This is part B of the non-fiction exam. You are supposed to spend 1 hour on completing 2 writing tasks. Usually, one of the tasks will be ARGUMENTATIVE in nature, and the other will be PERSUASIVE
ARGUMENTATIVE: the key here is to argue your point. The question is normally set up so you can have an opinion on a topic and either agree with what’s presented in the question, or disagree.
How to do this:
1. Consider who your audience is - who is it that you are arguing with?
2. What would their position be - POLEMIC WRITING is your most powerful argumentative tool – show that you are aware of how your audience is thinking, address their position, and argue against it, or provide solutions that can help them change their mind.
3. Include at least 3 decent points in your argument- don’t just write rubbish
4. Remember the layout is NOT the most important thing – the discussion is. Of course though, if going for top marks you need to get this correct because it helps to fine tune your response.
5. Punctuation – it is imperative that you have full stops in the right place, and you use apostrophes correctly (this can still be learnt).
PERSUASIVE: the key here is to imagine you are trying to sell an idea to someone – you are trying to convince them that what you’re suggesting is worth taking on.
How to do this:
1. Consider who your audience is - who is it that you are trying to persuade?
2. What’s your best selling point – go into some depth about why this aspect of your position is so good.
3. What would their resistance be – this is another opportunity to use POLEMIC WRITING – honour the reader’s feelings, but then provide a solution that makes them feel that your position is better.
4. Include at least 3 decent points in your argument - don’t just write rubbish
5. Remember the layout is NOT the most important thing – the discussion is. Of course though, if going for top marks you need to get this correct because it helps to fine tune your response.
6. Punctuation – it is imperative that you have full stops in the right place, and you use apostrophes correctly (this can still be learnt).
Practising this type of writing is the key to success. Imagining you actually are into the topic will also help – be an actor – this will help make the VOICE you write with more genuine and authentic and effective.
Send practice tasks to firstname.lastname@example.org. I mark the exams for the country, so i’ll be able to give you precise feedback. The layouts for each text type can be found on teh website: www.sdcenglish.com in the English resources section: transactional writing.
Here are some practice topics
For each question, 12 marks are awarded for communication and organisation (quality of points);
8 marks are awarded for vocabulary, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling.
You should aim to write about 300-400 words for each task.
1. A proposal has been made to hold a motorcycle race on the roads in your area.
You have decided to write an article for your community magazine to share your views on this proposal. You could write a lively article in favour or against this proposal for the magazine.
2. Write a letter to your Head teacher in which you try to persuade him/ her that school uniform should be abolished.
3. Write a review of your time in high school so far.
4. Your school wants to ban Saturday jobs for students. Write a letter to your Head teacher in which you argue for or against the idea of Saturday jobs.
5. Write an article for a careers magazine in which you offer advice to students on what to look out for when applying for a job.
6. Write a letter to the school kitchen where you advise them how to improve school meals.
7. Write a letter to the local council where you try to persuade them to improve local amenities in your area.
8. Write a letter to your local MP in which you argue for or against lowering the driving age to 16.
9. Write an article for you school newspaper in which you advise students how to cope with bullying.
10. Design a webpage in which you advise teenagers how to revise for their GCSEs.
11. Write a leaflet in which you persuade people to be more environmentally friendly in their homes.
12. Write an article in which you argue for or against the use of computer games as an educational tool.
13. Think of something you would like to change at your school. Write a speech to give to students in which you try to persuade them to agree with your opinion.
14. Write a magazine article for teenagers in which you advise them ‘how to be cool’.
15. Write a leaflet to advertise a tourist attraction in your area.
16. Write an article for an educational magazine in which you argue for or against compulsory work experience.
17. Write a leaflet for younger children in which you advise them how to play safe around their neighbourhood.
18. Write a magazine article for teenagers, which persuades them to improve their health.
19. Write a leaflet that acts as a guide to new students to your school.
20. Write a leaflet to help young people about mental health
21. Your school/college is keen to reduce waste.
Write a report for the Headteacher/Principal suggesting ways this might be done.
You could include:
• examples of waste at the moment;
• your ideas about how the situation could be improved.
How to structure your response
1. take the time to consider who it is you are writing to
2. decide what the polemic argument/ best selling point will be for the topic
3. begin the writing by stating the polemic argument/ best selling point
4. consider how your point could be enhanced by using persuasive language
5. deliver your 2nd point
6. deliver your 3rd point
7. deliver your 4th point
8. conclude your writing with a final statement