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The ICSE English I Composition

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The first thing that you face in the ICSE English language paper is a composition-task. You are required to write an essay of about 600-800 words on a topic that you may have never heard of before! How then do you approach it?

Let’s try to find an answer.

To understand how to write a good composition in ICSE English I paper and get good scores, you must first know very clearly what exactly is required of you. You must have seen that ICSE gives you  a wide choice of topics from which you can select any one for writing your essay. Let us assure you that selecting a good topic, one that suits your reading background, your style of writing and your personality and personal likings is very important. You can never write a good ICSE essay if you are uncomfortable with the topic to begin with. So here’s a guide to selecting the best topic, the topic that is most suited to you.

Descriptive Essay: You will find that one of the ICSE essays is a descriptive essay that requires you to describe some incident or event. You are usually asked to recall some incident from the past and narrate it, but you may also be asked to write on a topic that requires you to imagine some incident or event. Examples of this type of essays are the follows:

  • Write an essay describing the last Sports Day in your school. You should detail the happenings of the entire day and also mention why the day remains etched in your memory.
  • Describe a wedding ceremony in your family that you witnessed closely for the first time in your life.

Narrative or reporting: These ICSE essays require you to narrate/report an incident. These essays are judged on the candidate’s capacity to organize and present the content in a well formulated manner. The candidate should be able to keep up the interest throughout the length of the essay and while narrating facts and incidents, present all ideas coherently and make it a lively piece of writing. Examples of this type of essays are the follows

  • Narrate an incident where you found yourself in a very unfamiliar circumstance. Your essay can highlight how you found yourself in the situation and how you finally came out of it.
  • Imagine that you went for a picnic with your friends to a neighboring village. While you guys were having fun, there were gun shots suddenly and you found yourself in the midst of a turmoil. Report what happened thereafter and how you finally reached home.

Argumentative Essay: These essays in the ICSE exam judge your capacity to persuade or argue a given thread of thought. Often you may also be required to argue both sides of a matter and come to a balanced conclusion. To present relevant arguments, to pursue an argument coherently yet passionately, to be able to be strong and aggressive in your argument and yet not be blinded, that is what will ensure a good score in the argumentative essay. Examples of this type of essays are the follows:

  • Terrorism does not exist without a context to it. Argue for or against this statement.
  • Nurture cannot undo what Nature has created. State your views both for and against this statement.

Story: This is for the really creative ones among you guys. Writing a story is no mean task and you should aim for it only if you are creative enough to handle it. This is not to discourage you but just to make you aware that you cannot pass on anyone else’s story as your own! So go for it only if you really do have a story to tell! Examples

  • Write a story beginning, “It had been a good year for her…”
  • Write a story in which a cat and a tree have an important role to play.
    Illustration: These essays require you to develop a narrative on the basis of an illustration. You should take care that you can develop a really interesting essay based on the illustration which could be a landscape, a portrait or any other form of illustration.

All in all you should keep in mind that the subjects for the ICSE essay are so chosen so as to allow to draw on your first-hand experience or those that stimulate your imagination. Suggestions and options are often given but a candidate is allowed to develop the idea subjectively. It is very important to pay close attention to the presentation of the subject matter, the syntax, punctuation, correctness in grammar and spelling. The treatment has to be appropriate to the subject and the ideas expressed should be original.

Watch out for further articles that will take up each type of essay and examine it in detail.

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