Focus on the question What are the terms of the question? What has been asked? Close analysis Wake up the examiner! Be willing to think Create a strong opening and closing Illustrate amply with relevant material Think about your style Develop a fluent style Be accurate! Be succinct! Use an appropriate tone and vocabulary Make good use of quotations Organize your time Divide your time appropriately Plan your answers carefully
Focus on the question
What are the terms of the question?
Decide what the key words of the question are, and underline them.
Ensure that you have defined them - at least in your own mind.
If you think they are problematic, define them at the beginning of your essay.
Make sure your definition is sound: do not try to stretch the meaning of words too far, but do not just jump at the first possible idea.
What has been asked?
Answer the question asked – not the one you would have liked to be asked.
Avoid being irrelevant.
Be sure that you show explicitly how your ideas relate to the question.
If you are asked to analyse an extract:
Read it through two or three times
On your second reading begin to underline key words and phrases
Make a plan of your answer, ensuring that you cover every point asked in the question
Concentrate on the passage and avoid irrelevant material.