top of page
  • Vanita Pal


Hybrid compositions are the most popular in recent exams. Questions tend to encompass both genres which I will discuss below. You will need to pay attention to both the factual part and personal commentary when you choose these questions.

In the continuous section of Paper 1, you will have to have to choose the right question which suits your style and knowledge. Most students choose narrative, expository, descriptive or argumentative. However, HYBRID topics are increasingly popular. They combine 2 genres, eg Reflective and Expository and you are expected to write with social awareness and include a moral point of view.

I have posed a question which is a mixture of both. Your knowledge of the important criteria maintained in school and how you handled it your own way become the main part of this essay.

The first point is to ensure that you REACH YOUR TARGET in your essay. For example, you have to direct your essay toward that point when you became inspired.

The main point to keep in mind is to CREATE SUSPENSE. Only reveal at the end.

Suspenseful Writing means you have to CREATE THE ‘WOW’ MOMENT



Describe the difficulties you faced in your school or work and how you managed to handle it.


When, where – The end of my academic year was preceded by the most challenging CCA months in April and May where we had to endure 6 tournaments held all over Singapore. My personal dislike for football was at the worst point when I knew that I had to participate in an even spread of 4 of the 6 matches in May. Though I came from a family of sportsmen, I knew with a sinking heart that sports would never rankle highly with after my gruelling practice sessions that year.


Describe the beginning of your problem.

I had an Achilles heel. Unknown to my football teacher, I had nursed a previous injury during a friendly match with ACS. I wondered how I was supposed to last the competitions. My school was known as ‘the football school’ and I knew that I had to fulfil my role as ‘captain’ during my final year.


The event ? ---- Where was the match? Try to create more impact by inserting ‘a grand view.’

Eg. Our netball match was to be held at the newly completed second indoor stadium at the top of Marina Bay Sands hotel. It a glass stadium at the top near the ‘boat’ and it had satellite dishes for live transmission. Our school principal had ties with clubs in Europe and we heard that some celebrities were attending our match which was probably a reason for the stunning venue. The main draw was that proceeds were to be given to victims of earthquakes and tsunamis throughout the south east asia.


Climax pt 1


The great day arrived and though I harboured a dislike for playing due to the intrusion in my studies, I endured it. I had to grudgingly admit that the star-studded VIP list created a growing interest in me. The first half was plain sailing with both teams gracefully tackling each other as if we were on our best behaviour for the cameras. It was quite ironic as many of them were known for their rough tackling.

Give more expected details in such a scenario.


Climax pt 2

The second half promised to be as boring as the first. Suddenly, our coach blew the whistle and there was a stunned silence. We had barely started to walk towards the turf when there was a ripple of gasps arounds us. Suddenly the entire crowd started to roar with tremendous excitement. Leo Messi was striding onto the turf with a huge grin and he was followed by several star players. They all took their positions and our coaches asked us to bow and leave the turf which we did so with huge relief.



Surprising turnaround

The entire second half was made up of star players and they played with their usual aplomb. I was filled with excitement and yelled myself hoarse…

(This is the part where you have to show your most intense excitement. Reveal how your dislike gave way to immense satisfaction that you were part of the game.)


The conclusion should LINK back to the question.

You should reveal that the only way to ‘handle’ any difficulty was to embrace the task at hand and have a positive outlook. You realised that day that realised how sports could be rewarding and that it helped you to overcome the tension of the past few weeks due to your academic pressure.

(Write a good moral or sound statement about how you managed to handle it at last. )

This is a complete outline of the essay. You may choose to pad it up but make sure that you always LINK back to the question at the end.


Write the entire essay in BULLET FORM before you start.

Problem - what is the problem or difficulty or struggle in the story?


A decision you made which affected your life.

· The time of the event. Where did it happen ? When did it happen? Describing the scene and elaborate on what you were doing at that point of time./

· Describe the rollercoaster of events that had led up to this lifechanging decision. Describe the scene and give a backstory on how it started./

· Describe the decision making process and what was the factor that made you want to choose a side. Elaborate more and describe the end result./

· The problem of the story was that my group of best friends were peer pressuring me to go and rob a store.

· Problem with you – Moral dilemma. You did not know if you should listen to them.

· Initially – You wanted their approval. You went along.

· Grave misgiving – You conscience….something else alerted you. A text from your father working overtime ‘don’t forget to eat your dinner which I left for you…’

· Change of heart – something in you ‘clicked’

Writing in bullets like this can be very useful in ensuring that you finish everything according TO PLAN.

And you would have linked back to your question which is an important criteria in scoring well.

Both tips are easy to follow. The first tip needs more practice but it can be one of the most useful methods you can use to gain the highest marks possible. It will create a profound change in your writing. With tip 2, you will have an easier time writing without any experiencing any ‘blanks’ in the midst of your paper.

Just follow both tips and you will be amazed at how quickly your grades will soar.


bottom of page