Here is a sample essay I prepared for my students and thought that I would share it here as well since I received a comment a few posts back asking for one.
This sample essay is based on the mid-year examination that recently took place in my school. I have included the question in the word document as well for easy reference.
Also, I have colour-coded the question and the essay to demonstrate how each point should be accompanied by a short elaboration. Essentially, as long as a point (taken from the question) is written in a complete sentence, it should be granted one mark for content. But to be on the safe side, I always encourage my students to elaborate on each of the point. This is both to secure the content mark as well as to gain additional language marks.
In the sample essay, phrases highlighted in RED are the points given, phrases highlighted in YELLOW are the elaboration for each respective point and phrases highlighted in GREEN are the required format. If you read the question carefully, you will realise that the required format is actually mentioned in the question. Make sure your students are aware of this.
You will also notice several phrases highlighted in BLUE. At times, not all of the points are readily given; students have to provide points of their own. A lot of students tend to miss out on these points because they did not read the question properly. One way to avoid losing content marks is to teach your students to count the number of points given. In most cases, the total amount of marks allocated for content is 12. If there are only 9 or 10 points given in the question, ask your students to reread the question to see if there are any additional points that they must give. As can be seen from this particular example, only 10 points were given and students were told to state the benefits of the event. In other words, they have to provide 2 “benefits” on their own in the essay.
One final reminder, if you find that this essay is extremely “structured”, that is because this essay is written to show students how to maximise their chances to gain marks. I would suggest using this sample with intermediate students who can write relatively well on their own but might need abit of help with the structure of their essay. With highly proficient students, there is no need to emphasis on such a strict structure as the natural flow of their writing will most probably outweigh any potential merit that they might gain from adopting this approach.