In theory, you certainly know that you should plan your writing. Yet, hardly anybody does. It is also true in the case of STANAG 6001 writing.
Why is that so? I think people don't see purpose in planning. They perceive it as a waste of time, especially during an exam. They think they can plan in their heads and anyway ideas will come as we go on writing. And they do. However, there are many advantages of making a plan you have probably never thought of.
Today, I would like to show you how useful planning may be and how many mistakes it may allow you to avoid without so much additional effort.
WHAT CAN YOU PLAN?
CONTENT - the elements required in the exam task, for example,
points to be covered in a letter/e-mail, memo or report plus their development, such as examples, details, explanation of reasons, consequences, etc.
your arguments to support the thesis (especially in a report) and their justification, pluses and minuses, consequences, etc. depending on the topic.
GRAMMAR - when you know what arguments and ideas you are going to use you can plan what grammatical structures, tenses you will use to best present these points and make sure you write exactly what you want to write.
LINKING and SEQUENCING WORDS - for each argument you can plan these to show a logical sequence of events, cause and effect, consequence, or result in a clear way; so as to make it easy for the reader to follow your way of thinking.
WHY SHOULD YOU PLAN?
Planning will allow you:
to make sure you follow the task instruction closely;
to avoid missing out points required in the task (which is penalized with the loss of points during the exam);
not to get stuck in the middle of writing due to the lack of ideas;
to avoid grammatical mistakes by using your grammar and tenses purposefully (to achieve concrete goals);
to ensure logical development of ideas thanks to the conscious use of linking words;
to make sure your reader can easily follow your way of thinking (they don't have to guess as they have linking words which lead them);
to control your writing by making sure the ideas from one paragraph are connected with the subsequent one;
to avoid chaos and messy papers full of cross-outs and illegible fragments;
to save time for checking, correcting, editing and last minute changes;
to stay calm and feel in control.
I don't really see any disadvantages of planning. If you do, please let me know. I'll try to address them.
Let's look at an example of a part of a plan for the following task:
Write at least 200 words on the following topic. The problem of obesity is constantly intensifying. You have been tasked with writing a report for the
National Health Organisation. Include the points below:
- reasons for obesity
- its consequences
- possible ways of dealing with the problem.