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Skills for Life

Writing Level 1
Examination Report

2008 – Test 077

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Skills for Life Writing Examination Report: Level 1
This report is based on candidate performance on one version of the Skills for Life Writing Level 1 tests in
2007.
The report is intended as an aid to teachers and colleges in preparing candidates for future Cambridge
ESOL Skills for Life Writing tests. It includes a number of sample candidate answers accompanied by
examiner comments.

Test 077
The four tasks in this test were an appeal form for financial support, a letter of reference for a friend, an
article about the fact that people are marrying older and a report about what the local community think of
the company the candidate works for.
There were 36 marks available on the paper, 9 for Task 1, 12 for Task 2 and 15 for Task 3. The
breakdown of marks available for each assessment focus (Text, Sentence and Word) is shown below:
Text

Sentence

Word

Total

Task 1

3

3

3

9

Task 2

6

3

3

12

Task 3

6

6

3

15

Total

15

12

9

36

Candidates performed well in the Word focus on all questions but the strongest performance was seen in
Task 1, which focused on familiar vocabulary in a college setting. This was also a task where candidates
had to give a straightforward description of their course and what they needed. They did marginally less
well in Task 3 where some candidates made errors when they attempted more ambitious vocabulary.
Candidates generally also performed well on Text focus answering questions fully and organising their
answers well. This was done best on Task 1 but was done less well on Task 3, where some candidates
struggled with addressing all the points and organising their answers. Candidates performed least well on
Sentence focus. Most managed to produce appropriate complex and compound sentences but, in Task 3
especially, some candidates made errors in word order, noun-verb agreement and prepositions.
Task 1 Appeal Form
In this task, the most successful answers sequenced the information as suggested and included a sufficient
level of detail. A few candidates additionally made successful use of headings although this was not
specifically required. Giving details of the course and books and equipment needed presented no difficulty
for most candidates although some candidates did not expand enough on how the books or equipment
would be helpful on their course. Better candidates expanded this point as this was part of the persuasion
element. Some candidates went into too much detail about what was needed in a pedestrian way (e.g.
listing) at the expense of the final content point, which was persuading the college to give financial help.
Many candidates ignored the context, i.e. that this was an appeal against a previous decision but still
managed to construct a suitably persuasive appeal. The tone of the appeal was generally appropriate.
Some candidates made appropriate use of hypothesis and speculation about how the money would help
their studies. Explanation of why the money was needed, where this was provided, generally required use
of more complex sentence forms involving subordinate clauses with ‘if’, ‘because’ or ‘as’. However, these
were not always successful. Action required by the appeals board usually involved the ‘would like’
construction in which ‘to’ before the infinitive was sometimes missing. Stronger candidates successfully
used ‘so that’ clauses in completing the appeal.

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Appropriate vocabulary was generally accurately used when describing the course and books and equipment required. Generally this task was well paragraphed with good opening and closing statements. A small minority of candidates misinterpreted the task and wrote about the ideal rather than the actual situation. Explanation of the changes generally required complex sentences in which subordinating clauses of reason. Use of linkers between sentences and paragraphs (‘the main reason why…’ ‘another reason is that…’) was generally accurate. paragraphing and separating the sections were done well. sometimes with headings. and it appears that candidates had been well prepared for this topic. although there were noticeable errors in singular / plural agreement. purpose and result. cause and result were appropriate. Generally good use was made of the language of comparison and contrast. Candidates generally scored less well on Sentence focus and often the structures they chose were too informal or simplistic for the task. The task required quite formal language and some candidates struggled with this. how this compared with other countries and implications for the future. several candidates produced an unbalanced reference that had too much in the first two sections and not enough in the third. An appropriate range of vocabulary relating to marriage. ‘More than’ sometimes appeared as ‘more that’. Others tended to focus on environmental issues or employment prospects. This task elicited a range of vocabulary relating to the company and the response it generated in the community. Stronger candidates sometimes made use of rhetorical questions in the opening paragraphs or introduced the article with an arresting title as mechanisms for arousing interest. The range and accuracy of vocabulary was generally good although sometimes inappropriate when the qualities of the friend were described that were not appropriate to the task. the pros and cons of this. A minority of candidates focussed too exclusively on how staff felt about the company and lost marks accordingly. Task 2 Letter of Reference In this task. Generally. ‘there are’ and ‘there were’. Present simple and present progressive forms were generally accurately used as were ‘there are’ and ‘there is’ and this task provided a lot of opportunity for use of modals. Generally the task was well-paragraphed and headings were used appropriately.g. 3 . Generally good use was made of the language of description and explanation involving complex sentences with subordinating clauses of reason. must. and these were valid points. generally the implications for the future. In summarising the changes. good use was made of relative clauses. A minority omitted one of the four aspects of the task. should. e. Stronger candidates tended to write more than the number of words suggested but some candidates failed to indicate sufficiently clearly why their friend would be eminently suitable as a volunteer although this was one of the main task requirements. saying why the friend would be suitable. Task 3a Marrying Older Article This was a popular choice among the option questions and most candidates responded well to all parts of the question and had no difficulty in discussing the reasons for the changing trends. Discussion of what people in the local community thought was often only addressed superficially. there was greater opportunity for candidates to use their own life experience as they could talk about somebody they knew well. society and the pressures on people was used. Describing why the appeals board should comply with the request sometimes generated language that was too forceful. the present perfect. 3b Company in Community Report Most candidates were able to develop the three content points and to make relevant observations. explanation and hypothesis involving both simple sentences and complex constructions. However.

Recommendations for Candidate Preparation All Cambridge ESOL Skills for Life tests are based closely on the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum and cover all the Basic Skills Standards in each mode at each level. Therefore. Candidates can benefit from following the Dos and Don’ts from the Skills for Life Teaching Resource website: http://www. by following the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. teachers will be preparing their students for the tests. 4 .org/teach/SfL/Levels_1_and_2_Writing/About%20the%20paper/dos_donts.htm Sample Scripts Sample scripts are provided for each task in the question paper. Please note that it is not possible to reproduce the original candidate answers.cambridgeesol. and so any references in the commentaries to quality of handwriting will not be reflected in the samples provided.

Unfortunately all books which would be helpful are very expensive and I can’t affort to buy them all. Also this is only part-time job and not well paid. Please give details of the course you are doing. Complete the form. If it’s possible to get a grant to buy just only this book it would be very helpful. the books and equipment you need and why you feel we should accept your application. (Total: 9 marks) 5 .Level 1 (Test 077) Sample Scripts and Commentaries Level 1 Script A Task 1 (About 10 minutes) Your college gives financial assistance to some students to help them pay for books and other equipment that they need for their studies. Please consider my appeal and please let me know about your decision. The most important and also the most expensive book for this course is “Adobe suit”. This course and certificate which I would get helps me to find better job and improved my skills. (Write in sentences. I work for a translation company as a desktop publisher but I haven’t any formal qualification for this job. we consider all appeals. Write about 80 words. You have decided to appeal against this decision.) From the begining of September I have started “Desktop Publishing Skills” Course at this college. You applied for this financial help but your application was not successful. Appeal form: financial support for books and equipment We only have limited funds for book and equipment grants and we cannot accept all applications. I am sure after this one year course I would be able to find proper job and get a satisfaction from doing this. Also because I haven’t any support from my employer every month I have to spend about 140 pounds for transport and accomodation during the course time. However.

3 3 Sentence focus Good variety of structures used with minimal errors. 3 3 Word focus Appropriate use and a good range of vocabulary with a few non3 impending spelling errors. 3 6 .Level 1 Script A Task 1 Commentary Band Mark Text focus All 3 points well developed.

first year of architectural design.Level 1 Script B Task 1 (About 10 minutes) Your college gives financial assistance to some students to help them pay for books and other equipment that they need for their studies. You applied for this financial help but your application was not successful.) Dear Mr/Ms xxxx. Why does my application was not successful? I’m studying in Newi. (Write in sentences. Complete the form. Please give details of the course you are doing. I can not afford the quantity of money that cost all the books. we consider all appeals. You have decided to appeal against this decision. the books and equipment you need and why you feel we should accept your application. I need the books for all this year. However. I don’t understant your decision. Write about 80 words. Appeal form: financial support for books and equipment We only have limited funds for book and equipment grants and we cannot accept all applications. I don’t have a job actually so my rent is very poor. I hope that you can understant my situation and finally I can receive my grant. You know with my last letter that I don’t live actually with my parents and I can not receive money from them. Sincerely (Total: 9 marks) 7 .

’ (This obscurity may be due to choice of lexis rather than structure but is penalised here. 1 ‘…so my rent is very poor.Level 1 Script B Task 1 Commentary Band Mark Text focus No details of books are given and therefore intended audience would 1 not be fully informed. 1 Sentence focus Some evidence of ability to construct complex sentences but there are problems with word order and meaning is not always clear. e.) 1 Word focus Generally vocabulary is appropriate and accurate. In appropriate register used.g. 2 2 8 .

She nevers go went out of the shop until all was absolutely clean. Rina. Ms Rina Kimar has applied to do voluntary work in our second-hand books and clothes shop in Yeading Road. I was his boss when she was working with me on my cloth shop. You do not need to write the address or the date. I was his boss. Rina has given your name as a referee. she is alway with a smile in the face. I remember the first day that I know Rina. Write about 140 words. Arthur Bell Mr Arthur Bell Head of Volunteer Recruitment Write a letter of reference. Volunteers advise customers. Immediatly I apreciate her entusiasm for the job. work on the cash desk and organise stock. very important in this profession. I look forward to hearing from you.Level 1 Script C Task 2 (About 25 minutes) You receive this letter asking for a reference about your friend. Please could you tell us: • how well you know her • what she is like as a person • why you think she is suitable for this position. She is very patient with clients. As a person 9 . when I arrived Rina was hoping in front the shop! She says to me that was very important for her this work and the first day she doesn’t want to arrive late. I went to open the shop 30 minutes after. We are a national charity which raises money for elderly people. because this day arrived a new table for the cash. and she become one of my best friends. and a very good worker. Dear Arthur Bell I think that Rina Kimar can be sincerly a very good volunteer for you job. but immediatly I was his friend too.

is very carfully with nature and the animals. Sinceresly (Total: 12 marks) 10 . She was working in a recuperation center for animals as a volunteer during three years. she always has time for you. Ryna works very hard. and I am very for the job done in my Job.Ryna is a very good person. she loves animals. she likes this type of job. she likes to hear another people talking. how as I said. never I was disgusting about here. I think Ryna is perfect for the job descrived. she has experience. is perfect for advise customers. You will be very luckly to has a person like she in your Job.

1 1 11 . 1 Word focus Numerous basic spelling errors and some inappropriate use of vocabulary. ‘disgusting’. e. Some attempt at paragraphing.g.Level 1 Script C Task 2 Commentary Band Mark Text focus All 3 content points addressed with some irrelevance in first 2 paragraph. There are particular 1 problems with pronouns. 3 Sentence focus Lack of control causes confusion throughout.

I have a very succesful busyness and Ms Rina Kimar was one of my employee. Please could you tell us: • how well you know her • what she is like as a person • why you think she is suitable for this position. I look forward to hearing from you. You do not need to write the address or the date. honest and she care a lot about people not just because of busuness but because 12 . Rina. I’m writting to give information about your future worker Ms Rina Kimar as you requested. Write about 140 words. Rina has given your name as a referee. Arthur Bell Mr Arthur Bell Head of Volunteer Recruitment Write a letter of reference. Mr Date 30 Nov 2006 PC Center Bolton BL2 2NE Tel/ 01204 123456 Dear Sir/Madam.Level 1 Script D Task 2 (About 25 minutes) You receive this letter asking for a reference about your friend. Volunteers advise customers. I have known her for about 5 years since 2002 in January Ms Rina is very helpful. work on the cash desk and organise stock. I’m the chief executive of Bolton PC Center Store which is located in town center. We are a national charity which raises money for elderly people. Ms Rina Kimar has applied to do voluntary work in our second-hand books and clothes shop in Yeading Road.

and that is an advantage for her. because of her honsty our coumpany has beneficiate a lot of things such as special awards. Ms Rima has never been late to work. she play tennis in a local Gym and she did run twice for our charity in Manchester-Shelford in 2005 and 2006. She is fit. she is a time keeper and she work very hard. What I had discuvored is that she has a great personality. very friendly she has an unthusiastic spirit which is always happy to help customers. disables and differents group of communities in Bolton. She has good good knowlogy of memorising names. The reason why I think Ms Rima is suitable for that Position is because she has good potention in the kind of work she is applying for. our company has given her a lot of bonus as special awards she has won 5 award as a company best collegue of the year. she can also work during weekend and in do overtimes. pictures. Ms Rina has a big spirit and she is willing to work. she has got a NVQ qualification in social care that means she knows and she ha a lot of experience working with old people. she work harder – she is flexible and tolerant. As her previous Manager I think she is one of the best collegue I have never work with and I was a good oportinity for me to work with Ms Rima please do not hesitate to came back to me if you need more information about Ms Rima Kimar Thank you. Your’s sincirly (Total: 12 marks) 13 . She has been raising money for our local charity to help people in Africa and i’m sure she is looking forward to do the same at your place.is her character.

Well paragraphed in appropriate letter format.Level 1 Script D Task 2 Commentary Band Mark Text focus All 3 points fully covered and although longer than specified. 2 Word focus A range of vocabulary with quite a few spelling errors. However. 5 Sentence focus Evidence of ability to construct complex sentences but a number of errors with tenses and punctuation. meaning remains 2 clear. 2 2 14 . it 3 remains relevant.

Young people now don’t want to get married just after finishing school or after leaving their family homes. place of living and their culture. We would like to know what you think about this. after their work succeses or even if they would involve a sure they have found the right partner for life. Life is changing. Write an article for the newspaper. They would like to be a single as long as they can and of course dating as many people as it’s possible. Different are: life style. Why has this change happened? Is it a good thing? How does it compare with other countries you know? What will it mean for the future? We will publish the best article. New adult generation is more selfish and would like to get more from life than could give from themselfs. needs. In 1970 it was 25 for men and 23 for women. For women even if their biology clock is ticking they would prefer to become a mother at least. New generation comparising with other adult generations is different. 15 . It depends of age. so much different then adult generation before them. Write about 200 words. Also men would like to have families as later as they can because of their careers and doing lots of activities in their free time. We’re marrying older The average age in the UK for people getting married is now 31 for men and 29 for women. hills (wishes) and goals. work and having a good time with friend – which meens they want more social life without any duties.Level 1 Script E Task 3a (About 40 minutes) You read this notice in your local newspaper. For their grandmothers the most important was family now is only work and personal succes. Women prefer Women prefer carreers than bring up children and household jobs so the most important in their lifes are study. This situation is similar for lots of countries of Western Europe where population of young adults are well educated and very independent.

The new model of family for them is to live alone as a single or become a single mother or father who is still independent and lives far from his/her families. (Total: 15 marks) 16 . So they started their families later as a last goal of their lifes.

2 3 Sentence focus Evidence of ability to construct complex sentences but ambition leads to awkwardness and errors.Level 1 Script E Task 3a Commentary Band Mark Text focus Points are addressed but reference to the future is only implicit. 2 4 Word focus Good evidence of range but not always accurate. 2 2 17 .

Write about 200 words. it is not good for the future. women started studying higher until they finished their qualifications and getting higher job and later they getting married a little later . It some people husband and wife work together and get married later. putting menus to other houses and helping elderly people.Level 1 Script F Task 3a (About 40 minutes) You read this notice in your local newspaper. Some women also get married later staying friend with their husband. each of their parents. We would like to know what you think about this. But to-day the average age of men increased to 31 and the age 29 for women. We’re marrying older The average age in the UK for people getting married is now 31 for men and 29 for women. Write an article for the newspaper. while in other countries man and women marry at the young age. In 1970 it was 25 for men and 23 for women because it the old day men used to go to work and the women were very young they stayed at home and looked after the children the woman spend more time looking after the house-work and doing some business at home like tailouring. Compared with other countries UK has this custom. (Total: 15 marks) 18 . while it is a good think so that could each of them know each other well. In 1970 it was 25 for men and 23 for women. It is better if man and woman earn a lot of money and get married in future so that they would be happy in their marriage life. Why has this change happened? Is it a good thing? How does it compare with other countries you know? What will it mean for the future? We will publish the best article.

3 Word focus Most common functional words are spelt correctly but limited range. 2 2 19 . and a rather pedestrian 2 approach.Level 1 Script F Task 3a Commentary Band Mark Text focus All points covered with little expansion. 3 Sentence focus Sentence grammar is usually sufficiently controlled for meaning to 2 remain clear.

30% happy. The managers have decided to ask staff what they think about this. but all thinks that the production of the company will be improved if they recive a plus for number of food sold or receive more money if they works extra hours. so the next report is very accurate: In generally the staff are happy with the company. The 5% that are angry is because they expected to receive more money the second year worked in the company and finally they don’t receive it. 10% thinks that of people are dislike with the quality or price of the food. 5% angry. Its imporant that all the staff are happy with the work. Free food for them as a coffe machine will be very good received for all the staff. say: • • • how staff feel about the company what people in the local community think about the company what the company should do to improve its image. 90% says the with lower price they will buy more often and 10% of people says improve quality. I tryed that the 600 persons were very differents between them (I choose 300 mens and 300 females from different ages). After this question I asked what they prefer quality vs price is good and 40% thinks that quality vs price is bad This information is very important! A lot improve the quality of food or reduce the price. Write about 200 words. For this report I did a several investigation. 50% are very happy. I asked one by one all the staff that are working in the company (150 in total).Level 1 Script G Task 3b (About 40 minutes) The managers of the company you work for are worried about what its own staff and people in the local community think about the company. So the best think will be 20 . 50% thinks that quality vs price is very good. In the report. Its not a lot of staff but will be great to do something for this group of people. And I done a test on the local comunity to 600 persons (20% of the total population). About the people in the local community. Write a report for your company. 15% Normal.

I think that a toy is not affordable for the company with the actual prices of meal menus (and increase the prices is not good enought) so will be great to include a page with games. drawings for paint for example and three crayons of diferents color for every children. for improve the company. because his childrens will be happy and quite some time.reduce a litter the price of the food. some of them recives more money. In conclusion. or do especial offers some days of the week. (Total: 15 marks) 21 . Reduce the price of food or do special offers during the week and include a page with games and cryons to the children’s menu. its necesary that the staff can have free food and coffe. 100% of people that has children says that this idea will be very great. All the people between 6-14 years says that will be great if with the meal menu the company includes a game or a toy.

3 Word focus Some range of vocabulary but frequent spelling errors.Level 1 Script G Task 3b Commentary Band Mark Text focus The points are covered and developed but contextualisation is poor 2 and this keeps answer in middle band. 2 2 22 . 4 Sentence focus Sentence grammar is usually sufficiently controlled for meaning to 2 remain clear.

The managers have decided to ask staff what they think about this. smal bag 23 . our worker would like us to increase the ningh rate. In the report. because night colleagues work very hard for our stores. 85 per cent of our employers are happy the way we triat every one who work for us. They say there is respect of individual. say: • • • how staff feel about the company what people in the local community think about the company what the company should do to improve its image. They think people like working for us just because we give Them 10 per cent of when They shop for us. but 45 per cent of our customer did not agree with that. Write about 200 words. ASDA is a better place to work for in britain. ASDA Company Report of Servey Acording to our Company Servey it seem our employee are not happy with some of things our company offers. Write a report for your company. and Many more things which make Them happier to work with us except our night rate. Our collegue would like if our company can design new uniform for every one including locker where they can put they accesories such as Perfum. and 8 per cent lower behind Morisons. 85 per cent of our employee one not happy of wage rate we offer them Comparing our rate to other stores it seem we are 10 per cent lower than. Our company need to offer at least 40 days off for every collegue a year and it must be paid. according to the report of the servey in town Center las week it says that.Level 1 Script H Task 3b (About 40 minutes) The managers of the company you work for are worried about what its own staff and people in the local community think about the company. tesco. our collegue Claim that we are very strict with our absence policy we should give a second chance to a collegue has been absent for more than 3 days. the majority of people think we should pay our employee at least twice a month That means every single employee Should be paid after 2 weeks and that’s 75 per cent of people did agree with that.firstly i would like to talk about the payment date. walet.

and Finaly our collegue think we should offer medical deal. such as dental treatment. and many more Things just to make ASDA or better place to work for in britain. and they will be happier and successful and also proud to be part of ASDA Company. 85 per cent of our collegue would like if ASDA could co-operate with british car industries for example ford (focus) to give out bran new cars for low prices. (Total: 15 marks) 24 . international trips and parties they would like if we could give them better deal such as “cars. hotel. Our company Should Create better deals for every one who work for us such as holidies. 15 per cent of our collegues did not agree with cars deal they think is too risqui to buy a car while your working with us because you might be quickest at any time because our our absence Policy. for example family insurance for collegues.and even food. optical.

problems with upper and lower case. 3 Word focus Wide range of vocabulary not all of which is accurate. 2 Some 2 25 . Inadequate use of punctuation. 1 2 Sentence focus Evidence of complex sentences but some lack of internal cohesion 2 leads to confusion.Level 1 Script H Task 3b Commentary Band Mark Text focus One content point omitted.