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Assam Class 12 HS Exam Tense Exercise: General English

12 + Tips On How To Write An Article For Exams, Magazines and Newspapers

So what is an article? What is its scope?

Let's look at the definitions of articles and essays from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary by A S Hornby.

Article: A piece of writing about a particular subject in a newspaper or magazine: Have you seen that article about young fashion designers?

Essay: 1. A short piece of writing by a student as part of a course of study: an essay on the causes of the First World War. 2. A short piece of writing on a particular subject, written in order to be published: The book contains a number of interesting essays on women in society.

The three definitions above, one about articles and the other two about essays make it clear that both articles and essays can be similar to some extent. But there is a difference too. The basic difference between an article and an essay is that an article demands more critical thinking than an essay. Article writing gives the writer the scope to analyze the pros and cons of a problem with available data, research it with his or her critical thinking and express personal opinions on the issues.

Article Writing in Our School Curriculum:

Article Writing is an inseparable part of school curriculum today. Usually articles written for academic assignments are short. The tendency in school examinations has been to ask students to write articles of 200-500 words. It helps the students to develop the art of writing articles not only for exams but also for newspapers and magazines. At the same time, it also develops critical thinking of the students. Students of secondary and senior secondary levels of both state boards and the CBSE are asked to write an article on a given topic. Usually they are asked to write on the social and environmental issues and the hot topics of the day. Environmental pollution, deforestation, Population explosion, global warming, drug abuse, science and technology, everyday life etc are some of the topic examples on which they have to write an article. The nature of the topics is such that while preparing for exams, students also develop the art of writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Steps and Tips On How To Write A Quality Article For School Examinations, Magazines And Newspapers: (In No Particular Order)

1. The first step is selection of a topic: Choose the topic/ topics usually covered in your school examinations. You can also choose a topic of your interest or a topic that interests your reader if you are going to write an article for your school magazine or for a newspaper. Here are some examples of the topics you can consider learning for a school exam:

I. Global Warming: Its Effects on Human Life

II. Measures To Prevent Environmental Pollution

III. Save Water Save Life

IV. Value/Importance of Trees In Everyday Life

V. Say No To Plastic

VI. How Information Technology Has Changed Our Civilization.

VII. Measures To Conserve Biodiversity In Kaziranga National Park.

VIII. Unity In Diversity In Indian Society.

IX. Necessity of Games And Sports In Student Life. 

X. Impact Of Watching Television On The Young Generation

XI. Advantages and Disadvantages of Using the Internet.

XII. Change in Lifestyle after COVID-19 Lockdown.

2. The second step is to follow an easy to difficult formula: Check if the topic seems too difficult for you or if its scope is too broad. Change your topic or narrow it down if its area of study is too  broad. Once you are comfortable with easy topics, try difficult ones.

3. The third step is adding a compelling title to your article. You can also use this step at the end of writing. I recommend adding it at the end. For during the course of writing, you may end up adding elements that don't properly match the title. If you are writing for an exam, you can use the topic already given in the question paper as your article title. If you are writing for a school magazine or newspaper, think of a proper title that perfectly reflects what your article is about. Once you complete your writing, check again if the title properly reflects the subject matter of the article. Modify it if necessary.

4. Next study on the topic. Conduct a thorough study of the topic from different sources. You can study from books, the web and all other possible sources. Also collect some data and famous quotes which you can use throughout your writing if and when necessary.

5. As you study, prepare notes of all the important points. But remember! Notes act as a guide. You can't copy-paste the notes. Use your own language and thought to present those notes in your writing.

6. Think of an outline of the article. Arrange all points mentally. Arrange your personal thoughts and opinions mentally. If necessary, take some time to think deeply of the topic.

7. Finally start writing. Start with the introduction. The introduction part should be short. It should be attractive enough to hold your readers' attention throughout the text. You should give your readers an idea of what the article is about in the introduction. You have to cover the introduction part in one small paragraph. This paragraph will include your topic idea and statement of the argument you are going to put forward.

8. Next comes the main body of the article. Introduce your topic to the reader in greater detail. Analyse the topic. Give your points in favor of and against the problem raised. Give all your personal opinions on the topic. You can write one or more paragraphs.

9. Conclusion: Provide a summary of the whole article in a few sentences. Don't write more than one paragraph for your conclusion.

10. Study and use proper vocabulary and sentences: Choice of words is a must to make your writing interesting. Use easy and simple to understand words. Keep your sentences short.

11. Also keep in mind the length of the article. For a school examination of three hours' duration, you are not going to get more than 15 minutes on an average for writing an article that carries 10 marks. You can only write 200-400 words in 15 minutes.

12. Read the article one or two times. Check and cross-check the spellings and grammatical mistakes if any. Try to add,  delete or modify wherever necessary.

13. You can also add the sources consulted at the end of your writing. They make your writing authoritative. Particularly if you are writing for a publication or research journal, adding the sources/references is a must. Depending on the sources you have studied, you can add names of books and their authors, links, websites, magazines, newspapers etc. This point does not apply if you are writing in an exam.

These are the tips you can follow to develop your skill in article writing. By regular practice, you will soon reach a stage where you will find it easy to write an article on a given topic even without following the tips and steps mentioned above, a stage you must reach to write in an exam.