Secondary 1 English Singapore – Practical Tips With The Important Use Of Paraphrasing

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The transition from primary school to Secondary 1 English is one of the most crucial points in a student’s life. 

Secondary 1 is the start of a new journey to understand an arduous syllabus which is meant to test the student in every aspect of the English language.

The language and interpretation skills are at the top of the list and rudimentary phrases are no longer effective. 

Students need to pivot towards a new style in approaching communication skills in Secondary 1 English.

Verbal and Written skills are the primary path towards the completion of the skills needed in secondary school life. 

At the root of a Secondary 1 English student’s preparation is the yawning new chasm which greets him when he confronts the infinitely more intricate English paper.

There is nothing new about the Secondary 1 English paper compared to Primary 6. It has just gained several more footholds in the creative exploration of a whole new way of thinking.

For instance, when writing a composition, it should no longer be the way you wrote in Primary 6.

And when exploring the comprehension texts in Secondary 1 English, you are no longer just trying to comprehend the main points.

The entire concept of understanding and responding has changed.

secondary 1 english

There is one simple premise upon which the entire sequence of responses is based. 

You need to interpret differently. 

The context is the same but the perception is not.

Ok. That is a bit too much.

What I am really trying to say is that the approach has changed. 

When you are reading a comprehension text, you are not just reading it. 

You are sifting through it as if you are mining for gold in the Yukon. 

Nothing is really what it seems. 

The art of understanding and relaying what you have understood has changed so subtly when you cross that stream from Primary 6 that you wonder what had taken place.

What you really need to Understand for Secondary 1 English

The art of paraphrasing is an entirely different craft in Secondary 1 English. 

In fact, you probably did not paraphrase that much in Primary 6. 

Now it is an extremely different affair. 

Almost everything you do has to be paraphrased. 

There is always that imprint of your own ‘take’ on the subject matter, the author’s actions, what the summary question intends, what that essay topic is really hinting at.

Nothing is what it seems

Preparing for Secondary 1 English is little like overlooking Mount Atlas from the plains of Morocco. 

It may seem like an overwhelming task but you will get there if you follow these directives.

You will need to change your vocabulary style

There is no point in rehashing the same jargon you used previously. 

You will need to approach your new task with energy and flair.

I mean, how are you going to do your new comprehension passages using the same tried and tested methods?


One of the most repeated exercises you will face in Secondary 1 English is the paraphrasing task. 

The question will not be asking you to paraphrase but there will be subtle hints along the way. 

The main instructions at the top will state, no copying.

The entire tenor of your Secondary 1 English paper is meant to drive you towards a refreshing and invigorating answer which is entirely your output.

For paraphrasing, you will need to ponder on the deeper meaning of that phrase and combine it with what you think the intention is.

After all, the contextual meaning should underlie all your answers. 

Keep to the theme in the context. 

If the main idea is about the working conditions in a third world country, position your answer to move along those lines.

Paraphrasing is about looking out for subtle hints.

My advice

The best guide books or assessment books will never really teach you how to paraphrase. 

The only way is through your own endeavours on a daily basis as you note observations.

I will suggest note -taking as a way of jotting down whatever you observe.

Keep a journal and jot down the most immediate conclusions you derive from your recent observations.

Make this a daily practice. 

You may choose to summarise your views of a novel you may have read recently. 

Writing a short synopsis of the novel will not only reinforce the themes but help you to paraphrase the main content.

Paraphrasing is really the key to all communication. 

At best, it reflects the inner workings of your mind, revealing to others how you really feel about it. 

On a more perfunctory note, paraphrasing is the only tool you will really need to complete your exam paper to satisfaction.

It is one of the most essential communication skills in the 21st century. 

Be sure to capitalise on this skill by reinventing what has already been written in your own frame of thoughts. 

I would like to wish you a rewarding journey in your first step towards reaching a new level of communication.

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