English: Writing Tips
Step 1: Read the Question
Before you begin writing, read the question. Highlight the key words. Make sure you know what the question is asking.
Step 2: Plan, plan, plan
Produce a clear plan for how you will answer the question. Have an idea about what point you want to make in each paragraph, and find yourself a quotation for each point.
Step 3: Introduction
Introductions can be tricky, but they will be easier to write if you think and plan first. There are two parts to an introduction:
For example, you might, if you study Of Mice and Men, get a question like:
You might think that Curley's Wife is a "tart", or you might think that she is completely innocent, or you might think there are different aspects to her character. You must decide what your view is, and write an overview of your opinion in your opening paragraph.
Step 4: Answer the Question
Make sure you answer this question (which is harder than it sounds!). To make sure you answer the question, refer back to the question in each paragraph of your essay.
In the above question, for example, your paragraphs should begin something like this:
To get the higher marks, you need to be able to go beyond a simple PEE structure. In your 'explain' section, you must be really detailed. You must offer different interpretations, and show your thorough understanding of the subtleties of language. You must link your ideas to the bigger themes of the novel.
In the example, there is a clear point, an embedded quotation, and an explanation that offers up various interpretations.
Step 5: Conclusion
This rounds up what you have been talking about in your essay...and you'll know, if you follow the steps before this one!
Handy Tip: Do not whatever you do, write a poem, when asked to do any original writing. Most examiners won't know how to mark it, so they'll probably mark it lower than it deserves, and if you're really unlucky, they just won't mark it at all. Plus it's hard to write poety that isn't poor.
Don't write poetry!