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Essay Exams-Quick Tips    

  1. Use an erasable pen - Remember, neatness does count!

    • Outline the answer before writing your essay - Use the inside cover of the blue book and write down the information you know and then number it in the order of writing your essay.

    Make sure you have an introductory paragraph - In this paragraph you want to make sure that you explain the point of your essay answer (i.e., your thesis statement).

    • Write a concluding paragraph to summarize your essay - This reinforces the points you made within the essay.  It should be somewhat similar to your introductory paragraph.

    • Use your strongest point first in your essay answer - This is to grab the reader’s attention immediately.

    • Underline the key words in your essay question/statement - By doing this you will be able to look back quickly to see if you are answering the question.
    •  
    Helpful Terms To Know
     
    ANALYZE - Break into separate parts and discuss or interpret.
     
    COMPARE - Examine qualities or characteristics in order to discover resemblances.  This usually refers to similarities more than differences.
     
    CONTRAST - Show differences between two or more ideas, topics, concepts, etc.
     
    CRITICIZE - Make judgments as to a given topic or evaluate its worth by backing up your statement with specific examples.
     
    DEFINE - Give a clear, specific meaning.
     
    DESCRIBE - Give a detailed account.  Include characteristics and qualities.
     
    DIAGRAM - Present a chart, plan, or graphic representation.
     
    DISCUSS - Examine an issue and present or argue its pros and cons with details and examples.
     
    ENUMERATE - List several ideas, aspects, events, reasons, etc.
     
    EVALUATE - Give your opinion or the opinion of an expert.  Include both advantages and limitations.
     
    EXPLAIN - Clarify and interpret material presented, state “who,” what,” “where,” and “why.”
     
    ILLUSTRATE - Give concrete examples.
     
    INTERPRET - Comment upon, give examples, and describe relationships.
     
    JUSTIFY - Give reasons or prove.
     
    LIST - Present an itemized series.
     
    OUTLINE - Give main points and necessary supplementary material, omitting details.
     
    PROVE - Support with facts or evidence.
     
    RELATE - Show how things interconnect.
     
    STATE - Explain precisely.
     
    SUMMARIZE - Give the main points or facts in condensed form.
     
    SUPPORT - Back up statements with facts and proof.
     
    TRACE - Show the order or progress of events.
     
    This list was excerpted from Newbury College's Academic Support Services.
     
    Additional Links
    For additional strategies on essay exams you may want to visit these websites:
     
    http://www.studygs.net/tsttak4.htm
     
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