Writing In-Class: Five Tips for Mastering Essay Exams

As is the nature of a writing center, we typically don’t work with you on in-class essay exam questions.  On the other hand, we know that thinking through the audience, purpose, and genre works for any type of writing. Here’s our tips for mastering short and long response essay questions on your finals.

  1. Read the question and look for key words. Your professor wants different responses for terms such as: analyze, argue, describe, evaluate, reflect, or compare/contrast.
  1. Plan your response. Don’t jump in without knowing where you’re going.
  1. Structure matters. Whether you’re writing a short or long response, have an introduction (or topic sentence), body (details and support), and conclusion (say what you said).
  1. Be detailed. Don’t include irrelevant facts or filler, but it’s probably good if you feel like you’re over-explaining.
  1. Save time at the end to review and revise. After you answer all questions, go back and read each question and response. Edit and add if possible.

Good luck on the rest of your finals, Knights! green book

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