on this is important.

2. Writing (30 minutes): This is the execution phase where students translate their ideas into words. Sticking to the planned structure will ensure a coherent and cohesive composition. However, students should remain flexible and adapt their plan as they write, if necessary.

3. Reviewing (10 minutes): Finally, students should allocate time for reviewing their work. They should check for spelling and grammar mistakes, ensure the composition flows well, and make sure they’ve fulfilled the question’s requirements.

Pros and Cons of the Balanced Approach

This balanced approach has its advantages. It gives a clear structure to students, guiding them on how they can utilise their time. By having a designated time for each phase, students can ensure they adequately cover each component of the composition.

However, it also has its drawbacks. For instance, slower writers might find the 30-minute writing phase challenging, while others might need more than 10 minutes for the planning phase. Thus, while this balanced approach can act as a guide, students should adjust it according to their needs.

Practicing Time Management

Practice is key to mastering time management for the PSLE English Composition exam. Regular timed practice allows students to gauge their writing speed and identify areas where they might be spending too much or too little time. Additionally, strategies like setting mini-deadlines within the exam time and using timers during practice can help students become more conscious of time.


Effective time management is integral to success in the PSLE English Composition exam. By understanding the exam requirements, following a balanced approach, and engaging in regular timed practice, students can master this crucial skill. As always, the objective is to communicate ideas effectively within a specified time frame, showcasing a strong command of the English language, which is at the heart of MOE SEAB’s objectives for the PSLE English examinations.

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