Would you like to know what dooms most written exams at STANAG 6001 LEVEL 3? Do you want to be aware what the most frequent mistakes are? Do you wish to avoid them? I bet you do! This is the right place to be!
My experience as a teacher checking letters, memos and reports of people preparing to take level 3 exam shows that there are some types of mistakes that happen more frequently than others. Here are my observations.
CONTENT & LOGIC
The mistake which can even disqualify your writing is the content which does not fulfil the requirements of the instruction. You need to follow the instruction closely - if it says you should ask for information - do it, if you are supposed to suggest solutions - suggest solutions. The best method helping not to get lost is to follow the instruction point by point without changing the order.
Also, don't change the topic! Sometimes people do it accidentally, as they unintentionally change the point of view in their writing because they like or dislike a certain topic. Writing a plan before starting to write may solve this problem. If you miss one point from the instruction or your writing is 10% shorter than the word limit you may receive not more than 6 points for it and fail.
The quality of your argumentation should also be flawless. Each new idea in your text should be explained, exemplified, justified. The connection with the rest of the text should be indicated - show if it is a consequence, reason, example or addition by using appropriate linking words, e.g. for example, therefore, consequently, etc.
Each paragraph should be well-developed, making the text clear and argumentation logical. For more details about paragraph writing see here: PARAGRAPH DEVELOPMENT
FORM & STYLE
The piece of writing you produce needs to have an appropriate form depending on its type, e.g. letter, memo, report.
It should be divided into paragraphs and use appropriate expressions starting and ending your piece of writing.
A formal piece of writing requires a formal style which is characterised with specific elements, such as linking devices, lack of contractions, impersonal forms, passive voice, and more.
- full words
- linking words
- use of passive voice
- lack of contractions
- use of impersonal structures
- avoiding first (I, we) or second person (you) point of view
- full sentences
- long sentences
- first (I, we) or second person (you) point of view
- short sentences
- broken syntax (unfinished sentences, lack of subject)
GRAMMATICAL ACCURACY AND CHOICE OF VOCABULARY
Grammatical correctness seems to be one of the most serious challenges in writing and is also often the reason for failure at the exam. However, my experience shows that very often when indicated a mistake, people are usually aware that it is a mistake and know the correct form. Therefore, it seems that it is rather self-editing that needs our attention. So, make sure you have time to read your text before you hand it in. How to edit your own writing in terms of of grammatical correctness? Here are some basic tips:
- Are all the sentences complete and finished?
- Do all the sentences have a subject and a verb?
- Do subjects and verbs agree?
- Do you use appropriate tenses? Do you avoid unnecessary shifting from one tense to another?
- Do pronouns (it, they) have a clear reference?
There are some grammar-related issues which may significantly lower the quality of your writing:
- frequent grammatical errors which sometimes hinder understanding,
- vocabulary sometimes used inappropriately (wrong choice of words, wrong collocations, loan translation (calque), mistaken parts of speech, e.g. a verb form used instead of a noun form),
- word order mistakes (using English words but the word order typical for your native language).
If you are interested in the STANAG 6001 LEVEL 3 writing you may also want to read the following posts:
And if you still haven't downloaded the model formal letter, you can do it here: MODEL FORMAL LETTER