Guidelines for the writing exam:
• You will have to write either an article (opinion or pro&con article) or an essay (opinion or pro&con essay).
• Remember that you’ll have two possible subjects from which to choose only one.
• Your article/essay should have an introduction (one paragraph), main body (2 or 3 supporting paragraphs) and a clear conclusion (one paragraph).
Separate your paragraphs clearly!!
• A paragraph has a topic sentence (usually the first sentence) that summarises/includes the main idea of the paragraph. The topic sentence must be supported by well-organised, well-developed, relevant details. In order to be well-organised, you have to use connectors.
• Remember that each opinion should be supported with arguments/examples
DON’T use over-generalisation. The sentence: ‘all tourists destroy the environment’ is inappropriate and biased.
• The introduction introduces the topic of the essay/article, states the thesis statement (what you will demonstrate in your essay/article) and leads naturally in the body of your essay/article. USE THE GUIDELINES FOR A GOOD INTRODUCTION – SEE YOUR HANDOUTS!
1.1 IntroductionThe basic reason for the existence of prisons is that society, which expresses its wishes through the means of courts, finds it necessary to separate and isolate some people, who have broken the law. The concept of this segregation is as old as society itself. Conventionally, prisons have been used for punitive purposes only and it is only recently that public opinion has come ...
DON’T start the argumentation in the introduction.
It should be clear from the introduction whether you have a pro and con essay/article or an opinion article/essay.
• In the conclusion you go back to the introduction and restate your thesis statement (you paraphrase it) and you offer some advice/food for thought. DON’T add any new arguments in the conclusion.
In the conclusion you should restate/reemphasise your opinion if you had to write an opinion article/essay. If you had a pro and con essay/article, you should emphasise again both aspects (negative and positive) of the topic discussed.
REMEMBER that an article is conversational, addresses the reader directly, uses questions, uses verbs in the imperative, and is semi-formal or neutral. It may have a catchy title and even sub-headings.
An essay is formal, impersonal (uses impersonal constructions: it is essential/important, there are benefits, etc.), uses passive forms, its sentences tend to be long and complex. It is objective, not subjective therefore, it seldom uses I (first person, singular)
Don’t forget to look through your handouts again. There you have examples of good essays and articles.
Don’t forget to read the guidelines for good proficiency writing (The Writing Bank I gave you).
While you read focus on the format of an essay and an article, possible outlines, useful language and connectors. DON’T learn them by heart, try to UNDERSTAND them.
In your handouts you have two possible outlines for a pro and con essay/article – A and B. Make sure you understand them. A pro and con essay/article should be BALANCED; it should give an equal treatment to both advantages and disadvantages.
For an opinion essay/article, you have the following outline:
• One paragraph that leads into the topic of your essay/article and states the thesis statement
• Two/three paragraphs which express your opinion and the reasons/ your justification for them
• Conclusion that summarises what has been said and makes a final comment
People running around with underwear on their head, a fake suicide over the Niagara Falls, forest rangers who are positive they seen Bigfoot, and sheriffs who make x-rated videos on a rented video camera and forget to take the tape out. These are some of the wacky stories Krista Bradford experiences during her career as an anchor on tabloid television. She tries to convince the reader that TV ...
You will be tested on task achievement (make sure you understand what you have to do and include all the requirements mentioned in the task).
Organisation and cohesion: well-organised paragraphs (topic sentence, connectors), good conclusion and introduction.
Clarity: make sure that your article/essay is clear and not confusing (don’t jump from one idea to another) and don’t make too many language mistakes. I will not be very drastic when it comes to spelling mistakes, but grammatical mistakes are serious.
Register: formal for an essay, semi-formal for an article.
Range of vocabulary and grammatical structures: Make sure that the vocabulary you use is not too simplistic. The handouts I gave you contain some common expressions/structures you can use in your essay/article.