Formal Writing made easy

dummies formal

OK, first the stuff you know –

  • This is an external standard and therefore will  be sat under examination conditions.
  • You will write one essay of at least 250 words – but really you will need to write more and you know it!
  • There will be 10 different topics and you will choose one to write about. Think hard about possible topics and be prepared!
  • Choose a topic you are confident writing about. Make sure it is one  that you can support your ideas with accurate examples that expand and elaborate on your statements. Remember SEXY! Question selection is so important!
  • The topics may be in the form of a question, statement, photograph, or cartoon relating to an issue of interest.
  • Use the space provided for planning before writing your essay in the answer booklet. This will help show evidence of structure and planning. The marker does look at your planning.
  • You will have around 40 minutes to plan, write, and proofread your formal essay. You could plan your time like this:
  • brainstorming 5–10 minutes
  • writing 20–25 minutes
  • proof-reading 10 minutes.

Some stuff you may not know or have forgotten –

  • You should know this but in 2009 you will write a letter to the editor of at least 250 words in response to one of 10 topics. Two topics will have stimulus material (that probably means a picture). Assessment will not include letter layout so you will not need to know how to set out a letter. Your answer will start with ‘Dear Editor’ and that will be printed in the booklet for you.
  • You must take the accuracy requirements seriously!  You need to show an acceptable command of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Please be careful and make sure that you spell words that are printed in the booklet correctly – there is no excuse for that one! No room for sloppiness!
  • Write in a formal style – you can break register for effect and use some informal and colloquial expressions.
  • You must structure your ideas in an ordered way – beginning, middle and end and yes, you do need paragraphs!
  • Make sure you use key words and phrases from the question at the beginning and the end of your essay.
  • Use the SEXY planner and outline about three relevant points linked to the topic. Have support for those points.
  • Have an opinion on the topic – you must be able to state your point of view.

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