Opinion Essay Format
When you complete your CELPIP writing survey response, you should use the opinion essay format. It includes:
The introduction does three things. It:
- Paraphrases the question so that your reader immediately knows what you’re talking about without looking at the question.
- Offers your opinion
- Provides a high-level outline of
your 2 main reasons so that your reader knows what to expect
2) Paragraph 1
Start the first paragraph by stating your first main reason, explaining it, and then providing an example
3) Paragraph 2
Your second paragraph starts with a statement of your second main reason and then goes on to explain it and provide an example.
Your conclusion restates your two reasons and your opinion.
Why are there two CELPIP Writing Tasks
The reason that the CELPIP test asks for two pieces of writing is because they want to see that you are comfortable with both ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’ communication. Therefore, for those higher scores, test-takers must show that they can express themselves about both.
When we use the term ‘Concrete’, we mean something that has a physical form. In other words, you can see, smell, hear, taste, or touch it. For example, we would say that a ball, house, and shoe are all concrete objects.
When we use the term ‘Abstract’, we’re talking something that doesn’t have a solid form; for example, an emotion like fear, happiness, or danger. In order to describe these abstract things, you need to have a much higher level of English.
Should I write my Survey Response as a Letter or Essay?
You can write your survey response as a letter or as a survey, but whichever one you choose, make sure your format is consistent.
Whether you decide to write your response as letter or an essay, you should follow the opinion essay structure, avoid using contractions, and use the formal alternative of any words and phrases.
Always remember that this essay is not about you. It is about people in general. So, in other words, when you get to your example, it’s better to say ‘children’ and ‘siblings’ rather than ‘my children’ or ‘my sister’. For a compromise, you can do what I’ve done in this essay and say ‘many people, including my children…’
Letter format for your survey response.
If you decide to write your survey response as a letter, then you must write ‘Dear Sir’, or ‘Dear Mr. Jones’ at the beginning, ‘Regards’ at the end, and your full name to sign off.
You’ll lose points for formatting if you chose to write the survey response as a letter and forget to write your name!
Essay format for your survey response
If you decide to write your response as an essay, it’s really important that you don’t add a signature or salutation when you get to the end.
If your survey isn’t a letter to anyone, then there’s no-one to thank for anything. Therefore, you shouldn’t end your essay by saying that “whatever they decide will have your support“. You only need that personal phrasing in a letter. In an essay, your goal should be to be less personal.
“…When I started class with Angela, I was so confused. I understand much better now…”
How to complete a CELPIP Writing Survey Response
When you prepare your CELPIP writing survey response, your focus should be on writing well, expressing yourself efficiently, and ticking the examiner’s boxes.
Your examiner will be looking at your organization, vocabulary, phrasing, sentence variety, grammar, punctuation, and depth.
Below, you’ll find some tips on how to write a Survey Response, but if you need more help, please talk to us about tutoring.
Read and Understand the Question
Before you start writing your CELPIP Writing Survey Response, make sure that you understand the question. The question provides you with a situation and tells you to give your opinion about one of two options.
The question does not ask you to discuss the options. It doesn’t ask you to compare the options. The question simply asks you to give your opinion about one of the options and explain why you think the way you do.
It doesn’t matter which option you choose, but it helps if you can quickly choose the option you can justify best. For example, in the question below, I could quickly think of two reasons why I would prefer dragonflies, but I couldn’t think of a single one to justify choosing the chemical option; therefore, I chose the dragonfly option.
A typical survey response question looks like this:
How Long Should my CELPIP Writing Survey Response Be?
You have about 30 minutes to write your response, and it should be between 150 – 200 words. It’s best to say 25 minutes because that leaves you with five minutes at the end for correcting any mistakes.
Try to keep your word count to between 150 to 200 words because being able to express yourself efficiently is part of the test. In other words, if you can’t say everything with 200 words, then your English isn’t at a level, yet, where you can express yourself efficiently. On the other hand, the examiner won’t penalize you for using a few more words to make your point, but there may be a penalty for writing 250+ words because that shows the examiner that your writing is inefficient.
How to Start a Survey Response – The Introduction
When preparing your survey response, make sure you follow the opinion essay format. This format is what the examiner is expecting to see, but it also makes everything a lot easier for you if you practice this format over and over before going into the test. In the basic opinion essay format, you start with an introduction where you:
- paraphrase the question
- identify your two main reasons
- offer your opinion.
For example, your introduction might look like this:
Here you can see:
- A Paraphrase – “Having lots of large fearless mosquitoes all over our city during the summer is causing many of our residents to stay at home.”
- Two reasons – (a)“causing many of our residents to stay at home.” (b) “contaminating the environment is an unacceptable side effect.”
- An Opinion – “I think that releasing dragonflies would be the most environmentally friendly solution as they would efficiently cull the mosquito population without adding chemicals.”
How to Write your First Paragraph
When you write your first paragraph, the goal is to quickly and efficiently introduce and develop your first reason. You’re trying to expand on the first of your reasons by explaining what you mean and then giving an example that proves what you mean. If you can get yourself into the habit of developing your statement with an explanation and then illustrating your point with an example, you should find that your essay comes together quite quickly.
It’s really important that you stay focused, so try not to add any extra details that aren’t related to the first reason that you support the option you’ve chosen. You should only talk about one reason in the whole paragraph.
For example, your first paragraph might look like this:
Here you can see:
- A statement that identifies what the paragraph is about – “…have assumed unhealthy sedentary lifestyles…”
- The explanation that elaborates on the statement – “…rather than the active healthy lives typically associated with the summer months.”
- An example that provides supporting details – “The fear of being bitten by jumbo-sized mosquitoes keeps them inside sitting motionless in front of movies and computer games.”
How to Write your Second Paragraph
When you write your second paragraph, the goal is still to quickly and efficiently introduce, and develop your second reason.
Here too, the easiest pattern is to follow your statement with an explanation and then provide an example.
Ultimately, your second paragraph might look like this:
Here you can see that:
- The statement identifies what the paragraph is about – “We have tried several natural mosquito repellents… but nothing has worked.”
- Your explanation elaborates on your statement –“Although a more drastic solution is required, using chemicals could potentially contaminate our water sources and adversely affect both the community and the environment.”
- The example provides details that support your statement –“…including spraying the liquid from boiled garlic, growing lavender, and emptying standing water.”
How to Write your Conclusion?
In your conclusion, restate your two main ideas and your opinion.
For example, Your conclusion might look like this:
Here you can see:
- A Restatement for reason 1 – “…serious consequences of chemicals and the advantages of using dragonflies for residents…”
- A Restatement for reason 2 – “…the serious consequences of chemicals and the advantages of using dragonflies for the environment…”
- An Opinion – “Hopefully… you will decide to use dragonflies to resolve our mosquito issue.”
Your final CELPIP Writing Survey Response might look like this:
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