Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Thoughts on the writing part of the Cambridge exams

Exam technique is something a lot of teachers and students overlook. Yet by becoming familiar with the exams, their foibles and their authors' ways and habits you can really boost your marks. Do as many practice tests as you can get hold of, under timed conditions if possible and use that time well. Don't write too much or too little - stick to around the number of words given (different in each exam I know) and use any extra time to plan your writing. Planning or drafting writing is key. It'll give shape to your work and make sure that it's a complete article rather than just a jumble of paragraphs. Practice writing longhand, with a pen! I know that we all use computers these days, but in the exam hall you can't, so practice the old skill with a trusty biro. And be legible!
I mark my students down if I can't read their writing... and it drives me nuts!

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