1) Example Questions 2) How the essay is graded 3) How to plan the essay - what to write about 4) Example Answers 5) Useful grammar and vocabulary 6) Tips and Tricks to get the best marks
1) Example Questions
Your class has taken part in a seminar on modern society.
You have made the following notes below.
How good are you at the Writing paper? Do you have difficulty thinking of what to say? Do you pay enough attention to organisation? Do you often make silly grammar or spelling mistakes? Or do you think your writing is of a pretty
high standard? Below you'll find authentic answers to some of the tasks that have appeared in Flo-Joe's Writing Class. Have a look and see how they compare to your own work.
What are the advantages of living in a multicultural society?
1) fusion 2) education 3) the working environment
Some opinions expressed in the discussion: “I feel we have a long way to go to fully consider ourselves multicultural” / “This opens your mind to habits you never would have before considered”
Write an essay discussing TWO of the points in your notes.
You should explain the extent to which you agree with the statement and give reasons in support of your answer.
PLEASE use a title, paragraphs, and an introduction, body, and conclusion. I will penalize essays severely which do not have these elements, as they are basic ones and you have been told this for 2-3 years now. You do not have to be strictly formulaic (for me, you needn’t write “I am going to write …”) but you DO need to introduce your topic. The intro should be shorter than the body, and the conclusion should be different from the intro. I advise students to end on their strongest point.. thus, when you are in the planning stage, and you hit upon an idea that you really like, try to save it for the conclusion. REMEMBER - if you don’t know how to manage the word limit and your time, you’ll end up without a conclusion.
You may, if you wish, make use of the opinions expressed in the seminar, but you should use your own words as far as possible.
The word limit is 220-260 words. In the exam this is a compulsory question.
GRAMMAR- If you are struggling in this class and you know it, please know your weaknesses and do a lot of practice essays, whether or not I see them. Review basic grammar issues. Make sure you add s to third-person singular present tense verbs. Make sure you know your irregular verbs in the past simple and participle forms
. Make sure you can form all of the tenses. Please avoid turning in an essay full of basic mistakes so that you
won’t lose too many points on the exam.
You should spend about 45 minutes on this. It is worth 50% of the writing exam.
2) How the Essay is Graded
The essay is marked out of 20. You need 12/20 (60%) to pass. These 20 points are split equally between four criteria:
Content: does it answer the question? Is all of the content relevent? Did they include two points out of three that the essay gave ?
Communicative Achievement: how well does the essay answer the question? Did they express themselves clearly? Are the ideas expressed in a relevant way and in the right register (formal/informal)?
Organisation: is the essay well-structured? Does it flow? Is it logical? Have they used correct paragraphing and punctuation?
Language: have they used c1 level vocabulary and grammar structures?
The most important criteria is content.
Sometimes the problem with an otherwise decent essay is a lack of connections between ideas. Try to keep a few good linking words in mind, for certain relationships (cause/effect, concept+ examples, contrast, etc) so that whatever topic you choose, you can link your ideas effectively
. Here are some links to help with that!
In general, if you do not get 3/5 on content ie answer the question
(what are the benefits of multiculturalism? and include TWO out of THREE topics
they wish you to write about (choose two out of these options: fusion, education, working environment) you will fail.
Here are the notes I took after the February exams, and after marking the mock exam essays. I hope they will be helpful as you prepare for the exam in June and continue writing for me throughout the year.
With the ‘opinion quotes’ they give you, you can use these for ideas and for vocabulary. But do not copy them directly into your essay- you will not get any points for this.
3) How to plan
You need to spend at least 10 minutes planning the essay before you write. The essay should be done in at least 4 paragraphs
Title: not necessary for an essay, but it’s welcomed by examiners
Introduction: 2-3 sentences. Briefly explain the current situation and rephrase the question.
Check this blog from time to time for common mistakes and tricky things (few vs a few, the majority of vs most, “very” vs “too much”) .. if you don’t understand any comments I’ve made on your essay, say so.
Paragraph 1: Discuss the first idea that they gave you in relation to the question.
Paragraph 2: Discuss the second idea that they gave you in relation to the question.
Conclusion: 2-3 sentences that sum up your point of view on the question.
Here is an example plan for the question above
1) Intro - current situation- nowadays borders less important - different mix of cultures, languages and ideas. Lots of advantages to this 2) Education- makes children more open-minded and tolerant. Less racism and a more inclusive society- less discrimination against others.
PLEASE answer the question completely. READ the question. If I say “describe John and his relationship to Jane” don’t only describe John. If I say “react to the quote and give a personal experience reflecting its message” again, you have 2 things to do and you must do both of them.
More empathy towards others. Study about multiculturalism in school reducing crime.
3) Work Environment- better team-working skills and communication. International business- multicultural society helps employees aware of globalised industry. Different workers from different backgrounds bring different ideas and approaches- better for business - improves profits.
For all task types, questions are constructed to enable candidates to display their English language proficiency at CEFR B2 level; candidates should take special care to read every part of each question, and not to omit any required development of the topic.
4) Conclusion - numerous benefits to living in multicultural society- not only for individuals but society as a whole.
4) Example Answer
The Benefits of Multiculturalism. (259 words)
Nowadays the world is becoming smaller: borders are disappearing and the world has become a hotbed of different but intertwined cultures, languages and ideas. There are numerous benefits to living in this type of society.
Some of the main benefits can be seen in education. Educating children alongside others of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds makes them more open-minded and tolerant.
YOU should count words NOW as you are practicing. NO ONE should count words during the exam, you have plenty of other things to do, and I have no intention of counting words ever :-). Know what 250 words look like, and act accordingly: an intro of 2-3 sentences
, 2-3 paragraph body of 3-4 sentences each paragraph, and a conclusion the size of the introduction, more or less. You mustn’t write more than you will have time to double-check for errors.
This breaks down barriers, reduces racism and discrimination, and creates a more welcoming and inclusive society. Furthermore, a recent study has shown that children who are brought up in a multicultural society are less likely to commit crimes
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