Matthew Walsh's EFL ESL website
Focus on writing strategies #3:
Revision is the most important step, but the hardest. Research: Bigger changes make better results.
After you read this, go to the
BBS and revise! Here are some things to think about.

1. Meaning

Take out irrelevant things.
Add and subtract volume to stress points.

2. Layout

Essays in English often have an introduction, thesis, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. Layouts vary to the type of text, but at the least, you should have your main point near the beginning and a conclusion at the end.

This is a typical layout for a writing test like TOEFL or IELTS. Notice the introduction and conclusion.


Are you going to take the TOEFL or IELTS someday?  Go here to see a much deeper explanation of this type of essay.

3. The Given / New Principle.

  In order to connect sentences inside a paragraph and make the meaning flow forward, you can change the order of the clauses within the sentences.

  For example:
Our school is in a very old building. There is a new media center in front of the old building.
({? + N}, {N + G})
  is not as good as:
Our school is in a very old building. In front of the old building, there is a new media center.
({? + N}, {G + N})

The second set of sentences link well. First, school to old building (N), and then it continues, old building
(G), to media center ( N). The new information is added to the information we already know from the last sentence.  However, in the first set of sentences it goes from school to old building(N),, then to media center(N), and then back to old building(G). This is strange.

  Here's another example:
Some students never clean the classroom. The whole school seems dirty if we don't clean the classrooms.
({? + N}, {N + G})
  is not as good as:
Some students never clean the classroom.
If we don't clean the classrooms, the whole school seems dirty.
({? + N}, {G + N})

The ideal text flows: {G + N},   {G + N},   {G + N},   {G + N} as much as possible.

*Note: Some sentences can not be connected like this. For example, if you're logically adding something new (N).

4. Grammar and Vocabulary
  Look hard. Did you make the right choices? Voice it out to yourself. You should be able to see some areas to improve.