In the Functional Skills English Level 2 writing assessment, you gain marks for presenting your information and ideas in a logical sequence. It is therefore important that you always create a plan before you start to write.
Planning is about organising your thoughts so that what you write is clear and to the point. It is also an excellent way of breaking through any initial block or hesitation. (For many people – myself included – a sheet of white paper or a blank computer screen is quite off-putting.)
One of the best ways to plan is to ask yourself key questions. The first question you ask yourself might be:
Why am I writing?
Activity 2 Questions to ask yourself when planning
Write down three useful planning questions.
Any question that helps you organise your thoughts will be useful. Here are eight helpful planning questions:
- Why am I writing? (Who am I writing to?)
- What sort of format do I need (e.g. message, letter, report)?
- What do I want to happen as a result of my writing?
- What points must go in?
- What are my other main points?
- What is the most logical order to put my points in?
- What sort of language will my reader expect?
- What sort of language will my reader understand?
Here are some useful planning guidelines.
Tips for planning your writing
- Start in rough Use a pencil and paper; it’s easy to change your mind and it helps to remind you you’re working in rough. (If you work on a computer, you may be used to jumping straight into a task and then improving your work on screen. Experiment by starting on paper first. If you do not like working this way, you can always go back to working on-screen. However, you may find starting on paper helps you organise your thoughts.)
- Jot your ideas down Take time to think – jot down all your ideas (no matter how crazy) in note form and see where they take you. One idea may lead to another!
- Talk your ideas through with someone else Explain why you’re writing and then get some feedback. Two heads are better than one! (It’s not usually possible to do this in a formal writing assessment, however.)
- Forget about perfection Worry about spelling and neatness later.
When you have planned what you want to say and how you want to say it, you are ready to start producing a first draft – a first attempt at the task.