Blog Students Exam Tips 7 Tips to use ‘Situational Writing’ to Score Well in N-Level English Composition Writing Exams

7 Tips to use ‘Situational Writing’ to Score Well in N-Level English Composition Writing Exams

Most secondary students opt to focus on the continuous writing leaving their situational writing to suffer as they take their Paper 1 in the English N-Levels. The reasoning behind this is since the continuous writing section has a bigger word count (about 350 to 500 words) compared to those of the situational writing section of (250 to 350 words).

Nonetheless, both of these sections are each worth 30 marks. Because of this, students should make sure they do not disregard their situational writing.

What can students do to make sure they give equal attention and focus to both sections of the N-level English exams? Below are some tips that will help students score well in their N-levels exams.

Maximize the use of Purpose-Audience-Context

Teachers put much emphasis on the importance of taking note of the Purpose-Audience-Context before you start writing – and this is for a good reason.

What should students do to answer the question correctly? Students should be able to show that they know who their audience is and what the objective is. They should also be keen on the circumstances represented in the question.

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Once known, a situational writing composition should at least have two sentences that address each of these 3 – Purpose, Audience and the Context.

State your Objective in the Introduction

Often times the question will indicate what their situational writing is all about. However, most students seem to forget to add this in the introduction. Even when it feels as if they are repeating the given question. Students need to give an explanation of what the compositions is about in the introduction.

Why should students include the reason behind their writing? By doing this, students will be able to show that they know the purpose and objective behind the question of the situational writing.

Circle Key-words and Cross them out as you write them

Different from the continuous writing questions that have at most 2 sentences. Often the question for the situational writing is a long block of text.

In addition, students need to circle the keywords used so that they get some visual cues on the requirements of the question. As soon as they have covered each of these keywords, they have to cross them out.

Why should students cross off the keywords used? Doing so will ensure that they do not get penalized when it concerns the fulfillment of the task.

Use the Same Keywords in the Question

Another thing that students should utilize is the usage of the same keywords used in the question. Why should students use keywords in their answers? Doing so will help in making it clear for them on which part of that question they are answering.

Also, this can help prevent any key points being unknowingly missed out by whoever is marking the paper and in particular when the points are written following in a different order from the way they have been given in the question. Please take note that correct sign-offs are vital in situational writing.

Read the first two or three paragraphs thoroughly

Another common mistake that many students tend to make is going straight for the bullet points. In the process, they tend to disregard the first few paragraphs of the situational writing question (because they constitute the earlier-mentioned wall of texts).

How can students avoid making this mistake? The first few paragraphs are crucial since they will disclose the PAC of that question. Also, often there are keywords concealed within the question.

Therefore, these paragraphs need to read carefully and closely to help determine any key information.

Look at the Handout provided

In general, the situational question has two parts – the main question and the accompanying handout.

It is possible and easy to forget the handout question as you face exam stress. Hence, students need to remember to interpret it as exhaustively as they will have to dwell on the main question paper. Students should ensure that they make specific and clear references to the situational question in their answer.

Why is this important? This will make sure that the answer includes all the keywords contained in the question.

Include at least one personal response

The N-level students need to include their own views and explanation of the given question and handout. This is often easy to express as they write their personal reaction in the composition.

At least, students need to express whether they feel negatively and positively to the information contained in the question. They should also continue to give the reason for supporting why they feel as they do.

Importantly, students should keep in mind that the situational writing section carries as many points as the continuous writing composition.

Additional Tips to ensure that you do well in your N-level

Following these easy rules will guarantee that you increase the points for this section. Because all the info is given and you don’t have to make up an original content or plot. It then means that it’s possible for you to finish this segment quickly and start your continuous writing.

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Take at most 12-minutes for the situational writing segment

A situational writing should take about 12 minutes to finish. Meaning students will have enough time to organize and write the continuous writing segment. Remember that almost all the material is already given, so students don’t have to create new content.

Determine if it’s a formal or informal writing

A report is always a formal piece. But, emails and letters can be informal or formal. So, a student should find this out before writing. This can affect the tone to use, the manner to sign off and the kind of words that students will use in the segment.

In Closing

Though most secondary students choose to concentrate on the continuous writing thus their situational writing suffers. However, students should realize that both segments each are worth 30 marks. For this reason, students should make sure they give both segments equal attention to help earn more points.

To improve on essay writing, here are some more articles to help you:

How To Structure An English Literature Essay For Singapore A-Levels
Star Tips For Scoring Economics Essays In Your A-Levels


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.