Secondary 1 English Singapore: Understand How To Use Text Type Features And Achieve Good Grades For Narrative And Exposition Topics

Table of Contents

Narrative and expository topics are some of the most popular exam questions in Secondary 1 English paper today.

Narrative topics are fluid. 

It may have keywords about personal growth and it will be called a Reflective essay. 

Or it could be a personal recount.

Expository topics are always about factual events and activities. 

You need to have at least 3 main points about the topic for that Secondary 1 English essay. 

All expository topics include the most current social norms or reactions to major world actions. 

It is easy to write on these topics as you do not need a Stand or a Rebuttal. 

All you need to do is impress your marker with a swift flow of information that is factual and current.

Ok. Let us begin with Narrative text types.

All right. What is that?

Narrative writing has to fulfill the main obligation of informing the reader of the main plot around which a learning process evolves. 

You will need to sustain the interest of the reader while you do this which means you need to write at a certain level of creativity.

Fine. Let us start with Narrative writing techniques for the Secondary 1 English paper.

secondary 1 english


Let us face it, if you choose a narrative topic it means that you should be able to write a Good Story.

Writing a good story entails 3 main features:

  • The protagonist
  • Climax
  • Resolution

These are the key features that should be present in any good story.

The protagonist should be well defined, appealing and have an edge of vulnerability. 

Too perfect a character can be off-putting. 

So, invent a character who seems to have everything but has a gnawing ache which only he knows.

The protagonist is the hero, the one through whom the story is told. 

So, the protagonist has to have a certain quality that draws the reader to him/ her. 

The protagonist may be very ordinary but should have that one distinctive quality that softens the heart of the reader.


Ben Charles, the self-made millionaire drove his car through Cairnhill road to his private clinic in Mount Elizabeth Hospital. He had everything that any man could desire. He was married to a former supermodel and present philanthropist, Jean Louane. His mansion stood atop a rise at Bukit Timah and it was supposed to have two swimming pools and a gym.

Note that the details are accurate and clear. This is important when it comes to acing the Secondary 1 English paper.

There is no doubt about the protagonist’s station in life, his job and his personal life.

A Protagonist who has a problem

The perfect character should have at least one problem. 

He should have a chip on his shoulder which should make it impossible for him to go on with his ‘perfect’ life as if there was nothing wrong.

The Climax

The climax should be in the mid-section of the Secondary 1 English essay. 

There should be a build-up to the climax so that it will have time to explode. 

The climax may stretch over 2 paragraphs and should be totally unexpected. 

Though the build-up is there, the outside interferences could add to the improbability. 

This means there could be the elements of human error, fate, coincidence and timing which could contribute to a surprising climax.

The Resolution

The end should tie up the knots neatly. 

Every problem, obstacle and doubt should be resolved and explained. 

This should be done in the paragraph before the end. 

The conclusion is only meant for summarising and expressing one’s opinion.


When you choose an expository topic, make sure that you have at least 3 points that correspond to the Secondary 1 English question.


Most young people are interested in making money and gaining fame. What are your views?

This expository topic only asks that you write about young people’s interest in money and fame.

All you have to do is to list out the way young people correspond to the need to have money and fame. 

While doing this, you may also mention that some young people may not be interested in this. 

It is ok to have different views when writing an expository topic.

When it comes to expository writing, there are some key factors to take note:

  • The first rule is to have about 3-4 main points about this.
  • Young people like money and fame – Points 1, 2, and 3. And the 4th point may be about young people who may be more altruistic and less self-absorbed.
  • Every expository topic should be written in a well-informed manner with the latest information, if possible.
  • Always write in an objective style.
  • Maintain a non-judgemental view and keep to the way the Secondary 1 English question is posed. Do not write from the opposite point of view.

For students who are reluctant to write a plot or weave a character around a story, opt for expository topics instead. 

You will not need to use creative words or have a plot. 

The entire Secondary 1 English essay will be based on facts and good organisation skills.

In fact, most students prefer to opt for this as it seems easier to do.

At the end of the day, it is best to try the topic which suits your style. 

Read through the given questions and remember to choose the ones that you have about 3 points in hand. 

Only start writing when you already have a plan.

The next step is to just get down to it. 

Get your pen out and start writing the 4 points for the Secondary 1 English question I just placed above. 

Go on, what’s stopping you? 😊

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Get a Free Assessment Test

Many O and A level students are struggling with their English grades today. We conduct a FREE English Assessment Test for every student and more than 5,000 students have managed to achieve amazing results. 

Sign up for the FREE test today and we will send you the results!