In general, Continuous Writing is an examination segment that assesses the ability of students to process the given information and write an extended essay within a fixed amount of time.

Before we look further to identify the critical areas of concerns, it is important to start with the understanding of the examination format.

1. Familiarise yourself with the requirements

The GCE O Level English (1128) examination features 4 papers, in which each paper focuses on a specific area of assessment:

  • Writing
  • Comprehension
  • Listening
  • Oral Communicatio

In Paper 1 Section C, Continuous (also known as Composition) Writing is featured during the examination. In 1 hour 50 minutes, students are expected to complete the ‘Editing’, ‘Situational Writing’ and ‘Continuous Writing’ sections.

Students have to write an essay ranging from 350 to 500 words. They are required to choose one out of four questions. These questions are of different types, such as narrative, descriptive, expository and argumentative in nature.

2. Understand the question types

There are four types of questions for continuous writing.

a. Narrative Writing

First, narrative writing assess one’s ability to tell a story, which can either be real or fictional. Typically, this form of continuous writing focuses on a first-person narration that requires a clear flow. More importantly, students should strive to interest the reader.

For instance, questions may involve a ‘personal recount’:
Write about a time that you made a mistake and learnt from it.

b. Descriptive Writing

The second type is descriptive writing, in which students are expected to describe an incident, place, person or object that is of significance. To ace this type of question, students should try to provide a detailed explanation such that the reader can visualize the writing clearly.

An example of this question type:
Describe a person that you look up to as a role model.

c. Expository Writing

Third, expository writing assesses the ability of students to analyze a given issue or topic of discussion and express opinions in written form. In contrast to argumentative writing (next type), students are not required to take a stand for exposition questions, meaning that there is no need to agree or disagree with the given view of the question.

A sample question for reference:
‘Travel broadens the mind.’ What are your views?

d. Argumentative Writing

Finally, the argumentative writing type of question shares a similar framing as expository writing as a given issue is being featured. However, it is important to take a stand and provide arguments to support your stand. Convince the reader that your views are sound and logical. One useful way is to back it up with examples.

A reference question:
‘Schools should restrict the use of mobile phones.’ Do you agree?

3. Attempt practice questions regularly

Once you have identified the types of continuous writing questions, the next step is to set aside time for practices. Reading alone is definitely inadequate as some students are not used to the approach of analyzing a given topic and forming ideas within a short timeframe. As such, this behaviour should be cultivated over time through practices.

During our Secondary English Tuition classes, we conduct class discussions by using practice questions. Students learn to think spontaneously and generate ideas to support their answers. Then, these points are used for actual writing. Therefore, such a learning approach will be instrumental in preparing students for the examinations productively.

Learn more about our Secondary Tuition and JC Tuition programmes offered by SGEducators and other related centres located in Bishan and Bedok, such as EconomicsFocus and We will be featuring other useful articles to provide insightful knowledge as we guide students towards the goal of attaining grade A.