Handy Tips for Story Writing in Exams

If you have a choice in the creative writing part of the exam:

Choose a title that you are familiar with so that you may be able to write from your own experience. This makes it easier as you can write it from your point of view. Or choose a title that you can be creative and show off your writing skills.
It is important to understand the title of the story and try to write about that topic. For example, if you are asked to write about ‘A memorable meal’; don’t just write about who was there or what you saw or did but the bulk of the essay will need to be about the food. You can write it from a positive or negative point of view.

Realistic?

Examiners often prefer stories that your stories are believable or relates to the reader. Amazing, improbable adventure stories are often not realistic or credible unless the theme is science fiction or fantasy.

Planning

Try to plan your story beforehand and then you can change it as you write. You need to have an idea to understand where the story will take you. Jot down an introduction, middle and have an idea about how you are going to end the story. Spending a little time in planning your story will be an advantage as you will have an idea of the plot. Take your time to come up with a great sentence opener which will set the tone of your writing for the examiner to take note of your ability.

Timing

Timing is always important in exams. Always make sure you have time to finish your story and proof read your work before you hand your paper in. You should be halfway through your story if it is half time on your watch (it is important to know when half time and finish time is).

SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)

Examiners will note that you work has good paragraphing – new paragraph when you change the topic you are writing about.
Use good and advanced punctuation, for example some dialogue. Try not to write too much dialogue in an exam. You need to get your story across in a short time for exams.
Note your spelling and correct use of grammar. Try to be consistent with your tense, if you start in the past tense, make sure you continue your story in the same tense.

Impress the examiner

For extra marks: use advanced vocabulary or ‘wow’ words to impress your reader.
Remember to add a simile or metaphor.
Use a mixture of complex and simple sentences for dramatic effect and to vary your description. A string of simple sentences will make your story read like a shopping list and your reader will be bored!
For descriptive writing: The obvious place to do this is with a description of the setting. Describing the weather is a trick writers love to use to create atmosphere. Describe feelings: touch, smell, hear, see and taste. Use interesting adjectives, adverbs and connectives.
Sometimes a little twist or unexpected end could make the reader sit back and remember your story. Try not to end with –‘IT was all a dream!’ Due to the hundreds of stories that your examiner will be reading – your ‘unusual’ ending could give you extra marks. Or sometimes writing from a different viewpoint could make your story stand out as well.

Good luck and be imaginative with your stories.

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