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Best way to prepare for an essay exam

Study Guides and Strategies

Here are some suggestions on how to prepare for and write these exams. Exam preparation Learn the material with the exam format in mind Find out as much information as possible about the exam — e. Review the material frequently to maintain a good grasp of the content. Think, and make notes or concept maps, about relationships between themes, ideas and patterns that recur through the course.

Practice your critical and analytical skills as you review. Focus your studying by finding and anticipating questions Find sample questions in the textbook or on previous exams, study guides, or online sources.

Formulate outline or concept map answers to your sample questions. Organize supporting evidence logically around a central argument. Memorize your outlines or key points.

A couple of days before the exam, practice writing answers to questions under timed conditions. If the Professor distributes questions in advance Make sure you have thought through each question and have at least an outline answer for each.

  • At other times, the instructor may not have in mind any particular causes or results and wants to find out what students are able to propose;
  • Formulate outline or concept map answers to your sample questions;
  • The words "contrast" and "summarize," for instance, are very precise;
  • Of most importance, read the exam carefully;
  • Determine how many minutes you can devote to each answer;
  • Of course, good preparation and time management can help you avoid these negative experiences.

Unless the professor has instructed you to work alone, divide the questions among a few people, with each responsible for a full answer to one or more questions. Review, think about, and supplement answers composed by other people.

  • In the days before the exam, you should;
  • Following are categories of exam questions, divided according to the sort of writing task involved;
  • Try some writing in extracurricular activities;
  • On essay exams, instructors will often ask students to comment on quotations they are seeing for the first time.

Right before the exam Free write about the course for about 5 minutes as a warm-up. Read carefully Look for instructions as to whether there is choice on the exam. Circle key words in questions e.

Preparing for the ACT Test with Writing

Manage your time At the beginning of the exam, divide the time you have by the number of marks on the test to figure out how much time you should spend for each mark and each question. Leave time for review. These types of questions contain information that may help you answer the essay part.

Start by answering the easiest question, progressing to the most difficult at the end. Generally write in sentences and paragraphs but switch to point form if you are running out of time. Discuss relationships between facts and concepts, rather than just listing facts.

How to Prepare for an Essay Exam

Include one item of information concept, detail, or example for every mark the essay is worth. Organize the plan around a central thesis statement. Order your subtopics as logically as possible, making for easier transitions in the essay.

To avoid going off topic, stick to the outline as you write. Hand in the outline. Some professors or TAs may give marks for material written on it.

  • Murray and Anna C;
  • However, the word "discuss" gives you some freedom;
  • These activities help you become more familiar with current issues, with different perspectives on those issues, and with strategies that skilled writers and speakers use to present their points of view;
  • On the other hand, you might want to answer first the questions that you are best prepared for.

Write the essay quickly, using clear, concise sentences. Maintain a clear essay structure to make it easier for the professor or TA to mark: A 1-2 sentence introduction, including a clear thesis statement and a preview of the points. Include key words from the question in your thesis statement. Body paragraph each containing one main idea, with a topic sentence linking back to the thesis statement, and transition words e.

A short summary as a conclusion, if you have time. If it is easier, leave a space for the introduction and write the body first.

Taking an Essay Exam

Address issues of spelling, grammar, mechanics, and wording only after drafting the essay. Review the essay to make sure its content matches your thesis statement.

  1. In humanities and social science courses much of what students study concerns the causes or results of trends, actions, and events.
  2. Ask yourself how your ideas and analysis can best be supported and organized in a written argument.
  3. See also tips for taking standardized essay exams.
  4. Many writers, faced with this problem, begin in the middle of an essay, leaving the first page blank or using a "dummy" introduction, and add the introduction last, after they have figured out what -- exactly -- their writing is about.
  5. What are the main points and essential details? If you can anticipate a test question, the test will appear familiar to you.

If not, change the thesis.