– Write too many words if your English is average (aim for 250-265)
– Use contractions such as “don’t”, “shouldn’t”, etc
– Overuse connecting words (assessors expect that!)
– Jump from one idea to the next: link, link, link!
– Mix arguments “for” and “against” in the same paragraph
– Use the wrong tone (essays are always formal)
– Use abbreviations
– Repeat words or overuse primitive verbs (does, makes, gets)
– Cross out many things
– Write illegibly
– Use idioms too frequently or inappropriately
– Write in a babyish manner (bad grammar and poorly developed ideas)
– Become a clock victim (constantly look at the clock and panic)
– Start writing without a plan
– Forget to leave a blank line between paragraphs
– Use generalisations (“All”, “Every”) as this reflects an immature way of thinking
– Use simple sentences if you want a high score
– Use cliches as they are often too informal
– Use ‘lazy’ expressions (“and so on”, “etc”).
– Copy part of task question
– Agree with both sides – choose one side to make your opinion clear
– Let adrenaline make you arrogant
– Go off topic
Doing the same thing in the same way creates a pattern that helps a reader follow along.
On this page I've used a parallel structure for the tips. Each one is written as a command. I used the imperative mood (the command) because these tips are vital parts of writing. I used it in each case because that creates a pattern your brain picked up by the time you reached Writing Tip #3.
If I had changed Writing Tip #8 to "Details are important," your brain would have registered the shift in structure and for a moment would have flickered away from what I want you to do:
accept these tips,
become a stronger writer,
sell lots of books,
advance the general quality of written English in the world.
Human brains love pattern. Give your reader's brain a pattern and your ideas will come through like sunshine through a window. Your reader will
take you seriously,
recommend your book,
change the world...