When Writing An Essay

Be certain to avoid the besetting sin of those weaker students who, fatally, answer the question the examiners should have set – but unfortunately didn’t.

Take your time, look carefully at the wording of the question, and be certain in your own mind that you have thoroughly understood all its terms.

What follows, therefore, skips philosophical issues and instead offers practical advice on how to write an essay that will get top marks.

Witnesses in court promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

If you get into the habit of thinking about the key issues in your course, rather than just absorbing whatever you are told or read, you will probably find you’ve already considered whatever issues examiners pinpoint in exams.

Every part of an essay is important, but the first paragraph is vital.

If you immediately seize on his appointment as Chancellor, think carefully and ask yourself what actual powers this position conferred on him.

Was the passing of the Enabling Act more important? Will you need to mention Hitler’s birth and childhood or the hyperinflation of the early 1920s?

This grappling with the problem of definition will help you compile an annotated list of successes, and you can then proceed to explain them, tracing their origins and pinpointing how and why they occurred. If so, this could constitute the central thrust of your answer. This should be distinguished from remembering, daydreaming and idly speculating.

Thinking is rarely a pleasant undertaking, and most of us contrive to avoid it most of the time.

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