I wholeheartedly agree with Steven Beckett (NCE 21 October). The most lasting memory of my PE preparations back in 1986 was of depressing evenings spent in a Sheffield library preparing 20-odd essay questions in subjects I had no experience with or interest in; this after the typical 12-hour day (plus travel) of a graduate engineer.
The frustration was compounded by the fact that I then went home to write my personal reports in such a way that the examiners would NOT ask me to write an essay on the subjects I had just prepared answers for. My skills were used to direct the examiner towards the question I wanted.
Time allotted by graduates on preparing for essays might best be spent on taking an A level English Language examination. Report writing skills are essential, but I do not believe that preparing for writing an essay is the correct way to obtain the skills needed to write a report.
Keith Jones (M), network modelling project manager, North West Water, email@example.com