Want to score 5** in the DSE English Language Paper 2 Writing Section?
In addition to learning more useful English writing skills and sentence patterns, you should look at examples of essays that have scored 5**.
The sample essay provided in this article is taken from the level 5 example in the Samples of Candidates' Performance posted by the HKEAA each year. The question of the essay comes from a news report.
The original text was revised by our professional English tutor. We corrected all grammatical and spelling errors, as well as improper use of words/ phases, while strictly retaining the original content to ensure that it is as close to the 5** level as possible.
Learning English through Poems and Songs
2019 Part B Question 7
Taylor Swift is an award-winning singer-songwriter. In an interview with Parade magazine she said:
“I wrote the song ‘Mean’ about a critic who kept giving me really bad reviews. I get that, no matter what, people will criticize what you do. But there are different ways to criticize someone… and there’s a line that you cross when you just start to attack everything about a person.”
You lead an after-school arts club. You would like to instruct members on how to review each other’s work.
Write a speech to be delivered to club members.
Discuss what a critic does, how to gives criticism and ways to responds to criticism
Give your speech a title.
Criticize well or be criticized
Criticism is everywhere wherever there is an action, there is criticism. Everyone’s view on different issues is as varying as a color spectrum, even if the action is correct, there would still be criticism. Especially for arts, there are no instructions telling creators what is right or wrong, there are only people’s preferences that define the value of your work. You might be discouraged, criticized, but what matters is how you deal with criticism and how to correctly criticize those who you think are not doing their job well.
A critic is a person with a certain aspect of knowledge who will value artwork and give appropriate criticism. Painting, songs, movies you name it, there will always be a critic who judges others. Being a critic is easy, but being a reasonable, logical critic is not everybody’s job. For example, Taylor Swift, a world-famous singer with an angel voice. Even if you don't like her, I am sure no one here hates her, but one critic really does. He gave her bad reviews for every single song that she sings. For any person who has ears, we know that he is not objective.
“So how am I supposed to criticize well if I really hated that person’s artwork?” You might ask. Well, first we need to know how to criticize. Nothing has zero value, at least in Art it is. Try to find something to appreciate when you want to criticize someone, this will make the person accept your criticism afterward. Then you might express your feelings towards the artwork. Don’t be subjective and say that “I don’t like red, so I think your artwork is rubbish!” This will only make you an unreasonable and unfriendly person. Try giving your criticism on different aspects, for example, songs, the melody, the beat, the choice of instruments, and the lyrics. There are many components that all combine as we should try not to mix our emotions into the ‘supposedly’ objective words.
Now when you know how to criticize others, remember one thing, you can criticize others, vice versa” Don’t get mad or sad when you are being criticized, I am sure the person criticizing you is just hoping to make you improve instead of discouraging you. So this is the part where I introduce to you the correct ways to respond to criticism.
The ways to respond to criticism are unlimited, from laughing at them to killing them, jokingly speaking. But the correct ways of responding are only a few. Worst case scenario: when a critic is attacking you no matter what you say or do. You are annoyed and frustrated and worried if the others will look at you the way the critic says. If you ask me, I would just ignore them. Do what you've been doing and motivate yourself to do even better. There is no use in making the criticism a way to pull you down and undermine your position in that profession. People will eventually know what you are truly capable of and disagree with that crazy critic. I am sure that Taylor Swift wrote ‘Mean’ not to pay back the bad reviews, but rather to make herself more famous by creating this little drama. Paying back bad criticism is not a wise thing to do as it only wastes your time and effort while the critic might not cease-fire upon your work.
Another way of responding to criticism is to appreciate them. Just like the artwork, no criticism has zero value, we should also thank them for giving those appropriate suggestions on our works. This way we can present a friendly image to the public while making us more able to appreciate others. We can even discuss our thoughts with the critic, on what he had in mind when creating artworks, why he is questioning that aspect of the painting, etc. We can not only learn to have a calm mind if the person we are talking to is unreasonable, but we can also learn more about how to improve ourselves the next time when we create our work.
Every successful famous person has gone through an ambivalent amount of criticism. As for me, the ‘leader’ of this club has also been criticized a lot, whether it's for my style of work or the leadership of the club. With great power comes great responsibility. With great responsibility comes great criticism. But luckily, I can make use of the criticism well and help me step up my game and become what you see in front of you today.
My advice is that don’t be afraid to criticize and to be criticized. It will carry you a long way on the road to success. Hopefully one day I will see you all achieve what I have never fathomed to reach. I will give you unlimited support and I hope every one of you will also do so with your other fellow members. Thank you.