In the Directed Writing section, you are given only one question. This means that there is no choice, and you must be familiar with the various text types that are tested in this section. However, you should not worry unnecessarily as the question on Directed Writing is quite manageable.
What makes this question manageable? Firstly, you do not have to worry about what to write as you are given help with content. The content is provided in the form of three points, and you need to rewrite the points in the form of sentences without distorting the meaning.
You can score good marks for content if you are able to use the information given in grammatically sound sentences, varying the sentence type or length. Likewise, it is also easy to obtain marks for format if you have been exposed to the formats of the different text types which are usually tested.
The question is usually set around the experiences of students. Hence, there is no reason for you not to attempt this question.
30 marks are allocated for this question: 15 marks for task fulfilment and 15 marks for language.
General guidelines for Directed Writing:
- Read the question carefully.
- Identify what you are required to do. Also, be clear about your role and your audience – who is going to read or listen your piece of writing.
- You need to plan your writing and organise your thoughts. This means thinking about what to write and how to elaborate on the points given.
- Some candidates make the mistake of spending more time on this question, and they end up having little time for the Composition.
- Bear in mind, no matter how much you write, you can only score a maximum of 15 marks for task fulfilment.
- Linguistically proficient candidates can rearrange the given points in a manner which suits their organisation of thoughts. There is no harm in doing this except that you may unconsciously leave out any point.
- You should elaborate on the points given. Write at least one paragraph for each bullet point.
- Your elaborations can be in the form of examples, facts and figures, or any extra information.
- Use a variety of sentence structures so that your writing is not dull and monotonous.
- Pay attention to the usage of effective vocabulary. Use appropriate words and expressions to convey meaning.
- You may include suitable idiomatic expressions or quotations to enhance your writing.
- Use accurate grammatical structure, spelling and punctuation.
- Read through what you have written.
- Present a neatly written piece of work.
Pitfalls to avoid:
- Poor time management: As mentioned above, do not spend more time on this question. Otherwise, you will not have enough time for the Composition.
- Lengthy writings: Do not write too much. As mentioned earlier, this question does not make many demands on a candidate. Directed Writing is a concise piece of writing. You have to use the given points and provide few sentences to elaborate on them. A response of 200–300 words is more than sufficient. After all, the more you write, the more mistakes you are likely to make. Save the time and energy for Composition.
- Usage of informal language: If the situation is colloquial, use informal language. Otherwise, use formal English.
- Poor punctuation: Some candidates do not punctuate their sentences correctly. Make sure you end your sentence with a full stop and not a comma. Avoid using run-on sentences.