Over the next month we will go over some tips to help you mentally prepare yourself for an ISLPR test and strategies to help you perform well during an exam.
To make things easy, we'll break the test down into 4 parts and provide strategies to improve each of your macro-skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Today, we're looking at:
The Writing Test.
Part 2: during the test
- The task sheet indicates the audience (who you are writing for) and why you are writing, as well as the topic and the text type (e.g. report, ‘letter to the editor’). All these things are important, so check with the tester if you are not sure.
- Where appropriate, try to imagine yourself in the situation outlined on the task sheet.
- Use the white space on the task sheet to make notes to plan your work but not to write a full draft that you hope to copy into the writing booklet.
- When planning, be realistic about what you can express in English and in the recommended number of words.
- When you refer to ideas from the task sheet, change the wording if possible but don’t think that you must use synonyms to avoid repeating your own words.
- Don’t be afraid to use short, simple sentences in either the shorter or longer task.
- The number of paragraphs that you use in either the shorter or longer task depends on what and how you write. There is nothing magic about, for example, five paragraphs.
- Don’t be afraid to use very short paragraphs in either the shorter or longer task.
- Not all paragraphs start with a topic sentence, even in academic writing.
- Use linkers such as “moreover” when necessary but only when necessary to clarify meaning.
- Avoid clichés such as “every coin has two sides”.
- To delete a piece of text, simply put a line through it rather than using liquid paper or an eraser.
- When checking, try reading to yourself what you have written so that you ‘hear’ in your head if it sounds right. If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t right and consider writing what you would say.
- See also the advice on writing on our web page and in the webinar lecture on writing.
Now, a final two general points to remember before your test!
- Avoid ‘emotional blackmail’ (e.g. telling the tester how important it is for you to ‘pass’ the test).
- The tester’s duty is to assess your language skills objectively and accurately. He or she might sympathise with your personal situation but that must not and does not influence the assessment.
- Don’t ask the tester how well you have done. The only acceptable results are on your results certificate.
Make sure you read the terms and conditions when applying to do the test for more information on acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the test room.
© ISLPR Language Services Pty Ltd, October, 2019