British Council-Writing reports

British Council

British Council-Writing reports



Transcript of the podcast

IE=IELTS examiner
T=English teacher

?T: Hi Tony? You look busy. Are you marking

IE: Yes. I’ve got about twenty IELTS exams to mark. I’ve done half of them but I still have a lot to go

?T: How’s it going

.IE: Not so bad. I am marking all of the writing sections first. Reports

?T: Any good

.IE: Well that’s confidential information – but let’s just say there are all sorts

T: Reports are easy to write though. I would have thought that was what students found easiest. They aren’t like narrative texts when you have to have a vivid imagination

IE: Yes. You’re right. But you’d be surprised at the silly mistakes that students make sometimes

?T: For example

IE: Well, lots of people don’t read the question carefully so they end up writing a report about the wrong thing. Or they read the question too quickly, think they understand what they have to do but miss out a whole chunk of information

T: Yes. I know what you mean. My students do that in class. They don’t seem to realise how important it is just reading the question and thinking about it a bit – what it means – who the report is for – what style they should use – they are always in too much of a hurry to start writing

IE: Yes. I am sure that half the candidates don’t even write a plan. It is easy to spot the ones who do – their reports are much easier to follow, they include all the information and they are noticeably better written

?T: Really

.IE: Yes. Absolutely

?T: I’ll tell my students that. Can I

.IE: (laughing) of course. It should be obvious anyway. I am sure you’ve told them before

?T: Got any other tips

IE: Well, I think it’s a good idea to get your students used to using some sort of a checklist after they have finished writing their report – or at least after they’ve written the first draft

?T: A checklist

.IE: Yes. A list of things to check. Obvious things but things that often get forgotten

?T: For example

IE: Well, to check that the register is the right one of course. So, if a report is supposed to be formal then it should be formal. No contractions, no colloquial expressions. And then spellings and headings

?T: Spellings

IE: Yes, everyone makes spelling mistakes and usually the same ones again and again. If you can identify your own particular mistakes then you can add them to your checklist

.T: Yes, that’s true. That’s useful advice

IE: And then the obvious things – like have I included all the information? Have I got a concise introduction and a conclusion that sums up all my ideas? Checklists are individual. Each student knows his or her own weak points and should write a list accordingly

T: That’s great. I like the idea of a checklist. I think I’ll talk about that in class today. Fancy a coffee

IE: No thanks, I haven’t got time. I still have ten reports to correct and I am supposed to finish them by the morning

T: Oh – well I won’t disturb you any more – thanks for the advice

!IE: No problem


N1. easier
N2. all the information
N3. is
N4. should not use
N5. individual students


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