Ace the Essay
Ace the Essay
- Write legibly. Grading essay questions is, in large part, a subjective process. Sloppy, difficult to read handwriting might actually lower your grade.
- Be brief. Avoid filler and sentences that say nothing.
- Use a pen. Ink is easier to read than pencil.
- Write on one side of the paper. Writing on the back page will show through and may make it harder to read.
- Write from an outline.
Words commonly found in essay questions
- Analyze: Break into separate parts and discuss, examine, or interpret each part.
- Compare: Show likenesses.
- Contrast: Show differences. Set in opposition.
- Criticize: Make judgments. Evaluate comparative worth. Criticism often involves analysis.
- Define: Give the meaning, usually a meaning specific to the course or subject. Determine the precise limits of the term to be defined. Explain the exact meaning. Definitions are usually short.
- Describe: Give a detailed account. Make a picture with words. List characteristics, qualities, and parts.
- Discuss: Consider and debate or argue the pros and cons of an issue. Write about any conflict.
- State: Explain precisely.
- Summarize: Give a brief, condensed account with conclusions. Avoid unnecessary details.
- Explain: Make an idea clear. Show logically how a concept is developed. Give the reasons for the event.
- Evaluate: Give your opinion or cite the opinion of an expert. Include evidence to support the evaluation.
- Prove: Support with facts (especially facts presented in class or in the text).
- Relate: Show a connection between ideas or events. Provide a larger context.