Account writing is a technique of reporting or describing an event or experience. This is a written document that preserves knowledge of events and facts.
Now you might be wondering, why do we write a report?
The quick and simple answer to this question is that this document provides a description of the events in proper order, which allows the reader to reach a conclusion.
However, account writing and report writing are not the same.
They differ in terms of format and in some cases, even the tone or register (degree of formality of language) may vary (depending on the situation). But, the core purpose of both these writings is to inform the reader about certain events.
This was some introduction to this topic. Now, let’s discuss the format of an account without further introductions.
Format of Account writing:
- Heading (optional but highly recommended).
It will address the audience and purpose. For instance, a heading can be something like this: “To the Principal, an account of the recent trip of school”.
You write a date if you do not write a heading. But, if you do write a heading then, there is no need to write a date. However, writing a heading can be a better choice because you are addressing the purpose of your account straight away.
You should make sure that the data is relevant (if added). What does this mean? Let’s suppose that you went on a trip on 10th May 2021 and you have to report an incident during the trip. The date should not be 20th December 2021 because why would you be reporting an incident that late?
A relevant date (in this case) can be 12th May 2021.
- Introduction (first paragraph).
Here, you have to address why you are writing (the purpose). You may have to add some background information (if necessary), depending on the situation. The purpose of an introduction is to briefly tell about the topic (event or experience) that you are about to write about.
- First content point (second paragraph).
In your question paper, you will be given three content points. These are the questions (bullet points) that you have to address individually in seperate paragraphs.
Remember that you will be given 15 marks for task fulfilment and 15 marks for language in the directed writing part for your GCE O Level English exam. These marks for task fulfilment can only be achieved if you properly address the given points.
- Second content point (third paragraph).
As mentioned above, this will be the second point given by the question to you which you will have to discuss to get good grades.
- Third content point (fourth paragraph).
You have to make sure that you provide relevant details that are helpful to the reader. This means that the reader should be given complete details so that he can reach a proper conclusion.
This is a very crucial part of your writing because you have to mention the purpose of your writing again (to summarise things up). In other words, you have to rephrase the thesis statement.
Then, wrap up the important points and offer them some extra help and assistance (if required). In this way, you will properly conclude your writing.
- Written by,
- Your full name (or signature).
- Date (if not included at the beginning).
Now, let’s discuss a sample report and analyse the important aspects of an account.
Sample account (example):
Question: During break time, you witnessed a noisy argument between two pupils queuing for food. The two students dislike each other. The Principal wants you to address the incident by writing an account. Write an account, you must include the following:
- The date of the event and the name of the students.
- How the incident happened?
- Why do the pupils dislike each other so much?
You should make your writing accurate and helpful and state some recommendations to prevent incidents like this from happening. You should begin with, “To the Principal…” and add a signature and date at the end.
Answer: (The response to this question is given below).
To the Principal, an account of the misconduct of students at the canteen.
The purpose of this writing is to report a recent fight between the two candidates during the break-time. This event disturbed multiple students and therefore, it is essential for me, as the head-boy of the school, to elaborate on what happened.First paragraph
The break on 20th January 2021 was proceeding as usual until the students experienced a noisy argument in the school canteen. Moreover, the students followed each other where everyone, including the teachers, had gathered.
Upon enquiry, it was concluded that Adam and John were the students who were indulged in this incident. Although the students tried their utmost to control the situation, yet Adam and John were not ready to back-up.Second paragraph
When John attempted to disturb the queue and proceeded ahead of others, Adam was enraged and he pushed him back. Likewise, John responded with coarse language and a harsh attitude.
Due to this, everyone witnessed a heated argument between the two and neither of them was ready to cooperate with the teachers. As a result, the teachers took immediate action by reporting the incident to the school office where both of them were summoned up.Third paragraph
Apart, this rivalry between the two candidates has continued over the years. The primary reason being the non-cooperative and dominating attitude of both the students towards each other.
Similarly, the better academic performance of Adam has inculcated a sense of competition, which often leads to arguments between the two. This rivalry is increasing over time due to greater competition.Fourth paragraph
Finally, this account is based upon my personal experience and, I will be available for further explanation for a transparent enquiry.
According to my experience, both students should be suspended from school for a week due to their misconduct. If the issue is resolved, it can prevent further unpleasant events like this from happening.Fifth paragraph
X Y Z
21st January, 2021
This response is a perfect sample to discuss the requirements of account writing. The positive points in this sample to be highlighted are:
- Both aspects of the first content point (date and name of students) were addressed.
- The response includes a heading that states the subject and purpose of the writing.
- The events are addressed in a proper sequence.
- The response has an introduction that highlights the topic which indicates the awareness of the candidate about the purpose.
- The candidate addresses all three content points.
- The instructions to begin with “To the Principle…” and end with signature and date have been followed.
- The response is within the word limit, 200 to 300 words.
- The transition words such as moreover, furthermore and apart are used for coherence and linking the paragraphs.
- The writing was fairly unbiased and the writer provided the suggestions at the last (as asked in the question).
- The response was organised in proper paragraphs and the conclusion was reasonable.
The areas of improvement in this sample are:
- The writing should be accurate and natural (prevent exaggeration of the events).
This applies to your language as well. Let me explain.
When writing an account, you should try to be natural. If you are using “fancy vocabulary” just to create an impression, then it will do more harm than good.
Therefore, focus more on providing relevant details.
- The use of complex words should be prevented if it disturbs the fluency of the response.
- The candidate could have developed the second content point in a better way to give a wider response to the reason the incident took place.
- You should spend some extra time, in the end, to read your response and correct the grammatical mistakes and error.
- In report and account, you should prevent giving unnecessary opinions and personal evaluations (unless asked) to keep the response relevant and unbiased.
- You should be writing in a literary way.
Here is what I mean.
Look, account writing is not like a typical essay. You should try to use technical language and common phrases for your topic.
For example. let’s suppose that you are writing regarding the banking sector. In this case, you should try to use financial terms (whenever possible).
Now, it is time for you to practise a question.
You recently participated in a competition with other local schools where you represented your school. You are pleased with the results of the competition. The Principal has asked you to write an account of this competition and your achievements. Write an account, you must include the following:
- When and where did the competition take place.
- How you prepared for the competition and what were your achievements?
- Your feelings when the results were announced.
Start your response with “To the Principal…” and keep your tone accurate and informative. Do not forget to add a suitable conclusion at the end.
Note: The first bullet point says, “when and where did the competition take place”. You should not only write about when or where because you have to address both the points (indicated by and).
Tips for directed writing:
The account is a part of section 1 (directed writing) and you should follow some guidelines to achieve a perfect score on this question.
Some tips in particular for this question are:
- Read the question twice, carefully.
This may sound a bit obvious to you but, let me tell you a couple of things over here.
Previously, we discussed the marks for “task fulfilment”, the marks which you will earn for following the instructions given in the question. Now tell me honestly, how can you secure these marks without understanding exactly what the examiner wants from you?
My experience says that you can never completely understand a question unless you read it, at least twice. And to be honest, that is the safe side, if you want to achieve an A* in GCE O Level English. I like to say that during the examination, the question is your best friend.
This takes us to the next tip which is to underline all important information.
- Underline the keywords in your question.
You should underline all the important words (or phrases) when you are reading the question.
This is because when you will take a look at the question later, you will have a glimpse of the underlined words, which will remind you about your topic, purpose and audience.
So, this technique can be really useful if you want to write relevant information. The reason being is your proper awareness of the situation. Moreover, these underlined keywords will play a vital role in preventing you from diverging from the topic.
Remember, the purpose of account and report writing is to only provide the required information (and they are not like letters or speech), and writing extra and irrelevant information may harm you in some cases.
- Use simple words.
Many students think that writing fancy and difficult words are likely to get them good marks. But, how true it is? Let me tell you.
The truth is that if you try to include difficult words often, you are likely to mess up with the sentence structure or at least the meaning of your sentences. This is because in some cases, these words provide little to no value to the reader.
Therefore, use simple and easy words which are easily understandable and instead, try to work on sentence structure (such as simple, compound and complex sentences).
However, this does not mean that you should not use mature language. The words you use should be mature enough to reflect your understanding of English. For instance, “facilitate” instead of “help” can be a better option.
- Be specific, do not repeat.
This is a mistake that many students make. They repeat their ideas and sentences to incorporate the word limit, 200 to 300 words.
Remember, as I previously said, the examiner does not want lengthy narratives because you are only reporting a specific incident.
Therefore, avoid repetition.
When you are writing the same thing over and over again, you are compromising the quality of your response. In short, deliver your ideas once instead of multiple times. You should also think that will you not be bored to read the same thing again and again?
This takes us to another important tip which is to edit your response.
- Do not compromise on editing your response.
Yes, you have to do it. Read your response when you are done and analyse the spelling and grammar mistakes. Then, try to correct them.
But, do not spend a lot of time doing this because you might be short of time for other questions as well. But if you have ample time, edit and re-edit to ensure that your answer is perfect.
You may delete, rewrite or shorten your response (as required). However, never forcefully add words because your writing style should be natural.
These are some tips that you can use to ace the directed writing part of your exam.
To summarise, we write an account to report or describe an event. This is the reason why we avoid giving opinions. The basic format of an account is a heading, followed by a date. Then, we have 5 paragraphs and a proper conclusion.
Frequently Asked Questions About Account Writing:
What is the difference between account and report writing?
Report writing is basically a record of the facts. Some words to better understand report writing are: “Official”, “Detailed” and “lengthy”.
Moreover, report writing is simply telling what happened, where you do not express your opinions.
On the other hand, account writing carries a sense of “being a narrative“. This means that the author can interpret and comment on the facts as well.
I have done my work. Now it is on you.
What were the key points that you took from the sample response of account writing? What mistakes to avoid? What is the format for this question?
All of these questions have been answered for you, and do remember to practise the “practise question” given above. Then, get is checked by someone and rewrite it with the corrections. I bet you will improve.
With this, our article has come to an end. I hope that all your queries have been addressed. Thank you very much for reading and staying with me till the end. Stay tuned for more and remember, “practice makes perfect”.