How to Make an Essay

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EssoyW riting
for
EnglishT ests
Gobi Duigu
@ Gabi Duigu 2002
All rights reserved
Reviseda nd reprinted2 003
Publishedb y AcademicE nglishP ress
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Australia
Ph:029437 6330
email: g.duigu@unswed. u.au
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ISBN: 0-9578996-1-0
lntroduction
Stoge I The Question
L Understondinthge Question . . . .3
1.1 The Instructions . . . . . . 3
1.2 Kev Terms
2. AnolysingtheQuestion... ......7
2.1 FindingtheFocus . . . . . ' 7
2.2 Understandingt he Context ' . . .8
2.3DefiningtheTerms . . . . . . 1 0
Stoge2 Selectingo nd Presentinlgd eos
3, Findingldeos ....r3
3.1 Brainstorming ...14
3.2 Finding More Ideas . . . .15
3.3UsingExamples ' ' . . . . '17
3.4The "'s7hatifNot"Situation '. '.. 'I7
3.5 Looking at the Other Side . . . .18
4, Select ingld eos . . . . . .1e
4.1 SolutionstoProblems. . . . . . . 1 9
.2Evaluation . . . . ' .20
4.3 Classification of Ideas . . . . . ' '21
4.4Types of Classification ".... "23
4.5 SelectingRelevantldeas . . . . . 2 5
4.6Levelof Generalisation ... "..26
4.7 OvergeneralisationsandExaggeration .....28
5, Orgonisingldeos... ......3r
5.1 Ranking Ideas . . .31
5.2Consequences . . . 3 I
5.3Comparisons . . . . 3 3
5.4$ternatives.. . . . 3 4
5.5Speculation.. . . . 3 4
Stoge 3 Writing
6, Usingth e RightG rommor,Vocobuloornyd Style. .az
6.1 Grammar . . . . . . 3 7
6.2Vocabulary . . . . . 3 9
7, The Sections of the Essoy . . . . . .40
7.lThe Introduction . . . . . 4 0
7.1.1 Grammar andVocabulary in the Introduction . . . . . . . . .43 7.2TheBody. . . . . : . . . . . 4 5
T.2.lYocabularyintheBody . . . . . . 4 7
7.3The Conclusion . . . . . . 4 8
7.3.1 Grammar andVocabulary in the Conclusion . . . . .49
8, Style
8.1 Modifiers . . . . . . 5 0
S.2Overgeneralisation ....51
8.3Overemphasis ...5I
8.4UnderstatementandConfusion. ....52
8.5Waffle . . . . 5 3
8.6FormulaicandThoughtlessVriting ......53
8.7 Immature'Writing .....58
8.8 CulturalDifferencesinSwle . . . . . . . 5 5
9. Proof-reoding .......57
10, Appeoronce ...58
Answer Key
AppendixA ...64
AppendixB ...66
50
59
This coursed escribesa step-by-stepa pproach to writing essaysfo r the IELIS Academic \Writing Module Task 2 and for other similar essay tasks. It provides exercisesto practiset he stagesi ndividually (Appendix A) asw ell as giving a list of rypical essayt opics, and there are model essaysg iven in Appendix B. The Answer Key provides explanations as well as answers.

The Purpose
In order to be able to write good essaysit is first of all essentialt o make sure that you understand the purpose of the task. It may seem obvious: the purpose is to test your abiliry to write essaysfo r university or collegei n English. However, a momenr's reflection will make it clear that the test task is quite unlike a university essays, ince it is typically 1 to 2 pagesl ong and is written on an unprepared topic in about 40 minutes. No university essayi s like that. Even in universiry examinations, where you may have to write about two pages in half an hour, you are expected to have studied the subject in advance.

So let us consider some possiblep urposesf or the English test essayT. hese can be said to be:
a) to show that you are able to select relevant ideas and information to answer a question
b) to show your knowledge and understanding of the topic
c) to show your abiliry in presenting a logical argument
d) to show your skills in organising your ideas systematically e) to show your abiliry to use sophisticated English
f) to show your basic grasp of English grammar and vocabulary. 2 EssoyW ritingf or EnglishT ests
These questionsc an be grouped into 4 categoriesw, hich reflect the 4 aspectso f an essa'Iy. :
Understanding the question (")
2. Knowing the subject (b)
3. Thinking skills (a & d)
4.Langaage skills (. & 0...
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