Writing Better Essay Questions

Writing Better Essay Questions-37
Essay exams are not the place to be subtle or vague.It’s okay to have an obvious structure, even the five-paragraph essay format you may have been taught in high school.At some time in your undergraduate career, you’re going to have to write an essay exam.

Essay exams are not the place to be subtle or vague.It’s okay to have an obvious structure, even the five-paragraph essay format you may have been taught in high school.At some time in your undergraduate career, you’re going to have to write an essay exam.

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Here are some tips: Interpretation words ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject.

Don’t see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence.

You aren’t going to write a good essay on something you figured out at 4 a.m. If you prepare yourself well throughout the semester, you don’t risk your whole grade on an overloaded, undernourished brain.

If for some reason you get yourself into this situation, take a minute every once in a while during the test to breathe deeply, stretch, and clear your brain.

Essay exams challenge you to come up with key course ideas and put them in your own words and to use the interpretive or analytical skills you’ve practiced in the course.

Instructors want to see whether: Exam questions can reach pretty far into the course materials, so you cannot hope to do well on them if you do not keep up with the readings and assignments from the beginning of the course.The goal of this handout is to give you some easy and effective strategies that will help you take control of the situation and do your best.Essay exams are a useful tool for finding out if you can sort through a large body of information, figure out what is important, and explain why it is important.You need to be especially aware of the likelihood of errors, so check your essays thoroughly before you hand them in to make sure they answer the right questions and don’t have big oversights or mistakes (like saying “Hitler” when you really mean “Churchill”).If you tend to go blank during exams, try studying in the same classroom in which the test will be given.Some research suggests that people attach ideas to their surroundings, so it might jog your memory to see the same things you were looking at while you studied. Bring in something you associate with success or the support of your loved ones, and use it as a psychological boost. Reread, rework, and rethink your answers if you have extra time at the end, rather than giving up and handing the exam in the minute you’ve written your last sentence. Remember that instructors do not want to see you trip up—they want to see you do well.With this in mind, try to relax and just do the best you can. We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout.Introduce your main idea, have several paragraphs of support—each with a single point defended by specific examples, and conclude with a restatement of your main point and its significance.Just think—we expect athletes to practice constantly and use everything in their abilities and situations in order to achieve success.Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.Interpretation words may include: Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind in writing essay exams is that you have a limited amount of time and space in which to get across the knowledge you have acquired and your ability to use it.

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