The Writing Process, Part 2

Tips and Tricks

Examination Basics

Way to go! You're ready for your second writing assignment!

This particular examination will start you out with a three-to-five paragraph composition, followed by a business complaint letter in full-block style. Just as a reminder, language skills build as you move forward in your coursework, so you want to be absolutely sure you master the skills in this unit before moving on.

Once this examination has been completed, you'll be free of writing assignments until you reach your Written Communication course!

Let's get started!

Question 1 - 50 points

For question one, you are tasked with writing a three to five paragraph composition based on ONE of the prompts listed in your study unit. There are a few tips that may help you to formulate an acceptable response:

Be sure that you have chosen and developed one of the five prompts listed.

Pay close attention to the directions for each prompt, specifically the verb. Each prompt requires a different type of response (e.g. argue for or against, explain, compare and contrast, analyze, describe).

Be sure that you are answering the question according to the directions given.

  • If you choose the first option, be sure to either argue for speed limits or against speed limits. Do not attempt both.
  • If you choose the second option, be sure to explain why the sport is your favorite. Do not lapse into explaining the sport itself.
  • If you choose the third option, be sure to compare and contrast driving in the winter and driving in the summer. Do not complete only one of the two; both parts are necessary.
  • If you choose the fourth option, be sure to analyze one of the processes listed. Do not simply offer your opinion; also, do not write on all three options. (On a related note, should you choose the option to analyze the best way to prepare a meal, simply following a recipe does not make for an acceptable response; you must discuss preparation of the entire meal.)
  • If you choose the fifth option, be sure to choose and describe a SINGLE day. Do not offer an overview or an analysis in lieu of a description; also, do not focus on more than one day.

Your resulting composition should contain an introductory paragraph, one to three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.

Do not use outside sources to compose your response. You should choose a prompt that will allow you to write solely from your experiences.

Question 2 - 50 points

For question two, you are tasked with writing a business complaint letter in full-block style. The complaint may be about anything you wish; it may be based on true experiences or made up to fit the assignment. Despite your topic choice, there are a few tips that may help you to formulate an acceptable response:

Be sure that your complaint is one that is best handled by mail. For example, a late pizza delivery would best be handled with a telephone call, while a late shipment of team jerseys would best be handled with a letter.

Ensure that you are making the complaint to the person/people who have the power and the responsibility to assist you. Failing to do so would realistically cause your complaint to be ignored.

Be sure that your complaint is clear and that a reasonable resolution (with a reasonable timeline) is requested.

Remain unemotional. Before submitting, re-read your letter as the recipient instead of the sender. If your reaction would not be to help the sender, revision is needed. By the end of your letter, the recipient should want to assist you.

Consult your study unit, specifically the sample letter provided therein, to ensure that you have used all of the parts of a business letter that are necessary and appropriate for your particular complaint.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, use a form letter or a template to construct your response. When a form letter or template is used, you are giving little to no thought to wording or formatting (which are essential to the point of the exercise), and you are not actually creating your own complaint; you are simply filling in the blanks of someone else's work. For this reason, a grade of 1% will be issued if a form letter or template is used, and you will be required to complete a retake exam.

Click to view a recorded webinar for this assignment!

(PLEASE NOTE: You'll need to download the presentation to view it in its entirety; otherwise, you will only be able to view the first 15 minutes.)

Final Thoughts...

It is in your best interest to utilize the tips and resources included above to help guide your examination answers. Please note that the grading rubric, which will be used to score your examination, is included in your study unit and can function as another great resource while you're drafting your responses. Finally, we would ask you to always keep in mind that you have an entire team of dedicated instructors and teachers' assistants who are more than happy to help you... and who are just a telephone call or an email away!

Good luck and happy writing!