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DanilaMe

Working on your essay writing skills/Учимся писать эссе

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Hi everybody!

 

Today I would like to introduce another topic to build up your language skills. This time I would like to focus on the writing assignments that are very common in standardized test such as GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS and of course Russian State Exam.

 

Personally I had the experience of passing FCE, BEC 2, IELTS and TOEFL exams hence I am quite accustomed to these test formats, and I would like to share my knowledge here. Don't hesitate to ask me if you are interested to find out more information about them.

 

Currently I try to sharpen my writing skills for GMAT test, which is my personal goal. However, the difficulty of GMAT assignments should not frustrate of discourage anybody because everybody has their own language skills to work on and their own goals

 

 

The essays in the above mentioned tests are judged according to the following criteria:

 

1). Word count - your essay should not be longer or shorter the desired length;

2). Examples - you should provide good examples that support your argument;

3). Structure - your essay should be well structured;

4). Grammar - your essay should be grammatically correct;

5). Following instructions - you should precisely follow essay instructions, that is very important and many Russian students have problems with that;

6). Strength of argument - your argument should be strong and consistent;

7). Vocabulary - you vocabulary should be broad and diverse, try not to use less common words and phrases;

8). Coherence - your writing should be logical and consistent.

 

And of cource the most important aspect is the right timing - you just cant sit forever with your essay - life is a timed event =)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Темой могут заинтересоваться студенты начального уровня, поэтому считаю нужным сделать перевод вступления на русский язык. В дальнейшем предлагаю придерживаться общения на английском.

 

Добрый вечер, форумчане!

 

Сегодня я хочу начать еще одну тему, посвященную прокачке вашего английского языка, а точнее, навыков письменной английской речи. В этот раз я бы хотел сконцентрироваться на распространенных стандартизированных тестах, таких как GMATGRETOEFLIELTS и, конечно, ЕГЭ, который, кстати, сделан на основе западных аналогов.

 

Тему критики ЕГЭ и прочих стандартизированных тестов я прошу сразу вынести в отдельный топик, который, уверен, есть на форуме. Тесты, так или иначе, нужно сдавать (кому требуется), а плохи они или хороши - это отдельный вопрос.

 

Мне приходилось сдавать довольно много подобных тестов, в частности, я сдал FCE, BEC 2, IELTS и TOEFL, поэтому хорошо знаком с форматов этих тестов и готов поделиться информацией на эту тему с интересующимися коллегами. Сейчас я готовлюсь к тесту GMAT, который весьма сложен. Однако, сложность GMAT ни в коем случае не должна смущать коллег по форуму, потому что у каждого свои цели в изучении английского, и, соответственно, свои задания.

 

Письменные работы в вышеуказанных тестах оцениваются, исходя из следующих критериев:

 

1). Количество слов - слов не должно быть слишком много или мало, нужно укладываться в формат задания;

2). Примеры - вы должны снабдить свою рукопись хорошими примерами, подтверждающими ваш тезис;

3). Структура - ваш текст должен быть хорошо структурирован;

4). Следование инструкциям - вы должны четко следовать инструкциям в задании;

5). Сила тезисов - тезисы (аргументы) должны быть сильными и аргументированными;

6). Словарный запас - важно использовать словарный, соответствующий уровню теста; для GMAT она будет более продвинутым, а для FCE - менее;

7). Связанность - ваш текст должен быть логичным и последовательным.

8). Грамматика.

 

И, наконец, самое главное, что касается этих тестов - нужно уложиться в отведенный отрезок времени.

 

Как многие здесь знают, главное в изучении языка - это практика! Не бойтесь практиковаться и давайте поддерживать друг друга. 

 

motivation-21.jpg

 

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This was one of my first assignment to prepare for TOEFL. I chose to prove that knowledge is a burden sometimes.

If you would like to practice your English with me you could write the essay defending the opposite point of view. To make it fair you should stick to the time frame though. =)

 

 

The assignment.

 

Can knowledge rather be a burden or a benefit?

 

Timing - 45 minutes, which exceeded the timeframe by 15 minutes.

 

The essay.

 

I do support the opinion which states that knowledge could be a burden. This could be true for numerous cases in our lives. Firstly, there is a good saying that describes the burden of knowledge: what is known can not be unknown. This saying could be applied to multiple cases where individuals would be  happier not to know something. This general case could be supported by more specific situation in medical field of knowledge when patients are given an excessive treatment that does more harm then actual disease. My third supporting thesis is based on Dostoevsky's Rodion Raskolnikov character who could not psychologically handle his murdorous knowledge.
 
Very often people have to gain knowledge that is neither wanted nor needed in order to leave happier lives. Some people would rather be unaware of certain information. For instance many spouses would rather not know that their beloved halves are cheating on them even if an actual cheating is happening. This is also true for people who deside not to watch the news on everyday basis since our TV channels are eager to show bloody happenings like wars, car accidents, murders and natural disasters. This kind of knowledge does not bring  much happiness to our lives and has not any particular value. Hence some people try to avoid it as often as possible to make their information burden less harming.
 
There are many showcases when medical knowledge about your internal organs could lead to more harm instead of a cure. This is very typical for older prostate cancer patients who are 60 years of age and older. Many recent studies prove that these patients would live  longer and more comforable lives if their cancer was left untreated. That leads to the conclusion that rigorous check ups for prostate cancer are waste of time and money since the most probable outcome would be more pain and suffering if the results are positive. 
 
Burden of knowing that you killed an innocent person could be heavy as a rock. This is what Dostoevsky showed us in his famous Crime and Punishment novel. Novel's main charecter Rodion Raskolnikov killed  innocent people trying to prove to himself that he is capable of doing such a violent act. However he obviously could not handle the consequenses of his crime. The knowledge burden was so heavy that it almost made him  insane and ruined his life completely. Since his criminal deed happened, Rodion was not able to restore his soul's internal cancord.
 

Despite people's constant reach towards new knowledge it is obvious that in some cases excessive or unwanted knowledge could present a  threat to individuals. This is true for numerous situations in everyday's life when people choose not to know that their spouses are cheating or are not interested that a couple of days ago a young couple was killed in a bloody accident. Some medical procudures are proved to have rather negative consequences. And sometimes the burden of knowledge is so heavy it presents a threat to mental health as Raskolnikov case shows us.

 

 

 

This text has some grammar mistakes most of which were typos made due to lack of time (you have only 30 minutes to write quite a long text). When you time your writing you can bring it very close to the actual exam format. The mistakes that I made during this assignment are highlighted in red

 

Despite ten grammatical mistakes this text got high marks because grammar is only one of eight assessment criteria

Otherwise, this essay is a good example of what is expected from you when you write GMAT test.

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Hello to everybody!

It is my first experience in writing stories !

My  story  will be about journeys .

I would like to tell  you about our  journeys to Europe.It is one of my hobby !We ( I and my family) travelled by car ourselves. At first I have read many about  trips of another people in internet, on the special forums, have seen many photos. It was fabulous for me!

Our first travel was to Czech Republic and Germany. We went through the Belarus and  Poland .

We visited many interesting places. The Prague is a pleasant city! Also we have seen many castles beyond the Prague. They are wonderful! Near the Dresden we visited the Morizburg castle- here was filmed my favourite  fairy tale  " 3 hazel-nuts for the Cinderella". It  reminds me  my childhood!My children were  very glad to visit this castle too !

The next year we visited the Czech big lake - Lipno. We had a beach rest on the shore of the lake. Also we were in Vienna.

This spring  we have  reached the Italy!It is  a fantastic country for me !Italians are very friendly! The local cookery is so delicious !

I think that journeys by ourselves are  more interesting because you can stop  where you want, can see what you want, can meet many new people !It gives you a good  practice in your study English! Everywhere people often know English like own native language and to my shame  I don't know it so good!

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AnutaM

 

:appl:In fact, your English is not so bad as YOU think. Nothing terrible. Don't give up and everything will be all right.

 

Note: when you speak about the past, don't use Present Perfect, use Past Simple.

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Hello to everybody!

It is my first experience in writing stories !

 

Hi! What's going on?

 

You wrote a great story considering this is your first experience! Keep that pace and you will be rewarded pretty soon, probably, during your next trip to Europe.

By the way, this kind of travelling is my favorite hobby as well. It lets you feel your freedom. =) You can drive wherever you want, in any direction and find many interesting people and places on your way.

 

And I agree with the valuable comment from Lady LG. Try to use past simple tense when you write stories about the past.

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AnutaM

 

:appl:In fact, your English is not so bad as YOU think. Nothing terrible. Don't give up and everything will be all right.

 

Note: when you speak about the past, don't use Present Perfect, use Past Simple.

Thanks a lot for your support and corrections !

I always confuse The past Simple with the Present Perfect ! :) Can you show me 1-2 examples where I have to use The present Perfect?


 

 

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Hi! What's going on?

 

You wrote a great story considering this is your first experience! Keep that pace and you will be rewarded pretty soon, probably, during your next trip to Europe.

By the way, this kind of travelling is my favorite hobby as well. It lets you feel your freedom. =) You can drive wherever you want, in any direction and find many interesting people and places on your way.

 

And I agree with the valuable comment from Lady LG. Try to use past simple tense when you write stories about the past.

Thanks for your review,fine words about my story and also for  corrections !

I hope that  thanks to this topic  and your help I will make my English more perfect!

 

I absolutely agree  with you about  journeys !Where have you been in your trips ?

 

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I always confuse The past Simple with the Present Perfect ! :) Can you show me 1-2 examples where I have to use The present Perfect?

 

This simple chart might help you:

pastsimplepresentperfect.gif

For further reference follow this link.

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This simple chart might help you:

pastsimplepresentperfect.gif

For further reference follow this link.

Thanks for your help! I will try to remember it!

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AnutaM

 

   You asked me and I have to answer. To begin with, Perfect Tenses have always been difficult for Russian learners. It takes years to understand them.

Americans do better: they ignore Perfect (and many other grammar rules) and feel happy enough. I’ll try to answer your question in the simplest way possible.

I’ll do it in Russian so that you could understand better.

 

1. Past Simple – если в предложении указано время (вчера, год назад, да хоть секунду назад, прошлым летом)

– ничего не думай и говори: went, was, could… - на то оно и прошедшее.

 

2. Present Perfect - ВСЕГДА СВЯЗАНО С НАСТОЯЩИМ.

ЛЮБОЕ ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ В Present Perfect МОЖНО ЗАМЕНИТЬ ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕМ В НАСТОЯЩЕМ ВРЕМЕНИ: ЭТО ЗНАЧИТ, ЧТО СЕЙЧАС ….

 

Сравни:

I have washed the floor (Я имею вымытым пол) – Я помыла пол (Это значит, что он сейчас чистый или мокрый)

I washed the floor yesterday – Я мыла пол вчера (Не факт, что он сейчас чистый и уж точно не мокрый)

 

- Where is Jane? – She has gone to the cinema – Где Джейн? – Она ушла в кино (Это значит, что она сейчас в кино или по дороге туда)

She went to the cinema yesterday – Вчера она ходила в кино (Это было и прошло, связи с настоящим нет)

 

На самом деле все гораздо сложнее, но в основе так.

 

Why don't you join our English Club? Your English is good enough to have a talk.

 

Good luck! See you! :200:

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AnutaM

 

   You asked me and I have to answer. To begin with, Perfect Tenses have always been difficult for Russian learners. It takes years to understand them.

Americans do better: they ignore Perfect (and many other grammar rules) and feel happy enough. I’ll try to answer your question in the simplest way possible.

I’ll do it in Russian so that you could understand better.

 

1. Past Simple – если в предложении указано время (вчера, год назад, да хоть секунду назад, прошлым летом)

– ничего не думай и говори: went, was, could… - на то оно и прошедшее.

 

2. Present Perfect - ВСЕГДА СВЯЗАНО С НАСТОЯЩИМ.

ЛЮБОЕ ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ В Present Perfect МОЖНО ЗАМЕНИТЬ ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕМ В НАСТОЯЩЕМ ВРЕМЕНИ: ЭТО ЗНАЧИТ, ЧТО СЕЙЧАС ….

 

Сравни:

I have washed the floor (Я имею вымытым пол) – Я помыла пол (Это значит, что он сейчас чистый или мокрый)

I washed the floor yesterday – Я мыла пол вчера (Не факт, что он сейчас чистый и уж точно не мокрый)

 

- Where is Jane? – She has gone to the cinema – Где Джейн? – Она ушла в кино (Это значит, что она сейчас в кино или по дороге туда)

She went to the cinema yesterday – Вчера она ходила в кино (Это было и прошло, связи с настоящим нет)

 

На самом деле все гораздо сложнее, но в основе так.

 

Why don't you join our English Club? Your English is good enough to have a talk.

 

Good luck! See you! :200:

Thanks for your explanation! All is understandable and clear !

I will visit English Club ! Thanks for inviting !


 

 

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That is an integrated writing task from TOEFL test preparation. The number of words should not exceed 150-225 words.

 

This short story is about sorrowful fate of Pluto that used to be the solar system planet once.

 

According to the voting that was organized by international Astronomical Union Conference on the 24th of August 2006 Pluto was excluded from our solar system planet list. This decision was based on the following arguments: Pluto is very small comparing to other planets, Pluto does not clear the neighborhood around it's orbit. 


Though it was claimed by some astronomers that "science was self-correcting" making such a decision others argue that there is no scientifically justified definition of a planet to make IAUC decision acceptable. Besides the voting represented merely 5 percent of IUAC members and it was poorly organized.

Hence the decision in question lead to organized opposition against IUAC bringing Pluto lovers together. They try to defend Pluto's status using different instruments: from bringing to the table grey childhood of those who have only 8 planets in solar system to proclaiming March 13th as Planet Pluto Day in New Mexico. That is why It is still unknown who will be besieged in this so called "Great Pluto War".
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I absolutely agree  with you about  journeys !Where have you been in your trips ?

 

We went on a beautiful road trip to French Alps with the following stops: Ukraine (Kiev) - Hungary (Budapest) - Slovakia (no stops) - Italy (Turin) - Tignes (France) and back through Switzerland (Bern) - Czech Republic (Prague)  - Poland (Warsaw) - Estonia - Latvia - Russia.

 

I shared this trip with several people and it made it really cost effective and fun! It is easy nowadays to organize all your itineraries yourself just using Internet. I find it absolutely awesome.

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We went on a beautiful road trip to French Alps with the following stops: Ukraine (Kiev) - Hungary (Budapest) - Slovakia (no stops) - Italy (Turin) - Tignes (France) and back through Switzerland (Bern) - Czech Republic (Prague)  - Poland (Warsaw) - Estonia - Latvia - Russia.

 

I shared this trip with several people and it made it really cost effective and fun! It is easy nowadays to organize all your itineraries yourself just using Internet. I find it absolutely awesome.

O ! It is very interesting and long trip, I think! How long did it take ? What  place do you like most of all in your journey?

About internet,  I agree  - it gives  a big help for   travellers ! We can book  any hotel , what we like ! Also we can create own route!

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O ! It is very interesting and long trip, I think! How long did it take ? What  place do you like most of all in your journey?

 

Yes indeed in was very exciting! The trip was about 8000 km in total, and we usually moved with the pace of approximately 800 km per day. Most of all we liked our snowboarding in Tignes - any ski or snowboard lover should check it up. The second mosy lovely stop was in Prague. I was in love with this city at first sight, and I would like to continue this relationship )). 

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      Dear friends,
       
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      Уважаемые форумчане!
       
      Приглашаю тех из вас, кто желает увеличить свой активный словарный запас по английскому, принять участие в этой теме. 
       
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