Task 2 sample answer and examiner's comments

Read this student’s response to the Task 2 in the previous step. Then read the examiner’s comments on what this student has done well and how they could improve. As before, think about how the examiner’s comments relate to the assessment criteria we saw in Step 1.5.

Writing task

You can read the student’s original handwriting here and here.

Examiner’s comments

Task 2

On the whole this response answers the question well. The main ideas are relevant but some ideas could be further expanded with examples. Sometimes the writer’s view is not clear.

In the introduction to the essay the topic is presented effectively in the writer’s own words. The writer goes on to present three advantages of studying abroad. In each case the idea is developed well with a supporting sentence. Then the writer presents the disadvantages. The reference to lack of family support is relevant, and is developed effectively. However, the writer’s position on using a foreign language is less clear. It is presented in a positive way under advantages, and in a negative way under disadvantages. The conclusion is very brief. It could be more fully developed, for example, by highlighting the fact that students will face the issues relating to studying abroad in different ways. The response is written in an appropriate essay format and is just within the word count.

The ideas are well organised so that the writing is easy to follow. Each of the four paragraphs has a clear function (introduction; advantages of studying abroad; disadvantages; and conclusion). The writer moves from point to point in a logical way. Within each paragraph the sentences are linked together well. The writer uses linking words effectively, for example, to present contrasting ideas (‘on the one hand’; ‘on the other hand’); to sequence (‘firstly’; ‘secondly’; ‘thirdly’; (‘in conclusion’); and to rephrase (‘in other words’). However, sometimes the linking between ideas is not so clear. For example, one sentence reads ‘In the job market where the competition is very high it could be a good point for the first employment’. In this sentence the reader is not sure what the pronoun ‘it’ refers to.

The writer has a good range of vocabulary and expresses ideas clearly. The writer shows knowledge of the way that words combine together in phrases: for example ’family network’; ‘self-sufficient’; ‘demanding process’; ‘critical problem’; and ‘a sense of isolation and frustration’. However, sometimes the words do not go together appropriately, eg ‘jobs opportunities’, ‘drawbacks occ[o]ur’, ‘ability of communication’, ‘their study’s preferences’.

When writing about the disadvantages of studying abroad the writer shows an ability to use words and phrases which have similar meaning, ie ‘some disadvantages’ … ‘one critical problem’ … ‘another obstacle[s]’. This adds variety to the writing and helps the writer to express exact meanings. Spelling is generally accurate with one or two minor mistakes.

The writer shows a good control of sentence structure and an ability to produce complex sentences accurately. There are occasionally minor mistakes with errors relating to the use of articles, eg ‘to learn second language’ when it should be ‘a second language’. There is also a problem with prepositions, eg ‘out of [a] protected environment’ (should be ‘away from’). The word ‘another’ is followed by a plural word when it should be singular: ‘another obstacle[s]’. In general the writer shows a good control of grammar and there are few errors.

Overall band score: 7

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Cambridge Assessment English

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