Exam Writing

Exam Writing 1. Answer the “Right” Question.

This is the first and most important recommendation for exam writing. Answering the wrong question is a common mistake made by students. Unfortunately, if you answer a question you half know about as you panicked, it can be detrimental to your exam score. Ensure you fully understand what the examiner wants; it is highly recommended you refer back to the question throughout the answer. This point may sound like stating the obvious; but, in most cases, answering the wrong question is the biggest cause of a disappointing exam result.

2. Good Introduction.

The introduction to the essay you should offer a short, concise summary of the main points to be raised. If appropriate, you could clarify key concepts. Introductions go wrong when students go into too much detail, and then repeat their arguments in the main body of the text. Generally speaking, it is advisable to start off with short sentences, rather than complex sentences. This will help create a clarity of thought and purpose.

3. Essay Plan for exam writing.

A plan can help to gather your thoughts, and make sure you do not forget to mention key arguments. It is an opportunity to brainstorm what you know about the topic. However, it is important not to get into too much detail – writing keywords and phrases are the best solution. I would suggest spending 5 -10 % of your allotted time on creating an introduction.

4. Three Steps of an argument.

The first step is the basic statement and argument; this part tests your knowledge.
The second step is to explain your statement. Don’t forget you need to explain in relation to the question. Also, just because you think the explanation is obvious, doesn’t mean you can avoid putting it down.
The third step is to look at the argument with critical distance. This is an opportunity to discuss why the basic premise may be wrong or limited. It is an opportunity to show you can think for yourself, rather than just memorise a list of points. This final step, called analysis or evaluation, is the most difficult part, but is required to get the highest mark.

5. Conclusion.

In a conclusion you can weigh up the different arguments and decide which are the strongest and most relevant. A conclusion should try to add something new, and not just repeat previous points. For example, you can say why an argument is particularly strong and give justification.

6. How Much To Write?

For exam writing, I often get asked this question by students. So many students will write 1 side and then stop, almost in mid sentence, because they think this means they have finished. There is no right answer as to how much you should write. The important thing is to write as much as you can in the allotted time, but, only write what is relevant. Although it is true quality is more important than quantity, don’t try to do a minimalist style and write as little as possible. Generally speaking, if you write more you have a better chance of getting more points across.

Categories: Academic

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