How to Tackle Secondary School Situational Writing With These 2 Tips!

Hi there! My name is Ms Lee Hui Jun and I am here today to introduce and provide some strategies to help you score for Secondary School Situational Writing at the secondary level. If you are unfamiliar with the overall assessment format at the Secondary Level, you may click on this link to find out more first before proceeding.


For starters, the following is some basic information about situational writing that you need to know:

From the basic information about situational writing, it is important to note that you not only need to use and, as much as possible, paraphrase information from a given visual text, but you are also required to develop on the task fulfilment points with your own words to score for task fulfilment.

To ensure that you tackle this section properly, let’s take a look at the steps you can carry out.

Examination Tip: 6 Steps to Breakdown Your Task

Step 1: Identify and fully understand the PACWFT of the question (Purpose, Audience, Context, Writer, Format, Tone).

Step 2: Identify and label the number of points needed for task fulfilment
Tip: Be careful with questions which may have more than one point needed with two WH- question words! For example, the point might include which activity do you like best and why. Take note that both parts of the question need to be answered.

Step 3: Search, highlight and paraphrase task fulfilment points in the Visual Text
Tip: Jot down your paraphrased ideas on the Visual Text itself.
Note: If the task fulfilment point cannot be found in the Visual Text, brainstorm for ideas and write them down on the empty spaces you have.

Step 4: Plan the overall structure of your essay
Tip: Consider grouping similar ideas together and deciding what goes into each paragraph.

Step 5: Write your essay
Tip: As you are writing, cross out points that you have used so that you are clearly aware that you have fulfilled the task requirements.

Step 6: Reread and check your work
Tip: To score for band 1, you will need to use highly accurate language along with a coherent and cohesive presentation of your ideas. Edit your work to enhance it if possible before moving on to the next section of your paper.

Now that you have an idea of how to break down your task, let’s take a look at the 2020 ‘O’ Level question:

I hope you have read the question and visual text carefully. Now, I’m going to show you how to apply steps one to four in order to tackle the question systematically. Refer to the following worked example below:

Steps 1 and 2 should be done concurrently as you are reading the task information. If you have understood the task correctly, you would have realised that you would need to choose one of the options given in the visual stimulus and explain your choice clearly. For the purpose of this practice, I have decided to go with the last option (spending a week in Bali at a luxury beach resort). Below is a worked example of how Step 3 should look like:

Notice how when a task fulfilment point cannot be found in the visual text (e.g. points 4 and 7), I need to brainstorm my own logical ideas that suit the context given in the question. Often, even for points that are found in the text, you are still required to develop them in your own words (e.g. for point 5 I needed to explain in my own words why the couple would enjoy the scuba-diving lessons). To ensure that you are answering all the task fulfilment points, remember to number the points as you jot them down according to how you have labelled them in the question (e.g. point 2 indicates which option has been chosen).

For Step 4, you can jot down the outline in any empty space on the question paper. One good tip is to decide in which paragraph each task fulfilment point will be addressed and to write down its number so as to remind yourself to include the point. It should look something like this:

I hope you find these tips and strategies useful when you need to tackle the situational writing component. Do you have any other methods that have proven to work for you when attempting this section of the paper? Share with us in the comments section below. See you in future posts!

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Ms Hui Jun

As a teacher, Ms Hui Jun is driven to create a safe conducive space for learning in her classroom. To achieve this, she makes an effort to build rapport with her students so that they are unafraid to ask questions when in doubt. With an aim for her students to grow from every lesson, she encourages them to reflect on their learning and find ways to connect them to real life application. With this, she hopes to stretch the young minds of all her pupils and to equip them with the language skills necessary in our world today.

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