Module 1

Module 1 – Written English (1 hour)

All MSAP Ireland candidates are required to do Module 1

Responses to the essay prompts are written in the Answer Booklet. Working space is provided for you to plan your essays.

There are two writing tasks to complete. One task invites an argumentative response, and the other invites a personal response.

Attempt some essay prompt samples from the Practice Materials. Choose and write on two sample comments. Make some time when you will not be interrupted and give yourself an hour to write your essays under 'test conditions'. It is helpful if someone else can read your essays and suggest improvements or alternative approaches.

Don't be concerned about the expected length of the MSAP Written English essays. Within reason, the quality of the writing is much more important than the length. Remember, you only have 30 minutes to plan and write each essay, and the examiners do not have unrealistic expectations of what you can produce in that time.

The criteria for the assessment of Written English:

  • The quality of what is said in the piece of writing (developing & exploring ideas in response to the prompt)
  • The quality of the structure and organisation developed to say something
  • The quality of the language used to organise and present what is said (using language precisely & appropriately to produce a clear & fluent piece of writing)

Helpful hints about stronger responses from the essay markers:

"The stronger responses were those who could challenge some of the ideas (you don't have to agree with the prompt!) as well as support their point of view in some detail".

"...Ability to understand the whole comment (not just address part of it) and deal with it broadly; able to discuss complex issues..."

"...Ability to use a personal anecdote and bed it into a wider discussion..."

And characteristics of weaker responses:

"Writing which used lists/dot points/sub-headings was not successful".

"Over-use of cliches".

"Candidates often only dealt with half the comment and omitted addressing the section that would enable them to show some depth and substance".

Some candidates are very concerned that their poor spelling will have a significant impact on their marks. The markers are looking mainly at content - they want to see you thinking ideas through, managing complexity, going beyond the superficial. They are more interested in the words you have chosen and how you've put them together, than how you have spelled them.