W HAT MAKES A WELL -WRITTEN ESSAY EXAM ? It is focused.
Be sure to answer the question completely — make sure you address all parts. Avoid “padding.” A lot of rambling and ranting signals that the writer doesn’t really know the answer. W HAT MAKES A WELL -WRITTEN ESSAY EXAM ? It is well -organized. Don’t write in a haphazard “think -as -you -go” manner. Do some planning and be sure that what you write has a clearly marked introduction which both states the point(s) you are going to make and also, if possible, how you are going to proceed. In addition, the essay should have a clearly indicated conclusion which summarizes the material covered and emphasizes your thesis or main point. W HAT MAKES A WELL -WRITTEN ESSAY EXAM ? It is well -supported. Do not just assert something is true, prove it. What facts, figures, examples, tests, etc. prove your point? In many cases, the difference between an A and a B as a grade is due to the effective use of supporting evidence. I NACCURATE AND I NCOMPLETE K NOWLEDGE Jamaica’s political culture is paternalistic one.
According to Trevor Munroe, paternalistic leadership is a “Father -figure” type. For example, Edward Seaga of Tivoli and Bruce Golding in later years. Our political culture has a lot of violence where politicians are corrupt officials who exploit the people.
You do not lose marks directly for points which are factually inaccurate, but obviously you don’t gain any either. Jamaica’s political culture is paternalistic one. According to Trevor Munroe, paternalistic leadership is a “Father – figure” type. For example, Edward Seaga of Tivoli and Bruce Golding in later years. Our political culture has a lot of violence where politicians are corrupt officials who exploit the people. This is not so based on the face value of it, You would have to start by indicating our history and why you are arguing that, While our system is often involved clientelism and patrongage, much more is needed. This is an “factual” incorrect statement as is. Do not leave statement hanging.
Always ask yourself, what is the implication of this? W HAT MAKES A WELL -WRITTEN ESSAY EXAM ? It is well -packaged. To the best of your ability, use standard English in your answer. Avoid slang, shortcuts, abbreviations, etc. Format your essay as you’ve been taught in class. This builds trust. E SSA Y Q U ESTI O N “A CTI O N ” W O RD S Discuss Consider important characteristics and main points. Enumerate List or discuss one by one. Illustrate Explain, using examples that demonstrate or clarify a point or idea. Compare Show how items are similar or different; include details or examples. Contrast Show how items are different; include details or examples. Define Give an accurate meaning of the term with enough detail to show that you really understand it. E SSA Y Q U ESTI O N “A CTI O N ” W O RD S Explain Give facts and details that make the idea or concept clear and understandable Trace Describe the development or progress of a particular trend, event, or process in chronological order. Evaluate React to the topic in a logical way. Discuss the merits, strengths, weaknesses, advantages, or limitations of the topic Summarize Cover the major points in brief form; use a sentence and paragraph form. E SSA Y Q U ESTI O N “A CTI O N ” W O RD S Describe Tell how something looks or happened, including how, who, where, and why. Justify Give reasons that support an action, event, or policy. Criticize Make judgments about quality or worth; including both positive and negative aspects. Prove Demonstrate or establish that a concept or theory is correct, logical, or valid. L OOK FOR DIRECTION WORDS . Sample question 1:
Jamaica’s political leadership and culture has changed significantly over the years. Select three political leadership types and discuss. S TEP 3: Q UESTION THE QUESTION What is the instructor really asking? What is the essential question? Is there more than one question or a question behind the question? What does the question assume or imply? L OOK FOR DIRECTION WORDS . Sample question 2: Using the appropriate current affairs and examples, discuss the implications of private ownership and minimalist government in the Caribbean. Critically assess the changing patterns, if any, in Caribbean’s present society. What are the direction words? U SE THE DIRECTION WORDS TO ORGANIZE YOUR ESSAY Most essays have one or more direction words that indicate how you might organize your answer:
Definition : “Define X.” or “What is X?” Analysis: “What are the three different kinds of X?” or “Discuss the different types of X.” or “Analyze X.” Cause and effect: “What are the causes of X?” or “What led to X?” or “Why did Y occur?” U SE THE DIRECTION WORDS TO ORGANIZE YOUR ESSAY Compare/contrast: “How does X differ from Y?” or “Compare X and Y.” Process analysis: “Describe how X is accomplished.” or “List the steps involved in . . .” or “Explain what happened in X.” Thesis support: “Discuss X.” or “A noted authority has said X. Do you agree or disagree?” or “Do you think X is valid. Defend your position.” T IP : D ON ’T BE DISTRACTED BY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION . Essay questions often start with a fact or a quote which provides background information.
Facts or quotes set the stage for the question, but are usually NOT the question. The facts or quotes may give you part of your answer. EXAMPLES: Becoming human is impossible unless individuals have the ability to take on the role of the ‘generalized other’ in a society. Discuss with reference to the arguments of George Herbert Mead as it relates to the formation of the self in a society. Social change is driven by the power of ideas and not by economic forces. Discuss with reference to the arguments of Marx and Weber as it relates to social change. B EGIN WITH YOUR THESIS Begin each answer with you’re a one or two sentence thesis which summarizes your answer. If possible, phrase the statement so that it rephrases the question’s essential terms into a statement [which therefore directly answers the question]. E XAMPLE Question: “What seems to be contributing factor to political behavior and participation in the Caribbean? What can be done to increase the level of participation in our political system? Answer: Some of the main contributing factors to political behavior and participation include. . .; in order to increase levels of participation in the political process, we should . . ., . . . . , . . . .. S UPPORT Support your thesis with specific references to material you’ve studied. T IP : “I T ’S NOT ABOUT YOU .” Your answer should not include the word “I” unless the question asks:
Tell your opinion of . . . In your experience . . . Give an example drawn from personal experience . . . What do you think about . . . ? Instead of I believe, say “one can assert that socialization…..” U SE TRANSITION WORDS Use transition sentences:
The first reason for . . . Another argument for . . . Opponents of term limits argue . . . Use transition words:
However . . . Finally . . . In conclusion . . .
For example . . . On the other hand . . . S TEP 7: P ROOFREAD Read your essay silently to yourself. Make sure you haven’t skipped any words. Add missing words neatly in the space between lines. Check your spelling. Be sure that you didn’t misspell any words in the original question! Look for places where a transition word would help make your points more clear.