Test Your Own Skills
1. You must email a customer, informing her that your company cannot provide the refund she is requesting. The best approach would be to:

  a)  State your refusal in the opening sentence
  b)  State your refusal in the closing paragraph
  c)  Begin with a buffer statement and then deny the request
  d)  Imply your refusal but never state it outright

2. Which sentence has the most professional tone?

  a)  While clearly you and your department are most genuinely interested in doing a stellar job, the recent product launch was, unfortunately, not nearly as robust as we might have hoped, and so it is hoped that initiatives and strategies will be devised and developed to ameliorate the present situation and prevent it from recurring.

  b)  The product launch was disappointing. It is evident that everyone worked hard. It is clear that preventative techniques must be brought forward to avert future situations.

  c)  Abysmal is the only word to describe the recent product launch, even though you say you all worked so hard. Get on with the show and make sure this never happens again.

  d)  The recent product launch fell short of our expectations and while we appreciate everyone’s fine effort, we need to learn from this experience and prevent it from happening again.

3. When is point form most appropriate?

  a)  When you want to be persuasive
  b)  When you have a list
  c)  When you want to write quickly
  d)  When you’re giving procedures or instructions
  e)  b and c
  f)  b and d
  g)  All of the above

4. Pick the best closing:

  a)  We need to have a meeting. Things didn’t go very well and as a result, the project was a failure. However, if we can somehow manage to pull up our socks and live up to the recommendations I’ve stated in this memo, our department might just get through this. We’re meeting on May 20.

  b)  I trust that you will find these recommendations effective and immediately implementable. A departmental meeting will be scheduled. Be prepared to develop an action plan. Contact me with any queries.

  c)  I’m confident that the recommendations I’ve outlined will help us out of the difficult situation with this project. I’ve scheduled a department meeting for Thursday, May 20 at 10 a.m., so we can develop an action plan based on these recommendations. Please let me know by Tuesday if you’re unable to attend.

5. You have to write to a client reminding her to send some information you requested in a phone call several weeks ago. The best opening paragraph would be:

  a)  Further to our telephonic discussion of February 24, 2011, in which several pieces of information were requested in order to process your claim, this is to inform you that the undersigned is not yet in receipt of the aforementioned information.

  b)  I am writing to let you know the information we require for your claim has still not arrived. Below are the items which we require in order to begin the claims process.

  c)  I hope everything is going well for you. It has been a while since we last spoke. As you know, our company has several requirements which must be met in order to process a claim. Depending on the nature of the claim, the company may require copies of a medical certificate, police reports, photographs, and financial records. Sometimes, we request copies of expense receipts.

  d)  This is in regards to your claim (OE-99-087-BL) which you gave indication of filing with this company on February 24, 2011.

6. Which sentence has the best structure?

  a)  The meeting, which was called by the head of the department in order to resolve the issue of vacation dates before the start of the new fiscal year because of the conflicts that had occurred over the last 18 months involving junior and senior staff, was a great success.

  b)  The meeting was a great success. The head of the department had called it in order to resolve the issue of vacation dates, because conflicts had occurred over the last 18 months involving junior and senior staff.

  c)  Because initiating a resolution of vacation-date conflict was of tantamount importance to the department head, he met with junior and senior staff and successfully implemented a process for scheduling vacations.

  d)  Below are particulars with reference to today’s meeting:

  • it was a great success
  • called by the head of the department
  • addressing the conflict between junior and senior staff over vacation dates
  • over the last 18 months, these conflicts had escalated

7. Which of the bulleted points below breaks the parallel construction of the list? Job applicants must have:

  a)  five years of experience in marketing
  b)  a post-secondary education
  c)  excellent oral and written communication skills
  d)  able to speak English and French

8. Here is a sentence in the passive voice: New style guidelines were given to the editorial staff by the manager. Which sentence below correctly puts this sentence into the active voice?

  a)  The editorial staff was given new style guidelines by the manager
  b)  The editorial staff received new style guidelines
  c)  The manager gave the editorial staff new style guidelines
  d)  Style guidelines were given by the manager to the editorial staff

9. When might you want to use the passive voice?

  a)  When writing procedures or instructions
  b)  To avoid blaming someone directly
  c)  When the person who did the action is unknown or not important
  d)  All of the above
  e)  b and c

10. Below are three versions of a document. Which one has the best layout?

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