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How to Write a Peer Review

writing a review form 1

When you write a peer review for a manuscript, what should you include in your comments? What should you leave out? And how should the review be formatted?

This guide provides quick tips for writing and organizing your reviewer report.

Review Outline

Use an outline for your reviewer report so it’s easy for the editors and author to follow. This will also help you keep your comments organized.

Think about structuring your review like an inverted pyramid. Put the most important information at the top, followed by details and examples in the center, and any additional points at the very bottom.

writing a review form 1

Here’s how your outline might look:

1. Summary of the research and your overall impression

In your own words, summarize what the manuscript claims to report. This shows the editor how you interpreted the manuscript and will highlight any major differences in perspective between you and the other reviewers. Give an overview of the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses. Think about this as your “take-home” message for the editors. End this section with your recommended course of action.

2. Discussion of specific areas for improvement

It’s helpful to divide this section into two parts: one for major issues and one for minor issues. Within each section, you can talk about the biggest issues first or go systematically figure-by-figure or claim-by-claim. Number each item so that your points are easy to follow (this will also make it easier for the authors to respond to each point). Refer to specific lines, pages, sections, or figure and table numbers so the authors (and editors) know exactly what you’re talking about.

Major vs. minor issues

What’s the difference between a major and minor issue? Major issues should consist of the essential points the authors need to address before the manuscript can proceed. Make sure you focus on what is  fundamental for the current study . In other words, it’s not helpful to recommend additional work that would be considered the “next step” in the study. Minor issues are still important but typically will not affect the overall conclusions of the manuscript. Here are some examples of what would might go in the “minor” category:

  • Missing references (but depending on what is missing, this could also be a major issue)
  • Technical clarifications (e.g., the authors should clarify how a reagent works)
  • Data presentation (e.g., the authors should present p-values differently)
  • Typos, spelling, grammar, and phrasing issues

3. Any other points

Confidential comments for the editors.

Some journals have a space for reviewers to enter confidential comments about the manuscript. Use this space to mention concerns about the submission that you’d want the editors to consider before sharing your feedback with the authors, such as concerns about ethical guidelines or language quality. Any serious issues should be raised directly and immediately with the journal as well.

This section is also where you will disclose any potentially competing interests, and mention whether you’re willing to look at a revised version of the manuscript.

Do not use this space to critique the manuscript, since comments entered here will not be passed along to the authors.  If you’re not sure what should go in the confidential comments, read the reviewer instructions or check with the journal first before submitting your review. If you are reviewing for a journal that does not offer a space for confidential comments, consider writing to the editorial office directly with your concerns.

Get this outline in a template

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is hard. Giving effective feedback can be even more challenging. Remember that your ultimate goal is to discuss what the authors would need to do in order to qualify for publication. The point is not to nitpick every piece of the manuscript. Your focus should be on providing constructive and critical feedback that the authors can use to improve their study.

If you’ve ever had your own work reviewed, you already know that it’s not always easy to receive feedback. Follow the golden rule: Write the type of review you’d want to receive if you were the author. Even if you decide not to identify yourself in the review, you should write comments that you would be comfortable signing your name to.

In your comments, use phrases like “ the authors’ discussion of X” instead of “ your discussion of X .” This will depersonalize the feedback and keep the focus on the manuscript instead of the authors.

General guidelines for effective feedback

writing a review form 1

  • Justify your recommendation with concrete evidence and specific examples.
  • Be specific so the authors know what they need to do to improve.
  • Be thorough. This might be the only time you read the manuscript.
  • Be professional and respectful. The authors will be reading these comments too.
  • Remember to say what you liked about the manuscript!

writing a review form 1

Don’t

  • Recommend additional experiments or  unnecessary elements that are out of scope for the study or for the journal criteria.
  • Tell the authors exactly how to revise their manuscript—you don’t need to do their work for them.
  • Use the review to promote your own research or hypotheses.
  • Focus on typos and grammar. If the manuscript needs significant editing for language and writing quality, just mention this in your comments.
  • Submit your review without proofreading it and checking everything one more time.

Before and After: Sample Reviewer Comments

Keeping in mind the guidelines above, how do you put your thoughts into words? Here are some sample “before” and “after” reviewer comments

✗ Before

“The authors appear to have no idea what they are talking about. I don’t think they have read any of the literature on this topic.”

✓ After

“The study fails to address how the findings relate to previous research in this area. The authors should rewrite their Introduction and Discussion to reference the related literature, especially recently published work such as Darwin et al.”

“The writing is so bad, it is practically unreadable. I could barely bring myself to finish it.”

“While the study appears to be sound, the language is unclear, making it difficult to follow. I advise the authors work with a writing coach or copyeditor to improve the flow and readability of the text.”

“It’s obvious that this type of experiment should have been included. I have no idea why the authors didn’t use it. This is a big mistake.”

“The authors are off to a good start, however, this study requires additional experiments, particularly [type of experiment]. Alternatively, the authors should include more information that clarifies and justifies their choice of methods.”

Suggested Language for Tricky Situations

You might find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure how to explain the problem or provide feedback in a constructive and respectful way. Here is some suggested language for common issues you might experience.

What you think : The manuscript is fatally flawed. What you could say: “The study does not appear to be sound” or “the authors have missed something crucial”.

What you think : You don’t completely understand the manuscript. What you could say : “The authors should clarify the following sections to avoid confusion…”

What you think : The technical details don’t make sense. What you could say : “The technical details should be expanded and clarified to ensure that readers understand exactly what the researchers studied.”

What you think: The writing is terrible. What you could say : “The authors should revise the language to improve readability.”

What you think : The authors have over-interpreted the findings. What you could say : “The authors aim to demonstrate [XYZ], however, the data does not fully support this conclusion. Specifically…”

What does a good review look like?

Check out the peer review examples at F1000 Research to see how other reviewers write up their reports and give constructive feedback to authors.

Time to Submit the Review!

Be sure you turn in your report on time. Need an extension? Tell the journal so that they know what to expect. If you need a lot of extra time, the journal might need to contact other reviewers or notify the author about the delay.

Tip: Building a relationship with an editor

You’ll be more likely to be asked to review again if you provide high-quality feedback and if you turn in the review on time. Especially if it’s your first review for a journal, it’s important to show that you are reliable. Prove yourself once and you’ll get asked to review again!

  • Getting started as a reviewer
  • Responding to an invitation
  • Reading a manuscript
  • Writing a peer review

The contents of the Peer Review Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

The contents of the Writing Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…

How to Write an Article Review: Template & Examples

An article review is an academic assignment that invites you to study a piece of academic research closely. Then, you should present its summary and critically evaluate it using the knowledge you’ve gained in class and during your independent study. If you get such a task at college or university, you shouldn’t confuse it with a response paper, which is a distinct assignment with other purposes (we’ll talk about it in detail below).

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In this article, prepared by Custom-Writing experts, you’ll find: 

  • the intricacies of article review writing;
  • the difference between an article review and similar assignments;
  • a step-by-step algorithm for review composition;
  • a couple of samples to guide you throughout the writing process.

So, if you wish to study our article review example and discover helpful writing tips, keep reading.

❓ What Is an Article Review?

  • ✍️ Writing Steps

📑 Article Review Format

🔗 references.

An article review is an academic paper that summarizes and critically evaluates the information presented in your selected article. 

This image shows what an article review is.

The first thing you should note when approaching the task of an article review is that not every article is suitable for this assignment. Let’s have a look at the variety of articles to understand what you can choose from.

Popular Vs. Scholarly Articles

In most cases, you’ll be required to review a scholarly, peer-reviewed article – one composed in compliance with rigorous academic standards. Yet, the Web is also full of popular articles that don’t present original scientific value and shouldn’t be selected for a review.  

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Not sure how to distinguish these two types? Here is a comparative table to help you out.

Article Review vs. Response Paper

Now, let’s consider the difference between an article review and a response paper:

  • If you’re assigned to critique a scholarly article , you will need to compose an article review .  
  • If your subject of analysis is a popular article , you can respond to it with a well-crafted response paper .  

The reason for such distinctions is the quality and structure of these two article types. Peer-reviewed, scholarly articles have clear-cut quality criteria, allowing you to conduct and present a structured assessment of the assigned material. Popular magazines have loose or non-existent quality criteria and don’t offer an opportunity for structured evaluation. So, they are only fit for a subjective response, in which you can summarize your reactions and emotions related to the reading material.  

All in all, you can structure your response assignments as outlined in the tips below.

✍️ How to Write an Article Review: Step by Step

Here is a tried and tested algorithm for article review writing from our experts. We’ll consider only the critical review variety of this academic assignment. So, let’s get down to the stages you need to cover to get a stellar review.  

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Read the Article

As with any reviews, reports, and critiques, you must first familiarize yourself with the assigned material. It’s impossible to review something you haven’t read, so set some time for close, careful reading of the article to identify:

  • Its topic.  
  • Its type.  
  • The author’s main points and message. 
  • The arguments they use to prove their points. 
  • The methodology they use to approach the subject. 

In terms of research type , your article will usually belong to one of three types explained below. 

Summarize the Article

Now that you’ve read the text and have a general impression of the content, it’s time to summarize it for your readers. Look into the article’s text closely to determine:

  • The thesis statement , or general message of the author.  
  • Research question, purpose, and context of research.  
  • Supporting points for the author’s assumptions and claims.  
  • Major findings and supporting evidence.  

As you study the article thoroughly, make notes on the margins or write these elements out on a sheet of paper. You can also apply a different technique: read the text section by section and formulate its gist in one phrase or sentence. Once you’re done, you’ll have a summary skeleton in front of you.

Evaluate the Article

The next step of review is content evaluation. Keep in mind that various research types will require a different set of review questions. Here is a complete list of evaluation points you can include.

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

Write the Text

After completing the critical review stage, it’s time to compose your article review.

The format of this assignment is standard – you will have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction should present your article and summarize its content. The body will contain a structured review according to all four dimensions covered in the previous section. The concluding part will typically recap all the main points you’ve identified during your assessment.  

It is essential to note that an article review is, first of all, an academic assignment. Therefore, it should follow all rules and conventions of academic composition, such as:

  • No contractions . Don’t use short forms, such as “don’t,” “can’t,” “I’ll,” etc. in academic writing. You need to spell out all those words.  
  • Formal language and style . Avoid conversational phrasing and words that you would naturally use in blog posts or informal communication. For example, don’t use words like “pretty,” “kind of,” and “like.”  
  • Third-person narrative . Academic reviews should be written from the third-person point of view, avoiding statements like “I think,” “in my opinion,” and so on.  
  • No conversational forms . You shouldn’t turn to your readers directly in the text by addressing them with the pronoun “you.” It’s vital to keep the narrative neutral and impersonal.  
  • Proper abbreviation use . Consult the list of correct abbreviations , like “e.g.” or “i.e.,” for use in your academic writing. If you use informal abbreviations like “FYA” or “f.i.,” your professor will reduce the grade.  
  • Complete sentences . Make sure your sentences contain the subject and the predicate; avoid shortened or sketch-form phrases suitable for a draft only.  
  • No conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence . Remember the FANBOYS rule – don’t start a sentence with words like “and” or “but.” They often seem the right way to build a coherent narrative, but academic writing rules disfavor such usage.  
  • No abbreviations or figures at the beginning of a sentence . Never start a sentence with a number — spell it out if you need to use it anyway. Besides, sentences should never begin with abbreviations like “e.g.”  

Finally, a vital rule for an article review is properly formatting the citations. We’ll discuss the correct use of citation styles in the following section.

When composing an article review, keep these points in mind:

  • Start with a full reference to the reviewed article so the reader can locate it quickly.  
  • Ensure correct formatting of in-text references.  
  • Provide a complete list of used external sources on the last page of the review – your bibliographical entries .  

You’ll need to understand the rules of your chosen citation style to meet all these requirements. Below, we’ll discuss the two most common referencing styles – APA and MLA.

Article Review in APA

When you need to compose an article review in the APA format , here is the general bibliographical entry format you should use for journal articles on your reference page:  

  • Author’s last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year of Publication). Name of the article. Name of the Journal, volume (number), pp. #-#. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

Horigian, V. E., Schmidt, R. D., & Feaster, D. J. (2021). Loneliness, mental health, and substance use among US young adults during COVID-19. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 53 (1), pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2020.1836435

Your in-text citations should follow the author-date format like this:

  • If you paraphrase the source and mention the author in the text: According to Horigian et al. (2021), young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic. 
  • If you paraphrase the source and don’t mention the author in the text: Young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic (Horigian et al., 2021). 
  • If you quote the source: As Horigian et al. (2021) point out, there were “elevated levels of loneliness, depression, anxiety, alcohol use, and drug use among young adults during COVID-19” (p. 6). 

Note that your in-text citations should include “et al.,” as in the examples above, if your article has 3 or more authors. If you have one or two authors, your in-text citations would look like this:

  • One author: “According to Smith (2020), depression is…” or “Depression is … (Smith, 2020).”
  • Two authors: “According to Smith and Brown (2020), anxiety means…” or “Anxiety means (Smith & Brown, 2020).”

Finally, in case you have to review a book or a website article, here are the general formats for citing these source types on your APA reference list.

Article Review in MLA

If your assignment requires MLA-format referencing, here’s the general format you should use for citing journal articles on your Works Cited page: 

  • Author’s last name, First name. “Title of an Article.” Title of the Journal , vol. #, no. #, year, pp. #-#. 

Horigian, Viviana E., et al. “Loneliness, Mental Health, and Substance Use Among US Young Adults During COVID-19.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs , vol. 53, no. 1, 2021, pp. 1-9.

In-text citations in the MLA format follow the author-page citation format and look like this:

  • According to Horigian et al., young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic (6).
  • Young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic (Horigian et al. 6).

Like in APA, the abbreviation “et al.” is only needed in MLA if your article has 3 or more authors.

If you need to cite a book or a website page, here are the general MLA formats for these types of sources.

✅ Article Review Template

Here is a handy, universal article review template to help you move on with any review assignment. We’ve tried to make it as generic as possible to guide you in the academic process.

📝 Article Review Examples

The theory is good, but practice is even better. Thus, we’ve created three brief examples to show you how to write an article review. You can study the full-text samples by following the links.

📃 Men, Women, & Money   

This article review examines a famous piece, “Men, Women & Money – How the Sexes Differ with Their Finances,” published by Amy Livingston in 2020. The author of this article claims that men generally spend more money than women. She makes this conclusion from a close analysis of gender-specific expenditures across five main categories: food, clothing, cars, entertainment, and general spending patterns. Livingston also looks at men’s approach to saving to argue that counter to the common perception of women’s light-hearted attitude to money, men are those who spend more on average.  

📃 When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism   

This is a review of Jonathan Heidt’s 2016 article titled “When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism,” written as an advocacy of right-wing populism rising in many Western states. The author illustrates the case with the election of Donald Trump as the US President and the rise of right-wing rhetoric in many Western countries. These examples show how nationalist sentiment represents a reaction to global immigration and a failure of globalization.  

📃 Sleep Deprivation   

This is a review of the American Heart Association’s article titled “The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation.” It discusses how the national organization concerned with the American population’s cardiovascular health links the lack of high-quality sleep to far-reaching health consequences. The organization’s experts reveal how a consistent lack of sleep leads to Alzheimer’s disease development, obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc.  

✏️ Article Review FAQ

A high-quality article review should summarize the assigned article’s content and offer data-backed reactions and evaluations of its quality in terms of the article’s purpose, methodology, and data used to argue the main points. It should be detailed, comprehensive, objective, and evidence-based.

The purpose of writing a review is to allow students to reflect on research quality and showcase their critical thinking and evaluation skills. Students should exhibit their mastery of close reading of research publications and their unbiased assessment.

The content of your article review will be the same in any format, with the only difference in the assignment’s formatting before submission. Ensure you have a separate title page made according to APA standards and cite sources using the parenthetical author-date referencing format.

You need to take a closer look at various dimensions of an assigned article to compose a valuable review. Study the author’s object of analysis, the purpose of their research, the chosen method, data, and findings. Evaluate all these dimensions critically to see whether the author has achieved the initial goals. Finally, offer improvement recommendations to add a critique aspect to your paper.

  • Scientific Article Review: Duke University  
  • Book and Article Reviews: William & Mary, Writing Resources Center  
  • Sample Format for Reviewing a Journal Article: Boonshoft School of Medicine  
  • Research Paper Review – Structure and Format Guidelines: New Jersey Institute of Technology  
  • Article Review: University of Waterloo  
  • Article Review: University of South Australia  
  • How to Write a Journal Article Review: University of Newcastle Library Guides  
  • Writing Help: The Article Review: Central Michigan University Libraries  
  • Write a Critical Review of a Scientific Journal Article: McLaughlin Library  
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writing a review form 1

How to write a review: structure, rules and examples

English for Scientists - English for Science and Research - Sandford English

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Writing a review – day 1: review structure and useful phrases

Introduction.

Writing a review of other people’s research is a great way to get started with writing about Science in English. It will get you to read and evaluate scientific work and help you to understand when something is well written or poorly written and make you more familiar with phrases and vocabulary. It can also be the beginning of your involvement with English language journals and help you to understand what work will be accepted for publication and why.

Let’s take a look at a review and consider the structure and some useful phrases.

Reviewer #2:

Thank you for sharing this interesting paper on a major P4P programme in Brazil. The work is very well written and expertly carried out . The writing is clear and understandable , and the methods are appropriate . The inclusion of multiple sensitivity analyses is welcome and these demonstrate the robustness of the work. I have no major comments or changes suggested.

A few very minor comments:

– Clarify early on (in abstract) that this study is about evaluating rewarding health professionals, as the term “family health teams” could imply service providers or their budgets.

– I think it would be useful to mention the size of the overall PMAQ as proportion of public spending – I believe it was relatively small.

– Would it be worth mentioning in the limitations that municipalities that give incentives to teams could be different in characteristics that were not measured (political factors, working arrangements, local contracting, existing salaries and other bonuses) and could have had some minor bias;

– I would emphasize more the uncertainty about clinical relevance of the PMAQ surveys and scores;

– Could the authors also comment on the size of the bonus – 21% or 50%+ of salary – where most of the impact was found. I think this is a relatively large amount, and do they recommend this approach be used in other settings for relatively modest quality gains?

The above review is relatively short, but it does cover the major items required of a review, apart from giving a final judgement on whether the article should be accepted, rejected or revised. It is implied that the paper should be accepted, but it is always helpful to be specific.

The review included here comes from a PLoS Medicine article: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article/peerReview?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1004033

There are many ‘open reviews’ published on PLoS One and are a great resource from which you can learn and study review writing.

Structuring a review

When you write your review, having a clear structure in mind will make it easier to write in English. Your review should contain 3 parts:

An introduction summarising what you thought of the paper – giving the major benefits and weaknesses. (we will cover language for this below and in the next 4 digests.)

  • Itemise the specific changes or things you would like the authors to consider. (We will also cover language for this.)
  • Conclude your thoughts in a final sentence indicating whether the paper should be accepted, rejected or revised. (We will also cover language for this.)

When writing your review you should have the following questions in mind and answer these in the three sections above:

  • How well written is the paper – is it easy enough to understand?
  • Is this research appropriate for the journal?
  • Does this research have lasting value and is it important to the field?
  • Is this information new, does it add anything not already known?
  • Is the paper focused on the intended topic?
  • Is the methodology clearly described and appropriate?
  • Are the tables and figures and statistical analysis correct and relevant?
  • Are the results clearly stated and how significant are they?
  • Have all appropriate references been made; have the authors included relevant statements around conflict of interest; is the paper free from bias.

If you follow the above structure it will allow you to focus on writing the review in good and clear English. Some journals will have their own structure that they would like you to follow.

Some useful phrases

We have highlighted in bold italic useful phrases in the above review that will help you to write the review and answer the questions above.

‘The work is well written’ and ‘the writing is clear and understandable’ : highlight good English in the paper.

Alternatives: ‘The English is good’; ‘the writing is concise’; ‘the article is written in clear English’; ‘the article is easy to understand’.

Opposites: ‘The work is not well written’; ‘the article is difficult to understand’; ‘the writing/the English is poor’.

‘ the methods are appropriate’ : highlighting the correct methodology for the paper.

Alternatives: ‘the correct methods were used’; ‘the methods are sound’; ‘the methodology is sound’; ‘the authors used the right methodology’

Opposites: ‘the authors used the wrong methodology’; ‘the methods were not appropriate for the study’; ‘the disadvantage of this approach is’.

‘ clarify early on’ : it is helpful to identify where authors can be clearer in their writing, avoiding ambiguity.

Alternatives: ‘the author confuses; ‘this is misleading’; ‘readers may be confused’; ‘it is not clear that’

Opposites: ‘this work is clearly focused on’; ‘this research is focused’.

‘I think it would be useful to’ : this phrase could be used either to highlight that an author has missed something important or to suggest a change of approach.

Alternative: ‘the authors could instead focus on’.

‘Would it be worth mentioning’: this phrase politely highlights that the authors could add a point of interest.

Alternatives: ‘could you consider’; ‘the authors should add’; ‘[something] is missing from this analysis’.

‘I would emphasize’: shows that a point needs more attention.

‘Could the authors also comment on’: this phrase highlights that there is more discussion to be had.

Alternatives: ‘could you explain’; ‘the authors should explain’.

‘do they recommend’: this phrase is asking for more information, but is a more specific question about what the authors think should happen based on their knowledge of the topic.

Alternatives: ‘what is your conclusion?’; ‘[given the results], what would you suggest?’

Further study for this week

if you have time for further study this week try to write a review for a piece of research you are familiar with. Use the advice above and the advice in the following Journal entries for this week.

Or try the short quiz below to test your knowledge.

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writing a review form 1

An article review is a critical evaluation of a scholarly or scientific piece, which aims to summarize its main ideas, assess its contributions, and provide constructive feedback. A well-written review not only benefits the author of the article under scrutiny but also serves as a valuable resource for fellow researchers and scholars. Follow these steps to create an effective and informative article review:

1. Understand the purpose: Before diving into the article, it is important to understand the intent of writing a review. This helps in focusing your thoughts, directing your analysis, and ensuring your review adds value to the academic community.

2. Read the article thoroughly: Carefully read the article multiple times to get a complete understanding of its content, arguments, and conclusions. As you read, take notes on key points, supporting evidence, and any areas that require further exploration or clarification.

3. Summarize the main ideas: In your review’s introduction, briefly outline the primary themes and arguments presented by the author(s). Keep it concise but sufficiently informative so that readers can quickly grasp the essence of the article.

4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses: In subsequent paragraphs, assess the strengths and limitations of the article based on factors such as methodology, quality of evidence presented, coherence of arguments, and alignment with existing literature in the field. Be fair and objective while providing your critique.

5. Discuss any implications: Deliberate on how this particular piece contributes to or challenges existing knowledge in its discipline. You may also discuss potential improvements for future research or explore real-world applications stemming from this study.

6. Provide recommendations: Finally, offer suggestions for both the author(s) and readers regarding how they can further build on this work or apply its findings in practice.

7. Proofread and revise: Once your initial draft is complete, go through it carefully for clarity, accuracy, and coherence. Revise as necessary, ensuring your review is both informative and engaging for readers.

Sample Review:

A Critical Review of “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health”

Introduction:

“The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is a timely article which investigates the relationship between social media usage and psychological well-being. The authors present compelling evidence to support their argument that excessive use of social media can result in decreased self-esteem, increased anxiety, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships.

Strengths and weaknesses:

One of the strengths of this article lies in its well-structured methodology utilizing a variety of sources, including quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. This approach provides a comprehensive view of the topic, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the effects of social media on mental health. However, it would have been beneficial if the authors included a larger sample size to increase the reliability of their conclusions. Additionally, exploring how different platforms may influence mental health differently could have added depth to the analysis.

Implications:

The findings in this article contribute significantly to ongoing debates surrounding the psychological implications of social media use. It highlights the potential dangers that excessive engagement with online platforms may pose to one’s mental well-being and encourages further research into interventions that could mitigate these risks. The study also offers an opportunity for educators and policy-makers to take note and develop strategies to foster healthier online behavior.

Recommendations:

Future researchers should consider investigating how specific social media platforms impact mental health outcomes, as this could lead to more targeted interventions. For practitioners, implementing educational programs aimed at promoting healthy online habits may be beneficial in mitigating the potential negative consequences associated with excessive social media use.

Conclusion:

Overall, “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is an important and informative piece that raises awareness about a pressing issue in today’s digital age. Given its minor limitations, it provides valuable

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  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

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Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Book Reviews

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you write a book review, a report or essay that offers a critical perspective on a text. It offers a process and suggests some strategies for writing book reviews.

What is a review?

A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book reviews. For a similar assignment, see our handout on literature reviews .

Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academic journals, they rarely exceed 1000 words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries. In either case, reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:

  • First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose.
  • Second, and more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content. This involves your reactions to the work under review: what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at hand.
  • Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience would appreciate it.

Becoming an expert reviewer: three short examples

Reviewing can be a daunting task. Someone has asked for your opinion about something that you may feel unqualified to evaluate. Who are you to criticize Toni Morrison’s new book if you’ve never written a novel yourself, much less won a Nobel Prize? The point is that someone—a professor, a journal editor, peers in a study group—wants to know what you think about a particular work. You may not be (or feel like) an expert, but you need to pretend to be one for your particular audience. Nobody expects you to be the intellectual equal of the work’s creator, but your careful observations can provide you with the raw material to make reasoned judgments. Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of writing, reviews require you to provide concrete evidence for your assertions.

Consider the following brief book review written for a history course on medieval Europe by a student who is fascinated with beer:

Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600, investigates how women used to brew and sell the majority of ale drunk in England. Historically, ale and beer (not milk, wine, or water) were important elements of the English diet. Ale brewing was low-skill and low status labor that was complimentary to women’s domestic responsibilities. In the early fifteenth century, brewers began to make ale with hops, and they called this new drink “beer.” This technique allowed brewers to produce their beverages at a lower cost and to sell it more easily, although women generally stopped brewing once the business became more profitable.

The student describes the subject of the book and provides an accurate summary of its contents. But the reader does not learn some key information expected from a review: the author’s argument, the student’s appraisal of the book and its argument, and whether or not the student would recommend the book. As a critical assessment, a book review should focus on opinions, not facts and details. Summary should be kept to a minimum, and specific details should serve to illustrate arguments.

Now consider a review of the same book written by a slightly more opinionated student:

Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 was a colossal disappointment. I wanted to know about the rituals surrounding drinking in medieval England: the songs, the games, the parties. Bennett provided none of that information. I liked how the book showed ale and beer brewing as an economic activity, but the reader gets lost in the details of prices and wages. I was more interested in the private lives of the women brewsters. The book was divided into eight long chapters, and I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to read it.

There’s no shortage of judgments in this review! But the student does not display a working knowledge of the book’s argument. The reader has a sense of what the student expected of the book, but no sense of what the author herself set out to prove. Although the student gives several reasons for the negative review, those examples do not clearly relate to each other as part of an overall evaluation—in other words, in support of a specific thesis. This review is indeed an assessment, but not a critical one.

Here is one final review of the same book:

One of feminism’s paradoxes—one that challenges many of its optimistic histories—is how patriarchy remains persistent over time. While Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 recognizes medieval women as historical actors through their ale brewing, it also shows that female agency had its limits with the advent of beer. I had assumed that those limits were religious and political, but Bennett shows how a “patriarchal equilibrium” shut women out of economic life as well. Her analysis of women’s wages in ale and beer production proves that a change in women’s work does not equate to a change in working women’s status. Contemporary feminists and historians alike should read Bennett’s book and think twice when they crack open their next brewsky.

This student’s review avoids the problems of the previous two examples. It combines balanced opinion and concrete example, a critical assessment based on an explicitly stated rationale, and a recommendation to a potential audience. The reader gets a sense of what the book’s author intended to demonstrate. Moreover, the student refers to an argument about feminist history in general that places the book in a specific genre and that reaches out to a general audience. The example of analyzing wages illustrates an argument, the analysis engages significant intellectual debates, and the reasons for the overall positive review are plainly visible. The review offers criteria, opinions, and support with which the reader can agree or disagree.

Developing an assessment: before you write

There is no definitive method to writing a review, although some critical thinking about the work at hand is necessary before you actually begin writing. Thus, writing a review is a two-step process: developing an argument about the work under consideration, and making that argument as you write an organized and well-supported draft. See our handout on argument .

What follows is a series of questions to focus your thinking as you dig into the work at hand. While the questions specifically consider book reviews, you can easily transpose them to an analysis of performances, exhibitions, and other review subjects. Don’t feel obligated to address each of the questions; some will be more relevant than others to the book in question.

  • What is the thesis—or main argument—of the book? If the author wanted you to get one idea from the book, what would it be? How does it compare or contrast to the world you know? What has the book accomplished?
  • What exactly is the subject or topic of the book? Does the author cover the subject adequately? Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion? What is the approach to the subject (topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive)?
  • How does the author support their argument? What evidence do they use to prove their point? Do you find that evidence convincing? Why or why not? Does any of the author’s information (or conclusions) conflict with other books you’ve read, courses you’ve taken or just previous assumptions you had of the subject?
  • How does the author structure their argument? What are the parts that make up the whole? Does the argument make sense? Does it persuade you? Why or why not?
  • How has this book helped you understand the subject? Would you recommend the book to your reader?

Beyond the internal workings of the book, you may also consider some information about the author and the circumstances of the text’s production:

  • Who is the author? Nationality, political persuasion, training, intellectual interests, personal history, and historical context may provide crucial details about how a work takes shape. Does it matter, for example, that the biographer was the subject’s best friend? What difference would it make if the author participated in the events they write about?
  • What is the book’s genre? Out of what field does it emerge? Does it conform to or depart from the conventions of its genre? These questions can provide a historical or literary standard on which to base your evaluations. If you are reviewing the first book ever written on the subject, it will be important for your readers to know. Keep in mind, though, that naming “firsts”—alongside naming “bests” and “onlys”—can be a risky business unless you’re absolutely certain.

Writing the review

Once you have made your observations and assessments of the work under review, carefully survey your notes and attempt to unify your impressions into a statement that will describe the purpose or thesis of your review. Check out our handout on thesis statements . Then, outline the arguments that support your thesis.

Your arguments should develop the thesis in a logical manner. That logic, unlike more standard academic writing, may initially emphasize the author’s argument while you develop your own in the course of the review. The relative emphasis depends on the nature of the review: if readers may be more interested in the work itself, you may want to make the work and the author more prominent; if you want the review to be about your perspective and opinions, then you may structure the review to privilege your observations over (but never separate from) those of the work under review. What follows is just one of many ways to organize a review.

Introduction

Since most reviews are brief, many writers begin with a catchy quip or anecdote that succinctly delivers their argument. But you can introduce your review differently depending on the argument and audience. The Writing Center’s handout on introductions can help you find an approach that works. In general, you should include:

  • The name of the author and the book title and the main theme.
  • Relevant details about who the author is and where they stand in the genre or field of inquiry. You could also link the title to the subject to show how the title explains the subject matter.
  • The context of the book and/or your review. Placing your review in a framework that makes sense to your audience alerts readers to your “take” on the book. Perhaps you want to situate a book about the Cuban revolution in the context of Cold War rivalries between the United States and the Soviet Union. Another reviewer might want to consider the book in the framework of Latin American social movements. Your choice of context informs your argument.
  • The thesis of the book. If you are reviewing fiction, this may be difficult since novels, plays, and short stories rarely have explicit arguments. But identifying the book’s particular novelty, angle, or originality allows you to show what specific contribution the piece is trying to make.
  • Your thesis about the book.

Summary of content

This should be brief, as analysis takes priority. In the course of making your assessment, you’ll hopefully be backing up your assertions with concrete evidence from the book, so some summary will be dispersed throughout other parts of the review.

The necessary amount of summary also depends on your audience. Graduate students, beware! If you are writing book reviews for colleagues—to prepare for comprehensive exams, for example—you may want to devote more attention to summarizing the book’s contents. If, on the other hand, your audience has already read the book—such as a class assignment on the same work—you may have more liberty to explore more subtle points and to emphasize your own argument. See our handout on summary for more tips.

Analysis and evaluation of the book

Your analysis and evaluation should be organized into paragraphs that deal with single aspects of your argument. This arrangement can be challenging when your purpose is to consider the book as a whole, but it can help you differentiate elements of your criticism and pair assertions with evidence more clearly. You do not necessarily need to work chronologically through the book as you discuss it. Given the argument you want to make, you can organize your paragraphs more usefully by themes, methods, or other elements of the book. If you find it useful to include comparisons to other books, keep them brief so that the book under review remains in the spotlight. Avoid excessive quotation and give a specific page reference in parentheses when you do quote. Remember that you can state many of the author’s points in your own words.

Sum up or restate your thesis or make the final judgment regarding the book. You should not introduce new evidence for your argument in the conclusion. You can, however, introduce new ideas that go beyond the book if they extend the logic of your own thesis. This paragraph needs to balance the book’s strengths and weaknesses in order to unify your evaluation. Did the body of your review have three negative paragraphs and one favorable one? What do they all add up to? The Writing Center’s handout on conclusions can help you make a final assessment.

Finally, a few general considerations:

  • Review the book in front of you, not the book you wish the author had written. You can and should point out shortcomings or failures, but don’t criticize the book for not being something it was never intended to be.
  • With any luck, the author of the book worked hard to find the right words to express her ideas. You should attempt to do the same. Precise language allows you to control the tone of your review.
  • Never hesitate to challenge an assumption, approach, or argument. Be sure, however, to cite specific examples to back up your assertions carefully.
  • Try to present a balanced argument about the value of the book for its audience. You’re entitled—and sometimes obligated—to voice strong agreement or disagreement. But keep in mind that a bad book takes as long to write as a good one, and every author deserves fair treatment. Harsh judgments are difficult to prove and can give readers the sense that you were unfair in your assessment.
  • A great place to learn about book reviews is to look at examples. The New York Times Sunday Book Review and The New York Review of Books can show you how professional writers review books.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Drewry, John. 1974. Writing Book Reviews. Boston: Greenwood Press.

Hoge, James. 1987. Literary Reviewing. Charlottesville: University Virginia of Press.

Sova, Dawn, and Harry Teitelbaum. 2002. How to Write Book Reports , 4th ed. Lawrenceville, NY: Thomson/Arco.

Walford, A.J. 1986. Reviews and Reviewing: A Guide. Phoenix: Oryx Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?

There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.

A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.

Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.

What are the parts of a lit review?

Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.

Introduction:

  • An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
  • A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
  • Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
  • Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
  • Connect it back to your primary research question

How should I organize my lit review?

Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:

  • Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
  • Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
  • Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.

What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?

Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .

As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.

Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:

  • It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
  • Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
  • Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
  • Read more about synthesis here.

The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.

Oxford House

  • How To Write A Review: Cambridge B2 First

How to Write a Review - Cambridge B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

  • Posted on 24/07/2019
  • Categories: Blog
  • Tags: B2 First , Cambridge Exams , FCE , First Certificate , Resources to learn English , Writing

Students who are taking their B2 First Certificate exam (FCE) will be asked to do two pieces of writing within an 80 minute time limit. Part 1 is always an essay . Part 2 is where you can get a bit more creative. You might, for example, be asked to write a letter, a report or a review, all of which have their own style and set guidelines.

When writing a review it can be difficult to know where to start. But don’t be afraid! We are here to help you every step of the way.

Remember a review could be for a book, a film, a magazine, a restaurant or even a product .

Three steps to writing a great review

Let’s start with something simple. Imagine. You turn over the page to your writing part 2 and you see this question:

How to write a review - Cambridge B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

Question taken from Cambridge Assessment English website . (Feb 2018)

Step One: Make a plan

The first thing to do is to make a plan, just like we did in our B2 First essay guidelines .

Think of a book you read in which the main character behaved in a surprising way. This could be surprising in a good way, where the character does something amazing and helps somebody. Or maybe there’s a twist at the end and the character does something really shocking. Either way take some time to really think about your choice.

E.g. I’m going to choose The Great Gatsby, because I had to read the book 3 times when I was at school and I’ve seen the film so I feel like I know it really well .

The structure

Next, think of the structure. Consider all the parts of the question and use that to help organise your review. Make notes about the following:

  • An interesting title
  • A catchy introduction
  • A summary of the plot
  • A surprising moment
  • Your recommendation

Remember you’re going to want to separate these with clear paragraphs that are going to help the examiner read to the end without getting a headache.

You also need to consider the tone and how the review should sound to the reader. Remember this is for a magazine. Think about all the magazines you like to read. You want to sound chatty and grab the reader’s attention, but not bore them to sleep. Think semi-formal but friendly!

Useful Vocabulary

Now brainstorm some useful vocabulary for your chosen book, including lots of adjectives. Avoid using boring adjectives like good or bad . It’s much more exciting to say ‘amazing’ and ‘disappointing’ or ‘ terrific ’ and ‘terrible’ .

Here’s some more useful vocabulary to get you started:

superficial / deceptive / fascinating / unbelievable / rich / lonely / kind / reserved/ to be set in / to be written by / prosperity / characters / jazz age / protagonist / atmosphere / author / chapter / ending / fictional towns / prohibition / novel / on the outskirts / sad story.

Your next step is to think of some linking phrases. These are going to help tie together your thoughts and bring your review to life!

  • Overall if you like…
  • I was pleasantly surprised by…
  • In fact…
  • What I disliked the most was…
  • The book contains…
  • As well as…
  • This well-written book…
  • Unbelievably…

Step Two: Write it

Once you have a solid plan, writing your review should be easy!

First start with an interesting title. E.g. The Unexpected Anti-Hero. It relates to both the book that’s being reviewed and the question. It’s also short and snappy .

Next write an engaging introduction. Maybe start with a rhetorical question, for example:

Are you a fan of the Jazz Age? Then this is the book for you!

Or a general statement about the book that will hook the reader:

The Great Gatsby is a classic, with many twists and turns.

You could also give some background information. Here we use the past simple:

The Great Gatsby was written by F.S.Fitzgerald and is set in prosperous Long Island in 1922.

The second paragraph should summarise the plot (note – we usually describe a story in present tense ):

Gatsby is a mysterious character, he has big extravagant parties, and we never know if we can trust him.

The third paragraph is where we introduce the surprising moment and reveal what the main character did and why it was surprising:

  • The most shocking part is when…
  • I couldn’t believe it when…
  • It was so surprising when…

In the fourth paragraph, give a recommendation! Here the examiner wants to hear your overall opinion. It can be something simple:

  • I strongly recommend..

Or something more inventive:

  • I wouldn’t read the novel again because…
  • Everyone should read this immediately!

But don’t forget to say why!

Step Three: Check it

Now you have your winning book review it’s time to check for all those little (and big) mistakes.

Make sure you check:

  • You’ve answered all parts of the question.
  • It is easy to read.
  • Your spelling is correct.
  • You’ve used the 3rd person(s).
  • You have used punctuation.
  • There’s a variety of nouns and adjectives.
  • Pick a book you know quite well! Whether it’s Harry Potter or The Hunger Games , make sure you have lots to say about it!
  • Don’t be afraid to give both negative and positive opinions!
  • Experiment with using first person and try addressing the reader with ‘you’.
  • Read lots of real authentic reviews online, anything from holidays to music concerts, exhibitions to video games!
  • Remember to put some of your own personality into your review. Have some fun with it and good luck!

Follow the links for some excellent phrases and vocabulary for other types of reviews.

Restaurant Reviews

Film Reviews

TV / Theatre Reviews

Exhibition & Concert Reviews

Here are some more sample questions for you to practice on your own:

How to write a review - Example I - Cambridge B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

Choose one and post your reviews in the comments section.

Glossary for Language Learners

Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Twist (n): : a sudden change in a story that you do not expect..

Chatty (adj): having a friendly style.

Avoid doing something (v): to intentionally not do something.

Terrific (adj): excellent.

Snappy (adj): concise.

Hook (v): to catch.

adj = adjective

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8 Hidden Benefits of Being Bilingual

  • By: oxfordadmin
  • Posted on 17/07/2019

4 Past Tenses and When to Use Them

  • Posted on 31/07/2019

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How To Write A Review In English?

Writing

Writing a review can be a great way to share your experiences and opinions with others, whether you’re reviewing a product, service, restaurant, movie, or book. Reviews can also be a valuable resource for people trying to make purchasing or entertainment decisions. However, it can be challenging, especially if English is not your first language. This article will tell you how to write a review and provide helpful tips, including valuable vocabulary and phrases for positive and negative reviews.

Types of Reviews: 4 Main Categories to Write About

In the modern world of the Internet, we can hardly do anything without reading other people’s opinions. So we visit websites like the well-known  TrustPilot to find companies and products we can trust. And you don’t have to be a critic to write a good review. It is enough to share your honest opinion about what you want to discuss. But before doing it, let’s see the main types of reviews you can write. 

  • Product reviews. It includes every physical item you can buy, use, and review afterward – for example, clothes, make-up products, electronics, household appliances, etc. 
  • Service reviews. This category includes different services – hotels, restaurants, airlines, beauty salons, cars and  apartment rentals , etc. 
  • Entertainment reviews. You can share your thoughts about concerts, festivals, galleries, museums, movies, games, etc. 
  • App and program reviews. As you can guess from its name, you can review online applications, video games, software, etc. 

We can continue this list indefinitely, but you have already got the point. You can share your thoughts about anything. But today, we want to tell you how to write a great review. And we will start with some general tips that can help you be honest and respectful when sharing your opinion about things you like or dislike. So keep reading to find out more.

Practical Tips for Writing a Good Review

Even if you don’t like the product you will review, you still need to be respectful and polite. To achieve this, we’ve prepared a list of useful tips that will help you master any review, regardless of your  proficiency level  or attitude toward the things you discuss. Here are some of them.

  • Be honest. Your review should be a fair reflection of your experience, whether it was positive or negative. Avoid exaggerating or downplaying it, and try to provide an objective assessment of the product or service.
  • Use specific examples and details to support your opinion. It will make your review more informative and credible.
  • Avoid being too vague or too specific. Be descriptive enough to give readers an idea of what to expect, but avoid going into unnecessary detail.
  • Write for your audience. Consider your audience and what they might be looking for in a review. For example, if you’re leaving a comment on a restaurant, your audience might be interested in the food, atmosphere, and service.
  • Edit and proofread your review. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure your text is easy to read.

Now that you know how to write great reviews and remain polite and respectful, it is time to discuss some grammar. And the first thing we will explore is the general structure of any review. It will simplify your life and help you easily share your thoughts about anything.

The General Structure for Writing a Review

So, you’ve decided to write a review, but you have no idea where to start and how to end it. If it’s familiar to you, keep reading. Below, you will find an indicative structure suitable for different types of reviews. 

  • Start with an introduction that gives an overview of what you’re talking about and sets the stage for your review. You can provide some background information and context if necessary.
  • Describe the product, service, or experience that you’re reviewing. This is where you can submit more detailed information about the features, benefits, and drawbacks.
  • Share your opinion about the product or service. Here you can honestly assess what you liked and disliked and why.
  • Wrap up your review with a conclusion, summarizing your main points and providing a final recommendation. You can also suggest who might benefit from the product or service, or who might want to avoid it.

These are some general tips on how to give a review. And now, it is time to be more specific. We’ve already mentioned that reviews can be positive or negative. But what is the difference between them? Let’s find out together.

All You Need to Know About Positive and Negative Reviews

Positive reviews are generally written when you got some good experience with the product or service you are discussing. The tone of such a review is primarily upbeat and enthusiastic, and the purpose of it is to share the positive aspects of the product or service with others. 

On the other hand, we write negative reviews to discuss a bad experience with something. These reviews sound more critical and sometimes frustrating or angry. They are usually made to warn others about the adverse aspects of the product or service. Negative thoughts often highlight the product or service’s flaws, poor quality, or lack of value for money.

When writing a review, it’s essential to remember that both positive and negative reviews can be helpful to others, as long as they are honest and informative. So, whether you like or dislike the product, focus on providing specific examples and details to support your opinion, and be respectful and fair in your assessment.

How To Write Good Reviews: Useful Phrases

To make this article even more valuable, we’ve provided you with some common phrases you can use for writing reviews. Here are the expressions and sentences suitable for introductions, descriptions, and sharing a personal opinion. 

  • I recently tried out… 

This phrase is an excellent way to start a review, whether it is positive or negative. As we said, it is always better to start with the introduction, and this sentence will immediately show your readers what product you’re talking about. For example: 

I recently tried out the new Maybelline mascara and was surprised by its quality. 

I recently tried this overhyped application, which wasn’t as good as I expected. 

  • I had high hopes for this product, and I was/wasn’t disappointed. 

This phrase is another excellent choice if you still don’t know how to write review introductions. You can use it for both good and bad experiences. For example:

I had high hopes for this serum, and I wasn’t disappointed. My skin has never been clearer. 

I had high hopes for the new season of Game of Thrones, and honestly, I was slightly disappointed. 

  • The quality of the product/service is exceptional. 

Now it is time to move to the next stage of our review – description. This phrase suits positive experiences when complimenting a product or service. For example:

I visited the Boho restaurant yesterday, and I was impressed. The quality of the service and food is exceptional. 

We stayed at this hotel years ago, but I still remember that the quality of service was exceptional.

  • I was impressed by the attention to detail. 

This phrase is also suitable for the description part of the structure. And, as you can guess, it is ideal for positive reviews on physical products, apps, or entertainment. For example:

I’ve recently visited a new gallery in New York and was impressed by the attention to detail. 

I’ve installed this app recently and was impressed by the attention to detail.

  • In my opinion, this product/service is… 

How do I write a review based on my personal experience? Start with this phrase! It will show the readers that you only share your thoughts and don’t try to impose your opinion on someone. For example:

In my opinion, this restaurant is terrible. I was shocked by the rude service and tasteless food.

In my opinion, this app is perfect for those who are trying to learn English. 

Best Ways to Respond to the Review

Now you know how to write reviews about anything. But what if you are the person who receives these opinions? Of course, we can’t forget about business owners or product creators. Here is a list of useful phrases you can use to respond to both positive and negative reviews. 

  • Thank you for taking the time to leave a review.
  • We appreciate your feedback.
  • Thank you for choosing our business.
  • We’re sorry you had a negative experience with our service. We want to learn more about what happened so that we can improve.
  • We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed our product. We take pride in providing high-quality products to our customers.
  • We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused during your visit. We strive to provide a positive experience for all of our customers.
  • We’d like to make things right. Please contact us directly to discuss how we can make this up to you.
  • We’re currently working on improving the issue you’ve mentioned. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
  • We’d like to offer you a discount or free service to make up for any inconvenience caused.
  • We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again in the future.
  • Thank you again for your feedback. It helps us improve our business.
  • We appreciate your patronage and look forward to seeing you again soon.

These simple sentences show that you care about your business, whether you provide  travel services or create mobile software. People always like companies that listen to different opinions and try their best to meet customers’ needs. 

Learn the Best Review Writing Tips with Promova

One of the most important things about writing reviews in English is to make them grammatically correct and easy to read. In addition, you must have strong writing skills in order to effectively express your ideas and avoid misunderstandings. So how do you write a review if you are not yet fluent in English? In this case, you might need some professional help.

If you still struggle to find the best language learning platform to practice your English level, we are happy to help you. With Promova, you can find many solutions depending on your studying goals, fluency level, and other factors. Let’s see some of the most valuable things on the Promova website.

  • Personal and group lessons. Our team of professional tutors is happy to help you master English and enjoy your studying process at the same time. All you need to do is pass a fluency test to determine your English level and start learning immediately. 
  • Promova app . If you want to study alone, you can install a modern application available for iOS and Android devices. It is the best solution for learning on the go and practicing anywhere and anytime you want. 
  • Conversation Club. Promova offers a free Conversation Club for those who aim to practice speaking. Here, you can discuss interesting topics and master your communication skills with exciting people worldwide. 
  • Promova blog . And, of course, don’t forget to check our blog! It is where you can find dozens of articles on various topics that will be helpful in your studying journey. 

As you can see, there are many things to choose from. Hence, don’t waste any more minutes! Instead, go to the official Promova website now, and find the best language-learning solutions. 

All in all, writing reviews is a great way to share your thoughts and learn about other people’s experiences. We hope this article helped you find out how to do a review, the main types of them, and the most common phrases you can use in further discussions. And to help you with some practice, we want to ask you to do one thing. Please write a short review of your favorite restaurant or any other place you’ve visited recently. We will be happy to read it (and, who knows, maybe even see the area after it).

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when writing a review?

You need to avoid some common mistakes to make your review reliable and quality. It includes using complex language and professional jargon that can be hard to understand for most readers, sharing irrelevant or misleading information, using inappropriate language, and being too subjective. Another common pitfall is being too general and not providing any details.

How to make a review look more trustworthy?

The best thing you can do is to be honest when sharing your experience. Don’t under- or overestimate the product or service you are discussing and add some proof to support your opinion. Also, ensure your review is straightforward and contains no grammar errors. It will help you sound more professional.

Should I be a professional critic to review a product or service?

No, you don’t! You can write a review about anything as long as you are honest and objective. The only thing to remember is to share your experience and don’t discuss things that you haven’t tried or used before. But, of course, you need to warn your audience that your review is only your personal opinion and you are not positioning yourself as a professional critic.

Can my review contain jokes and personal thoughts?

Yes, it can, but only when relevant to the context. In some cases, including some short jokes can be great, especially in the introduction – it helps to set up the tone of your review. But don’t overuse it because it can lead others not to take your review seriously.

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How to Write a Movie Review

Last Updated: January 18, 2024 Fact Checked

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 178 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 5,519,727 times. Learn more...

Whether a movie is a rotten tomato or a brilliant work of art, if people are watching it, it's worth critiquing. A decent movie review should entertain, persuade and inform, providing an original opinion without giving away too much of the plot. A great movie review can be a work of art in its own right. Read on to learn how to analyze a movie like a professional film critic, come up with an interesting thesis, and write a review as entertaining as your source material.

Sample Movie Reviews

writing a review form 1

Writing an Intro for a Movie Review

Step 1 Start with a compelling fact, quote, or opinion on the movie.

  • Comparison to Relevant Event or Movie: "Every day, our leaders, politicians, and pundits call for "revenge"– against terrorist groups, against international rivals, against other political parties. But few of them understand the cold, destructive, and ultimately hollow thrill of revenge as well as the characters of Blue Ruin. "
  • Review in a nutshell: "Despite a compelling lead performance by Tom Hanks and a great soundtrack, Forrest Gump never gets out of the shadow of its weak plot and questionable premise."
  • Context or Background Information: " Boyhood might be the first movie made where knowing how it was produced–slowly, over 12 years, with the same actors–is just as crucial as the movie itself."

Step 2 Give a clear, well-established opinion early on.

  • Using stars, a score out of 10 or 100, or the simple thumbs-up and thumbs-down is a quick way to give your thoughts. You then write about why you chose that rating.
  • Great Movie: ABC is the rare movie that succeeds on almost every level, where each character, scene, costume, and joke firing on all cylinders to make a film worth repeated viewings."
  • Bad Movie: "It doesn't matter how much you enjoy kung-fu and karate films: with 47 Ronin, you're better off saving your money, your popcorn, and time."
  • Okay Movie: "I loved the wildly uneven Interstellar far more than I should have, but that doesn't mean it is perfect. Ultimately, the utter awe and spectacle of space swept me through the admittedly heavy-handed plotting and dialogue."

Step 3 Support your opinions with evidence from specific scenes.

  • Great: "Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer's chemistry would carry Fruitvale Station even if the script wasn't as good. The mid-movie prison scene in particular, where the camera never leaves their faces, shows how much they can convey with nothing but their eyelids, the flashing tension of neck muscles, and a barely cracking voice."
  • Bad: " Jurassic World's biggest flaw, a complete lack of relatable female characters, is only further underscored by a laughably unrealistic shot of our heroine running away from a dinosaur – in heels."
  • Okay: "At the end of the day, Snowpiercer can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be. The attention to detail in fight scenes, where every weapon, lightbulb, and slick patch of ground is accounted for, doesn't translate to an ending that seems powerful but ultimately says little of substance."

Step 4 Create an original...

  • Does the film reflect on a current event or contemporary issue? It could be the director's way of engaging in a bigger conversation. Look for ways to relate the content of the film to the "real" world.
  • Does the film seem to have a message, or does it attempt to elicit a specific response or emotion from the audience? You could discuss whether or not it achieves its own goals.
  • Does the film connect with you on a personal level? You could write a review stemming from your own feelings and weave in some personal stories to make it interesting for your readers.

Composing Your Review

Step 1 Follow your thesis paragraph with a short plot summary.

  • When you name characters in your plot summary, list the actors' names directly afterward in parenthesis.
  • Find a place to mention the director's name and the full movie title.
  • If you feel you must discuss information that might "spoil" things for readers, warn them first.

Step 2 Start to talk about the film’s technical and artistic choices.

  • Cinematography: " Her is a world drenched in color, using bright, soft reds and oranges alongside calming whites and grays that both build, and slowly strip away, the feelings of love between the protagonists. Every frame feels like a painting worth sitting in."
  • Tone: "Despite the insane loneliness and high stakes of being stuck alone on Mars, The Martian's witty script keeps humor and excitement alive in every scene. Space may be dangerous and scary, but the joy of scientific discovery is intoxicating."
  • Music and Sound: " No Country For Old Men's bold decision to skip music entirely pays off in spades. The eerie silence of the desert, punctuated by the brief spells of violent, up-close-and-personal sound effects of hunter and hunted, keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat."
  • Acting: "While he's fantastic whenever he's on the move, using his cool stoicism to counteract the rampaging bus, Keanu Reeves can't quite match his costar in the quiet moments of Speed, which falter under his expressionless gaze."

Step 3 Move into your...

  • Keep your writing clear and easy to understand. Don't use too much technical filmmaking jargon, and make your language crisp and accessible.
  • Present both the facts and your opinion. For example, you might state something such as, "The Baroque background music was a jarring contrast to the 20th century setting." This is a lot more informative then simply saying, "The music was a strange choice for the movie."

Step 4 Use plenty of examples to back up your points.

  • Great: "In the end, even the characters of Blue Ruin know how pointless their feud is. But revenge, much like every taut minute of this thriller, is far too addictive to give up until the bitter end.""
  • Bad: "Much like the oft-mentioned "box of chocolates", Forest Gump has a couple of good little morsels. But most of the scenes, too sweet by half, should have been in the trash long before this movie was put out."
  • Okay: "Without the novel, even revolutionary concept, Boyhood may not be a great movie. It might not even be "good.” But the power the film finds in the beauty of passing time and little, inconsequential moments – moments that could only be captured over 12 years of shooting – make Linklater's latest an essential film for anyone interested in the art of film."

Polishing Your Piece

Step 1 Edit your review.

  • Ask yourself whether your review stayed true to your thesis. Did your conclusion tie back in with the initial ideas you proposed?
  • Decide whether your review contains enough details about the movie. You may need to go back and add more description here and there to give readers a better sense of what the movie's about.
  • Decide whether your review is interesting enough as a stand-alone piece of writing. Did you contribute something original to this discussion? What will readers gain from reading your review that they couldn't from simply watching the movie?

Step 2 Proofread your review.

Studying Your Source Material

Step 1 Gather basic facts about the movie.

  • The title of the film, and the year it came out.
  • The director's name.
  • The names of the lead actors.

Step 2 Take notes on the movie as you watch it.

  • Make a note every time something sticks out to you, whether it's good or bad. This could be costuming, makeup, set design, music, etc. Think about how this detail relates to the rest of the movie and what it means in the context of your review.
  • Take note of patterns you begin to notice as the movie unfolds.
  • Use the pause button frequently so you make sure not to miss anything, and rewind as necessary.

Step 3 Analyze the mechanics of the movie.

  • Direction: Consider the director and how he or she choose to portray/explain the events in the story. If the movie was slow, or didn't include things you thought were necessary, you can attribute this to the director. If you've seen other movies directed by the same person, compare them and determine which you like the most.
  • Cinematography: What techniques were used to film the movie? What setting and background elements helped to create a certain tone?
  • Writing: Evaluate the script, including dialogue and characterization. Did you feel like the plot was inventive and unpredictable or boring and weak? Did the characters' words seem credible to you?
  • Editing: Was the movie choppy or did it flow smoothly from scene to scene? Did they incorporate a montage to help build the story? And was this obstructive to the narrative or did it help it? Did they use long cuts to help accentuate an actor's acting ability or many reaction shots to show a group's reaction to an event or dialogue? If visual effects were used were the plates well-chosen and were the composited effects part of a seamless experience? (Whether the effects looked realistic or not is not the jurisdiction of an editor, however, they do choose the footage to be sent off to the compositors, so this could still affect the film.)
  • Costume design: Did the clothing choices fit the style of the movie? Did they contribute to the overall tone, rather than digressing from it?
  • Set design: Consider how the setting of the film influenced its other elements. Did it add or subtract from the experience for you? If the movie was filmed in a real place, was this location well-chosen?
  • Score or soundtrack: Did it work with the scenes? Was it over/under-used? Was it suspenseful? Amusing? Irritating? A soundtrack can make or break a movie, especially if the songs have a particular message or meaning to them.

Step 4 Watch it one more time.

Community Q&A

wikiHow Staff Editor

  • If you don't like the movie, don't be abusive and mean. If possible, avoid watching the movies that you would surely hate. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Understand that just because the movie isn't to your taste, that doesn't mean you should give it a bad review. A good reviewer helps people find movie's they will like. Since you don't have the same taste in movies as everyone else, you need to be able to tell people if they will enjoy the movie, even if you didn't. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Structure is very important; try categorizing the different parts of the film and commenting on each of those individually. Deciding how good each thing is will help you come to a more accurate conclusion. For example, things like acting, special effects, cinematography, think about how good each of those are. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

writing a review form 1

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Write an Article Review

  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_film/terminology_and_starting_prompts.html
  • ↑ https://www.spiritofbaraka.com/how-write-a-movie-review
  • ↑ https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/9-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/
  • ↑ https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/writing-help/top-tips-for-writing-a-review
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/summary-using-it-wisely/
  • ↑ https://twp.duke.edu/sites/twp.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/film-review-1.original.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.dailywritingtips.com/7-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_film/film_writing_sample_analysis.html
  • ↑ https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/onnyx.bei/dual-credit/movie-review-writing-guide
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conclusions/
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-a-movie-review/
  • ↑ https://gustavus.edu/writingcenter/handoutdocs/editing_proofreading.php
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://edusson.com/blog/how-to-write-movie-review

About This Article

To write a movie review, start with a compelling fact or opinion to hook your readers, like "Despite a great performance by Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump never overcomes its weak plot." Then, elaborate on your opinion of the movie right off the bat so readers know where you stand. Once your opinion is clear, provide examples from the movie that prove your point, like specific scenes, dialogue, songs, or camera shots. To learn how to study a film closely before you write a review, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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writing a review form 1

How to write a review? | C1 Advanced (CAE)

writing a review form 1

The main purpose is to describe and express a personal opinion about something which the essay writer has experienced (e.g. a film, a holiday, a product, a website, etc.) and to give the reader a clear impression of what the item discussed is like.

Check our Writing Guide below – to see how to write a CAE review in detail.

C1 Advanced (CAE) Review: Structure

Fce, cae, cpe, practice, write & improve, c1 advanced (cae) review: writing guide.

We will use the example CAE review topic below:

You see the following announcement on a website, Great Lives:

Reviews wanted Send us a review of a book or film that focuses on somebody who has made an important contribution to society.

Did you learn anything new about the person’s life from the book or film? Did the book or film help you understand why this person made their important contribution?

Write your  review (around 220 – 260  words)

Step 1: Briefly analyse your task…

The first thing is to find underline a description part , where we have to describe something like a film, book, restaurant or anything else. Next , find a discussion part where need to give opinion and or make a recommendation or suggestion.

On top of that, find the  target reader who is always specified so you know exactly who you are writing for and who is going to read your review.

Reviews Wanted Send us a review of a book or film that focuses on somebody who has made an important contribution to society. (to describe)

Did you learn anything new about the person’s life from the book or film? Did the book or film help you understand why this person made their important contribution? (to answer/discuss)

Thanks to this, we have all the elements we need to write a great review below:

You need to describe: B o ok or film that focuses on somebody who has made an important contribution to society

You need to answer/discuss:

  • Why this person made an important contribution?
  • Did you learn anything new about the person’s life?

Who is the target reader: website, Great Lives 

We know now that the target readers are the users of the website, so the writing style can be quite direct and informal (idioms, phrasal verbs).

Now we can start building our structure and writing a review.

Practice Tests Online

Step 2: title.

The review should start with the title, and there are several ways to write it:

  • imagine you’re reviewing a book you can write  [Title] by [Author]
  • if you were reviewing a hotel you could write the [name of the hotel] – a review
  • or you can just write something catchy but it has to point to what you are going to review

Title (book): Green Lantern by Stephen King (by) Title (hotel): Ibiza Hotel in Barcelona – a review (a review) Title (restaurant): Taco Bell: U n forgettable experience (catchy)

we will use this title in our guide : TITLE : Mandela: Striving for Freedom — a review

Step 3: Introduction

writing a review form 1

The other function of your introduction is to engage the reader . There are certain tools we can use to achieve that for example, we can ask a rhetorical question.

It is a question that doesn’t really need an answer it is there as a stylistic feature that engages the reader and makes them interested in the topic

Make your introduction at least 2-3 sentences long.

INTRODUCTION: Have you ever been so passionate about something that you would sacrifice your very best years for it? In the film Mandela: Striving for Freedom we get not only a glimpse of Nelson Mandela’s life, but rather dive deep into who he was and how he changed a whole country . This autobiographical film, based on the book, and released in 2013, tells the amazing story of an even more extraordinary man.

                  – rhetorical question

                  – identification of reviewed item

  TIP : Don’t waste your time looking for a real book or a real movie to match your review. Make it up or change the facts to suit the review, it doesn’t have to be real.

Step 4: The body paragraphs (main content) 

writing a review form 1

Unlike essays, your paragraphs don’t have to be of the same length (however, should be longer than the introduction or conclusion).

Use idioms , phrasal verbs and colloquial language  –  informal language is appropriate for your target reader – users of the website, Great Lives

See the example below, in which we dedicate one paragraph to one   point…

[Why this person made an important contribution?]

While the whole film captivated me throughout, there was one aspect that truly stood out to me. Nelson Mandela and his second wife Winnie had a one-of-a-kind relationship driving each other to continue and grow the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa even after Mr Mandela was captured and imprisoned. It is a testament to their dedication and partnership and something ‘that a lot of us can learn from.

[Did you learn anything new about the person’s life?]

Despite having a strong and driven partner in his wife, I still used to be astonished by the fact that someone would simply sacrifice themselves and give up a big part of their life to help others, but this biopic made me reconsider. Witnessing segregated society and all the racial abuse the black community had to endure during apartheid, there was no other option for Nelson Mandela than to stand up and fight for equality.

                      – topic-specific vocabulary

                   – engaging/interesting vocabulary

                    – relevant details

Step 5: Conclusion / Recommendations

It will contain your general impression and your verdict/recommendation .

Use this paragraph to make an objective assessment of the reviewed material. You may then recommend or dissuade your readers from seeing/attending it.

CONCLUSION: All in all, Mandela: Striving for Freedom gives some incredible insight into the life of one of the world’s most famous and influential personalities of the 20th century. It would be a shame not to watch it so I highly recommend that you check your favourite streaming service as soon as you can and I promise you won’t regret it.                 – recap, what you like about the film

                 – recommendation

See full review…

Full review.

Mandela: Striving for Freedom — a review

Have you ever been so passionate about something that you would sacrifice your very best years for it? In the film Mandela: Striving for Freedom we get not only a glimpse of Nelson Mandela’s life, but rather dive deep into who he was and how he changed a whole country. This autobiographical film, based on the book, and released in 2013, tells the amazing story of an even more extraordinary man.

All in all, Mandela: Striving for Freedom gives some incredible insight into the life of one of the world’s most famous and influential personalities of the 20th century. It would be a shame not to watch it so I highly recommend that you check your favourite streaming service as soon as you can and I promise you won’t regret it.

engxam logo english exams

Check your (CAE) Review

C1 advanced (cae) review: example reviews, cae review sample 1.

You have seen this announcement on your favourite music website.

Have you ever been to an amazing concert venue?

Write a review of the best music venue in your local area and tell us about what makes it so special. Say who you would recommend it for a why?

The best entries will be published on our website.

Model answer:

The Apollo: The Theatre of Dreams

Never before have you seen such an amazing spectacle as you will see in the Apollo. It´s not only the facilities and personnel that make this venue so great, but also the amazing acoustics of such a large venue.

From the moment you enter the place there is an awe about it. All of the greatest acts of recent times have played here and you can feel the buzz as soon as you enter. The crowd are so close to the stage that they can literally feel the droplets of sweat coming off of the brows of their favourite artists, this creates an amazing connection between the musicians and the audience and I can tell you, the fans go wild!

I´d definitely recommend this venue to anyone, it has a great feel to it and the prices are at the lower end of what you would expect to pay in such a place. They also don’t go over the top on drinks prices, and through it sounds weird, it´s not all that difficult to get to the bathroom which is a plus. So, without a doubt, the next time your favourite group is playing, come on down to the Apollo, oh, and did I mention it is in London? It couldn´t get any better.

Get Your (CAE) Review Checked!

Cae review sample 2.

You see this announcement in an international magazine.

The most UPLIFTING and the biggest DOWNER . It’s sometimes hard to choose a film that fits your mood purely on the basis of the poster or the description on the cover of the DVD. That’s why we want to publish reviews of the most uplifting and the most depressing films our readers have seen, so that others know what to watch and what to avoid. Send in a review which describes the most uplifting film you’ve ever seen and the one you found the biggest downer. Make sure you give reasons for your choices.

Write your  review  in  220-260 words  in an appropriate style.

A tale of two films

If I were to present two of the most contrasting films about overcoming adversity it would be The Blind Side (2009)  and Doctor Zhivago (1965). Whereas the former left me with a huge grin on my face, sadly, the latter left me feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Doctor Zhivago , directed by five-time Oscar winner David Lean, is set in the Bolshevik revolution and follows the title character, who must adapt to the new order while pining for Lara, the beautiful wife of a political campaigner. The director succeeded in creating a film that is thoroughly engaging but full of gritty realism, cruelty and tragic irony. Take the tissues!

The Blind Side , which is based on a true story, is also a bit of a tearjerker, in a completely different way. Starring Sandra Bullock, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a rich white mother in Tennessee who takes a homeless black teenager under her roof. Understandably, the gentle giant thinks he isn’t good at anything but his new mother sees his potential to become a football star and part of the family. The plot is based on a true story, making it all the more touching.

I would strongly recommend  The Blind Side . It will appeal to a range of people and is a great choice for a movie night. Although  Doctor Zhivago  is a classic, I think it has more of a niche audience and is best saved for when you want a dose of gloom!

C1 Advanced (CAE) Review: Example topics

Cae example topic 1.

You see the the following announcement on a website, Great Lives:

REVIEWS WANTED Send us a review of a book or a film focusses on somebody who has made an important contribution to society.

Write your review in 220-260 words

CAE Example topic 2

You see this announcement in an international magazine called Cinefilia.

THE MOST UPLIFTING AND THE BIGGEST DOWNER. It’s sometimes hard to choose a film that fits your mood purely on the basis of the poster or the description on the cover of the DVD. That’s why we want to publish reviews of the most uplifting and the most depressing films our readers have seen, so that others know what to watch and what to avoid. Send in a review which describes the most uplifting film you’ve ever seen and the one you found the biggest downer. Make sure you give reasons for your choices.

Write your review in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

CAE Example topic 3

You see the following announcement in a magazine:

SEND US YOUR REVIEW

Have you read a book or seen a film that has a central character whose life is affected by an event or decision they make early in the story What did you learn about the person’s character? Did the book or flim help you to understand how the person was affected by this event or decision? Send us your review for our next issue

Write your review for the magazine readers. (220-260 words)

C1 Advanced (CAE) Review: Tips

writing a review form 1

  • Think about what you are trying to achieve and the structure of your review.
  • You should also start a new paragraph for every item/aspect you are addressing in your review. 
  • Include a final recommendation or evaluation
  • Don’t forget!  The target reader is specified in the question, so the candidate knows not only what register  is appropriate, but also has an idea about the kind of information to include. 

C1 Advanced (CAE) Review: Writing Checklist

writing a review form 1

After writing your text, you can check it yourself using the writing checklist below.

How to do that? Simply check your text/email by answering the questions one by one:

  • Have I covered all the key information required by the task?
  • Have I written only information which is relevant to the task?
  • Have I developed the basic points in the task with my own ideas?

Communicative Achievement

  • Have I achieved the main purpose(s) of the text (for example, explaining, persuading, suggesting, apologising, comparing, etc.)?
  • Have I used a suitable mix of fact and opinion?
  • Have I used a suitable style and register (formal or informal) for the task?

Organisation

  • Have I used paragraphs appropriately to organise my ideas?
  • Have I used other organisational features appropriately for the genre of the text (for example, titles, headings, openings, closings, etc.)?
  • Is the connection between my ideas clear and easy for the reader to follow? (For example, have I used appropriate linking words, pronouns, etc. to refer to different things within the text?)
  • Are the ideas balanced appropriately, with suitable attention and space given to each one?
  • Have I used a wide range of vocabulary?
  • Have I avoided repeating the same words and phrases?
  • Have I used a range of simple and more complex grammatical structures?
  • Have I correctly used any common phrases which are relevant to the specific task or topic?
  • Is my use of grammar accurate?
  • Is my spelling accurate?

C1 Advanced (CAE) Review: Grading

Would you pass c1 advanced (cae), c1 advanced (cae) review: useful phrases.

We will finish it with some useful vocabulary mostly used to organize information. Although it is taking a shortcut, if you learn several expressions for each paragraph in each type of text that could be on your exam, you will certainly be able to create a very consistent and well-organized text.

What I liked

What I liked most was ….. The thing I liked most was …. I was pleasantly surprised by …..  ….. would appeal to …..  If you get a chance to ….

What I disliked

What I disliked most was ….. I was disappointed by …… I was disappointed with ….. I was very disappointed by …..  I was very disappointed with ….

Reviews of books:

main character is set in comedy science fiction thriller romance comedy: author written by chapter factual fiction unbelievable bestseller chapter ending

Reviews of films, tv programmes, plays:

lead role star role star star actor star actress starring secondary role He plays a ……. She plays a ……. written by …. is set in ….. based on a true story …. believable true to life not very believable far-fetched comedy romance science fiction ending

Reviews of hotels, restaurants, etc:

location service setting attractive setting disappointing setting owned by run by head chef (restaurant) waiters (restaurant) staff ……. staff at reception …….(hotel hotel facilities …. reasonable prices ….. good value for money ….. excellent value for money ….. expensive a bit expensive overpriced not worth the money poor value for money always fully booked book in advance

The script seemed rather conventional/predictable to me. The plot struck me as completely bizarre/absurd/incomprehensible The characters are appealing and true to life The dancers were quite brilliant/amateurish

Recommendations

I would strongly encourage you not to miss/not to waste your money on… I would definitely recommend seeing/visiting/reading/having a look at …

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Blog Human Resources

21 Engaging Performance Review Examples [+ Tips From an HR Manager]

By Victoria Clarke , Oct 12, 2023

performance-review-examples-blog-header

Performance review season can be a daunting period for both management and employees.

One-sided conversations, mixed messages and wordy documents leave both parties feeling like they have the same, stressful conversation each time.

But if you take the right approach, quarterly or annual performance reviews are an awesome opportunity to reinforce solid habits, redirect poor traits and drive professional growth for your employees. My trick? Venngage’s free Online Performance Review Generator .

In this post, I’ll give you tips from my own experience as an HR manager to make the performance review process a lot more painless, plus human resource templates you can customize now.

Performance review examples and advice:

What is a performance review, how to write a performance review, performance review examples and templates, performance review examples for managers, performance review examples for employees, self performance review examples.

  • Quarterly performance review examples
  • Annual performance review examples

Simple performance review examples

  • Useful performance review phrases
  • What’s the purpose of a performance review?

A performance review is a regulated assessment in which managers evaluate an employee’s work performance to identify their strengths and weaknesses, offer feedback and assist with goal setting.

The frequency and depth of the review process may vary by company, based on company size and goals of the evaluations. It could be annually:

writing a review form 1

Or quarterly, to name a few:

writing a review form 1

Watch this quick, 14-minute video for performance review tips, templates and best practices:

This quarterly performance review example has sections for both achievements and areas of improvement. It also has a section for core values, as this must be a key performance indicator at this company. Different companies will have different measuring sticks for success.

writing a review form 1

Q: Can I customize the performance review templates in this post?

A: Yes, you can! All the templates are easy to edit. Some templates are free, some are paid.

Click any template and you’ll be asked to sign up for free. You’ll enter our online editor. Edit the text, apply your brand colors, add pages, upload your logo and more. Share a link for free.

Upgrade to our Plan for Professionals to download in PDF or PowerPoint format and access premium features and templates, such as real-time team collaboration and one-click branding.

Having an employee-friendly performance review process can not only make or break the development of your employees but also disrupt the relationship between managers and their reports.  

Beyond creating a robust performance review strategy and performance review form, managers must also consider their delivery of the appraisals. Communicating a performance review effectively is the final touch to executing a constructive, celebratory and effective review process.

writing a review form 1

When creating an effective assessment, it’s important to include the following:

  • Calculate an overall rating for the employee; although a manager will be highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of an employee’s behavior , it will aid the employee’s morale to communicate how the employee averaged on this rating scale.
  • Ensure the employees are engaged in their own reviews; thus, be sure to include the employees’ goals and developments toward reaching such goals in the assessments .
  • Celebrate employees improvements; highlighting an employees’ developments are a powerful way to impact employee engagement and boost overall team performance .
  • Company culture and values; dedicate a section of the assessment to evaluate how employees align with the company’s core values thus contributing to a positive company culture .

Based on my involvement in building out our own effective performance review process at Venngage, I suggest taking the following steps into consideration when constructing a performance review:

1. Set expectations early

Early in an employee’s career with a company, managers should communicate the details of their review process including the expectations. It should be included in your employee handbook , for example.

In this way, managers set and communicate clear expectations of the key job functions and competencies of the role when an employee joins the company. The information presented in performance reviews should align with this define as well as use familiar language and terms. This strategy will work to eliminate any potential confusion or surprises for both parties.  

2. Don’t make it personal

Feedback is about actions and behavior, not the person.

When writing a performance review, it helps to take a look at the issue(s) you’ve included and ensure that they apply to actions and behavior of the employee rather than the personal attributes of said employee.

This will also help to regulate the information mentioned in the review, to guarantee it is relevant and appropriate information.

3. Beware of biases and limitations

While there may be a general ‘right’ way of doing things, there are often multiple — and equally good — ways to reach the same end goal.  

Please ensure your review is not biased or limited in favor of your personal work style and beliefs. Try to consider the various aspects of the employees role and experience that may impact their decision to pursue alternative methods or working habits. Be empathetic towards these factors when writing your review.

4. Be specific

The information presented in the review should be task-focused, clear and to the point.

General comments will leave an employee feeling confused and in the dark as to what aspect of their work needs to be corrected or how they can pursue improvements.  

Failing to be direct in your messaging will impact the way your message is received and create further confusion about what the expectations are. Managers should be specific on what behaviors of their employees they are celebrating and what actions require improvements.

4. Offer guidance

Managers play a critical role in understanding the career goals of their employees and crafting development opportunities to help their reports achieve their goals.  

It is important as a manager to offer your advice and expertise to your employees to help further their development.

If, as a result of the feedback given, the employee (or yourself) may feel as though they need additional training, consider the benefit of workshops, mentoring or coaching.  

Be sure to use performance reviews as a way to guide employees whether it is toward further greatness or for areas requiring some improvement.  

5. Follow up

Follow up in writing and check in continuously to ensure improvement.

Both managers and employees should receive a copy of the review to refer back to moving forward.

Whether reviews are scheduled annually or quarterly, they should be a continuous topic of discussion for both managers and employees. When writing a review, ensure that the review is clear and specific. Being mindful of this will help to ensure the employee can easily refer back to the form on their own after the meeting.

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Related: How to Write a Performance Review That Inspires Growth (With Examples & Templates

To conduct an effective performance review, it’s important to deliver a positive and solution-focused message. This will be less discouraging to the employee.

This performance review example  shows how you can offer constructive feedback, while also praising the employee’s efforts. The majority of the sections focus on the employees’ achievements and strengths.

Suggested areas of improvement are positioned in the middle, letting managers cushion criticism with praise.

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This appraisal example shows how managers can give constructive feedback to their employees by giving them clear direction on what things to keep doing and what actions to take in future.

While Felicia did not meet her goal, her manager acknowledges that the goal was set deliberately high and that 74 percent of the goal still has significant impact.

This employee review form also points to specific positive behavior, such as self-education, teamwork and a strong work ethic.

There are also specific recommendations for improvement, such as putting together a plan to get more press mentions and scaling her experiments.

Another way to do a performance review, or kick off the process, is to use a quadrant. Both the employee and manager can plot where they think the former falls on certain key values and build out discussion points from there.

You can change “get it done/get it right” in the employee review template below to “uphold core values/contribute to company culture” for example.

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Performance reviews are a crucial part of effective management, offering an opportunity to provide constructive feedback and set the stage for future growth.

To conduct a successful performance review as a manager, preparation is essential. Collect and review performance data well in advance, considering both quantitative metrics and qualitative observations.

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Make sure to prioritize clear and open communication. Create a comfortable and respectful environment for the discussion, allowing the employee to share their perspective and concerns.

Offering specific examples of both strengths and areas for improvement is critical, as vague feedback can lead to misunderstandings.

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Additionally, focus on setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for the future, collaboratively establishing an action plan that aligns with the company’s objectives and the employee’s career aspirations.

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Finally, follow up on the action plan throughout the year, providing ongoing support and feedback to ensure continuous improvement. Consistent and well-structured performance reviews contribute to employee development, job satisfaction, and overall team success.

Performance reviews for new employees are critical in setting the tone for their growth and integration into the organization.

For new employees especially, they may be nervous or unsure of what to expect for their first performance review. That’s why, it’s important for managers to create a welcoming and comfortable environment.

Start by acknowledging their achievements and progress since joining the company. Recognizing their early contributions can boost their confidence and motivation.

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Additionally, focus on clear communication. Outline expectations and performance standards specific to their role. New employees should leave the review with a clear understanding of their job responsibilities and how their work aligns with the company’s goals.

It’s also crucial to discuss their career development. New employees often seek opportunities for advancement and growth. Use the review to explore their long-term goals within the company, and explain how their role fits into the larger career path.

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Finally, emphasize ongoing support and mentorship. New employees benefit from regular check-ins and guidance to help them acclimate and succeed in their roles.

In a self-performance review, employees assess themselves using the same rubric as their managers would and submit them to HR and/or their manager prior to their official review meeting.

The benefits of doing self-assessments have made them a common part of the employee review throughout many companies.

Self-assessments are an encouraging opportunity for employees to share their thoughts about their job, goals, desired responsibilities and aspects of either their role or environment that they may be struggling with.

Set employees up for success in the self-assessment process by giving them a robust employee evaluation form with thoughtful questions, and HR tools to automate this process and make it more convenient.

Annual self-evaluation employee review template

This first example is perfect for a thorough annual review. The targeted questions prompt the employee to reflect on their achievements and shortcomings, while also rating themselves on specific skill sets required for their job.

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The above employee self-assessment example allows for multiple sign-offs, plus a section to list colleagues who can back up the employee’s statements.

Yearly performance self-evaluation templates

A yearly performance self-evaluation isn’t just a great chance for employees to assess their past performance.

It’s also a way for employees to plan for their professional future as they can see where their strengths lie and what skills they need to build to move up in the company. An annual self-evaluation can also build an employee’s case for their compensation review.

This employee self-evaluation form is broken into sections that cover all these factors: about your job, achievements, goals and professional development .

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This yearly performance self-evaluation template has space to expand on goals met and alignment with core values, as well as skills they’d like to build in the future:

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Self-assessment employee review forms

Many performance reviews are incredibly detailed. Sometimes, a higher-level overview is all that’s needed.

Quadrant evaluations, like the template below, are a great way for employees to do an assessment and for managers to quickly add their own evaluation, without getting into the weeds.

Employees can add what’s being evaluated in the easy-to-edit template below (instead of get it done/do it right). The employee adds an icon where they think they fall in the quadrant, and the manager does the same, with room on the last page to further break down the evaluation.

Sounds tough? Our real-time collaboration feature (part of the Business Plan ) lets both manager and employee work on the same doc online, leave comments, share private links and more.

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The self employee review form below lets the employee write out their job description. That way, they can reference their deliverables in the Goals Achieved and Areas of Excellence sections and directly demonstrate their impact on the organization:

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This self-performance review example gives employees the chance to reflect on their achievements on a quarterly basis.

This way, employees can demonstrate meeting quarterly goals. It can also give them a chance to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and have a chance to act on them before their big annual review:

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Self-assessments also help enlighten managers of how employees understand their place within the company’s organization and culture.  

The information disclosed in self-assessments should serve as a major element of official performance reviews in order to ensure that both a two-way conversation occurs and that the needs of both parties are being met moving forward. Looking for a better way to enhance employee engagement, to avoid quite boring meetings? Try out the top 14 inspiring games for virtual meetings , to learn how to add a live poll, word cloud, spinner wheel or even live Q&A sessions to elevate your presentation!

To make for the most effective self-assessments, employees should be sure to consider how their managers’ perceptions of their performance varies from their own.  

With this in mind, the information shared in a self-assessment can guide or pivot a manager’s perception and assessment of an employee’s performance .

Quarterly employee performance review templates

Quarterly reviews are important because they provide multiple opportunities for employees to receive helpful feedback on how to improve as the year progresses.

This quarterly performance review example reflects on specific areas of improvement, such as scaling her experiments and developing content partnerships.

performance review examples

Quarterly reviews from Q1 to Q3 serve as a means of providing specific, deliberate feedback to employees so they know exactly how to improve on their goals and skills.  

This enables the final, annual evaluation conducted at the end of Q4 to serve as a final assessment that will have the most weight in determining how the employee will excel into the next year, discretionary bonuses, salary increases, etc.

Quarterly reviews offer a documented and tracked record of an employee’s progress throughout the year.

This means that each quarter should be assessed using the same rubric throughout the entire year. This will aid in ensuring an accurate representation of an employee’s development is recorded.

That means, if you use the below employee review template in Q1, you should also use it again in Q2 and Q3:

performance review examples

Quarterly employee review template

This quarterly review template is a more condensed version of the example above.

If you’d like to keep your quarterly reviews short and to the point, this template will suffice. Employers can then use the expanded version above for their annual review.

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If you want a template that’s filled with useful information on the types of performance review phrases you can use for a quarterly review, you can edit the one below:

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Employee self-evaluation sample answers

It’s also important for employees to comment and reflect on their reviews.

They can both point out specific milestones that were missed:

  • I generated five new leads and, as a result, I exceeded my sales quota by 20%
  • I wrote a blog post based on original research that doubled our organic traffic in June

And also to acknowledge areas of improvement:

  • I recognize that I need to form new content partnerships. I plan to do so in Q3 by putting together a list of 10 potential targets based on past linkbuilding partners and sending a customized pitch email.

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Annual performance review templates

At large organizations, there may not be enough resources in order to devote the time needed to conduct quarterly performance reviews for every employee.  

This is also true in the case of a supervisor who has a large number of direct reports working for them whereby time management is their main issue.  

In these situations, an annual performance review would work best, especially if the employees being evaluated are experienced in their line of work and have been with their company for a long time.

Annual employee performance review templates

In this employee review template, staff are evaluated on only four factors: ability, goals, areas of improvement, and core values:

Annual evaluations are typically geared towards determining employee raises and discretionary bonuses.

Regular one-on-one meetings between direct reports and managers throughout the course of the year would be a great way to supplement this process.

This annual employee review template can simply include scores (out of 100 etc.) in each box. Or put notes in each section to explain the overall performance score.

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This being said, annual appraisals would need to take a more general approach to evaluating employees than just providing a summary of their performance over the year.

The following employee review template takes a graphic approach and neatly summarizes overall performance using a score out of 100 for factors such as adaptability and project quality:

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Employee evaluation examples

Aside from the categories in the template above, there are a number of other factors that employers can use to evaluate performance.

Common performance review skills:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Quality of work
  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability
  • Punctuality and attendance
  • Self-education and learning
  • Accountability

Even if you want to do a basic performance review, you should always include:

  • Elements of the employee’s strengths.
  • Areas for which the employee can develop.
  • How the employee contributes/could contribute to the company’s core values and culture through performance and actions.

This performance review mind map shows the basics for setting up a simple yet effective performance review–from setting specific goals to soliciting employee feedback.

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A simple performance review should still reflect the goals of your business’s performance review management system —and this will vary by company.

It’s important to understand the purpose of your assessment before determining what information will be required to assess in order to meet the goal.

For example, some smaller companies may use performance reviews throughout the year to track employees’ development and growth.

While other, larger companies may use performance reviews to summarize employee performance, help to calculate the priorities of the new year, adjust compensation or establish bonus amounts.

An HR checklist can come in handy to streamline the process.

Simple employee review template

Each of these simple employee review templates are easy to edit in our online editor. Customize the text to match your own criteria, add your brand colors, upload your logo, add or delete pages and then share a private link or download in PDF or PowerPoint formats ( Business Plan only ).

This template uses quadrants to see how employee and manager evaluations match. Or only use it for self-assessments or manager assessments.

Simple Multilevel Employee Performance Evaluation Infographic Template

Simple performance review template

This more traditional performance review template focuses only on big categories, like meeting goals, areas of excellence and areas of improvement.

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Simple employee review form

The below form is an even more condensed version of the above. Use it for a quarterly review to keep things focused or even for an annual review to help you and your report stick to the most important points. Change the text to include your own categories of evaluation.

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Useful performance review phrases

Grappling with what to say at your next performance review? Choosing the right words is important to make the review as constructive as possible, not to mention motivating for your employee. Here’s a list of effective performance review phrases for managers and employees.

Performance appraisal comments for managers:

  • She replies to calls, emails and instant messages in a timely manner (within 24 hours etc.)
  • He has a talent for thinking outside the box.
  • She tends to be risk-averse and prefers traditional approaches to creative ones.
  • She maintains a culture of transparency in her team and encourages knowledge-sharing across all teams in the department.
  • He consistently gives reports the training and resources needed to meet their goals.
  • He is biased and openly favors some employees over others on his team.
  • She is skillful in communicating difficult decisions and messages to her team.
  • She creates chaos and miscommunication in her team by consistently communicating different messages to different reports.
  • You embody a “win together lose together” philosophy.
  • Your ability to reflect, plan and act is the key to your excellent performance.
  • He uses his seniority to try to dominate and/or intimidate reports.
  • He excels when working alone but has trouble working collaboratively with a team.
  • He consistently meets his deadlines and prioritizes top goal work.
  • She consistently focuses on lower-value work instead of high-lever activities.

Performance review phrases for employees:

  • Can you tell me more about what you mean?
  • I want to be sure I understand (your expectations).
  • Let me give you a little more context here.
  • What would it look like if I was performing at a top level?
  • What would I need to do to score higher on this?
  • Let’s discuss my goals and priorities for the the next quarter/year.
  • Is there a way to get more frequent feedback about my performance between evaluations?
  • How will I know if I’m on track between evaluations?

If you want to see a list of common skills you can comment on for your employees, check out this section .

What’s the purpose of a performance review?

At Venngage, our people are at the core of everything we do as a business—whether it’s developing new features on our tool, growing our international reach or meeting customer needs.

With a people-focus within our company, we are passionate about continuous learning and improvement, self-reflection, creating great customer experiences , owning our jobs, teamwork and making our office feel like a second home

It should come as no surprise that our leadership team spends a considerable amount of time at the end of each quarter conducting performance reviews with each of their direct reports.

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Here are some things we’ve learned about how to conduct effective performance reviews:

  • Make it clear at the beginning of a new hire’s employment how and when employees will be evaluated. This should be part of your onboarding process  and is especially important if you’re managing a remote team .
  • Allow employees to prepare for their review by completing a self-assessment prior to their appraisal, then allow the employee to walk their manager through the reasoning behind their self-assessment.
  • Deliver a positive and solution-focused message (whenever possible), this will result in a less discouraging message.

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To make the most of the actual review conversation with your employee, it’s important to avoid:

  • General, vague feedback; be specific on which behaviors you want your employee to continue, stop and explore.
  • Making it personal; feedback is about actions and behavior , not the person.
  • Loaded language; focus on asking what and how , not why . Enquiring why someone acted the way they did is akin to searching for a ‘motive’ and may come across as accusatory.

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Create a performance review strategy before writing an employee’s review

Having an employee-friendly performance review process can not only make or break the development of your employees and but also disrupt the relationship between managers and their reports.

That’s why it’s crucial to create a robust performance review strategy and employee evaluation form before implementation to ensure the process is both constructive, celebratory and effective. This will even help you in the future if you choose to write a letter of recommendation for the employee as you’ll have all his performance reviews to reference.

By considering the six steps above when writing a performance review, you’ll have completed the final step in executing an employee-friendly review process.

The satisfaction gained from an increase in employee engagement and people power will make the effort expended on administering performance reviews entirely worthwhile, and ensure you have more effective reviews moving forward.

Take notes of the effective performance review phrases you can use during any of review sessions, as well as creating a visually appealing assessment using Venngage performance review templates. It’s free to get started.

You might also like:

  • 10+ Employee Evaluation Templates to Sail Through Review Season
  • 21 Essential Human Resources Poster Examples
  • How to Write an Effective Incident Report [Templates]

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How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

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Blog – Posted on Wednesday, Apr 03

How to write a book review in 3 steps.

How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

If the idea of reading for free — or even getting paid to read — sounds like a dream come true, remember that it isn’t a pipe dream. There are many places aspiring book reviewers can read books for free, such as Reedsy Discovery — a new platform for reviewing indie books. Of course, if you’re giving serious thought to becoming a book reviewer, your first step should be learning how to write a book review. To that end, this post covers all the basics of literary criticism. Let’s get started!

The three main steps of writing a book review are simple:

  • Provide a summary: What is story about? Who are the main characters and what is the main conflict? 
  • Present your evaluation: What did you think of the book? What elements worked well, and which ones didn’t? 
  • Give your recommendation: Would you recommend this book to others? If so, what kinds of readers will enjoy it?

You can also download our free book review templates and use it as a guide! Otherwise, let’s take a closer look at each element.

Pro-tip : But wait! How are you sure if you should become a book reviewer in the first place? If you're on the fence, or curious about your match with a book reviewing career, take our quick quiz:

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How to write a review of a book

Step 1. provide a summary.

Have you ever watched a movie only to realize that all the good bits were already in the trailer? Well, you don’t want the review to do that. What you do want the summary to do is reveal the genre, theme, main conflict, and main characters in the story — without giving away spoilers or revealing how the story ends.

A good rule of thumb is not to mention anything that happens beyond the midpoint. Set the stage and give readers a sense of the book without explaining how the central issue is resolved.

Emily W. Thompson's review of The Crossing :

In [Michael] Doane’s debut novel, a young man embarks on a journey of self-discovery with surprising results.
An unnamed protagonist (The Narrator) is dealing with heartbreak. His love, determined to see the world, sets out for Portland, Oregon. But he’s a small-town boy who hasn’t traveled much. So, the Narrator mourns her loss and hides from life, throwing himself into rehabbing an old motorcycle. Until one day, he takes a leap; he packs his bike and a few belongings and heads out to find the Girl. Read more...

Here are a few more reviews with well-written summaries for you to check out. The summary tend to be the longest part of the book review, so we won’t turn this post into a novel itself by pasting them all here: Le Cirque Navire reviewed by Anna Brill, The Heart of Stone reviewed by Kevin R. Dickinson, Fitting Out: The Friendship Experiment reviewed by Lianna Albrizio.

Non-fiction summary tip: The primary goal of a non-fiction summary is to provide context: what problems or issues has the book spotted, and how does it go about addressing them? Be sure to mention the authors of the title and what experience or expertise they bring to the title. Check Stefan Kløvning’s review of Creativity Cycling for an example of a summary that establishes the framework of the book within the context of its field.

Step 2. Present your evaluation

While you should absolutely weave your own personal take of a book into the review, your evaluation shouldn’t only be based on your subjective opinion. Along with presenting how you reacted to the story and how it affected you, you should also try to objectively critique the stronger and weaker elements of the story, and provide examples from the text to back up your points.

To help you write your evaluation, you should record your reactions and thoughts as you work your way through a novel you’re planning on reviewing. Here are some aspects of the book to keep in mind as you do.

Your evaluation might focus heartily on the book’s prose:

Donald Barker's review of Mercenary : 

Such are the bones of the story. But, of course, it is the manner in which Mr Gaughran puts the bones back together and fills them with life that makes “Mercenary” such a great read. The author’s style seems plain; it seems straightforward and even simple. But an attempt at imitation or emulation quickly proves that simple it is not. He employs short, punchy sentences that generate excellent dialogue dripping with irony, deadpan humour and wit. This, mixed with good descriptive prose, draws the characters – and what characters they are – along with the tumultuous events in which they participated amidst the stinking, steaming heat of the South American jungle, out from the past to the present; alive, scheming, drinking, womanising and fighting, onto the written page.

You can give readers a sense of the book by drawing comparisons to other well-known titles or authors:

Laura Hartman's review of The Mystery of Ruby's Mistletoe :

Reading Ms. Donovan’s book is reminiscent to one of my favorite authors, Dame Agatha Christie. Setting up the suspects in a snowbound house, asking them to meet in the drawing room and the cleverly satisfying conclusion was extremely gratifying. I can picture Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot nodding at Ms. Donovan saying “Well done!”

Not everyone’s tastes are the same, and you can always acknowledge this by calling out specific story elements in your evaluation: 

Kevin R. Dickinson's review of The Heart of Stone :

Whether you enjoy Galley’s worldbuilding will depend heavily on preference. Galley delivers information piecemeal, letting the characters, not the author, navigate the reader through Hartlund. A notable example is the magic system, an enigmatic force that lacks the ridge structures of, say, a Brandon Sanderson novel. While the world’s magical workings are explained, you only learn what the characters know and many mysteries remain by the end. Similar choices throughout make the world feel expansive and authentic.

Non-fiction evaluation tip: A book’s topic is only as compelling as its supporting arguments. Your evaluation of a nonfiction book should address that: how clearly and effectively are the points communicated? Turn back to Stefan’s critique for an example of a non-fiction critique that covers key takeaways and readability, without giving away any “big reveals.”

Step 3. Give your recommendation 

At the end of the day, your critique needs to answer this question: is this a book you would (or wouldn’t) recommend to other readers? You might wrap up by comparing it to other books in the same genre, or authors with similar styles, such as: “Fans of so-and-so will enjoy this book.” 

Let’s take a look at a few more tips:

You don’t need to write, “I recommend this book” — you can make it clear by highlighting your favorable opinion:

Following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and William Least Heat-Moon, Doane offers a coming of age story about a man finding himself on the backroads of America. Doane’s a gifted writer with fluid prose and insightful observations, using The Narrator’s personal interactions to illuminate the diversity of the United States.
Despite his flaws, it’s a pleasure to accompany The Narrator on his physical and emotional journey. The unexpected ending is a fitting denouement to an epic and memorable road trip.

Add more punch to your rating by mentioning what kind of audience will or won’t enjoy the book:

Charleigh Aleyna Reid's review of The King of FU :

I would recommend this book to anyone who grew up in the 90’s and would like to reminisce about the time, someone who is interested to see what it was like to be a 90’s kid, or perhaps anyone who is looking for a unique, funny story about someone’s life.

Unless you found the title absolutely abhorrent, a good way to balance out a less favorable book review it to share what you did like about the book — before ultimately stating why you wouldn’t recommend the novel:

Nicola O's review of Secrets of the Sea Lord :

Overall, there are plenty of enjoyable elements in this story and fans of Atlantis and mer mythology should give it a try. Despite this, it does not rise above a three-star rating, and while I had some difficulty pinning down why this is, I concluded that it comes from a surprisingly unsophisticated vocabulary. There are a couple of graphic sex scenes, which is absolutely fine in a paranormal romance, but if they were removed, I could easily imagine this as an appealing story for middle-schoolers.

Non-fiction recommendation tip: As with fiction book reviews, share why you did or didn’t enjoy the title. However, in one of the starkest divergences from fiction book reviews it’s more important than ever that you mention your expectations coming into the non-fiction book. For instance, if you’re a cow farmer who’s reading a book on the benefits of becoming a vegetarian, you’re coming in with a large and inherent bias that the book will struggle to alter. So your recommendation should cover your thoughts about the book, while clearly taking account your perspective before you started reading. Let’s look once more at Stefan’s review for an example of a rating that includes an explanation of the reviewer’s own bias.

Bonus tips for writing a book review

Let’s wrap up with a few final tips for writing a compelling review.

  • Remember, this isn’t a book report. If someone wants the summary of a book, they can read the synopsis. People turn to book reviews for a fellow reader’s take on the book. And for that reason...
  • Have an opinion. Even if your opinion is totally middle-of-the-line — you didn’t hate the book but you didn’t love it either — state that clearly, and explain why.
  • Make your stance clear from the outset. Don’t save your opinion just for the evaluation/recommendation. Weave your thoughts about the book into your summary as well, so that readers have an idea of your opinion from the outset.
  • Back up your points. Instead of just saying, “the prose was evocative” — show readers by providing an actual passage that displays this. Same goes for negative points — don’t simply tell readers you found a character unbelievable, reference a certain (non-spoiler) scene that backs this up.
  • Provide the details. Don’t forget to weave the book’s information into the review: is this a debut author? Is this one installment of a series? What types of books has the author written before? What is their background? How many pages does the book have? Who published the book? What is the book’s price?
  • Follow guidelines. Is the review you’re writing for Goodreads? For The New York Times ? The content and tone of your review will vary a good deal from publication to publication.
  • Learn from others. One of the best ways to learn how to write a great review is to read other reviews! To help you out with that, we’ve published a post all about book review examples .

Writing book reviews can be a rewarding experience! As a book-lover yourself, it’s a great opportunity to help guide readers to their next favorite title. If you’re just getting started as a reviewer and could use a couple more tips and nudges in the right direction, check out our comprehensive blog post on how to become a book reviewer . And if you want to find out which review community is the right fit for you, we recommend taking this quick quiz:

Which review community should you join?

Find out which review community is best for your style. Takes 30 seconds!

Finally, if you feel you've nailed the basics of how to write a book review, we recommend you check out Reedsy Discovery , where you can review books for free and are guaranteed people will read them. To register as a book reviewer, simply go here !

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Writing a book review?

Use our free book review template to make sure you don't leave anything out.

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Learn English Vocabulary Through Pictures with 150 Topics

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English Writing Exercises for B1 – Article: a film review

English Writing Exercises for B1

Preparation

Your teacher has asked you to write a film review for the school magazine. Write your review describing the film and say what you liked and didn’t like about it.

1. Read the task above. Then read Writing Strategy 1 and the review below. Answer the questions.

Where does each paragraph end?

Paragraph 1: A  ◻ or B ◻

Paragraph 2: C ◻ or D ◻

Paragraph 3: E ◻ or F ◻

Has the writer followed the second piece of advice in the Strategy? Yes ◻ No ◻

Writing Strategy 1

1   Give your review a logical structure. Divide it into paragraphs, each with its own topic or focus.

2   The conclusion should restate the main idea given in the introduction, but using different words. It should also include the writer’s opinion and, if appropriate, a recommendation.

An extraordinary film about an extraordinary man!

If you’re looking for a film that has romance and drama and makes you think, this is the one for you! I loved The Theory of Everything , from start to finish. [ A ] And I have no doubt that it’ll remain one of my favourite films for many years to come! I’d definitely recommend it. [ B ] It is mostly set in Cambridge, England, and it tells the story of Stephen Hawking, a physicist at Cambridge University, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease while still in his early twenties. We see how, with the help of Jane – his girlfriend and then wife – he overcame great physical disabilities to become probably the world’s most famous scientists. [ C ] What I really loved about the film is the way it involves you in the characters. I felt that I really got to know them, and found their story incredibly moving. [ D ] I thought the acting was first-class, with superb performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. The film was also beautifully filmed, with lots of atmospheric shots of Cambridge. [ E ] I have only one small criticism. We learn a lot about Jane and Stephen’s relationship, but we learn nothing about Stephen Hawking the scientist, and what motivates him. [ F ] Overall, however, this is a fantastic film. If you haven’t seen it yet, get the DVD. You won’t be disappointed! I guarantee it.

1 a Paragraph 1: B, Paragraph 2: C, Paragraph 3: F   b Yes

Writing Strategy 2

1   Choose a good title for your article.

2   In the first paragraph, attract the reader’s attention. You can do this by addressing him / her directly, especially with questions.

3   Use an appropriate style and register for the target audience.

2. Read Writing Strategy 2 and answer questions 1-3 below.

1   Underline the sentence that attracts the reader’s attention in the first paragraph.

2   Is the overall style formal ◻  or informal ◻  ?

3   Has the writer addressed both elements of the task?

      Yes ◻ No ◻

1 If you’re looking for a film that has romance and drama and makes you think, this one is for you!

2 informal   3 Yes

3. Tick the phrases for describing stories that the writer uses in the article. Which phrase cannot be used to describe a film?

1   It’s set in (place and / or time). ◻

2   There are lots of twists and turns. ◻

3   It tells the story of (character). ◻

4   I would definitely recommend it. ◻

5   It’s a real page-turner. ◻

Phrase ◻  can’t be used for films.

1, 3, 4 . Phrase 5 can’t be used for films.

Writing Guide

4. you are going to do the task in exercise 1. make notes about a film of your choice..

What I liked: ………………………………………

What I didn’t like: …………………………………………

Overall opinion: …………………………………………

your own answers

5. Write your review. Follow the structure of the model review in exercise 1, and use your notes from exercise 4. Use some phrases from exercise 3.

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  • English Writing Exercises for B1 – A for and against essay
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Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

In Word, you can create a form that others can fill out and save or print.  To do this, you will start with baseline content in a document, potentially via a form template.  Then you can add content controls for elements such as check boxes, text boxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. Optionally, these content controls can be linked to database information.  Following are the recommended action steps in sequence.  

Show the Developer tab

In Word, be sure you have the Developer tab displayed in the ribbon.  (See how here:  Show the developer tab .)

Open a template or a blank document on which to base the form

You can start with a template or just start from scratch with a blank document.

Start with a form template

Go to File > New .

In the  Search for online templates  field, type  Forms or the kind of form you want. Then press Enter .

In the displayed results, right-click any item, then select  Create. 

Start with a blank document 

Select Blank document .

Add content to the form

Go to the  Developer  tab Controls section where you can choose controls to add to your document or form. Hover over any icon therein to see what control type it represents. The various control types are described below. You can set properties on a control once it has been inserted.

To delete a content control, right-click it, then select Remove content control  in the pop-up menu. 

Note:  You can print a form that was created via content controls. However, the boxes around the content controls will not print.

Insert a text control

The rich text content control enables users to format text (e.g., bold, italic) and type multiple paragraphs. To limit these capabilities, use the plain text content control . 

Click or tap where you want to insert the control.

Rich text control button

To learn about setting specific properties on these controls, see Set or change properties for content controls .

Insert a picture control

A picture control is most often used for templates, but you can also add a picture control to a form.

Picture control button

Insert a building block control

Use a building block control  when you want users to choose a specific block of text. These are helpful when you need to add different boilerplate text depending on the document's specific purpose. You can create rich text content controls for each version of the boilerplate text, and then use a building block control as the container for the rich text content controls.

building block gallery control

Select Developer and content controls for the building block.

Developer tab showing content controls

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

In a combo box, users can select from a list of choices that you provide or they can type in their own information. In a drop-down list, users can only select from the list of choices.

combo box button

Select the content control, and then select Properties .

To create a list of choices, select Add under Drop-Down List Properties .

Type a choice in Display Name , such as Yes , No , or Maybe .

Repeat this step until all of the choices are in the drop-down list.

Fill in any other properties that you want.

Note:  If you select the Contents cannot be edited check box, users won’t be able to click a choice.

Insert a date picker

Click or tap where you want to insert the date picker control.

Date picker button

Insert a check box

Click or tap where you want to insert the check box control.

Check box button

Use the legacy form controls

Legacy form controls are for compatibility with older versions of Word and consist of legacy form and Active X controls.

Click or tap where you want to insert a legacy control.

Legacy control button

Select the Legacy Form control or Active X Control that you want to include.

Set or change properties for content controls

Each content control has properties that you can set or change. For example, the Date Picker control offers options for the format you want to use to display the date.

Select the content control that you want to change.

Go to Developer > Properties .

Controls Properties  button

Change the properties that you want.

Add protection to a form

If you want to limit how much others can edit or format a form, use the Restrict Editing command:

Open the form that you want to lock or protect.

Select Developer > Restrict Editing .

Restrict editing button

After selecting restrictions, select Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .

Restrict editing panel

Advanced Tip:

If you want to protect only parts of the document, separate the document into sections and only protect the sections you want.

To do this, choose Select Sections in the Restrict Editing panel. For more info on sections, see Insert a section break .

Sections selector on Resrict sections panel

If the developer tab isn't displayed in the ribbon, see Show the Developer tab .

Open a template or use a blank document

To create a form in Word that others can fill out, start with a template or document and add content controls. Content controls include things like check boxes, text boxes, and drop-down lists. If you’re familiar with databases, these content controls can even be linked to data.

Go to File > New from Template .

New from template option

In Search, type form .

Double-click the template you want to use.

Select File > Save As , and pick a location to save the form.

In Save As , type a file name and then select Save .

Start with a blank document

Go to File > New Document .

New document option

Go to File > Save As .

Go to Developer , and then choose the controls that you want to add to the document or form. To remove a content control, select the control and press Delete. You can set Options on controls once inserted. From Options, you can add entry and exit macros to run when users interact with the controls, as well as list items for combo boxes, .

Adding content controls to your form

In the document, click or tap where you want to add a content control.

On Developer , select Text Box , Check Box , or Combo Box .

Developer tab with content controls

To set specific properties for the control, select Options , and set .

Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each control that you want to add.

Set options

Options let you set common settings, as well as control specific settings. Select a control and then select Options to set up or make changes.

Set common properties.

Select Macro to Run on lets you choose a recorded or custom macro to run on Entry or Exit from the field.

Bookmark Set a unique name or bookmark for each control.

Calculate on exit This forces Word to run or refresh any calculations, such as total price when the user exits the field.

Add Help Text Give hints or instructions for each field.

OK Saves settings and exits the panel.

Cancel Forgets changes and exits the panel.

Set specific properties for a Text box

Type Select form Regular text, Number, Date, Current Date, Current Time, or Calculation.

Default text sets optional instructional text that's displayed in the text box before the user types in the field. Set Text box enabled to allow the user to enter text into the field.

Maximum length sets the length of text that a user can enter. The default is Unlimited .

Text format can set whether text automatically formats to Uppercase , Lowercase , First capital, or Title case .

Text box enabled Lets the user enter text into a field. If there is default text, user text replaces it.

Set specific properties for a Check box .

Default Value Choose between Not checked or checked as default.

Checkbox size Set a size Exactly or Auto to change size as needed.

Check box enabled Lets the user check or clear the text box.

Set specific properties for a Combo box

Drop-down item Type in strings for the list box items. Press + or Enter to add an item to the list.

Items in drop-down list Shows your current list. Select an item and use the up or down arrows to change the order, Press - to remove a selected item.

Drop-down enabled Lets the user open the combo box and make selections.

Protect the form

Go to Developer > Protect Form .

Protect form button on the Developer tab

Note:  To unprotect the form and continue editing, select Protect Form again.

Save and close the form.

Test the form (optional)

If you want, you can test the form before you distribute it.

Protect the form.

Reopen the form, fill it out as the user would, and then save a copy.

Creating fillable forms isn’t available in Word for the web.

You can create the form with the desktop version of Word with the instructions in Create a fillable form .

When you save the document and reopen it in Word for the web, you’ll see the changes you made.

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FACT SHEET: President   Biden Cancels Student Debt for more than 150,000 Student Loan Borrowers Ahead of   Schedule

Today, President Biden announced the approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 153,000 borrowers currently enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan. The Biden-Harris Administration has now approved nearly $138 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 3.9 million borrowers through more than two dozen executive actions. The borrowers receiving relief are the first to benefit from a SAVE plan policy that provides debt forgiveness to borrowers who have been in repayment after as little as 10 years and took out $12,000 or less in student loans. Originally planned for July, the Biden-Harris Administration implemented this provision of SAVE and is providing relief to borrowers nearly six months ahead of schedule.

From Day One of his Administration, President Biden vowed to fix the student loan system and make sure higher education is a pathway to the middle class – not a barrier to opportunity. Already, the President has cancelled more student debt than any President in history – delivering lifechanging relief to students and families – and has created the most affordable student loan repayment plan ever: the SAVE plan. While Republicans in Congress and their allies try to block President Biden every step of the way, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to cancel student debt for millions of borrowers, and is leaving no stone unturned in the fight to give more borrowers breathing room on their student loans.

Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s SAVE plan, starting today, the Administration will be cancelling debt for borrowers who are enrolled in the SAVE plan, have been in repayment for at least 10 years and took out $12,000 or less in loans for college. For every additional $1,000 a borrower initially borrowed, they will receive relief after an additional year of payments. For example, a borrower enrolled in SAVE who took out $14,000 or less in federal loans to earn an associate’s degree in biotechnology would receive full debt relief starting this week if they have been in repayment for 12 years. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) identified nearly 153,000 borrowers who are enrolled in SAVE plan who will have their debt cancelled starting this week, and those borrowers will receive an email today from President Biden informing them of their imminent relief. Next week, the Department of Education will also be reaching out directly to borrowers who are eligible for early relief but not currently enrolled in the SAVE Plan to encourage them to enroll as soon as possible. This shortened time to forgiveness will particularly help community college and other borrowers with smaller loans and put many on track to being free of student debt faster than ever before. Under the Biden-Harris Administration’s SAVE plan, 85 percent of future community college borrowers will be debt free within 10 years. The Department will continue to regularly identify and discharge other borrowers eligible for relief under this provision on SAVE. Over four million borrowers have a $0 monthly payment under the SAVE Plan Last year, President Biden launched the SAVE plan – the most affordable repayment plan ever. Under the SAVE plan, monthly payments are based on a borrower’s income and family size, not their loan balance. The SAVE plan ensures that if borrowers are making their monthly payments, their balances cannot grow because of unpaid interest. And, starting in July, undergraduate loan payments will be cut in half, capping a borrower’s loan payment at 5% of their discretionary income. Already, 7.5 million borrowers are enrolled in the SAVE Plan, and 4.3 million borrowers have a $0 monthly payment.  

Today, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released an issue brief highlighting how low and middle-income borrowers enrolled in SAVE could see significant saving in terms of interest saved over time and principal forgiven as a result of SAVE’s early forgiveness provisions.

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President Biden’s Administration has approved student debt relief for nearly 3.9 million Americans through various actions

Today’s announcement builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s track record of taking historic action to cancel student debt for millions of borrowers. Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has approved debt cancellation for nearly 3.9 million Americans, totaling almost $138 billion in debt relief through various actions. This relief has given borrowers critical breathing room in their daily lives, allowing them to afford other expenses, buy homes, start businesses, or pursue dreams they had to put on hold because of the burden of student loan debt. President Biden remains committed to providing debt relief to as many borrowers as possible, and won’t stop fighting to deliver relief to more Americans.

The Biden-Harris Administration has also taken historic steps to improve the student loan program and make higher education more affordable for more Americans, including:

  • Achieving the largest increases in Pell Grants in over a decade to help families who earn less than $60,000 a year achieve their higher-education goals.
  • Fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program so that borrowers who go into public service get the debt relief they’re entitled to under the law. Before President Biden took office, only 7,000 people ever received debt relief through PSLF. After fixing the program, the Biden-Harris Administration has now cancelled student loan debt for nearly 800,000 public service workers.
  • Cancelling student loan debt for more than 930,000 borrowers who have been in repayment for over 20 years but never got the relief they earned because of administrative failures with Income-Driven Repayment Plans.
  • Pursuing an alternative path to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Administration’s original debt relief plan. Last week, the Department of Education released proposed regulatory text to cancel student debt for borrowers who are experiencing hardship paying back their student loans, and late last year released proposals to cancel student debt for borrowers who: owe more than they borrowed, first entered repayment 20 or 25 years ago, attended low quality programs, and who would be eligible for loan forgiveness through income-driven repayment programs like SAVE but have not applied.
  • Holding colleges accountable for leaving students with unaffordable debts.

It’s easy to enroll in SAVE. Borrowers should go to studentaid.gov/save to start saving.  

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We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

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    Unlike an essay a review should be written in an informal or neutral register, this means: you CAN use phrasal verbs, you CAN use idioms you CAN use contractions you CAN be creative! Check our Writing Guide below - to see how to write an FCE review in detail. B2 First (FCE) Review: Structure Title Use the name of the film, book or restaurant.

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