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Test of English Communication Skills for Graduating Students (TECS)

TECS WRITING 1002 - WRITING


Language Academy Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Block D05 Level 2

Format
2 compulsory questions (60 minutes) Question 1 Graphic interpretation and writing 30 minutes (50 marks) Question 2 Extended writing 30 minutes (50 marks)

Abilities tested
Question 1 ability to analyse and synthesize information and to present them in writing, clearly and accurately Question 2 ability to analyse task in context and to present opinion on the given issue in a mature manner, supported by explanation and examples

Skills Tested Question 1


Understanding of task Analysis of data in graphics Synthesis of data in graphics making comparison, linking data, identifying relationship Presenting only key features Using appropriate vocabulary of trends, movements, comparison, etc. Using clear and correct sentence structures Using cohesive devices to link points Writing within 250 words

Answer Format Question 1


Title - optional Introduction tell what graphics is about, give overview/overall trend Body present key features through analysis and synthesis of data Conclusion restate overall trend/overview Report must be concise and accurate (limited to given data only). No marks awarded beyond 250 words

Sample Question
The following chart shows the annual sales of a retail chain store for the year 2006. Based on the information presented and your background knowledge, write an analysis and discussion of the sales trend. You should write in not more than 250 words.

How to fulfil the task?


Understand task to report on the sales trend for 2006 for the retail chain store Note key words annual sales, 2006, retail chain store, analysis and discussion, sales trend. Analyse the annual sales of 3 items and note overall pattern- state this overall pattern in the Introduction Compare trend of sales of 3 items and note type and degree of difference increasing, fluctuating, declining; marked, moderate, slight, no difference? Highlight important features of pattern in the Body Use correct language verbs, preposition, subject-verb agreement, article, adjectives, adverbs, linkers, etc. Use appropriate vocabulary most/least important, ranked highest/lowest, top/least priority, most/least mismatched, close ranking, vast/slight difference, etc. Give accurate numbers

Language Convention - introduction shows illustrate demonstrate display depict describe tabulate
Figure 4.1 [shows] As shown in Figure 4.1, [main clause]
As shown in Figure 4.1, the relative pay of construction workers has been falling for two decades,

*main clause/NP+ is illustrated in Figure 4.1


The average boarding pattern per bus is shown/illustrated in Figure 4.1.

*main clause+ (see Figure 4.1)


A need analysis on office equipment shows a tremendous requirement for new printers (see Figure 4.1).

[NP], observed in Figure 4.1, illustrates [clause]


The number of students in the queue, observed in Figure 4.1, illustrates how congestion is at its worst during the peak period.

Describing an increase

Describing a Decrease

Preposition
Between ... And
Between 1995 and 2000

From ... To
From 1995 to 2000

Rose by approximately (differences between initial number & subsequent number) Rose to

Verbs & Nouns


So far, we have only used verbs to describe figures but we can also use nouns. We change the adverbs into adjectives.

Noun-Adjective

Sample answer
Figure 1 shows the annual sales of a retail chain store for the year 2006. In general, the sales of books and stationery showed similar trend. It can be seen that both sales of books and stationery were at their peak in January and December. It started very encouraging in January but dropped gradually in three months then remained constant for five months onwards. It started to pick up its sales in September and October but showed a sudden drop in November. However, the sales increased significantly in December. Meanwhile, the sales of toys fluctuated across the year but there is an apparent increase of sales in November. The sales trend of toys, books and stationery is closely related to school term in Malaysia. December and January are the months where parents are busy preparing their childrens school needs which translated in the significant rise in sales of books and stationery. Besides that, the rise in sales of toys in November is because of school holidays. In conclusion, the sales of toys, books and stationery depended so much on school term which explains the significant increase of books and stationery sales in January and December and toys in November. (199 words)

Sample Question 2
Present assessment of students competence at all levels of the Malaysian education system does not capture the abilities required in the work place. Do you agree with the statement? Give your opinion. Write in not fewer than 250 words.

Skills tested - Question 2


Understanding of task Making a stand to agree / disagree to statement or presenting a discussion on given issue Presenting argument/ opinion supported by 3 main points Developing each point clearly how, why, with illustrations Giving a clear conclusion Using appropriate vocabulary related to topic Writing clear, correct structures Using cohesive devices to link paragraphs Writing about 350 words

Answer Format Question 2


Introduction state opinion (discussion), make a stand (argumentative). Give a clear thesis statement (controlling idea) Body develop thesis present point 1 explain and illustrate idea with relevant details - present point 2 explain and illustrate idea with relevant details - present point 3 explain and illustrate idea with relevant details Conclusion restate thesis, give concluding remarks Essays not answering to task (no opinion, out of point) awarded a low band

How to fulfil the task?


Understand task discussion of mismatch of abilities required in the work place and education systems assessment of students competence Note key words present assessment, studentscompetence, Malaysian education system, abilities required, work place Adopt a certain angle of discussion. Think maturely. Be firm and committed to angle adopted. E.g. to agree/ disagree Generate ideas about position taken. Give 3 points to support thesis. Eg. (1) agree does not measure communication skills, interpersonal skills, attitude to work, etc. (2) disagree good indicator of knowledge, ability and skills of candidate, etc. Develop each point adequately discuss why, how, give examples Use correct language variety of sentence construction, tenses, preposition, subject-verb agreement, article, adjectives, adverbs, linkers, etc. Use appropriate vocabulary computer savvy, thinking skills, diligence, problem solving skills, articulate, confident, influential, convincing, inaccuracy, unintelligible, misconstrue, misrepresentation, mismatch, etc. Check punctuation, spelling Avoid BM structures, SMS language and spelling