Ten Keys to Writing the Essay

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Key 1: Budget your time carefully.
You have only a half hour in which to complete your work. You should use your time more or less as shown below: Reading and thinking about the topic 2-3 minutes
Planning and taking notes2-3 minutes
Writing the essay 20 minutes
Checking the essay3-5 minutes
Key 2: Read the question carefully.
You must write on the topic exactly as it is given, so be sure that you understand it. If you write about another topic, you won’t receive a score at all. If you don’t completely address the topic, you will receive a lower score. Key 3: Brainstorm.

Before you begin to write, spend a minute or two “brainstorming”. Think about the topic and the best way to approach it. Remember: There is no “correct” answer for the writing section question. You can choose to support any position as long as you can adequately support your choice. Jot down any ideas you have while you’re brainstorming. Specific examples are given to make the thesis statement seem stronger and more believable to the reader. The conclusion evaluates and summarizes the material that is in the body. It provides the reader with a sense of closure – the feeling that the essay is really finished, not that the writer simply ran out of time. Key 4: Plan your essay before you write.

You don’t have to write out a formal outline with Roman numerals, capital letters, and so on. However, you should make some notes. By following your notes, you can organize your essay before you write, leaving you free to concentrate on the task of writing. When making notes, don’t worry about writing complete, grammatical sentences; use abbreviations if possible. The point of taking notes is to simply get your ideas down on paper as quickly as possible. Key 5: Be sure your handwriting is as clear and legible as possible. Handwriting that is hard to read may unconsciously prejudice the readers who are grading your essay. Be sure your handwriting is not too...
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