Renewed: 16.02.2016, 08:35

Writing

The writing test has three tasks: a description, a job-related letter, and an essay. You have to do two tasks and you have 90 minutes to do them. When you are aiming for Level 2, you must write the description and the letter, and when you are aiming for Level 3, you must write the letter and the essay.
 

General Advice

  1. Time is very important in this test. Make sure that you have enough time to think, plan, write, reread, and check for errors.
  2. Count your words on both tasks. Make sure that you are not too far over or under the word limits (100 for the description, 200 for the letter and 350 for the essay). Don’t worry if you’re a little bit under or a little bit over.
  3. Try not to repeat exactly what the task says. Use synonyms.
  4. Use transitional and connecting phrases that help your writing hang together. Look at the list of these expressions and become familiar with them before the test. Don’t use them unless you are sure of their meaning and that you are using them correctly.
  5. Use adjectives, adverbs, and time expressions, but don’t overdo them.
  6. There are lots of different ways you can express yourself. Some functions you might want to use include: explanation, making a proposal, contrasting, comparing, and offering an opinion. You might also make general statements (not too many) or give specific examples. Finally, you could also talk about reasons, results, advantages & disadvantages, probability, conditions, facts, cause & effect, consequences, or purpose.

Specific Advice

Description
  1. Read the instructions carefully and describe the object/person/place/situation in as much detail as possible.
  2. Start with the big picture.
  3. Avoid abstract and general words. Don't just say that the girl is beautiful, describe her beauty.
Letter
  1. Make sure you follow the directions.
  2. Use a closing such as “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely”and then put a name below it (not your real name). Remember that the letter is a semi-formal one, related to your job, so keep your register formal. Do not use slang or colloquial language.
  3. Make sure you have paragraphs within the letter. For a letter of this length, 3-4 paragraphs is good.
Essay
  1. Read the instructions carefully and follow them. Make sure you have an introduction and a conclusion, plus several paragraphs in the body.
  2. In your introduction, you should state your main idea for the whole essay and indicate what you are going to talk about. Develop your ideas fully, one per paragraph. You should start each paragraph with a topic sentence that indicates the main idea of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph should support or explain that main idea.
  3. Use transitional expressions that help your paragraphs hang together. See the chart on transitional expressionsconnectives, and practice using them. Be careful of using these expressions unless you know what other phrases and grammar units go with them. Make sure you understand them before using them.
  4. In your conclusion, you should restate the main idea of the whole paper, mention each of your sub-points, and end with a final thought. It is a very good idea to take notes or make an outline for the essay.
 

Editing your Work

  1. Check your spelling.
  2. Pay attention to verb tenses. It’s okay to mix them up as long as they work together in the paragraph, but make sure you stay in the same general time frame within each paragraph.
  3. Check the agreement between your subject and verb and make sure they match. Mistakes such as “they has” really stick out.
  4. Make sure you have followed the instructions exactly and addressed the issue.
  5. Avoid a lot of repetition. You will be expected to repeat a little in your introduction and conclusion, but try to use synonyms.
  6. Check articles (a, an, the). They are often left out.
  7. Be careful with prepositions. These are also common mistakes.
  8. Practice editing something else you’ve written before the test, so you’ll be in the habit of looking for all these things.
 
For more help, see the following documents:

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at]mil.ee, Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

Toetab Euroopa Liit - Eesti Riiklik Arengukava

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