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(EXAMINERS’ EXPECTATIONS) About the essays written by the Class of 2009….

“If I’ve learnt nothing else,
it’s that
time and practice
equal achievement.”
– Andre Agassi in “Open – An Autobiography”



  • show awareness of structure (intro… awareness of key issues…attempt at balance…conclusion)
  • Keep this up !!  


  • conclusions provide succinct incisive views or perspectives
  • introduction is meant to impress, intro (& the use of English in general) is concise, focused and accurate
  • tailor the material learnt in an original and compelling way, deploying relevant examples and engaging comment in order to answer the question
  • interweave arguments with examples and offer personal perspective
  • display wide and impressive knowledge to justify arguments
  • examiners can sense that a truly lively, informed and interested mind is at the back of the response
  • felicitous expression
  • individual ‘voice’ that shows genuine interest in the use of English and its potential to create accurate meaning and subtlety of argument
  • a product of an on-going attention to language in all its variety and subtlety to achieve ‘voice’
  • sense of involvement on the part of the candidate


  • verbose, unfocused intro
  • conclusion is no more than a regurgitation of points from the essay
  • awkward transition : in the process of trying to show balance, they seem to contradict themselves
  • over-pedantic definitions
  • florid language confuses rather than clarifies; confusing;convoluted
  • the actual question may not be addressed since the candidate is preoccupied with adapting ready-made ideas and arguments learnt from class
  • unable to provide specific examples
  • poor handwriting & crossings out and inserting text above obfuscates clarity, the “corrected” version adds to the tortuous nature of the expression or is still grammatically inaccurate
    ** the overall flow of the discussion is inevitably diluted
  • grammatical and linguistic uncertainty


  • Practice is time well spent
  • not easy to teach ‘voice’; needs personal reading and language use that exposes the individual to as wide a variety of linguistic styles as possible
  • (Based on the TV question that was popular and successfully attempted) The lesson is clear that students write well, irrespective of their level, about what really matters to them and what impinges on their daily lives.

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