What should I include in my English essays to maximise my marks?

For many students, English is perhaps the most nonsensical, illogical, and infuriating subjects because of a “lack of structure” and its “ambiguity”. Due to this mindset lots o people struggle to achieve the marks they want and i’m here to change that. Lets see what we can do in order to maximise your marks

 

First things first, you must have a flawless, cohesive, logical structure. It sounds easy and to be honest, is easy, all you need to do is have an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. Your introduction should “introduce” your answer to the question, the texts you will talk about and how these said texts are related to your answer. Your body paragraphs should follow the PEEL/TEEL structure or whatever structure your teachers instruct you to use. Whatever structure you are given, follow it methodically and perfect it till it becomes impossible for you to deviate from it. Finally, you must have a conclusion in order to fulfill the marking rubrics requirement, even if it’s a sentence long, as long as there is something resembling a summating sentence or paragraph you will have fulfilled the structural requirements for your essay.

 

Another factor to consider is using language from both the question and the relevant syllabus for your essay. A general rule is to “copy-paste” the words or select phrases from the question in your intro paragraph/concluding paragraph but throughout your body paragraphs, it is recommended that you use synonyms of the key words instead. There are 2 reasons behind this; it limits the possibility of you writing a monotonous essay and it demonstrates to the marker the literary finesse you possess and thus increases the quality of your writing. All your essay questions will be related to the syllabus of that module in some way, your job is to show your understanding of the syllabus and by extension the question by using phrases or words from the syllabus to bolster the quality of your response. This demonstrates your understanding and appreciation for the module and adds an extra layer of quality to your writing.

 

Another important thing which most students seemingly don’t understand is that you need to have a clear answer to the question. Some students get lost when trying to sound smarter than they are or become too overwhelmed by the stress of an exam and just start writing an answer that makes no sense. English questions aren’t there to torture you, they are there to be catalysts for the extrapolation of your own personal understanding of the text so dont treat it as a burden, think of it as a piece of encouragement to show your ideas to the rest of the world. The thing is, every term whenever you cover a new module, your school equips you with the necessary contextual information and analytical tools to answer the question, you just need to have faith in yourself that you can do so and make sure not to overcomplicate things. Whatever you’re thinking of is probably right so just write it down.

 

Another thing people will lose marks for without realising it is that they dont integrate their textual evidence seamlessly throughout their response. Now, i have to say that this is a skill that takes time and practise in order to master and implement in your writing with ease but it is a necessary skill. The more seamless the integration, the better the flow of your essay, the more likely the marker will appreciate your essay and its ideas holistically. When students dont do this, the train of thought of their writing is slightly truncated and that touch of chaos is enough to annoy the marker. Your essay shouldnt be “stop, start, stop start” it should be a continuous conversation with the marker, emphasising your answer to the question.

Another component to consider is the use of critical references. This is a niche requirement only necessary in Module B and yet for some reason countless schools forget to teach you this one small aspect. In Module B, it is a requirement that you use critical references in order to support your arguments. Just having them in your response, regardless of how seamless its integration is, how relevant it is to the question or your answer, is enough to secure a better mark as you fulfill another component of the marking rubric, but again the finesse with which you integrate it into your response is a skill that takes time and practise so make sure to prioritise honing this skill throughout the year!

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