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.
When I began to write professionally several years ago, the type of writing I dreaded the most was the one that seemed the easiest at first glance: narrative writing. How tricky could narrative writing be, you might ask. After all, in our everyday conversations, we constantly recount happenings to others, and we do so effortlessly… Continue reading Navigating narrative writing
Ask any secondary school student to name the English assignment they hate the most, and they are most likely to say “the argumentative essay.” Indeed, the strain of having to fake interest in arguing for or against a topic is soul-sapping enough. The fact that this form of writing is difficult to master alienates students… Continue reading Writing aid for the argumentative essay
In the early 1980s, when the Chinese Communist Party permitted overseas Chinese to set foot in their homeland again, Cecilia Chiang made her way from the US to her native city of Beijing: in the intervening decades, while being abroad she had reinvented herself as a restauranter and leading proponent of Chinese cuisine; she was… Continue reading Two responses to a DSE English essay topic
A large part of writing well has to do with knowing what not to write. This is much harder than it sounds: students who lack good training tend to write whatever comes to mind. They tend to include even more irrelevant material when they are working under the time pressure of an exam: with adrenaline… Continue reading Go off-topic in a writing exam and lose marks
The way I see it, developing an eye for good writing is a bit like wine-tasting. Taste this sample. What makes it work, and how does it compare with the samples you already know? Keep weighing and questioning, and over time, you’ll develop a sense of what’s good. Below is a “wine-tasting” exercise, consisting of… Continue reading Going beyond DSE English
The three-paragraph script below was written by a candidate who sat for her UKiset. To differentiate her text from mine, I’ve put her copy in italics. Exam writing topic: “It is important to stop procrastinating” 1. Certainly, every person has bad habits. Some people may be in the habit of speaking rudely; some tend to… Continue reading Exam essay writing tips: how to use examples and quotations properly
A student who sat for her International Baccalaureate English exam wrote the following essay for its writing segment. For ease of reference, I’ve numbered the paragraphs in her piece. The writing topic she was given: “The best way to understand the true nature of society is to study its dominant trends in art, music and… Continue reading Rescuing a near-hopeless IB English essay