Assignment Feedack and Exam Preparation

Assignment Feedback
Exam Preparation
Instructor: Bessie Mitsikopoulou
Parts of the final exam
Task 1:
Outlining and Summarizing
Task 2:
Writing an academic text (e.g. an absract) on the
basis of a popular (e.g. newspaper) text
Task 3:
Interpretation of Data
Sample Tasks
TASK 1 (30 points) (suggested time: 40 minutes)
The following text has been adapted from an article published in ‘Computers and Composition’
journal (2007, issue: 3, volume 24) entitled ESL students’ experiences of online peer feedback, by
Martin Guardado.
Read the text carefully in order to identify the main points it presents. Then
I. produce a formal outline of the differences between traditional and e-peer feedback,
II. on the basis of your outline, prepare a summary (of about 150 words) by paraphrasing
III. using the information provided above, write a full reference for the article.
Preparing for
Task 1
What to pay attention
• You may be asked to prepare a global or a selective summary
1. Global summary (summarize the whole text)
2. Selective summary (summarize part of a text)
• Please note that you must first read the text and then, on the basis of the given instructions,
decide what you are asked to do
• Read the given text two to three times before you start preparing your outline
• Pay attention the format of your outline: it reveals the logic of the text
Outlining and Summarizing
• Attention: First prepare your outline and then on the basis of this outline write your
• The points included in the outline should be the ones that should be included in the
summary, as well
• Read the instructions carefully and then read the text once: what are you asked to
do? A global or a selective summary? Make sure you identify the differences
between these two. The instructions will tell you what to look for in the text. They
will not tell you whether you should prepare a global or a selective summary. This is
what you should figure it after you have read the instructions and the text. It’s part
of the task requirements to make this right decision.
degrees of generality
I. (first level of generality)
A. (second level of generality)
1. (third level of generality)
2. (third level of generality)
B. (second level of generality)
1. (third level of generality)
II. (first level of generality)
A. (second level of generality)
1. (third level of generality)
B. (second level of generality)
format & indentation
I. Topic sentence or main idea
A. Major point
(provides information about topic)
1. Subpoint
(describes major point)
a. Supporting details
(for subpoint)
an example
I. Extrasensory perception
A. definition: means of perceiving without use of sense organs
1. three kinds
a. telepathy: sending messages
b.clairvoyance: forecasting the future
c. psychokinesis: perceiving events
2. current status
a. no current research to support
b. impossible for some psychologists
c. door open to future
What not to do
Frequent mistakes
Do not reproduce the original with numbers before it
Do not write full sentences (phrase outline)
Do not write a list of bullets or dashes (-)
Do not write an outline of one thing and a summary of another
Do not write the summary and then the outline
General remarks to remember
• When paraphrasing, make sure that you keep the same meaning as that of the
E.g. The July 2013 California bar exam were taken by 230 law school graduates
who started two weeks before the exam and finished it after the release of the
results four months later
• Spend time preparing your outline, it will help you write a good summary
• Make sure you do not include details in your summary
Sample Tasks
TASK 2 (30 points) (suggested time: 40 minutes)
The following newspaper article appeared in The Guardian reporting on recent scientific
findings. Read it carefully and adopt the identity of one of the researchers mentioned in the
newspaper article to
• write an extract of the original research article published in the Journal of Scientific Evolution,
• suggest an academic journal article title for your research article.
SELECT only strictly scientific information. Make sure you PARAPHRASE any information
borrowed from the original. (word limit: 150 words)
TASK 1 (30 points) (suggested time: 40 minutes)
The following newspaper article appeared in The Telegraph, reporting on scientific
(medical) research findings. Read it carefully and on the basis of the information
offered below, reconstruct the (academic) journal extract and (suggest) a title in no
more than 200 words: focus on strictly scientific information and include in-text
references (by using sources mentioned in the newspaper article). Make sure you
paraphrase any information borrowed from the original.
How we refer to researchers
• Media text
Peter Styles, the president of the Geological Society
John Mc Closkey of the Univeristy of Ulster in Coleraine
Nick Ambraseys, a seismologist at Imperial College London
Prof McCloskey’s group
• Academic text
 Styles (2003)
 Mc Closkey (2004)
 Ambraseys (2002)
Use academic vocabulary (1)
• Informal expressions:
– ‘a lot of’.
• Academic: ‘a substantial number of’
– ‘a great deal of information’.
• Academic: ‘an increased amount/plethora of information’
– ‘massive information’.
• Academic: ‘extensive information’
– ‘whether they are good enough at what they do’
• Academic: ‘whether their skills are adequate for the job’
Use academic vocabulary (2)
• Problematic use of formal expressions:
– ‘…it is noticed a significant point in the literature…’
– ‘However, there has not been given so much attention…’
– ‘As Bowden (1993) puts is, the majority of people…’
• The expression ‘puts it’ is most often followed by a quotation and not a
– ‘Research’ is mostly used in the singular.
Use academic vocabulary (3)
• Attention should be paid to the use of appropriate phrases:
‘Infants’ does not mean the same thing as ‘children’.
‘A great amount of parents’ (number)
‘Isolated children’ is not the same as ‘children from isolated areas’.
‘Reported directly’ does not mean the same thing as ‘reported immediately’.
How to write an academic text
from a popular (e.g. newspaper) text
What to search in the newspaper text
Information about:
• The topic of investigation
• The aims of the study
• The methodology used in the study (e.g. questionnaires, interviews, etc)
• Main findings of the study
• Conclusions of the study
How to write an academic text
from a popular (e.g. newspaper) text
What your academic text should include
TOPIC & PURPOSE: start you text by introducing the author’s purpose,
thesis or hypothesis which forms the basis of reported research
METHODOLOGY: an indication of the experimental design (information
on data, procedures, methods, sample)
SUMMARY OF RESULTS: main findings should be presented or solutions
to the problem
CONCLUSIONS: interpretation of results and drawing of inferences (not
your own). Indication of the implications and applications of the study
Sample Tasks
TASK 1 (30 points) (suggested time: 40 minutes)
TASK 1 (30 points) (suggested time: 40 minutes)
The tables below are taken from a study by Alan Hirvela (2001) which examines the possibility of
incorporating reading material into academic writing courses. The 38 non-native advanced learners
of English who took part in this study ranked a variety of English texts in terms of how difficult or
enjoyable to read they were. Table 1 provides information on ranking texts in terms of difficulty
and Table 2 information on ranking the same texts in terms of enjoyment. The numbers shown in
each column represent the number of learners who selected the ranking presented in the
particular column. Study the tables and write a text
• describing some of the findings they present and
• explaining the findings you have selected to describe by taking into account (some of) the
possible explanations offered below (word limit: 200 words).
Bar chart (or histogram)
This is a type of chart,
which contains
labeled horizontal or
vertical bars showing
a piece of
information and an
axis. The numbers
along the side of bar
graph compose the
Pie chart
A pie chart is a type
of a circle graph
which shows how
this whole quantity
is broken into parts.
Line graph
A line graph is a
way of
representing two
pieces of
which is usually
related and vary
with respect to
each other.
Interpretation of data task
Prepare a well structured essay
Your response to the task on interpretation of data should be in the form of a wellstructured essay which consists of an introduction, main body paragraphs and a
Introductory paragraph
a) Introduce the general topic of the study and refer to the kind of information
reported in the graph/table; refer to the source (in-text documentation)
appropriately, e.g. In a study conducted by Hall (1998)…
b) Describe the graph/table, e.g. the horizontal axis presents…, the vertical
axis….(Jordan, unit 11)
Interpretation of data task
Main body paragraphs
1. Plan carefully the information you will put in each main body paragraph
2. Present the main significant findings of the graph/table. Do not attempt a linear
presentation of the graph/table. Remember that you do not need to describe all
information on the graph/table.
Interpretation of data task
Use generalizations + factual language
Change numbers and percentages to generalizations and qualification. However, do not
use cautious language when you report research findings since they present factual
Use possible explanations + cautious language
Explain the findings presented in the graph/table using some of the possible
explanations given to you (do not add your own explanations). Link the following
explanations to the findings by using cautious language
Interpretation of data task
Use transitions
Throughout your main body paragraphs use linking words to indicate the sequence of
significant findings (e.g .first, second, moreover, furthermore, on the contrary) and their
findings (e.g. interestingly, surprisingly, as expected, it is worth mentioning)
Use the language of comparison
Use comparative forms in order to compare (present similarities) and contrast (present
differences) information from the graph/table.
Interpretation of data task
Expressions for graph description
Use vocabulary which refers to the table/graph, describes change/trend and the
information in the table/graph, e.g.
• upward/downward trend/fluctuations
• to level off, to reach a peak, to reach a plateau, to remain constant
• rapid/dramatic/sharp increase/rise/grow
• steady/moderate/small/slight/ gradual rise
• sudden/abrupt decrease/fall/drop/decline
Interpretation of data task
• In this paragraph briefly refer to the main findings that may be drawn
form the table/graph and sum up discussion. Use appropriate
e.g. In short, in brief, to summarize, in conclusion, on the whole, etc