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

Serious Researchers Only… Undergrad Research Week 2015

On Sunday, senior Honors students officially kicked off Undergraduate Research Week 2015 by presenting their theses. On Tuesday, two events took place: paper and poster presentations.

At the paper and poster presentations, the writing, research, and visual aids were certainly impressive! Though, the best part for me was the opportunity to interact with student-researchers and see final projects. In the Writing Center, we pride ourselves on talking to you when you’re in-process. When we meet, you’re still considering your topic from multiple angles. There’s so many rhetorical decisions still left to make. It’s exciting to be a part of your development, but the downside is we hardly ever get to see how your presentations, papers, and projects turn out in the end. I think it’s now safe to say that Bellarmine students are doing a fantastic job polishing projects and actively participating in the conversations of their disciplines!

On behalf of the Writing Center, I want to say “thank you” to the student presenters. It takes confidence and a leap-of-faith to bring one’s work to the public’s attention. I also want to acknowledge the faculty mentors and the administration for making this happen!

Now… what’s in the works for next year?

More photos from the paper and poster presentations