PSLE Chinese Essay With Pictures Guide - How To Get High Marks?

Essays take up 40 marks in the total 200 marks of the primary 6 graduation exam papers. Choose one from two questions, either Essays With Pictures or Essays With Title. Most students prefer essay with pictures because it is more safe and not easy to stray from the theme, but the mark will not be very high. So how to get high mark for the essay with pictures?

Firstly, Within The 10 Minute Of Reading The Question, Candidates Should Do The Following:

1. Read the pictures to understand the content
2. Understand the theme
3. Determine the narrative perspective
4. Determine the opening and ending

The following will elaborate on each point.

1. Read The Pictures To Understand The Content

It is not hard for candidates to read the pictures, which are similar to comics. Usually one main character (appear in most or all pictures), two to three secondary characters. When reading the pictures, take note of the sequence characters appear, observe their dressing, hair, face and actions to determine their identities, understand their motion, feeling and actions, so as to develop the plots.

Apply '6 Wh' when read pictures:
Ⅰ. When
Ⅱ. Where
Ⅲ. Who
Ⅳ. What
Ⅴ. Why
Ⅵ. How
Once find out the '6 Wh', you can determine the essay content already. By using the '6 Wh', the essay content can be consistent without missing any important part.

2. Understand The Theme

Through reading the pictures, you should understand the theme. Usually the themes of primary school students are as the following:

  • Dangerous actions cause harms (mischief, fight and chasing each other)
  • Careless mistake (be late, lost item, break the glass when play balls and get lost when walking)
  • Helping others (classmates, neighbors and families)
  • Misunderstanding
  • Criminals (catch the thief, cheating and stealing)

3. Determine The Opening And Ending

For each theme, it corresponds to one or two type of openings/endings. Understanding the theme is helpful in determining the opening and ending.

4. Determine The Narrative Perspective

After reading the pictures and understand the themes, you need to determine the perspective, either from the first or the third perspective. Using the first perspective will give stronger scene feeling and brings in emotion elements more easily., Using the third perspective can describe all the content without missing or contradiction.

No matter which narrative perspective chosen, you must ensure it is consistent throughout the essay. In some students' essays, they use the third perspective at start but use the first perspective in the end, losing marks on 'content'. This has to be avoided.

After finishing the above 4 steps, you should start to write essay. Take note of the following points when writing:

1. Paragraphs

Usually for essay with pictures, opening and ending will each take up one paragraph, one paragraph for each picture in the main body. For question with 6 pictures, sometimes you can write one paragraph for two pictures with similar content and scenes. Leave one line in between every two paragraphs, to make it look more clear and neat.

2. Transitional Words

Except opening and ending, there should be transitional words at the start of each paragraph, to connect the content of two paragraphs. Usually they would refer to changes in time or space. For example, '过了不久...'
You can also use progressive or turning words, for example, 终于...', 可是...'

3. Rich Content

Descriptive and narrative Content should be rich, not only about content in the pictures, but also apply common sense and write part that is not drawn in the pictures. For example, sound, smell and feeling. You can use 5 senses: see, listen, smell,think and touch.

4. Use Metaphor, Idiom And Sayings

You should use various rhetoric in essay, usually the metaphor. And try to use idiom and sayings if capable, to make the expressions more vivid.

5. Number Of Words

A lot of students are concerned about the number of words, some even count the words when writing in the exam. From our experience, essays with high marks(36 or above) should be around 600 words, which is exactly 3 pages for normal writing paper(240 grids) . For primary 3-4, high marks would be above 400 words, which is exactly 2 pages for normal writing paper.