Posted on 13th May 2011
A reminder about essays
The exam season is under way and many of you will have plenty of essays to write both in the exam hall and as part of your revision. It is always a good idea to remind yourself about how you should write them, and to help you out, here are some top tips…
1. Always remember to read the question carefully and highlight the key words. Make sure you set off on the right track by knowing exactly what is required.
2. Spend a good amount of time planning your essay so that you don’t get lost while you are writing it
3. Your introduction needs to outline the argument you are proposing. The introduction is your chance to show the examiner how well you can write and how clearly you can express your thoughts, so don’t miss this opportunity to create a good impression by starting with a sloppy opening.
4. The main body of the essay should be divided up into paragraphs that follow the ‘PEE’ structure (POINT, EVIDENCE, EXPLAIN). In your point you argue or suggest something. Your evidence should be made up of facts, dates, events or quotations and then you expand on the point and explain your evidence and show how it backs up the point.
5. Your conclusion rounds up the essay and ties all of the strands together. It should sound quite similar to your introduction.
6. Be careful to check through your essays to make sure you haven’t got any silly spelling or grammatical mistakes.
7. Try to use a wide range of vocabulary in your essay, but don’t put in words that you think sound fancy but you don’t actually know how to use properly as this will make your writing inconsistent. Instead, focus on being as clear and concise as you can.
8. Don’t try to fit too many points in your essay. It is better to write a shorter, clearer essay than a long one that is full of waffle and irrelevant information.
9. If you need to include some context, weave this in where relevant rather than plonking it anywhere.
10. Make sure your quotations are built into your sentences, don’t just shove them in without considering their placement in the structure of your paragraph
11. Stay relaxed and try to enjoy it! If you are passionate about the work then this will come across in your writing and if you stay calm then your essay will be stronger and clearer.