SmileTutor Blog Students Exam Tips Ultimate PSLE English Composition Guide: Free Samples & Common Topics (Step-by-step)

Ultimate PSLE English Composition Guide: Free Samples & Common Topics (Step-by-step)

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Primary school English exams in Singapore are more than just a test of language proficiency. These tests challenge students to communicate effectively and think critically.
Mastering the art of composition writing is crucial for excelling in primary school exams and beyond.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about composition writing. We will equip you with practical tips essential for success. We have also included sample compositions and a curated list of common compo topics.

What is Composition Writing?

In simple terms, a composition is a piece of writing that conveys ideas or information in a structured manner. A composition could take many forms, such as essays, narratives, or descriptive pieces. 

The main goal of a composition is to communicate effectively with the intended audience, whether to inform, persuade, entertain, or express personal viewpoints.

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In the Singapore education system, composition writing is an essential part of primary levels, as early as primary 1.  

Students will also have to write compositions during their PSLE exams. Typically, students are required to write a composition of 150 words, based on the given topic and accompanying pictures. 

In fact, composition counts for 20% of the total grade in the PSLE English exam. Moreover, students also have to write composition during their exams in primary 3, 4, 5, and 6. This underscores the importance of English composition in our education system. 

4 Common Types of Composition Writing 

Now that it is clear why you should focus on improving your composition writing skills. With this in mind, let us explore more about composition writing. 

In common, composition writing can be categorised into four:

Narrative Composition writing 

Narrative compositions tell a story or narrate an event. It often includes a setting, characters, a plot, and a conclusion. Narrative writing primarily focuses on creating a vivid and memorable experience. To accomplish this, you have to employ descriptive words, and other sensory details to bring the story to life

Therefore, you will also need a good vocabulary range to ace your exams

Are you looking to improve your English vocabulary for narrative writing? These vocabulary games can help make your English learning more engaging and fun!

Descriptive Composition Writing 

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In descriptive writing, you are required to paint a picture of a particular place, person, or object. Like narrative writing, descriptive compositions also create a sensory experience for the reader. 

However, while narrative writing focuses on the story, descriptive writing focuses on the details of the subject

For instance, if you are asked to write a descriptive composition about a place, you could choose a topic such as ‘A Sunset at the Beach’ and A Busy Marketplace’. 

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Exposition Composition Writing 

Exposition writing focuses on factual information. This composition aims to inform, educate, or persuade readers to support their thesis by providing examples, evidence, or logical reasoning. 

Usually, expository compositions explain processes or clarify concepts to readers in a concise manner. Rather than using complex vocabulary or descriptive words, expository compositions demand straightforward and easily understandable language

Topics such as ‘The History of the Internet’ and ‘The Benefits of Reading’ are great examples of expository composition writing. Your English tutor can introduce you to common topics suitable for practising expository compositions.

Argumentative Composition Writing 

In argumentative compositions, you have to persuade readers to agree with your viewpoint by providing supporting details. In essence, you have to present your argument compellingly and convince the reader

For example, imagine your composition topic is ‘The Importance of Environmental Conservation’. The argument for this topic can include the need for reducing carbon emissions, combating climate change, and protecting endangered species. 

On the other hand, you could also write about counterarguments such as economic considerations and job losses caused by the pro-environmental steps. 

As you can assume, in argumentative essays, you should not only provide strong supporting points but also address and refute counterarguments to strengthen your position.

How to Start Writing a Good Composition in 5 Steps 

Writing a composition can appear a challenge at first. However, it can be simpler if you break down the process into multiple steps – as we discuss below. 

Step 1: Understand the Topic

As with any other writing, the first step is to fully understand what you are writing about. In other words, get a clear idea of the topic or question you’re addressing. You will also have to figure out what type of composition you are writing. Take time to brainstorm ideas and plan your composition.

To write a good composition effectively, you will need more than just a surface-level grasp. For instance, let’s say you are writing about a topic like social media that is very familiar to you. But to write your thoughts in a structured manner, you will need to jot down all your initial thoughts, ideas, and questions related to the topic.

This brainstorming exercise will help you generate a variety of perspectives and angles to explore in your composition. 

Step 2: Create an Outline

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Once you have an idea of what to include in the composition, then it’s time to work on an outline. When writing a composition for PSLE, you will have to create an outline in your head. 

An outline essentially helps you organise your thoughts and will serve as a roadmap to your composition. 

Start by identifying the main points you want to cover in your composition and arrange them in a logical order.  Then, for each main point, list down supporting details, examples, and evidence that will help support your arguments. 

This step-by-step approach to outlining ensures that your ideas flow smoothly from one paragraph to the next, creating a cohesive and well-structured composition that is easy for readers to follow and understand.

Step 3: Start Preparing the First Draft 

With a well-defined outline in hand, you are now ready to start preparing the first draft of your composition. The first draft is an opportunity to flesh out your ideas, expand on your outline, and start crafting the actual content of your composition.

Almost all compositions follow a similar structure – that is, the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion

And remember, you will also have to keep track of the word count while writing the composition. Let us take a closer look at how to approach each of these sections. 


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While the introduction sounds quite simple, it is also one of the most important aspects of your composition. Your introduction needs to be just right, establishing your thesis as well as grabbing the attention of the reader

And for this reason, most students have a writer’s block when penning down their first thoughts. However, writing introductions can be made easier by keeping in mind the following aspects:

  • Think of your introduction as a ‘teaser’ to your composition
  • To do this, open with the most exciting part of the composition. This could be an intriguing statement, a compelling question, or a vivid description that immediately draws the reader into the story or topic you’re discussing.
  • After the opening paragraph, backtrack your story in the second. 

Considering the above points in mind, let us offer you an example. For instance, let’s say you are writing a composition on ‘Cyberbullying’. Your introduction could be something like this. 

‘Alex’s phone buzzed continuously. Just an hour after sharing a photo on Instagram, he found himself bombarded with over 50 comments focused on his appearance. Majority was about how he has put on weight. With each notification, his anxiety was worsening, sending him to a downward spiral of stress.’

This paragraph offers a vivid description of someone experiencing cyberbullying. Following this, you can introduce the purpose of your composition, and the main points you will be discussing, and provide a brief overview of what readers can expect. 

Body Paragraphs

[Pexels : Min An ]

As you move on to the body paragraphs, focus on developing each main point or argument in detail. This requires using the supporting details, examples, and evidence listed in your outline. 

At the same time, you also need to aim for clarity, and conciseness in your writing, ensuring that each paragraph is well-structured and contributes to the overall flow and progression of your composition. 

When it comes to body paragraphs, each one should have a clear topic sentence and proper transitions. For example, if you’re writing a composition about the benefits of exercise, a topic sentence for a body paragraph could be: 

‘Regular exercise not only improves physical fitness but also enhances mental well-being’. 

Following this topic sentence about the benefits of exercise, you could include supporting details such as: 

‘Studies have shown that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Moreover, exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, helping to reduce stress and boost overall mental health.”

For transitioning from one body paragraph to another, use connecting phrases like ‘Furthermore,’ ‘In addition,’, ‘On the other hand,’ or ‘Similarly,’ to link related ideas and provide continuity to your composition.

To conclude the body paragraphs on exercise benefits, you could write: 

‘Overall, incorporating regular exercise into one’s lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in both physical and mental well-being, making it an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.’


After completing the body paragraphs, transition smoothly into the conclusion by summarising the key findings or insights from your composition. You can further restate the thesis or main idea, and leave the reader with a final thought or reflection.

Remember, the first draft is a work in progress, and it’s okay if it’s not perfect. The important thing is to get your ideas down on paper and start shaping them into a cohesive composition. 

Step 4: Edit And Proofread

As mentioned above, your first draft of your English composition writing is the foundational layer. Editing is necessary to make sure that the composition doesn’t have any big errors. Focus on the following when proofreading:

  • Make sure that the composition flows logically
  • Pay attention to the transitions between ideas and paragraphs, ensuring that they are seamless and contribute to the overall coherence of your composition.
  • Correct any grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Look out for common mistakes such as misused words, run-on sentences, and punctuation errors.

As we mentioned above, when you practise composition writing before exams, you will pick up on how to transition smoothly between ideas and paragraphs. This way, your composition writing would be much better during PSLE

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in PSLE English Composition Writing 

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Writing involves a lot of practical learning. Becoming better at composition writing isn’t something that you can achieve by cramming the day before the exam. Rather, the more you write, the easier it becomes. That being said, there are indeed some mistakes that you need to keep an eye out for. 

Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid in PSLE English composition writing. 

1. Deviating From the Topic 

It isn’t uncommon for students to lose track of the main topic when writing composition. For instance, let’s say that you are writing about a ‘challenging situation’ in your life. You might end up focusing on the ‘situation’ instead of explaining how and why it was challenging for you. 

One way to avoid this mistake is to take note of the keywords and make sure that the entire composition revolves around them. In the topic, ‘A Challenging Situation’, the keyword is ‘challenging’. 

That being said, if the topic is a descriptive one, such as ‘An interesting journey’, the focus should be on explaining the details of the journey. 

2. Not Planning the Composition

When writing compositions in school, especially during exams, you might not get an extra paper to prepare an outline. However, it is essential that you have a clear plan in your mind. A lack of structure can result in disorganized and confusing compositions.

As we noted before, make sure that your composition has a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, and ensure a smooth flow of information.

3. Repetition and Cliches

Using limited vocabulary, repetitive phrases, or clichés can make the composition sound monotonous and unoriginal. Therefore, you will want to expand your vocabulary, learn new synonyms, and use varied language to express your ideas. 

Additionally, you should also make sure that you use a consistent tone of writing throughout the composition. Depending on the topic, you can choose between formal and informal tones, or find the right balance between the two. 

4. Not Proofreading 

In fact, many simple errors can be corrected with effective proofreading. Some of the common mistakes made by students include your/you’re’, ‘there/their/they’re’, ‘then/than’ and ‘affect/effect’. Keep note of the common words you struggle with and improve them through practice. 

Similarly, setting aside plenty of time for proofreading is crucial to catch any errors and make corrections before you hand in the paper. 

5. Not Managing Time

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Needless to say, time management is essential for all parts of exams, including English composition writing. You can’t spend too much time preparing the outline or thinking about what to write. You need to manage your time effectively by allocating specific time limits for planning, writing, and proofreading. 

Top 10 Primary 3 English Composition Topics

  1. An Unfortunate Incident

Write about a challenging or unfortunate event you experienced and how it impacted you.

  1. A Surprise

Describe a surprising event or moment that left a lasting impression on you.

  1. Being Kind

Reflect on an act of kindness you performed or witnessed, highlighting its significance.

  1. My Best Friend

Describe your best friend, their qualities, and the special bond you share.

  1. A Visit to the Zoo

Write about a trip to the zoo, describing the animals you saw and your favourite moments.

  1. My Dream Vacation

Describe where you would like to spend your dream holiday and the activities you would do there.

  1. My Favorite Animal

Write about your favorite animal, explaining why you like it and interesting characteristics of it.

  1. The Magic Toy

Describe an imaginary magical toy that can do extraordinary things and the adventures you have with it.

  1. The Day I Got a Pet

Describe the day you got a new pet, including your feelings, the pet’s characteristics, and how it changed your life.

  1. My Favorite Sport

Write about your favourite sport to play or watch, explaining why you enjoy it and the skills involved.

Top 10 Primary 4 English Composition Topics 

  1. An Unforgettable Outing

Describe a memorable day out with friends or family, highlighting the activities, experiences, and special moments shared.

  1. A Brave Act

Write about a courageous deed you or someone else performed, explaining the situation, challenges faced, and the impact of the act.

  1. A Secret

Share a fictional or personal secret that has significance to you or your characters, exploring the emotions, consequences, and lessons learned.

  1. The Day I Overcame a Fear

Describe a specific fear you faced and conquered, detailing the circumstances, your feelings, and the steps you took to overcome it.

  1. A Memorable School Event

Write about an important event or activity at school, such as a sports day, concert, or festival, and its impact on you and your classmates.

  1. My Hero

Describe someone you admire and consider to be a hero, discussing their qualities, achievements, and the reasons why they inspire you.

  1. A Sleepless Night

Share a personal experience of a night when you couldn’t sleep, explaining the reasons, thoughts, and emotions that kept you awake.

  1. The Day You Helped Someone

Write about a time when you provided assistance or support to someone in need, describing the situation, your actions, and the impact on the other person.

  1. Overcoming a Problem

Describe a problem or challenge you faced and how you resolved it, sharing the steps taken, lessons learned, and the outcome.

  1. A Fortunate Escape

Write a story about a close call or near miss, detailing the dangerous or unexpected situation and how you or your characters managed to escape unharmed.

Top 10 Primary 6 English Composition Topics 

  1. A Special Gift

Write about a meaningful gift you received or gave, explaining its significance, the emotions it evoked, and the memories associated with it.

  1. Being Trustworthy

Share a personal story or fictional tale about the importance of trustworthiness, highlighting the actions, choices, and values that demonstrate trustworthiness.

  1. Helping Someone

Describe an instance when you assisted or supported someone in need, detailing the situation, your actions, and the impact it had on both you and the other person.

  1. A Happy Occasion

Write about a joyful celebration or event, such as a birthday, wedding, or festival, sharing the preparations, activities, and the happiness it brought to you and your loved ones.

  1. A Secret

Share a fictional or personal secret that has significance to you or your character, exploring the emotions, consequences, and lessons learned.

  1. A School Trip to the Park 

Write about a school excursion to a park, detailing the activities, experiences, and lessons learned from exploring nature and spending time outdoors with classmates.

  1. A Family Tradition

Write about a unique family tradition or custom that holds significance to you and your family, exploring its origins, the reasons it is celebrated, and the memories associated with it.

  1. The Mystery of my Lost Toy

Write a mystery story about a lost toy and the search to find it, detailing the clues, suspects, and the eventual discovery. A good example of a narrative composition. 

  1. The School Science Fair

Describe a school science fair, discussing the experiments, projects, and discoveries presented by you and other students, and the excitement of learning and exploring science.

  1. My Favorite Place in the World

Write about your favourite place in the world, describing its location, scenery, and why it holds a special place in your heart. This can be a descriptive essay evoking sensory details and emotions associated with the place.

Top 10 PSLE English Composition Topics

  1. The Day I Will Never Forget

Write about a memorable event or experience that had a significant impact on your life.

  1. The Role of Technology in Our Lives

Write about the impact of technology on society, discussing both positive and negative aspects.

  1. The Magic Door

Imagine and describe a magical door that leads to a different world or time period, detailing the adventures and discoveries that await behind it.

  1. A Visit to a Foreign Country

Describe a trip to a foreign country, discussing the culture, people, and your experiences.

  1. The Importance of Family

Write about the role and importance of family in your life, sharing personal stories or experiences that highlight its significance.

  1. The Day I Overcame a Fear

Write about a time when you faced and overcame a fear, describing the situation, your feelings, and the outcome.

  1. A Future World

Imagine and describe what you think the world will be like in 100 years, elaborating on advancements in technology, changes in society, and how people would live.

  1. The Day I Volunteered

Write about a day when you volunteered or helped others, explaining the activity, your feelings, and the impact it had on the community or individuals.

  1. The Importance of Physical Fitness

Discuss the significance of physical fitness and staying active, sharing your personal experiences or activities that you enjoy to stay fit.

  1. My Favorite Book Character

Describe your favourite character from a book and describe why you like them and how they inspire you.

Past Year Samples of Composition Writing 

Below, we have included samples of previous years’ PSLE English composition writing topics.

Topic 1:  A Change for the Better 

Imagine how cities are on most evenings. The bustling city with its rush hour traffic is often a nightmare, with cars honking incessantly and commuters stuck in endless queues. Needless to say, the increase in the number of cars contributes to air as well as noise pollution in the city. 

Unfortunately, this scenario is a common sight in many urban centres, including Singapore, highlighting the urgent need for a change towards sustainable and efficient transportation systems.

To address this pressing issue, Singapore embarked on a transformative journey towards greener and smarter mobility solutions. The government implemented various initiatives to promote public transportation, such as expanding the MRT and bus networks. They also introduced electric and hybrid buses, and enhanced cycling infrastructure. In addition to this, car-sharing schemes and incentives for electric vehicle ownership were further introduced to reduce the number of private cars on the roads.

The improvements brought about by these steps were remarkable and far-reaching. The expansion and enhancement of public transportation options led to reduced congestion on roads. Furthermore, it also led to shorter commuting times, and improved air quality. The promotion of electric and hybrid vehicles and the adoption of sustainable transportation practices also contributed to significant reductions in carbon emissions, making Singapore a greener and more environmentally friendly city.

In conclusion, by focusing on eco-friendly options and improving public transport, Singapore has eased traffic and cut pollution, setting the stage for a more sustainable future for everyone.

Topic 2: A Surprise Birthday Party 

There I was, going back to my house after school like any other day. But, as I opened the door to my apartment, I was met with a wave of excitement and joy that filled the room—a surprise birthday party! 

The room was adorned with colourful balloons, streamers, and a table laden with delicious treats and a beautifully decorated cake with candles glowing brightly. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was very excited and grateful that my family and friends had gone to great lengths to plan and organize this special celebration just for me.

They knew how much I love birthdays. My parents had put effort and thoughtfulness into every detail of the party. They had invited all my close friends, which made me feel incredibly special and cherished. Not only that, the decorations had an amazing theme, the Avengers, which is my favourite movie. 

As I took in the scene, a mixture of surprise, happiness, and gratitude washed over me. I felt overwhelmed with emotion as I realized how fortunate I was to be surrounded by such caring and supportive people in my life. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh as I hugged and thanked all my friends for making my birthday truly memorable.

The joy and happiness shared during the surprise birthday party created lasting memories that I will cherish forever. It was a reminder of the importance of love, friendship, and celebrating life’s special moments with those who matter most. 

Topic 3: An Unforgettable Outing

On a bright and sunny Saturday morning, my family and I embarked on an unforgettable outing to the picturesque Botanic Gardens in Singapore. The vibrant colours of the flowers, the refreshing scent of nature, and the soothing sounds of chirping birds greeted us as we entered the lush green oasis in the heart of the city.

Accompanied by my parents, younger sister, and our playful dog, we explored the winding paths, discovering hidden ponds, blooming gardens, and majestic trees that seemed to climb up to the sky. My sister and I eagerly chased butterflies, while our dog happily ran on the grass, adding laughter and joy to our adventure.

We had a delightful picnic under the shade of a towering tree. We enjoyed homemade sandwiches, fresh fruits, chocolates and refreshing drinks while sharing stories. 

As the day went on, I felt a profound sense of happiness and gratitude for the precious moments spent with my family amidst the beauty of nature. The outing was not just a fun-filled adventure but also a cherished opportunity to connect, relax, and create lasting memories together.

The Botanic Gardens were amazing, and it reminded me how nice it is to spend time with family in nature.


Mastering composition writing is indeed a valuable skill. By practising regularly, and learning from past samples and mistakes, you can improve your writing skills and excel in your English examinations. 

And if you need further help with English composition writing, you can find a private tutor to help you. SmileTutor can connect you to experienced tutors with excellent qualifications!

Looking for more composition writing resources? Explore these articles for further guidance and inspiration.

How to Help Your Child Become a Stronger Writer 

How is Literature Relevant to Our Future?


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.