If you want to know how to write an amazing article, you will love these notes I am about to share with you.
So if you want to ace your O Level English exam, keep reading.
But first of all, let me tell you that article writing is a piece of content that is published for a large audience. We can divide this topic into two sub-topics.
- Magazine article
- Newspaper article
But the basic format of writing for each of them is the same.
You should remember that this question is a part of directed writing (paper 1) for GCE O Level English (1123). However, the format and sample I am about to share with you will satisfy the needs (generally for this topic).
So let’s dive into the topic without further introduction.
Format of Article Writing:
Once you know the topic on which you have to write, you can use the format below to start and write an amazing article.
- Title (heading)
- By-line (the name of the writer)
Note: You can also write “written by”, but “by-line” is preferred.
- First paragraph (introduction)
- Second paragraph (first content point)
- Third paragraph (second content point)
- Fourth paragraph (third content point)
- Fifth paragraph (conclusion)
If you are confused about what exactly are these “content points”, you will understand them later (when I will share a sample with you). But for now, note that these are the bullet points that are given in the question.
Now, let’s take a look at each of the above points in detail now.
This is the most important part of your article. Why?
This is because if you write a catchy heading that grabs the attention of your reader, you are on the right path. But how can you write a good heading?
Let me tell you how to write a wonderful heading, step-by-step.
- Understand the topic.
This is the first thing you have to do. Read the question [carefully] and find out what the examiner wants from you.
When you know what to write about, move on to the next step (which is to understand your audience).
- Understand your audience.
The question will clearly tell you what your audience is (the people you are writing to).
Your target audience will help you write a good title because your headline can perfectly target the emotions of your readers.
And let me tell you that targeting emotions can be a really good technique to write great headings (but not always). With this, it is time to move on to the next tip, which is to use “power words”.
- Use “power words“.
Power words (as the name suggests) are those words that persuade someone to read your content (article in this case).
Some of the power words that you can use in your titles are:
Profound (for happiness), Unforgettable (for memorability), Basic (for simplicity), Thrilling (for excitement) etc.
Introduction and Body:
The first paragraph (introduction) of your writing matters a lot. And let me tell you, writing an introduction is not difficult at all!
In the introduction, you have to do the following:
- Thank your audience for their response to your previous article.
- Mention the purpose of your writing (why are you writing?).
Moving on, the body of your article comprises of three paragraphs.
But how? Let me tell you.
You will make one paragraph for each content point (the point to be covered that is given the question). Since you have three content points, you will make three paragraphs (one for each).
Remember that this is the most important part of your writing. Therefore, try to provide relevant information. This is because articles are meant to be relevant and concise.
This is the final part of your article. Here you have to do the following:
Ask your audience (the people reading) to give feedback and thank them for reading your work.
You can also reinstate the purpose of your writing, but if you have mentioned that in the introduction, I recommend preventing that.
This is because you have to prevent repetition in your work (and as I mentioned earlier, keep your article brief and to the point). Note that in conclusion, it is very important to provide a sense of closure.
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But how can you do that?
Simply, you have to “put it all together”. This means that you have to summarize the points you made (above) because the conclusion is not the place to introduce new ideas.
Now when you know something about the format, let me provide you with a sample. You should read it carefully to identify the areas of improvement along with the strong aspects.
Write an article for your school magazine on the upcoming Cambridge exams preparation tips. You should include the following points as well:
- How a revision schedule helps students?
- Feeling hopeful is better than feeling dishearted.
- The impact of studying habits on preparation.
Cover all three points in detail. You should make your article informative. Start your article with a suitable title.
Acing the Exams
by: Adam Ryan
I truly appreciate your overwhelming feedback on my previous article. Therefore, I have decided to provide some exam preparation tips to you. This is because of the upcoming Cambridge exams this June.
First of all, it is essential to make a study schedule because it ensures the (proper) coverage of the syllabus on time. As a result, the lengthy topics (in your syllabus) become manageable, and the schedule keeps you aware of the future plans.
A schedule keeps you organized, and you do not have to panic about missing anything. This is because it will help you use your time wisely and learn as much information as you can (in the shortest possible time).
Apart, it is important to be stress-free before your exams. This is because exam fear does not allow students to perform with their complete capabilities. Thus, their performance is negatively affected.
This is the reason I advise you to adopt an optimistic and positive approach. It will ensure that you are comfortable and ready to face all challenges in your exams.
The study techniques such as taking breaks, consulting your teachers and preventing distractions (such as mobile phones) make a student more focused.
Similarly, these habits ensure healthy and quality learning, which is essential to ace Cambridge exams. However, the practices such as only studying overnight can produce unpleasant results in the examination.
To conclude, let me know what you think about these suggestions through your feedback. Thank you for reading and article, and do follow these proven tips to get your desired results.
I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming exams.
(The strong aspects):
This article is a perfect sample to discuss some key points.
- Talking about the positive points of the response, it is started by a proper heading (title) and a by-line. This shows that the student followed the instruction given in the question.
The answer has 5 paragraphs (one for each content point along with an introduction and conclusion) which are good.
- The article is relevant and follows the word limit (200 to 300 words).
Note that the article needs to be brief and to the point (as I mentioned earlier). One thing I want to discuss over here is the introduction and conclusion.
Many students write a very lengthy introduction and conclusion. You should know that an introduction should not be more than 4 to 5 lines. Similarly, keep your conclusion brief as well.
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Now back to the article.
- The response is coherent (logical).
You would have noticed that the candidate has used transition words in the response (for example, “Apart, it is important to be stress-free … etc). But why is this important?
This technique ensures that there is unity in the work (and this unity makes the work coherent as well).
Note: The “language” and “task fulfilment” are of 15 marks (each) in directed writing. So you have to work on both of them to secure good marks.
A tip-over here for you is that sentences that logically follow each other (ideas) are considered to be coherent. This is the reason you should try to connect your ideas (using connectives – conjunctions and connecting adverbs etc).
- The spellings and grammar are generally good.
When reading the above sample, you would have hardly seen any spelling mistakes (which is great).
Remember that spelling mistakes can really hurt your marks (especially, if it is a silly one). The candidates choice of words is understandable.
And the basic rules of sentence construction and punctuation are followed as well. This is what good grammar is!
(The areas of improvement):
After reading the sample, what things do you think could have been improved? Is it the sentence structure or the variety in ideas?
But before that, here are some things that could have been improved.
- The candidate should have used complex and compound-complex sentences (varying sentence structure).
In the response, you would have noticed that there are simple and compound sentences (used frequently). However, there are few complex and compound-complex sentences.
If you do not know about these sentence structures, you can read the description below (for a better understanding).
Simple Sentences: It is an independent clause with no dependent clause and conjunction.
Example: Adam went to school.
Compound Sentences: A sentence in which two independent clauses (that can form complete sentences standing alone) are joined by a conjunction (such as but, so, nor, yet etc).
Example: I like Tea, and John likes Coffee.
Complex Sentences: A sentence that contains an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
Example: Although he was rich, he was still unhappy.
Compound-Complex Sentences: It contains multiple independent clauses and (at least) one dependent clause.
Example: Rose doesn’t like movies because they are boring, so she doesn’t watch them.
Now when you know about sentence structures, do go back to the sample. Then, try to find out how many types of sentence structures are used by the student?
Done? So, let’s move on now.
- The heading could have been improved.
Is the heading, “Acing the Exams”, good? What do you think?
I think you will agree with me over here – the heading is fine, but it could have been improved.
This is because the heading is meant to be eye-catchy. If your heading does not impress your reader, there are good chances that he might not be interested in reading any further.
So this is your only chance (to impress your reader). If you have been following me throughout this article, I have explained (above) how to write an amazing title.
But in case you missed it, you can check that out (above).
- The tone (register) could have been improved.
The question asked to make your tone informative. And honestly, the tone was informative (to some extent). But, there could have been an improvement.
Let me tell you how.
Below are some things that you should consider while dealing with the “tone problem”.
- Word choice: If a word feels incorrect for a particular tone, try replacing it with a new one.
- Read aloud: The best thing you can do is to read your sentence after writing it. It will give you a clue on what your tone is!
- Consistency: Try to be consistent throughout. Even one wrong sentence (in terms of tone) can impact your while work.
These were some areas of improvement. What other areas of improvement do you see in the sample? Do let me know in the comments below.
Now here is a practice question for you to try.
Your team recently won a sports competition. Your English teacher has asked you to write an article about your success. You should include the following points as well.
- Which sports competition did your team win?
- What improvements made your team successful.
- How this victory helped your team.
Cover all the above points in detail. You should make your tone polite and informative. Start your article with a suitable heading.
Now it’s your turn. Which part of article writing do you find the most challenging?
Is it the heading or the body? Do let me know.
And do not forget to try the “practise question” given above. Then, do get it checked by your teacher or your friend. Thank you very much for reading and staying with me till the end. Stay tuned for more.