How to Write an Essay

How to write a perfect 40 mark essay for the Geog 3 Exam

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  • Created on: 05-09-13 11:42
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How to achieve success in the 40 mark essay questions in GEOG3
The examination paper Geog3 requires you to write one long essay that carries 40 marks. You are advised to
spend 60 minutes on the writing of this essay. However, this does not mean that you should write
continuously for 60 minutes part of this time should be spent on interpreting the precise demands of the
task that is given you, and thereby provide evidence of planning, structure and a sense of focus.
Some initial advice.
The first task you should undertake is to choose the essay title that will allow you to fulfil your
potential to its best. Depending on how many options you have studied, you will have a choice of at least
one from two essays, and many of you will have a wider choice available. Make sure you use that choice
wisely. You should appreciate that the essay titles have been written so as to encourage
broader synoptic thinking and critical understandingyou will be assessed on these aspects more than
what you know (knowledge). Recognise the command words used 'Assess, Evaluate, Discuss, To what
extent' and understand what they mean (see Table 1). Ask yourself these questions:
· which essay title will best allow me to demonstrate my understanding of the complexity of
· which essay title will al1ow me to put across my own opinion, or that of others?
Table 1. The common essay command words and their meaning.
A2 Command Meaning
Discuss Give both sides of an argument (for and against, strengths and
weaknesses), and come to a conclusion.
Analyse Break down the content of a topic, or issue, into its constituent parts in
order to provide an indepth account
Assess Weigh up several options or arguments and come to a conclusion about
their effectiveness based on criteria
Evaluate Weigh up several options or arguments and come to a conclusion about
'their importance/success based on criteria
To what extent... Say 'how far' you agree with a statement option after examining both sides
of the argument
Having chosen your essay title, plan your answer to it. Write a brief plan it may be a collection of words
and headings, or a spider diagram, or a table. Add the names of case studies you may want to use, but
don't give any details here. Write the plan on your examination paper, or on a separate piece of paper, and
don't cross it out. If it is in the examination paper, or tagged on as an extra sheet, examiners will look at it.
Don't make it so long that it becomes a shortened version of the real thing.
Be prepared to write at length make sure you practise the ability to write between 800 and 1250 words

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Write to a structure this means providing an introduction, separate paragraphs each
developing a theme, idea or case study, and a conclusion that responds to the demands of the title. Writing
too much can undermine the quality of the overall response as the thread of the argument can be lost, but
equally, writing too little will result in superficiality.
Finally, you should be aware that your essay will be assessed in its totality as a whole. Therefore you
must finish it.…read more

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The essay mark scheme the design
The essay mark scheme operates as follows. Your essay is read from start to finish, and then the
examiner will make a judgement on the essay according to the 5 criteria (shown in Table 2), and award a level
(from Level 1 to Level 4) for each criterion. Each of these can also be finetuned to be higher/lower/midpoint
within that criterion.…read more

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Table 2. The essay mark scheme
Assessment Level Level2 Level3 Level4
criteria 110 1120 2130 3140
(midpoint 6) (midpoint 16) (midpoint 26) (midpoint 36)
Knowledge of Basic grasp of The answer is Sound and frequent Strong evidence of
content, ideas concepts and relevant and evidence of thorough, thorough, detailed and
and concepts ideas points accurate. detailed and accurate accurate knowledge
Jack Reasonable knowledge
development or knowledge.
depth. Imbalanced theories
Critical Incomplete, Reasonable critical Sound and frequent Strong evidence of
understanding of basic.…read more

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Quality of Language is Arguments are not Explanations, Explanations,
argument the basic fully developed nor arguments and arguments and
degree to which arguments are expressed clearly, assessments or assessments or
an argument is partial, over and the organisation evaluations are evaluations are direct,
constructed, simplified and of ideas is simple accurate, direct, focused, logical,
developed and lacking clarity. and shows logical, purposeful, perceptive, mature,
concluded Little or no imbalances.…read more

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The Introduction
All essays should begin with a sound introduction. This should not be too long a few sentences should
suffice. It may define the terms in the question, set the scene for what is to follow, or provide a brief statement
of the discussion or viewpoint you are going to develop in the main body of your essay.
Here are two examples of good introductions, one for Essay 1, and one for Essay 6.…read more

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Critical understanding of the above.
This takes the level of knowledge into a higher intellectual skill where the student demonstrates how
the knowledge base given links to the question set, and whether or not it helps in addressing the question.
Examiners are looking for some degree of commentary from you it may be a sentence, or a phrase where you
are putting your own 'spin' on that knowledge. Examiners are NOT looking for paragraphs here they are
looking for (sometimes brief) evidence of critical application.…read more

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The argument of no security without development can also be observed in Afghanistan as the Taliban
brought a regime of inequality to the country by stopping females from being entitled to an education and
health care and this brought strong opposition by both women and men. This crippled the country's
development and brought uncertainty.…read more

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Note that in this section of the mark scheme there is reference to maps and diagrams. There is no
requirement to draw either a map or diagram but some students prefer to use these techniques to
put across their ideas. The great majority of students do not use a diagram. However, if you do choose to draw
a map/diagram it must be effective and integrated into your answer not bolton.
Evidence of synopticity.…read more


Mr A Gibson

A good resource for those longer essay questions. A collation of tips, information, examples using exemplar material from exam boards. A really good read through for students wanting to get to grips with and refine their essay technique.

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