To get started, read the question. Not once, not twice, but three times (at least)! Some essay questions are simple and open-ended, but others are much more detailed and ask you to demonstrate specific knowledge.

The longer and more complex the question, the more you should read it. In fact, one of the best pieces of advice for any exam is to always read the question properly!

Once you’ve read the question and repeated it in your head a few times, start highlighting key points. Questions tend to provide clues to what you need to do. Some will direct you to sources and may advise you to spend a certain amount of time reading through them before you begin.

Be aware that you might have to choose a question from a selection. In this case, it’s important to carefully consider which question you prefer. It might be an easy choice, but if not, it’s wise to spend a few minutes writing down the pros and cons of each option.

To get started on your essay:

  • Read the question at least three times. Ensure it’s clear in your mind.
  • Understand the instructions if given. For example, you might need to spend some time reading sources.
  • If you have a choice of multiple questions, consider carefully which one you want to write about. Create a pros and cons list if you feel that’d be helpful.
  • Highlight key terms and phrases in the question and annotate them with key information.

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