Tuesday 17 April 2012

Writing Part 2 - Reports

In this post, we'll be looking at how to write a good report.  A report is often an option in Part 2 of Paper 2, the Writing test.  There are 4 questions, numbered 2 to 5 from which you choose ONE option and write between 120 and 180 words.  The options are:
•    Formal/Informal letter or email
•    Essay
•    Report
•    Review
•    Story

Question 5 is based on a book.  At ELI, most centres don't study the book so it's a good idea to ignore question 5, unless you've studied it with your teacher.

You should choose your question based on the vocabulary you know, and the type of writing you are best at.  Before you start, make sure you understand the question properly so that you can answer it.  Underline the key words in the question to help you focus, and to start thinking of ideas to write about.

What is a Report?
The purpose of a report is to give information and a recommendation based on the information in the report.  It is usually written in formal or semi-formal language, depending on who the report is for. 

Planning your Report
To enable you to write the report, you should read the question carefully and underline the key words to help you focus.  Underline:
  • who the report is for (this will help you decide if the report is formal or semi-formal
  • the topic (this will help you think of relevant vocabulary and ideas)
  • what information is being asked (this will help you organise your ideas)
Then, write some key words and phrases that you could include in each paragraph of the report.  Think of titles for the paragraphs.

Organization and Layout
In a report, you can use paragraph titles, numbered lists and bullet points.

Decide on titles for the paragraphs.  There are usually three or four paragraphs in an FCE report which includes:
  • Introduction - the reason you are writing the report based on the question
  • One or two paragraphs containing the information requested in the report.
  • Recommendation - your recommendation based on the information you have mentioned in the report.
This can vary depending on the question so do read the question carefully.

Grammar and Vocabulary
A report is written in formal or semi-formal language.  This means:
  • do not use contractions
  • reported speech
  • use formal expressions to describe quantity (e.g. The majority of people.....)
  • use formal expressions
  • use formal linking expressions
Some Useful Expressions

The aim of this report is to...
This report is intended to...

Reporting results
Most people seemed to feel that...
Several people said that/told me that/suggested that/thought that...

Presenting a list
They gave/suggested the following reasons...
They made the following points...

Making the Recommendation
I would therefore recommend that we (+ infinitive without to)
It would seem that (+ verb+ing...)

Some Linking words
although, however, therefore, because, furthermore, in addition, despite, nevertheless,

Examples and Practice
  • There are some sample reports on pages 152 and 202 of your coursebook.  
  • Go to the Writing Class at Flo Joe for useful expressions and practice.  Click here.
  • Go to the Writing Class Makeover to see what other students write.  Click here.
Good luck with your writing!