Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE)
Benchmark Set 2009
The following composition was written by an ECPE examinee and scored using the 5-point ECPE Writing scale.
Many popular movies are based on books. Some people believe the book versions are better than the movie versions. Which do you prefer? Why? Support your answer with specific examples.
Nowadays, various blockbuster movies are based on books. This has resulted in people debating about which version is better, the movie or the book. In my opinion, reading a book is more preferable for a number of reasons.
To begin with, books allow the reader to let his/her imagination free and imagine the plot taking place any way s/he wants. The reader is free to set up the scenery s/he wishes in his mind and not as the director of the movie maker would visualize it. For instance, he may be able to decide whether it’s a sunny or rainy day, whether it’s morning or evening, whether the actor is happy or sad.
Moreover, books give the reader more time flexibility. That means that at any time they want they have the opportunity to leave the book and continue reading it later. In addition, they have the ability to take the book with them. For example, if they have to go to work they could take the book with them and read it on the bus. Another option would be to take the book in the park and read it there enjoying the nice weather and greenery at the same time.
Furthermore, books give the opportunity to the reader to let the information sink in at their own time. For example, if a reader is reading a mystery novel s/he can take the time s/he wants in order to try and hypothesize what might have happened, before s/he reaches the end.
On the other hand, it needs to be acknowledged that move versions may offer greater excitement due to the special effects and action used. However, this is only for a short period of time – as long as the movie lasts, whereas the excitement books offer may be of lesser degree but last longer.
Overall, although [essay is unfinished]
This is an example of a low “A” band essay. The introduction begins well; the writer rephrases the prompt in his/her own words and shows that he/she has understood the question. The final sentence of the paragraph makes clear the writer’s point of view. The organization is well-controlled and appropriate to the material. Connections are smooth and sometimes unusual (e.g., “moreover”). The writer structures the argument very well, making an abstract claim and then providing a concrete example (e.g., paragraph 3). This demonstrates the writer’s ability to present his/her ideas in different ways to clarify his/her meaning effectively. One side of the topic is richly, fully, and complexly developed and the other side of the topic is also addressed competently.
Sentence structures are varied, complex and accurate. Morphological (word forms) control is nearly always accurate. The writer also appropriately uses a broad range of vocabulary including idiomatic phrasal verbs (e.g., “sink in,” paragraph 4) and modifiers (e.g., “it needs to be acknowledged”, paragraph 5).
However, it is important to note that the essay is unfinished. This suggests that the writer needed to take time to ensure the high level of grammatical accuracy and to select appropriate vocabulary. This in turn suggests that his/her language resources are not as “automatic” as you might expect for a very proficient writer. However, the quality of the text produced is excellent and this is why an “A” should be awarded.