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Writing skills

Watch this to improve your writing skills for Higher French (and why babies get it right)

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When babies and toddlers are picking up a first language, they do it in a very particular order.

They learn to listen and to associate certain things and actions with particular sounds.

Then they learn to imitate those sounds and, through speaking, start to interact with their world.

Then they learn to link the sounds they know with symbols on a page or a screen – they read.

And finally they produce their own symbols and write for themselves. This is where things take off.

Writing brings it all together: your knowledge, your vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. And there is nowhere to hide in the written word.

So learning to secure top marks in the Directed Writing Exam will take some time and effort. But you can do it. Let me explain how.

This is thinkfour

Let's look at what you need to do to secure top marks in the Directed Writing paper.

In the Directed Writing Exam , you are given the choice of two scenarios in English, followed by six bullet points.
You are required to write an account of the visit to the country in the foreign language.

So let's get started …
The first thing to do is read each scenario very carefully and decide which one you think you can do best. This will depend very much on what you have covered in class.

What exactly are the examiners looking for in your essay ?

Well, firstly that you have addressed all the bullet points in the exam paper, as you will be penalised, if you miss any out.
Your language must flow well and be accurate.
Remember … spelling and accents are very important.

Candidates who use a variety of tenses and a range of regular and irregular verbs , are likely to get higher marks.
Can you show confident and CONTROLLED handling of other grammar points such as, gender agreements, and where appropriate, word order ?

It is always a good idea to be able to express your opinion in more than one way. Have a few selected phrases ready to use but do not repeat yourself. Have some sentences prepared to give contrasting opinions, such as “on the one hand’ or “on the other”

To access the top marks you need to go beyond simple sentences and use conjunctions.
Always include the opinion of others, such as your family members and friends. That means you can show off other verb forms.
So , How do you ensure you meet these criteria ?

It is a good idea to make a new paragraph for each bullet point.
This ensures that you do not miss any points and it presents your work in a clear and structured way.
Whilst practicing in class, my advice is, get into the habit of ticking off the bullet points as you answer them, bearing in mind, that the first bullet point, has two parts to it.
Use bullet point one as your introduction to set the scene.
Refer back to the scenario and give your reason for visiting the foreign country.
Bullet point 6 nearly always asks whether you would recommend the trip and or how you benefited from it.
Both the first and the last bullet points are fairly predictable and you can prepare a lot of this in advance and feel confident during the exam.
The other four bullet points will vary, but you can have some prepared sentences ready to cover some of the possibilities which may crop up , such as :
Describing your accommodation, how you got on with the other people, what you did in your free time and what you like the most and or the least about the trip.
All of these will have been corrected in advance by your teacher to ensure that the quality of what you have written, meets the criteria required.

So don’t feel bad if getting ready for the Directed Writing Exam is a challenge. It is not easy. It takes grit and determination to practice and prepare. It is something you will achieve over weeks and months, not days. Knowing and understanding this, gives you the power to get it right.

Just think, if the five-year old version of you achieved it in English all those years ago, imagine what is possible now if you put your mind to it.

This was thinkfour, thanks for watching.