Friday, December 10, 2010

Writing Benchmark 2009 - Question 2 - Rating: C

Original material provided by UMich ELI may be found here.

Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE)
Writing Section
Benchmark Set 2009

The following composition was written by an ECPE examinee and scored using the 5-point ECPE Writing scale.

Many popular movies are based on books. Some people believe the book versions are better than the movie versions. Which do you prefer? Why? Support your answer with specific examples.

Rating: C

For a long time has the world been imersed into a cultural darkness and for a long time information and knowledge have been priceless.

With the advent of the popular reproduction of books – printing them, instead of hand-copying them – a new cultural dimension has been created and with that the socialization of ideas and the observation of new horizons for those who sought scientific breakthroughs or leisure.

Books are mostly important because they allow you not only to expose your ideas and ideals but also because they allow your imagination and personal experience to participate, interpretating the author’s ideas based on some of your own ideas and your cultural background and that is one of the reasons I have to advocate for the books’ cause: they amplify your mind’s horizons, lifting you up to a higher level as if you could almost reach the stars with your imagination.

Whereas the books have this much importance for the mankind in general, the movies represent a new kind of art. Expressing your ideas using images and people to make the books stories come true can be tricky and intricating, even so, they tend to limit your imagination because what you see, you see through other people’s eyes. In conclusion, books will never be overwhelmed by the movies as they are a fountain of unchenqueable fire since your imagination has no limits.

This essay does not have a traditional introduction. The opening sentence (paragraph 1) is very elegantly written but is meaningless. Paragraph 2 is also just one long sentence and is just as unfocused as paragraph 1. This type of opening language is encouraged in some writing cultures but is not appropriate when writing in English.

In the rest of the essay both sides of the topic are addressed but not completely or with acknowledgement of its complexity. In fact, the essay only makes one point; a book is mentally and emotionally enriching.

The sentence structures in this essay are generally very complex and long; the writer has good control over multiple subordinate clauses. There are also many elegant, low-frequency words. This could lead to the conclusion that the essay should receive a high grade. However, there are numerous collocation errors and vocabulary is not always used appropriately or correctly. For instance, it is not at all clear what the writer means by the phrases “the socialization of ideas” and “the observation of new horizons.” Additionally, in paragraph 3, “expose” does not collocate with “ideas.”

Finally, the punctuation in this essay is sometimes distracting; some of the sentences should have been broken up into two or more shorter sentences. Overall, this is a “C” level essay.


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