As the Writing Ability Test and the Essay Writing help the students to score well in IIMs and XLRI, this article will deal with the following avoidable errors which if attended by the students will certainly ensure good score in both CAT 2013 and XAT 2014.
1. Grammar, spelling, punctuation mistakes- These three are the foundation to your essay writing. Any mistake in their usage will not only change the meaning of your sentence but also have disastrous effect – look at the following sentences-
i) My wife, who lives in New York, has just written me a letter. (I have one devoted wife who has sent me a letter)
ii) My wife who lives in New York has just written me a letter. (The one lives in New York, what about others). It is suggested to build strong fundamentals before writing any long piece of say, 200-300 words. Errors in use of articles, nouns, verbs, modifiers, conditionals make the paragraph clumsy while wrong use of vocabulary words, especially in confusing/similar sounding words like imminent in place of eminent, birth instead of berth etc. make your piece of writing a laughing stock. So be careful about it.
2. Irrelevant use of vocabulary- Vocabulary which is not required must not be used. It might unnecessarily stretch your message, may reflect wrong impression on the reader who incidentally is your examiner. This, instead of elevating your ranking may affect otherwise.
3. Repetition of ideas and sentences- How would you react if someone goes on saying or repeating the same idea in different sentences or in similar ones? A feeling of boredom and lack of interest would occur. Similarly, your reader will also not like such repetition. So avoid it since it conveys the message that you know very less on the given/chosen topic.
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4. Writing beside the point (Not focussing the crux of the idea)- This a typical problem and happens when you have not practiced well. You have understood the topic and also have the ideas but don’t know how to start with? Please do not beat about the bush and give a few seconds to outline the thoughts prevailing in the vast arena of your mind. Organise them and then begin to write. Questions may have words like –Discuss, Describe, Analyse and Critically Examine – so take a directional tip – all these aspects are to be taken care of, while writing your essay.
5. Ambiguity of thought-All the paragraphs must have distinct and clear ideas. No confusion in your thought process as depicted in the essay should be present. One paragraph –one idea- must be the strategy, although all the paragraphs are supposed to be interlinked with continuity of thought.
6. Poor formation of sentences and paragraphs- To avoid this, practice more, emphasise on more and more writing. Sentences must be presentable so that your reader is tempted to go through the entire essay in one go. You might remember reading a very interesting novel, story, article etc. the reading of which you didn’t give-up despite the call of nature. Why? The writer was able to create that much of interest in you, with his/her writing skills. So take note of that.
7. Work with all the ideas together, better to take up each point one by one- Don’t mingle your ideas ending up with a poorly written essay. Get a flow of them as a string goes through the pearls. However, you can add humour, give relevant quotes with acknowledgements to emphasise your idea.
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8. Explain too much- This is a big problem. Sometimes we go on explaining an idea, a point etc. to more than desired length. This happens in cases when the reader is not sure of his writing skills or ability to explain. So avoid this practice.
9. Make the essay too lengthy or verbose. Be simple- You do not need to write fat vocabulary words, insert irrelevant figures of speech, proverbs. On the contrary, simple, well worded and concise sentences will have better effect on your reader. You could go for figurative language, use of idioms and use of quotations, if you can use them skilfully otherwise they may do more harm than good to the evaluation process.
10. Poor hand writing with cutting and cancellations- This is one of the most important aspects. You may be skilled in writing, you have good vocabulary and know how to use figurative, idiomatic language with quotations but if the handwriting is poor please note that your reader may not attentively read the essay or may not follow the message which you wish to convey in its true sense. Practice more. Purchase a note book of fairly large size; write down the essays on it – at least –one a day. Read it. Try to find out the mistakes like – punctuation; grammar; spelling errors in it. Find out how many cuttings and cancellations are there in one paragraph. Next time when you write – minimise them. Gradually you will be equipped with fine writing skills with fewer mistakes or no mistakes.
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