When preparing students for exam writing we need to keep in mind that, as in other parts of the exam, students are aiming at getting a specific score, or actually getting the highest score possible. To help them achieve this aim we should focus on a few aspects:
- task analysis
- model texts analysis
- awareness of exam assessment criteria
- the ability to evaluate one’s own writing
Incorporating these aspects in writing lessons will ensure that students have the necessary knowledge to attempt higher scores in their writing and that they understand how they can get there. The only thing for them to do once they know all of this is to practise a lot.
This post suggests some materials that can help you prepare yourself to teach exam writing and some practical materials for classroom use.
Here are some materials to help you guide students through essay writing:
Essay – in class writing
FCE – Essay – writing guidelines
The suggested approach can be successfully adapted to other genres too.
Here are some materials focusing on email writing at B1 level:
general: PET email writing
teenagers: Email – in-class writing
For supplementary materials at C1 level check out the fantastic videos on CAE writing from Flo-Joe.
You can also watch a video by Kasia on how to help students write essays and how to raise their awareness of assessment criteria. Another video, by Gabriel, explains how exam writing is assessed, which may help you prepare your students and give them some tips on how to meet the assessment criteria.
Additionally, here are extracts from the FCE Handbook by Cambridge: fce writing assessment, and from the PET Handbook: PET writing assessment. The awarding of points is explained here: cambridge-english-scale-scores
It is also useful to look through various coursebooks and read the sections on writing as they offer very useful tips and information given in a student-friendly way. Here is a sample taken from Gold Preliminary (Pearson):
Gold Preliminary – writing reference
Finally, go to Chealsea teachers’ website to get marking sheets for both levels.
Please contact me if you would like to be sent Power Point formats of the materials.
by Kasia Kępka