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Key Determinants of a Good Primary School Composition

Updated on October 21, 2017
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Alex is an expert in computer maintenance and repair. He guides people through the best application to purchase for their computers.

Writing a school composition is a very easy task. Every student is assigned 40 minutes to compose themselves and write something comprehensive and grammatically correct. However, if one is not fully prepared, this can be the longest period of their tiresome day. It is highly likely the greatest reason why most students panic when handled their writing exam and told to start.

Every student is supposed to practice writing during their free time. Writing is not tough. Composing oneself and writing grammatically correct sentences that satisfy the examiner's curiosity is the tough duty. Without practice, therefore, a candidate should not expect anything but poor writing in an exam. They are supposed to set aside at least 2 hours of daily practice. With this they would be able to improve their grammar at a very high degree.

Writing | Source

About writing.

Like I said, writing a school composition is quite an easy task. Examiners are only requested to mark for language skills, imagination, correct use of English words that collocate, and obviously good handwriting.

Let me say this firmly. "We, as examiners are never thirsty for imagination. Although humor, suspense, and imaginational writing can earn you extra marks in a composition, please avoid them if you do not clearly know how to use them. The key determinants of a good composition are grammar and proper self-expression"

Remember, the art of writing-sitting down on an empty piece of paper, planning and creating an artifact whic is readable, comprehensive and grammatically correct is not just a talent, it is also a skill that has to be learnt and mastered. It demands determination concentration, practice and most of all planning.

Another major element of a composition that determines the marks an examiner will award a candidate is atherance to the composition rules and development structure. While writing a composition, a candidate is supposed to know the model of the composition they are supposed to write before writing it.

At primary level, most exams should be either; a speech, debate, minutes, explanatory compositions or narative compositions. In all these compositions, different structural writing is expected. Therefore as a student you should take your time to understand each composition and the rules for writing such compositions.

Today I want us to look at the school composition writing in general.

School based compositions.

Every one faces writing challenges as a begginner. These problems, as well as any other, only seem tough on us when we do not know how to deal with them. When we learn a trick behind our success, they become very easy to deal with. In writing also, first you must learn a way around the pressure accompanied with it in order to succeed. You have to train yourself to write often and make it a behaviour to do so. Do away with the old adage, "Writing is boring."

I have tutored a few students here and there giving them the basics for writing simple compositions. And one thing I have come to realize, the writing exams' setting are always quite simple. However, self-expression for students has always been a huge challenge.

Key determinants to consider while writing a school based composition.

Remember, school based compositions only test for the fundamental language skills in the language. This is the reason they are introduced at a very tender age.

In order to write a good composition, therefore, a student must master the following:

  • Word choice,
  • Self-expression.
  • Flow.
  • Topic track
  • Time management.
  • And obviously correct language and spelling.

Therefore, In order for us to write a proper school based composition, we must keep track of these fundamental keys, and may end up creating a master peice.

Let's start with the first one:

Choose your words wisely
Choose your words wisely | Source

Word choice

The words you use to explain something are very important. They determine how the reader understands your composition.

For instance, look at these sentences.

  1. “I was happy very much because my father had come.”
  2. “I knew that if I arrived home late, my mother would beat me very much.”

Notice that in the first sentence, the candidate is not clearly understood due to lack of proper word use. Therefore, candidates are advised to find words that best fit in a certain text to enable better understanding.

Remember, this problem comes across due to a poor candidate active vocabulary. They therefore translate some words from other languages.

A child should be able to express themselves
A child should be able to express themselves | Source

Self expression

Believe it or not, self-expression is the toughest duty you can ever give a primary school candidate. Most exhaust words before they even finish their first paragraph.

If you look at the examples I gave earlier, the candidates clearly lack proper words to use in his sentence. Therefore, they translate from another language making their statements even more confusing. You vaguely understand the point they wanted to drive in.


In order to improve your self-expression as a candiadate, you have to:

  • Make sure that you concentrate on what you write.
  • Revise your paragraphs after you have written them.
  • Ensure that you plan and think through your sentences before you write them.
  • And practice more often to add more words into your active vocabulary.


Remember an English composition, as well as a story, is a systematic flow of words which are supposed to be read and understood. With these words you are supposed to paint a vivid picture in the readers mind.

For instance, if you read this sentences:

  • I was going home to an empty house. I woke up in the morning very lonely.
  • As I journeyed home, I was aware that I would be all alone. My parents certainly would have gone by now.

In the first sentence, it is clear that the candidate left out a lot of sentences in between. And their intended ideas were not fully captured.

This disrupts the flow of the readers’ attention. Therefore, as a candidate you will be penalized for that.


  • Revise your composition after writing.
  • Ensure that you make a plan before you start writing your composition.
  • Ensure that you take your time on your composition making sure to be conscious of every word you write.

Topic track

Oftenly I tell my students; “You cannot answer your own formulated question while you have been asked another. If the examiner wants to know about the importance of trees, you cannot tell them about how you and your friends went on a wild goose chase in the forest.”

When given a question paper, you have to read the instructions carefully, one after the other. After this, read the question and make sure you understand what the examiner intends for you to write.

After that, you make a plan for your writing, and then start to write keeping the topic in track.

Most school based compositions major in the topics of:

  • Research,
  • General understanding,
  • Story writing.
  • And also formal writing.

In any of these topics, the candidate is supposed to write according questions asked, and adhere to the rules of the specified composition.

Therefore, when the examiner intends for you to write a letter, do not write a story, and vice versal.


  • Read your question and understand.
  • Read any other instructions if there are any.
  • Make a plan for your composition based on the topic.
  • Ensure that you read your paragraphs to ensure you do not run out of topic.

Time can be your friend or your enemy.
Time can be your friend or your enemy. | Source

Time management

As much as I insist on proofreading of the written compositions, I must insist on time management. Remember, there is a minimum word length of which a candidate is supposed to attain. Usually a minimum of 400 words.

If therefore, as a candidate you do not keep track of your time, you may find yourself having written a very short composition. This will also affect your grades.

Remember, examiners, do not want to overwork you by giving you a certain word limit target. They know, there is no good story with less than a total of 500 words. I have come to learn this by experience.

Therefore when examiners ask for a 400-word composition, they know that it would be a below average student story.

Therefore, as an above average student, they expect a 500-word composition or higher.

That being said, you should therefore note that you have two goals that you are expected to achieve at the end of 40 minutes.

  • Length.
  • And proper language use.

Threfore, you have to manage your time apropriately to attain the two goals.

How to improve.

  • Ensure to take at least three minutes of planning for your composition.
  • Ensure to write your composition within the time schedule, and have an overload of at least 5 minutes.
  • Use the 5 minutes to reread your work.
  • Ensure to prepare well for the exam. Do not start looking for something, or going some places.

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© 2017 Alex muiruri


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