Essay Exams

Keep your paragraphs to a regular structure like PEEL/PEAL (point, example, explanation/analysis, link) so you have a clear idea of when you’ve written enough in each paragraph and when it’s time to just move on.

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If you kind of messed up the timing of the whole exam and you don’t have your full 40 minutes then pick up the pace and if you can’t do that, time to make some quick decisions about what to cut. Even though you’ve definitely memorised these perfectly by the HSC (lol), it’s worth having a strategy for making sure you put all your evidence in.

My personal tactic was, before starting to write the essay, to scribble that evidence (or just a keyword to jog my memory) down at the top of my planning paper or scribble it under the plan I wrote.

Essay writing is enough of a struggle when there isn’t any time pressure.

Add in a 40 minute limit and that’s pretty much breaking point for a lot of us 🙃 .

If the exam is something like English Paper 1, you know that a third of the (two hour long) exam is an essay so you should be starting that essay with at least 40mins to go.

The Lottery Theme Analysis Essay - Essay Exams

Hot tip: a lot of top students try to move through the first two sections of that exam fairly quickly so they have more time for a banging essay 💯.The pressure of writing essays in exams makes it sooooo easy to start rambling and just chucking idea after idea after idea onto the page.Make a structure during your planning and be really strict about sticking to it to keep your essay as clear and strong as possible.Two tips here (lucky you) but basically you need to manage your time in writing the essay and manage your whole exam time.So firstly, you have to leave yourself enough of the exam time to do your essay.When it comes to writing the essay, the structure you planned out will let you know if you’re on track or not.40 minutes to write an essay and you have an intro, conclusion and four body paragraphs? Well then it’s pretty clear that you should get your intro and the first two paragraphs done in 20 minutes. It might be quotes, it might be dates, it might be stats.That way, if I had a total mind blank when I got to writing a certain paragraph, I didn’t have to leave the evidence out or waste time trying to remember it.This one is pretty closely related to the point about planning but hey, can’t push it enough.And they want to see how well you can bring all these ideas together and communicate them in a logical, cohesive manner.Don’t get too caught up in fancy language or insanely obscure techniques - you’ve got this.


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