Writing self-assessment

Writing is the ability to get an idea across by arranging words, numbers and symbols, whether on paper or a computer screen. Strong writing skills are essential to communicating effectively at work (e.g. writing memos, emails, or phone messages) and in everyday life (e.g. writing letters, greeting cards, or notes). Complete this self-assessment to help you understand your writing strengths and areas for improvement.


  1. Read each statement in Section 1 and place a check mark in the column that best describes how well you can complete that task. Tip: Think about your work and life experiences as you consider each task.
  2. Review your responses for each task. If you have checked five or more in the “Somewhat” and/or “No” columns, you may want to consider upgrading your writing skills.
  3. Complete Section 2 to identify your training needs.

Section 1: Self-assessment

Section 1: Self-assessment
I can... Yes Somewhat No
Write short reminder notes to myself or others.      
Write simple lists (e.g. grocery list, list of work tasks).      
Write notes in point form.      
Write entries in appointment calendars.      
Write brief notes or emails to co-workers.      
Write brief entries into forms (e.g. bank deposit slip).      
Write down telephone messages.      
Write short memos or faxes to request or clarify information.      
Write text that is a paragraph or longer such as memos or letters.      
Prepare written materials using templates.      
Use correct grammar and spelling.      
Include details and examples to support my writing.      
Tailor my writing to a specific audience.      
Write formal emails or letters to clients or supervisors.      
Write a brief summary of a larger piece of text.      
Write short reports about a meeting or presentation.      
Write long pieces of text such as letters or reports.      
Thoroughly express my opinions in writing.      
Prepare comprehensive written materials to provide direction, training, or support (e.g. a training manual).      
Write detailed emails or letters requesting information.      
Write long pieces of text using formatting features such as headings, table of contents, footnotes, etc.      
Prepare complex written materials (e.g. contracts, financial reports) using a standard format.      
Rewrite text to improve clarity and flow.      
Edit written materials to confirm proper grammar, spelling, and formatting.      

Section 2: Personal development

Completing this section will help you make informed training decisions.

  • Look at the “Yes” column in Section 1 to identify your strengths, and record them below.
  • Look at the “Somewhat” and/or “No” column in Section 1 to identify the areas that you need to develop or strengthen, and record them below.

Writing strengths

I am confident that I can…

E.g. write down telephone messages.

1.  ______________________________________________________

2.  ______________________________________________________

3.  ______________________________________________________

Tip: Consider using your strengths to help a colleague, friend or family member improve their writing skills.

Areas for improvement

I would like to improve my ability to…

E.g. tailor my writing to a specific audience.

1.  ______________________________________________________

2.  ______________________________________________________

3.  ______________________________________________________

Tip: When developing your training plan, focus on improving one or two abilities at a time.

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