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英文:外教谈雅思作文如何获得高分

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http://dalian.sina.com.cn   2010年09月19日16:42   新东方

 

编者语:为了帮助烤鸭们顺利备考金秋十月的雅思考试,小编在这里特意选择这篇纯英文的写作指南,希望对大家有用。 

Safeguard your writing score – don’t squander marks

As an IELTS examiner and trainer I have marked thousands of Writing Tests; both in the real test environment and in New Oriental School courses. When students receive their results they often ask me how they can improve their writing score, or how they should modify their answer to achieve a higher score. What many students fail to realise is that improving a writing score is not simply a matter of writing a better answer; one common reason for a low writing score is that the answer was penalised for failing to meet certain important criteria within the marking system. An examiner will penalise an answer for a number of problems which, for the sake of this article I shall describe as Writing Crimes. Once you have identified these crimes and eradicated them from your answer, a higher score will be easier to achieve, more importantly you are not simply throwing marks away unnecessarily。

Task One General Training – The Letter

There is one sure-fire way to lose marks on this simple writing task, an answer which does not cover all the points listed in the question will instantly be penalised, regardless of the quality of the letter itself. All letter questions present the candidate with an outline of the situation followed by three or four bullet points of required content. An answer which fails to present just one of these (i.e. only three of the four are present in the answer) will automatically be penalised。

Combined with this idea is the problem of not sufficiently emphasising the intention of the letter. If the reason for the letter is inviting a teacher to a student party; simply describing the party and signing off the letter with “hope to see you there” is not acceptable. In the early stage of the letter you should state your aim, “I am writing to invite you to our party”. The body of the letter should contain sentences such as, “all of the students really want you come, so it would really mean a lot to us if you could join us”。

Another easy way to throw away marks here is to use the wrong style. If you are writing to a friend then an informal style is required. If you are writing to a company or someone you do not know, obviously the writing style requires an informal and polite tone。

Academic Task One – Graphs and Charts

An answer which omits key details will be penalised. This raises the question of “What is a key detail”; this will vary from task to task. In pie chart task which has only three countries and three categories of data (e.g. nuclear, coal and oil energy) failing to describe one country or category will be interpreted as “omitting key details”. Obviously it is not necessary to describe every piece of data for each country and category. In questions where there is an abundance of data, more details can be ignored but it is mandatory to include some mention of each country and category。

Answers which do not attempt to summarize the findings will again be punished in terms of score. In a line graph task which presents unemployment rates for three countries across a fifty year time period, the answer should include sentences which give an overall description of the changes for each country across the whole period,

“As a general summary it should be stated that across the fifty year period, the figure for France experienced an overall reduction, Germany witnessed a marginal gain while in contrast Spain undulated erratically”

Linking words are considered gold dust in IELTS Writing and Speaking and task one is no exception. For a typical 150 word answer it is recommended that the answer contains between 5 and 8 complex linking words. Simply using “firstly secondly thirdly finally” will not achieve a high score. More importantly an answer without linking words will immediately be marked down。

The issue of relevancy will also affect a Task One score. When data is presented it is not acceptable to make comments on the figures:

The amount of fast food consumed in Britain is considerably higher than the the consumption in other countries. British people should change their eating habits to avoid health problems such as heart disease and obesity。

In this example the second sentence is considered “irrelevant” because it describes the writer’s opinion and not data from the task. Answers with many examples of irrelevant details will result in a low score。

Task 2 Essay Questions (Academic and General Training)

Although the academic and general training writing tests present different questions in task 2, the same marking criteria and rules apply to both。

One typical problem in Task 2 responses is related to the concept of “clear position”. The marking system makes direct reference to “the writers position”. To achieve a good score in Task 2 the examiner must be satisfied that “a clear position is clear throughout”. This means that the opinion of the writer must be easily understood and recognisable at the beginning of the essay, in the body and in the conclusion. The following introduction sentence does not present a clear position:

“…in the following paragraphs I will present my opinion on this question”

The same can be said of a conclusion which does the following:

“In conclusion it is obvious that both arguments contain their own positive and negative features and each method could be used in different situations” Where is the writer’s clear position?

Consider the following question :

Nowadays many people enjoy dangerous sports such as mountain climbing or parachuting. Governments should ban these sports to protect the safety of the public. Do you agree or disagree。

An introduction with a clear position might look like this:

In recent years we have seen a considerable rise in dangerous or extreme sports, although I do not support an outright ban on such activities, I do feel that governments should restrict or regulate these pursuits。

The introduction outlines the topic and directly expresses a clear position。

The body paragraphs should also follow the line of the stated opinion. The following paragraph does the following NOT support a clear position。

In modern society many people feel stress from their work so they look for new and exciting ways to relieve their work pressure. One effective way to do this is to partake in extreme sports such as surfing, skiing or parachute jumping. However these sports often result in injury or death to the individual and this is not good for society。

A much better paragraph would be:

It is undeniable that dangerous or extreme sports can cause injury or even to death to individuals , however it must be said that this fact alone does not warrant a ban on such activities. On the contrary, rather than banning these sports governments should ensure that companies who provide facilities for dangerous sports meet the required legal safety standards。

This paragraph clearly states the opinion of the writer. It does not simply touch on the topic of the question。

The essay could continue with another paragraph which clearly develops the pre-stated opinion。

Furthermore it is important to stress that if governments attempt to ban extreme sports, many people would view this as an infringement on the rights of an individual. In fact it would fair to maintain that if extreme sports were banned, then why not ban any activity which could be interpreted as harmful such as smoking, drinking or even eating junk food。

A final body paragraph might introduce a compromise of the opinion:

Nevertheless, it should be understood that certain dangerous sports should be restricted by means of licensing or certification. If for example an individual decided to go parachute jumping, then the authorities should insist that he or she undergo sufficient training and supervision and if necessary obtain the legally required license. In addition, license providers such as extreme sport companies should be heavily regulated by safety standards officers to ensure public safety。

A conclusion also needs to restate the opinion of the whole essay:

Conclusively, I would firmly contest a ban on any sporting activities although I do believe that the authorities and extreme sports associations or clubs must actively guarantee the wellbeing of participants and introduce legislation to minimize the dangers。

The essay as whole serves to expand on the clearly stated opinion of the writer. It therefore remains relevant to the question on every level and would not be penalized。

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