Introduction Main part – consisting of a few paragraphs Conclusion Remember: poorly structured essays attract lower marks!
1. Read every word of the title carefully 2. Decide what the most important point is that you want to cover. 3. What other points could you mention that would lead to your main point? Make sure they are relevant points! Answer the question! Stay away from too general statements. 4. Bear in mind the word limit. You might only need to plan 3-4 paragraphs. 5. If the topic is difficult you might just like to do a general brainstorming session first before you decide on the main points. 6. Put your ideas in a logical order and group similar points into one section ready to go into one paragraph later.
Provide evidence of your knowledge and understanding of the topic. Compare your points with others, contrast ideas and justify your points by giving reasons. All this will increase the depth of the points you make.
Plan your conclusion: Ask “What if….”, give your opinion, make a prediction for the future. The conclusion is a fantastic opportunity to show off some more advanced grammatical structures: subjunctives, futures, hypothesis etc.) – Don’t miss this opportunity.
Rephrase the task in your own words. You could ask questions. You could state what main points you are planning to cover in your essay (overview)
Write a list of linking words that you would like to include. (firstly, secondly, Finally, to conclude, etc. on the one hand, on the other had, In addition to that, Moreover, unless, despite, because, as, etc.) Write a list of grammatical structures that you would like to include (for example : past tenses, subjunctives, if sentences etc) Write a list of useful and relevant vocabulary for the topic set. Decide in which part of the essay you are most likely to use these structures.
Make sure you do not copy whole sentences or even chunks of sentences from your source materials. This could easily lead to plagiarism. If you use someone’s thoughts or words, make sure you state the source. The reader always needs to clearly know which are your thoughts and words and which are taken form other people. If you want to use a sentence/part of a sentence word for word you need to quote in quotation marks and state the source of the information.
Once you have added enough detail to your plan you are ready to start writing the essay. This might just be a draft at this stage if you are writing it at home. In exam conditions you need to try and write very well immediately as it is unlikely that you will have time to re-write the whole text. Stick to the plan! Don’t go off topic. Don’t start waffling. Know what you want to say and say it in your own words. This is where you really benefit from a good, thought through, detailed plan! Make sure you show off the structures and vocabulary that you have studied in your course. You might write yourself a tick list to check that you are including these structures
Keep checking that you are not going off topic while you are writing. Include a good range of subordination (reasons, finality, conditions, relative clauses etc. ) Make sure you link your sentences with a good variety of connectors: enumeration, expressions of contrast and comparison, conditions, concessions, etc.) If you are writing in exam conditions: Watch the time and the words you are writing and ideally leave some time for proofreading at the end.
Write a checklist. Be guided by mistakes in previous assignments. – for example verb endings, agreement subject/verb, agreement noun/adjective, spellings, pronouns, etc.) Only concentrate on one aspect at a time when checking your grammar and spelling. If possible, leave your text for a little and come back to it later. Do all your sentences still make sense? – Re-write if necessary. Write the final version of your essay.