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English - Writing to Review

In your exam you may be asked to either write a review or to review a text or texts , (in a question that asks you to analyse, comment and review).


What is a review?

A review examines something and provides an opinion or assessment of it.

Reviews can be about various things: books, films, plays, TV programmes, music, art exhibitions or products.

The purpose of a review is to put forward a view of the item being reviewed and to provide the reviewer's opinion of it.


Your reviews could take any of three basic forms:

1. Reading reviews written by others and analysing or coming to some kind of assessment of the review.

2. Writing your own review.

3. reading some material and reviewing the content, style and effectiveness of it.


Reading and writing about reviews:

Note: Remember that the review will probably contain some facts about the thing being reviewed, but it will also contain some opinions too. These opinions represent the reviewer's view but, they may not be the only views that it is possible to have, i.e. one reviewer might say that a particular film or book etc. is very good, while another might think it is bad.

Writing about a review will involve analysing it and possibly commenting on it.


Key points in analysing a review is to identify:

What view the reviewer is putting forward.

How the reviewer uses language to convey that view effectively.


When writing about a review you may be asked to:

Sum up what the reviewer(s) thought about the book, film etc.

What facts do the reviews contain?

What opinions do the reviews express?

What do you note about the ways in which each review uses language to put their ideas across to the reader?


Writing your own reviews:

You may be asked to write a review based o any of the following:

A book

A film

A play

A music album

A computer game

A product


Ways of approaching a review

Book Reviews:

The review you write depends on whether it is fiction - novel, short stories or non-fiction - i.e. history, science, travel etc.

Reviewing a novel - some sections you may want to include in your review(s):

A brief outline of the plot - no more than a paragraph.

A brief outline of the main characters.

Some ideas of the setting and themes that the novel deals with.

Your judgement on the effectiveness of the novel and its impact.

The novels interest/entertainment value.

Provide reasons to support the points you make.

Your final verdict - sum up your personal opinion.

Note: You should adapt a structured approach to writing your review.

Reviews of films and plays: can be similar t book reviews in that part of the review might deal with characters and plot. Films and plays also have another dimension - visual effect.

In analysing or writing this kind of review you should also take into account the visual effectiveness of seeing the action on the screen or stage.

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