Exam Writing Tips, My Writings

如何應付Eleven Plus英文卷的寫作部分

在英國,有讀小學的孩子的香港家長,都不會對Eleven Plus 考試陌生(簡單來説,要入讀英國的頂尖公立中學和私校,就必須在11-12嵗期間,拿到優秀的Eleven Plus成績)。對在香港長大的學生來説,Eleven Plus 英文卷的困難程度,可以用以下幾張圖表達.

這是香港小五程度的看圖作文:

這是11 Plus的看圖作文:

顯然,英國和香港兩地的學校,對11-12嵗學生的寫作要求,完全不一樣, 前者比後者更注重creative thinking and storeytelling skills. 那該怎麽幫香港學生應付Eleven Plus?  根據我的經驗,最有效啓發他們方法之一,是老師也“落手落脚“去寫,把學生的文章重寫一遍,在重寫的過程中,修正學生storytelling上的毛病,從而培養他們對文章好壞的辨別力,和對細節的觸覺。

Below is my rewrite of a student’s response to an Eleven Plus question. Her grammar is perfect, yet her writing lacks precision and style. Can you spot the many details that make my version markedly better than hers?

Student‘s version

 “He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late.”

A few days ago, John, who had magical powers, spotted Clarice at the library. She had just borrowed a book. John could immediately tell that a tree monster was hiding in the book, so he warned Clarice not to open it. Clarice ignored him.

When Clarice went home, she relaxed in bed with the book and began to read it. By then she had forgotten John’’s warning. All of a sudden, a monster began to grow from the pages. The larger it grew, the more frightened Clarice became. She shouted “Helped!” even though she knew no one could hear her. Before long the tree monster strangled her and she died.

A few days later, John visited Clarice’s house. When he saw her body in her bed, he sighed, “ Even with my magical powers I couldn’t save her.”

My rewrite

He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late.

It pained John that Clarice’s grisly death could have been avoided if only she had heeded his warning. Given her enormous self regard as a Youtuber with one million followers, however, it was in keeping with her character that she would never consider advice coming from someone like him, a drably dressed middle-aged library clerk no one would give a second look to. 

John’s invisibility was exactly the kind of existence he had wanted for himself, for he had been born with the power to divine the supernatural, and he saw it as a burden instead of a means to get rich. The only drawback was when he told strangers about the bad things that were going to happen to them, due to his humble status they would never take him seriously.

Clarice’s dismissal of him was even harsher than average. On the day she came to the library to borrow a volume on tree species, immediately John could sense negative energy radiating from the book.

“Don’t take the book home. A tree monster is in it,” John pleaded when she handed the book over to him at the counter to check it out.

“Should I call the police and have them toss you into a nuthouse?” Clarice snapped.

When John handed the book back to her, he saw a vision of what would happen that night. Clarice would curl up in bed with the book and turn to the page about the Black Forest in Germany, the exact place in the book the tree monster lurked in. The monster, which first took the form of a fern, would emit a scent that would lull Clarice to sleep. It would then creep up her neck to snuff life out of her. She would suddenly wake up midway to put up a struggle, but she would be overpowered by the monster’s roots, which would by now have sprouted poisonous thorns – the more she tossed and turned, the deeper the thorns dug into the delicate flesh on her neck, and the more painful her death.

When the local newspaper was delivered to the library the next morning, John took a look at the front page.

“20 year-old Youtuber found strangled; killer not found,” a headline screamed

John used all his might to stop himself from thinking, or else in his mind, he would see who the tree monster’s next victim would be.

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