Improving your writing skills

Hello everyone!

How’s April treating you? I hope you’ve all had a chance to enjoy the sunny spells we’ve been having lately as well to do the suggested exercises our last post on Inversions Part 2! Let’s take a look at the answers:

  1. If you wake up early, we’ll go to the beach – Should you wake up early, we’ll go to the beach
  2. I would have helped you if you had asked – Had you asked , I’d have helped you
  3. Provided you ask, I will help you – Should you ask, I’ll help you
  4. I’d travel abroad if I could afford it – Were I able to afford it, I’d travel abroad // Were I rich, I’d travel abroad
  5. Tania wouldn’t have acted like that if she hadn’t been angry – Had Tania not been angry, she wouldn’t have acted like that
  6. I’d definitely buy a mansion if I were rich – Were I rich, I’d definitely buy a mansion

How did it go? Remember that, should you have any doubts 😉 , you can always leave a comment or send an email and I’ll be more than happy to help! 🙂

Today, we are going to talk about how to improve your writing skills. Now that Cambridge exams are round the corner, students seem to be increasingly concerned about both their speaking and writing skills as it can surely be overwhelming to be expected to write 100 – 300 words (depending on the exam). It is important to remember that improving our writing skills will, undoubtedly, help improve our speaking.

So, how do we organise our ideas? Where do we start?

How do we organise our ideas? 

Firstly, it’s important to remember that all writings have a specific lay-out and that’s where we should start. Your ES teachers can help you with this but, for now, you could check Cambridge website where you’ll find different activities and useful information to ace your writing paper in the exam! Click on this link to practice organisation of ideas and how to use connectors properly: Cambridge exercises on organising your writing

Where do we start? 

If, despite knowing the lay-out and specific language and structures of your writing, you still feel unsure how to proceed, try to break the task down by content points. For example, look at the following task:

In your English class you have been talking about the importance of learning English as a second language. Now, your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Everybody should learn English as a second language. Do you agree?

Write your essay using all the notes and an idea of your own:

  • Work

  • Travelling

  • ………………………….. (Your own idea)

Now, break the task down into the following questions:

  • Do you agree with the fact that “everybody should learn English as a second language”? Why? Why not?
  • How important is it to learn English to get a job? 
  • How does it affect job prospects?
  • Is it important to know how to speak English when travelling? 
  • Does it depend on where you go or is it equally important regardless of the destination?

Now, write a short answer for each one of the questions. For example:

  • Do you agree with the fact that “everybody should learn English as a second language”? Why? Why not?

Yes, I agree because English is the international language and, as a native Spanish speaker, if we manage to master English we could be understood almost anywhere in the world.

 

When you have answered all the questions think about another area (your own idea) in which English is (or isn’t) useful. You could talk, for instance, about new technologies and Internet slang, and how English is used in abbreviations such as YOLO, TBT or LOL.

 

This is the first step towards a good piece of writing as your content points should be fully covered. What’s next?

Let’s think about:

Language

Check that you have used vocabulary and grammar structures that are appropriate to the level you’re writing for.

Organisation of ideas

Organise the paragraphs following a logical and coherent order, use connectors and linking expressions. And, for this essay, make sure you have included an introduction and a conclusion.

Check your work!

It is very important you do so! Cambridge can also help with this as they have created a software where you can practise writings. Check it out here

Now you are ready to hand your writing to your teacher and get a great mark! 😀

* Note that this post focuses on B2, C1 and C2 writings. If you are taking A2 or B1 exams you can definitely use some of these ideas but aiming for short pieces of writing would probably be more beneficial.

Would you like to give it a go? Write your essay and give it to your ES teacher and see how you did!

Have a lovely week (and weekend, of course!), see you around! 😉

 

 

 

 

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