How to write a good exam essay

In this post I will revisit material I have gone over before because some of you really need this advice!

Pointers for writing a good exam essay:

  • know your quotes.
    Make sure you are armed with a range of accurately remembered quotations and/or points of evidence (eg plot events/comments on narrative point of view). Correctly remembered quotes will help you remember the important themes more easily!
  • know your stuff.
    What are the themes and important messages of the texts you are looking at ?
    What techniques used by the writer are easiest and most useful to comment on ?
  • know your question.
    Be very careful to pick out the key terms from the question and mention them (sometimes rephrased) throughout your essay.
  • know your structure.
    Go for a three part introduction; followed by the body of the essay which contains the answer to the question; and a conclusion
    Introduction (key terms of question; identification of selected character/incident/theme/structure; the brief statement of the relationship between what you have identified and the question.
    Middle – this is where you would answer the question (and in the process show your ability to understand and appreciate the effectiveness of the text)
    Conclusion where you show how the evidence you’ve provided has answered the question – and where you say something evaluative about the text as a whole.
  • know the time -Keep an eye on the clock, allowing time to write a very quick plan for each essay!

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