Some Interesting Writing Sites and Articles:
-THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA WRITER'S GUIDE Fantastic site of UVIC for Writing.
-THE WRITING CENTER, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Great site for practicing writing
-HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY Student Support and Development Service, University of Leicester.
Power Point Presentation from Slideshare.
-GUIDE TO ESSAY WRITING Quite complete guide, Slideshare.
-GUIDE TO GRAMMAR AND WRITING Useful.
-WRITE A 30-MINUTE ESSAY AND GET YOUR GRADE Right away!
-50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice. Article by Geoffrey K. Pullum.
-THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William Strunk, Jr.
Worst case scenario:
'I have to write a composition/essay and never been taught how to do it' syndrom??
...Here's some help!
BASIC WRITING SKILLS
What is an introduction paragraph?
The introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay.
It introduces the main idea of your essay. A good opening paragraph captures the interest of your reader and tells why your topic is important.
2. Provide some background information about your topic. You can use interesting facts, quotations, or definitions of important terms you will use later in the essay.
Supporting paragraphs make up the main body of your essay.
They develop the main idea of your essay.
2. Place each supporting point in its own paragraph.
3. Develop each supporting point with facts, details, and examples.
What is a summary paragraph?
The summary paragraph comes at the end of your essay after you have finished developing your ideas. The summary paragraph is often called a "conclusion."
It summarizes or restates the main idea of the essay. You want to leave the reader with a sense that your essay is complete.
1. Restate the strongest points of your essay that support your main idea.
2. Conclude your essay by restating the main idea in different words.
3. Give your personal opinion or suggest a plan for action.
-Grammar Girl. Quick&Dirty Tips for Better Writing. (You can either read or listen to writing tips).
(Learn How to Manage Your Time)
10% of the time
reading the question carefully, deciding what answer is expected, outlining the answer. With 25 minutes, you should take no more than 3 minutes to do this.
80% of the time
answering the question by filling in the outline. With 25 minutes, you should take about 19 minutes to do this.
10% of the time
editing for major grammar mistakes. With 25 minutes, you should take no more than 3 minutes to do this.
Your second step is to do the activities listed under the first 10% of the time -- reading the question and outlining an answer.
The third step is to write. Follow these tips for writing:
1. Do not stop to edit as you go. There isn't time. If you think you're unsure about a word or a grammatical structure or a fact, draw a line under it. You can return to it in the editing time.
2. Write simply, which does not imply poorly. Simplicity and clarity are the two characteristics you want to strive for. Of course your aim is to demonstrate you're a 5th year student. Don't write an essay that you could have written back in 3rd year. Use structures, style and vocabulary you've learnt according to your B2 level.
3. Write in paragraphs. It helps to think that a good, well-edited paragraph of 6-10 sentences should take about 7 minutes to produce. This is the goal you should be striving for.
4. Keep your handwriting neat, but do not make artwork out of it. In particular, it is important to differentiate vowels in your handwriting (a, e, i, o, u). If you make a mistake, draw a line through it and continue. Don't waste time erasing or using white-out. Unless you are told otherwise, it is ALWAYS best to write on every other line.
5. Use a dark writing instrument - a very dark pen, blue or black ink. Never red or pencil, please. Bring extras with you to the test.
6. If you get stuck filling in one part of your outline, jump to another part of the outline and work there for a while.
The last step is to edit. Tips for editing include:
1. Do not skip the editing step. Even if you don't finish your essay, it is better to turn in a well-edited 75% finished essay than a poorly edited 80% essay.
And, of course, DON'T FORGET to write your name and group.
More Useful Grammar Tips by Prof. Dori Martínez:
- Think about the topic.
- Remember the topic vocabulary.
- Discuss your ideas with a partner or in groups whenever possible.
- List the main points before you start writing.
- Think of examples to back up each point.
- Decide how many paragraphs you need.
- Decide on the content of each paragraph and list the main points.
- Use linkers to connect you ideas (Firstly, Secondly, Personally I think, …)
- Make your language more vivid (use adjectives and adverbs to make a text ‘come alive’, especially when you are telling a story or describing.)
- The more varied vocabulary you use, the more interesting your writing will be. Use a wide selection of nouns, adjectives and verbs.
- Check your spelling
- Check your grammar and vocabulary.
- Check your punctuation.
AN OPINION COMPOSITION: TIPS
1. Plan four or five paragraphs: a general introduction where you present your opinion, the main reasons why you agree/disagree, and a conclusion.
2. List your reasons (‘for’ or ‘against’) before you start writing. Two or three main reasons is enough.
3. Start paragraph 2 with you main reason (Firstly, …). Use a linker (besides, what is more,..) to add a related reason.
4. Back up your reasons with clear examples.
5. Use a formal style.
6. Think of how to express your conclusion, i.e., a summary of your opinion. This should follow logically from the examples given.