General rules for composition and letter writing in O’ level exams

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In order to write an excellent composition or letter in an O’ level exam (WAEC, NECO, GCE, etcetera), you need to abide by the general rules.  I have compiled these rules, according to my knowledge and experience, they are :

 (1).Choosing your subject – Candidates in O’ level exams usually have a choice of composition and letters. How can you choose the one which will get you the best marks?
 Read all the titles carefully ,asking yourself these two questions :
•Have I any good ideas about this subject?
•Do I know the right words and structures to express these ideas properly in English.
Make sure you ask yourself the second question: it is very important. Your ideas may be very interesting, but if you cannot express them in correct English, you will get low marks.
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(2).The next question is : What kind of composition have I chosen? — narrative, descriptive, expository, etcetera. Different kinds of compositions are written and arranged in different ways.
(3).Make rough notes of any ideas that come to you as you think about the subject you have chosen. Also write down any of the special words you may need. Sometimes when we are actually writing a composition, a letter or a speech, we find we have forgotten some important words that we had remembered only four minutes earlier. So, make a list as the words come into your head.
(4).Choose ideas you are going to use in your composition or letter. Do not try to deal with many ideas. You have to write only about 400 words in your composition or letter. If you try to include too many ideas, your composition or letter may become a muddle.
(5).Arrange your notes in paragraphs and arrange your paragraphs logically. Plan your first and last paragraphs carefully.
(6).Write your composition or letter ,and check it for careless mistakes especially for common errors, punctuation and spelling.
(7).Now read it through once again. I am sure you will find at least one more mistake to correct — if not more!
(8).You may say that there is no time to do all this. But if you practise this way of doing compositions and letters for at least the examination year, you will become so used to it that you certainly will have time.
 Carrying out the steps of a familiar process takes very little time or no time – we do it automatically .What slows us down is having to look up and check every new step in an unfamiliar process. So practise preparing, writing and correcting your compositions and letters in the way suggested from now on, then you will not feel rushed on examination day. (9).Finally, follow the advice in the section “how to avoid losing marks in composition and letter writing


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