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AbeViet English IELTS Writing - The Editing Process

AbeViet English IELTS Writing - The Editing Process

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Published by: AbeViet on May 27, 2011
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Sunday, June 14, 2009 Posted by Dominic ColeWriting for IELTS is quite different from academic writing for at least one very goodreason: timing. In IELTS you only have 60 minutes to produce two pieces of writing,there are no second chances and it isn't practical to draft and redraft. However, in IELTSyou still need to find time to check your writing and edit it for mistakes. Here are somevery practical suggestions on how to go about this process.
When to chec
The first step is to decide when to check. You may think the obvious time is after youhave finished writing, but there are other options. None is necessarily correct: as ever Isuggest you need to try each approach and see which works for you as an individual.
1. Check at the end
The conventional advice is to leave 3-5 minutes at the end to review your writing. Thereason to do it this way is that you can see read the whole essay and check it for coherence as well as grammatical problems. One problem with this approach is thatsometimes you run out of time and do not check. Another problem is that it is moredifficult to find mistakes when you check a longer piece of writing.If you are a higher level candidate and you have few problems with grammar, this is possibly the approach for you.
2. Check as you write
An alternative option is to check as you write: either at the end of each sentence or  paragraph. This idea may surprise you, but there is a very significant benefit to thisapproach: you are much more likely to find grammatical errors if you look at a sentenceof 15 words than an essay of 250 words.If you know that you have consistent problems with grammar, you should certainlyconsider this approach. It really is much easier to find mistakes this way.
3. Check as you write and at the end
This is probably the ideal choice as it allows you to find grammatical errors as you writeand problems with coherence after you have written. The one difficulty is that it probablytakes more time.
How to chec
Here I have two very positive suggestion to make:1.Check with a pen in hand so that you make sure you look at every word. It's veryeasy to see what you think you have written and not what you actually wrote.Reading with a pen is a good way of slowing yourself down and makeing sureyou read every word.2.Read in complete sentences and not word by word. Very often mistakes happen because all the parts of the sentence are correct, but those parts of a sentence donot fit together.
What to check for
This is the big one. There are a number of different items you can check for and whatfollows is a longish list and I suggest that in an exam it may not practical to check for allof them. You need to make your own personal checklist before the exam: to do this youneed the assistance of a teacher to advise you of your mistakes. See thisexam tipfor more detail.
The main point to note here is that not all mistakes are equal. You will be penalised moreheavily for basic mistakes than more complex ones, therefore you should check your  basic grammar most carefully.1.Verb tenses: make sure they are consistent and in task 1 that your tenses matchthe time frame in the graph2.Articles: this is something for everyone to check for. Articles are the mostcommon words in English and often go wrong. To get band 7 or over most of your sentences need to be correct: this means your articles need to be correct.See my post on articles.3.Subject-verb agreement: this means "he do
" not "he do". Even to quite a highlevel this is a relatively common mistake. The problem being that it is also a basicmistake that examiners will penalise more heavily4.Parts of speech: this is another relatively low level mistake that is also quitecommon - particularly with Asian language speakers. Check that you use nouns,verbs and adjectives when you need. This is particularly an issue in task 1 whenusing trend language (
a sharp rise
, but
to rise sharply
).5.Range of sentence structures: this one may surprise you, but it is important if youwant band 6 or above to vary your sentence structures. It is not enough always touse simple but correct language.

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