Category Archives for "Past Workshops"

5 Secrets to Scoring 27/30 for Situational Writing Revealed!

Hello wonderful people, I’m happy to share the 5 secrets to scoring an A (i.e. 21/30 or above) for situational writing this week.

Situational writing is one of the most overlooked sections of the English paper. Most students practice writing expository or reflective essays in preparation for their examinations but how many go past memorising formats for situational writing? Surely there’s more to it than just letter or email formats!

If you’re task-focused and if you know what examiners want from you, scoring 70% and above for situational writing wouldn’t seem like it’s out of reach.

It is imperative that you read the situational writing question and the model answer I've written here before reading the 5 secrets I'm revealing in this blog post.

I highly recommend that you print out both the question and answer and glean for lessons you can learn from them.​

Click here for the question and model answer!​



1st: Identify the tasks and plan when you’re going to address them.

Read the model essay and pay attention to the words in green. Notice how the tasks are systematically addressed:

  • task 1 & 2 in paragraph 2
  • task 3 in paragraph 3
  • task 4 in paragraph 4.

Organising your content by using the paragraphs helps your teacher to mark easily. He or she will know where your content is for each required task, ensuring that you score for the Task Fulfilment component (worth 10 marks!).

If the examiner has to look up and down for areas where you've addressed the task, it'd be bad news for you!

2nd: Use directional words or phrases to further strengthen your organisation.

In the model essay, these phrases or words have been bold for you. The expressions include:

  • “One point it made”
  • “Also”
  • “First of all”
  • “Another way to prepare yourself to quit smoking is”.

Using them helps your reader to know when a point begins and ends, making reading a much easier process.

Furthermore, when you use these expressions, you’re also helping yourself to stay focused and not jump from one point to another! This is the #1 tip I teach my students to see an immediately improvement in their situational writing score.

3rd: Use the first and last paragraph to establish tone.

A quick way to establish the tone as stipulated by the question is to make use of the first and last paragraphs to do so.

Every situational writing question will have specific tones you are to use. Some common tones include: 

  • serious
  • stern
  • enthusiastic
  • excited
  • friendly
  • assuring 

If you don’t establish these tones throughout your writing, you’ll lose on the Language component (worth 20 marks!).

In the model essay, notice how a friendly and encouraging tone is strongly established in both the first and last paragraphs.

4th: Use 2-3 sentences to develop each main idea.

If you suggest a method or give reasons for your choice, be sure to use 2-3 sentences to further elaborate on those ideas.

For instance, in the model essay, I’ve suggested that the recipient of the email enrol the help of family and friends to quit smoking. The main point here is to suggest that she gets help from people in her community. I elaborate on this point by offering my help as her best friend to keep her accountable, and to provide emotional support should she need any along the way.

Do read the model essay a few times to get a very clear idea of how ideas are organised and developed. Then, make sure you do not add any good but irrelevant information in your situational writing. Rather, make use of the limited time and words you have to develop on existing ideas which help you to address the task requirements!

5th: Use information from the visual text to support your ideas.

Many students forget to use information from the visual text for their writing. Do you know that you need to make use of relevant information from the visual text to score in the Task Fulfilment component?

This should be done in the planning stage and not left to “fate” in the middle of your writing process.

A bonus tip for all of your diligent readers who have read to the end of this post: remember to paraphrase the information you’ve picked out from the visual stimulus for your writing. Doing this ensures that you aren’t penalised for lifting chunks of language for your writing!

Can you spot any other areas where I've paraphrased information taken from the question and visual text in my model answer? If you can, leave your answers in the comment box below. 😉

This is a snippet of what I'll be teaching in the Situational Writing Workshop I'm conducting on 20th & 21st JUNE 2016

Click HERE for details of the workshop! 🙂

[Situational Writing] 5 New A1 Words For Formal Writing

Do you realise there are some words you tend to use very frequently in situational writing, especially in formal writings?

Well, the smart thing to do would be to find out better alternatives to these words and use them the next time you write! Part of expanding your vocabulary bank is to acquire more words that express the same meaning. Teachers call it “shades of meaning”. Because English is full of diversity, using more precise words help to add richness to our language.

Shades of Meaning

Cool → Cold → Icy → Frigid

Scared → Shaken → Horrified → Petrified

I’ve picked out five high frequency words in situational writing. Study the five examples below closely and make it a point to substitute the boring words with these well-chosen ones:

1) I look forward to your POSITIVE reply.

  • I look forward to your FAVOURABLE reply.
  • I hope you will look upon this proposal FAVOURABLY.

2) After THINKING CAREFULLY, we have decided to hold the graduation night in the school hall.

  • After careful DELIBERATION, our committee has decided to hold the graduation night in the school hall.
  • After DELIBERATING where to hold the graduation night, our committee has decided that the ideal venue would be the school hall.

3) Putting up posters in the school canteen will help us SPREAD the message of mutual respect.

  • Putting up posters in the school canteen will help to DISSEMINATE the message of mutual respect.
  • The message DISSEMINATED is clear: mutual respect is to be practised in our school.

4) Our environment club has always SUPPORTED recycling, reducing and reusing.

  • Our environment club has always ADVOCATED recycling, reducing and reusing.
  • Our environment club ADVOCATES recycling, reducing and reusing.

5) I would like to THANK YOU for the opportunity to suggest the best method to foster stronger bonds between students in each class.

  • I would like to EXTEND MY GRATITUDE for the opportunity to suggest the best method to foster stronger bonds between students in each class.

This is a snippet of what I'll be teaching in the Situational Writing Workshop I'm conducting on 20th & 21st JUNE 2016

Click HERE for details of the workshop! 🙂

[Past Workshops: Pictures] Grammar Refresher Course @ Citikids Kindergarten

APRIL 2016: Grammar Refresher Workshop for Citikids Kindergarten Teachers

I've had the privilege of conducting a grammar and vocabulary course for the teachers of Citikids kindergarten in April. It was such an honour working with fellow teachers who have a passion for teaching.

You girls have my utmost respect for what you do. And oh myyy what fabulous teaching facilities you have! 🙂 

All the best for your teaching endeavour, amazing teachers of Citikids kindergarten. Thanks so much for your trust, Mandy!

A Panorama 

Teachers Hard @ Work

Citikids' Team of Passionate & Dedicated Teachers

[Past Workshops: Pictures] Comprehension Mastery 30-31 Dec

The second Comprehension Mastery workshop was a great way to end the year 2015!

It was 2 rewarding days well spent! We've learned a total of 7 reading skills and countless other tips for answering comprehension questions as well as the summary question.

From the feedback forms, it seems like everyone enjoyed the team games which helped to reinforce learning and keep the energy level up! 

Here are the few pictures I've managed to snap during the workshop. Though I couldn't take snapshots of you all in action during the games because I was busy facilitating them, I'm sure you'll remember the fun and thrill as vividly as I do. 😉

A Panorama Of Comprehension Workshop

Students Hard At Work 

All Of Us Wonderful People

Our Valiant Attempt At Making Funny Faces 🙂

[Past Workshops: Pictures] Comprehension Mastery 21-22 Dec

At the 21-22 Dec Comprehension Mastery workshop, we tackled reading skills and answering techniques while having team games and some fun together.

You guys are indeed amazing! I had a great time and I hope it was the same for you! 🙂 

Answering Students' Questions

Teaching Summary Skills

Students Hard At Work

Team Project

Team Presentations

The Awesome Students