One of the most common mistakes a student makes is in writing out points.
A Secondary English composition paper demands freestyle writing and the student basically has to prepare points and plan out the composition in terms of plot, theme, evidence, and main topic points from start to finish.
Naturally, with the Secondary English composition being around 300 to 500 words in length, it becomes a common fallacy that the student strays from the topic.
Exactly how does this happen?
The most common way to write a Secondary English composition without planning is by using a little mind map or template writing.
Some prewriting is absolutely essential to avoid getting into the nightmare glitch of writing out of point.
I have 6 simple ideas that will ensure you stay on topic for all your Secondary English compositions. Just try to follow them or simply choose the few that you like best.
#1 Mind map
Writing a mind map is one of the best ways. This works for all kinds of composition genres from reflective to expository.
The best part about writing a mind map is that the way you do it is totally up to you. You could have one with the heart of the story in the middle. Eg. Theme, and the rest could be the main characters, climax, and resolution.
Or if it’s expository, you could still do the heart of the story at the centre or the theme.
Writing it like this means that you will keep looking at your mind map from time to time. This is a great way to keep on track.
Mind maps are easy. No rules apply. The only problem is that students rarely use it.
I think the reason is that they simply get into the Secondary English essay and start writing it from start to finish as if they were preparing a gravy. They just cook it up without the entire plan in place!
This only means you may find yourself writing about something rather different from the Secondary English question.
#2 Keywords breakdown
One of the best ways to do a simple plan is to just break down the keywords. If you’re not into mind maps, then stick to this. It’s really simple.
Why breakdown keywords? One of the best outcomes is that you know what to focus on and you will also interpret the keywords according to your Secondary English essay.
Some questions are worded ambiguously and you need to understand what the keywords really mean. Understanding and interpreting it in the best way possible should be your concern. Then, you will need to apply your evidence accordingly.
Remember to always choose Secondary English questions where you understand what the keywords mean. Avoid those that sound too tricky or open-ended.
#3 Visualise the plot
This especially applies to the narrative, reflective and personal accounts.
Visualising the plot is more than just thinking of a happy ending. You need to think about the problem in the story.
And before you explain the problem, you need to build up the background and profile. The problem culminates in the climax and there should be a solid learning point. These are extremely important if you want to write a compelling Secondary English essay.
The narrative essay genre is easy to score in but that doesn’t mean you do not have to do your groundwork. Make sure that you are extremely peeled to the question’s demands and work backward from the end where you learn the truth.
It’s really not rocket science but you need to discipline yourself to follow this. Most students are aware of it but use the lazy way. They just jump right into it and imagine the story as they write.
That’s not really a good idea for 2 reasons. You may have written a better essay if you had stopped to think of the background and built it up slowly. And secondly, your story may have loopholes written without a plot. So, just apply these rules.
#4 Character profile
This also applies to the story-type genre. I love this part as you can simply build up a character from scratch. You have a lot of freedom in doing this.
Manipulation of character means you can build up moral ambivalence in your story. All the characters in your story should have a purpose, a path of action, and a resolution.
Plan their paths accordingly and build the plot around them. This is integral to the creation of the entire storyline.
#5 Write out the template
The template is very important as well. This is actually the outline of the entire Secondary English essay. If you do the mind map thoroughly, there is no need for this.
I personally prefer the template style as you know how many paragraphs there are including the function of each one.
Templates keep your essay well-balanced and ensure that you link back to the question in the end.
#6 PEEL format
The PEEL format is the Point, Evidence, Explanation, and Link back.
This is part of the template. I am emphasising this as the inclusion of evidence is crucial in expository and argumentative essays.
Even when you are writing in a narrative style, you will need to include an anecdote to ensure it supports your point. The evidence should be up to date and have rational reasoning. It always links to the question and your stand. This will help your essay to stay on topic.
A sound explanation supporting the evidence should follow. This is the part where you may include your own views. Every point you make must be backed by some form of evidence that is relevant because the events relate directly to your argument.
Choose your evidence carefully. It could be outstanding evidence from the past or something that happened very recently. Both are equally impactful. And last but by no means least, always check the veracity of your evidence before you write it. The truth counts.
Well, I have come to the end of my little discourse on maintaining your grasp of the topic. These are some of the most useful and easy-to-follow tips.
Pick the ones you feel are suitable for you and try them out. You will be amazed to see how your Secondary English essay will flow. Good luck!