Directed Writing

Today, I will explain more about Directed Writing. Then, over the course of the next four weeks, we will look at the four different types of essay tested in Directed Writing – letter (informal & formal), speech, report and article.

As I’ve mentioned before, all of these essays have their own specific format and marks are given for the correct use of them. The total amount of marks allocated for Directed Writing is 35 and it is divided between Content (15) and Language (20). Format is considered as part of Content and is usually allocated between 1 to 3 marks. Below is an analysis of past year SPM questions for Directed Writing including the amount of marks awarded for Format.


Directed Writing



INFORMAL LETTER – to ask mother for money

3 marks


ARTICLE – for school newsletter

1 mark


TALK – on road safety

3 marks


FORMAL LETTER – to class teacher about school trip


REPORT – to principal about the school canteen

3 marks


INFORMAL LETTER – letter to friend to share experience

3 marks


INFORMAL LETTER – letter to friend asking for advice

3 marks


SPEECH – to promote a book

3 marks


ARTICLE – for school magazine (best leader at camp)

3 marks


REPORT – to principal about students’ lack of interest in sports

3 marks


INFORMAL LETTER – letter to cousin about the National Service Programme

3 marks


SPEECH – how to treat a sprained ankle

3 marks

Having said that, a good place to start teaching essay writing therefore, would be the format. (This will be discussed further in the following weeks.)

Also, if we take a look at the situations provided in the questions, most of them concerns the daily life of a typical student with references made mostly to school as well as school-related matters. As such, when giving exercises to your students, focus on questions with similar scenarios instead of the ones that are more work-related. With weaker students, you should also try to introduce them to the terms associated with school such as “Principal”, “President”, “Secretary”, “English Week”, “Career Month”, “Nature Club” etc.

If you would like to have a copy of the above analysis for your own reference, you can download it from here:

[ideasforenglish] SPM Directed Writing 2000-2011


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