Overheads for Unit 7--Chapter 10 (Essay Questions)
Answering essay questions is a popular form of examination. As exam questions consist of both simple and difficult questions, they require different answers. Answering essay questions is rather difficult, especially if you have no clue what the answer to the essay examination should be like.
Suggestions for writing essay questions
Most essay questions will have one or more "key words" that indicate which organizational pattern you should use in your answer. The six most common organizational patterns for essay exams are definition, analysis, cause and effect, comparison/contrast, process analysis, and thesis-support.
To write a good essay, you firstly need to have a clear understanding of what the essay question is asking you to do. Looking at the essay question in close detail will help you to identify the topic and ‘directive words’ (Dhann, 2001), which instruct you how to answer the question. Understanding the meaning of these directive words is a vital first step in producing your essay.This glossary provides definitions of some of the more typical words that you may come across in an essay question. Please note that these definitions are meant to provide general, rather than exact guidance, and are not a substitute for reading the question carefully. Get this wrong, and you risk the chance of writing an essay that lacks focus, or is irrelevant.You are advised to use this glossary in conjunction with the following Study Guides: and written by Student Learning Development.
Read the questions thoroughly. Take a few minutes before writing your essay to read the question carefully in order to determine exactly what you are being asked to do. Most essay exam questions, or “prompts,” are carefully worded and contain specific instructions about WHAT you are to write about as well as HOW you should organize your answer. The prompt may use one or more of the following terms. If you see one of these terms, try to organize your essay to respond to the question or questions indicated.In my courses I emphasize essay answers to examination questions. Some questions are designed for very short answers and others for longer, more complex answers. The questions range in scope and complexity, which is why different questions require answers of different length. Regardless of this variation in length, all of the questions are really "short-answer essay questions" because no single question requires you to write for 2-3 hours. What follows is a an example of an answer to atypical essay questionthe sort of question you would expect on a compositionmidterm, but also much like essay questions in any discipline. The question andanswer address E. B. White's essay, "Once More to the Lake," an essaycommonly included in composition anthologies. I wrote this answer undertypical test conditions: I gave myself a 40-minute time limit (assuming thatthis would be one of three questions on a test scheduled for two hours), andbegan with the sort of informal prewriting/outline that improves control andcompleteness. I did the whole thing on the computer, and you will see the notesand essay exactly as I wrote them (though the comments on the side were addedlater for your use). The computer allowed me to move things around onscreen, butI used the same method I use on papersetting up general categories withspaces between them, then filling in.
This was designed as an open-book question, so I had E.B. White's essay in front of me as I worked, but of course I had already studiedthe essay and had firm opinions. Good technique really helps you to writeeffective essay answers, but you also need to have studied, to have madeyourself familiar with the content on which you will be tested.On the following pages, I offer four examples of different types of essay questions. Each example uses an actual question that I've employed in one of my courses and includes a short analysis of the question so that you can appreciate it drawn, as they are here, out of context from the course. For three of the four examples I present genuine answers of varying quality; by "genuine" I mean answers that were actually written by students on a quiz or examination that used that question. For each answer I offer some diagnostic analysis of its quality.Effective answers need not be long; indeed, long answers are often bad answers. A common flaw in essay answers is the writer's inability to communicate the crucial point or, stated differently, separate the facts from their significance. Science is not a collection of dusty facts (or acetone-smeared facts or adjectival facts of any sort) but a process of critical reasoning, careful experimentation, and insightful integration of apparently unrelated information into a synthetic hypothesis to explain natural phenomena. The essay questions require you to perform the first and third of these elements on this small scale.One of the most complex types of questions to respond is the essay question. In some cases essay questions are assigned on worksheets and also homework projects. College or university programs also employ essay questions to be able to filter students.
The most important task is to address your essay questions correctly by using the right style, the correct grammar and robust supporting documents. It can sound easy but it can be tough. Nevertheless the hard work should not prevent you from writing. Brainstorm ideas, do some research or perhaps to get your original essay paper professionally answered, giving you the opportunity to devote your time on other important activities! If you wish to understand how to respond to an essay question, just read on!When you get your question, first of all, define what kind of question it is. There are different questions which require either short or longer answers. Answering an essay question is usually a difficult and creative activity. The questions usually vary in their complexity, and this is the main reason of their different answer length. But all of the questions require short essay answers because on the examination you will have a limited amount of time to write your answers to the essay question. A good answer must be laconic and precise. Do not try to enlarge your answer by adding irrelevant information or writing too much of the topic. Thus, you risk confusing your own understanding of the subject and failing to pass the exam. Why failing? Because such tricks are very noticeable; such attempts to cheat your professor are to the detriment of your grade and authority. All you need to pass your essay examination with flying colors is thorough preparation and deep understanding of the subject, combined with literary English and properly used MLA or APA academic styles. College essay questions are not random but actually are some of the most commonly used tools by educators in assessing student’s learning ability. In fact, questions are a typically preferred form of students’ assessment as it challenges them to develop an actual response instead of choosing one from the list of available ones. While college essay questions may not seem important to the student, they are essential for an accurate analysis and evaluation performed by the educator. Along with the assessment of the student’s understanding of written about, questions push the student to think about the topic in depth.