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How to Write the Perfect Essay for any English Exam

In this post I will teach you how to write the perfect essay for any English exam using the P.O.W.E.R. method.





Review and Reflect

Assessment Criteria of most English Exams

Content –how well was the task completed and was all the important information included in the piece of writing?

Communicative Achievement –how appropriate was the writing in terms of genre; did the text communicate the ideas in an appropriate and effective way to the target reader?

Organisation –was the text organised in a way that was coherent, and were they connected through the text across sentences and paragraphs?

Language – was there a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures and how accurately were they used?

Before the exam try the following strategies to give you a feel for what it's like to write a timed essay.

Time yourself. You are aiming to plan, write and edit your essay in the allocated time period.

Count your words. You need to know what the required amount of words looks like on the page and in your writing.

Step 1: Prepare to write - choose and research your topic Doing research is a great way to build your vocabulary and confidence on common topics.

Find at least three points related to your chosen topic e.g. three benefits

Write down any vocabulary or phrases that could be useful in your essay.

Step 2: Organise your ideas - make a paragraph plan Writing the outline plan is an extremely important step.

Spend 5 to 10 minutes collecting your thoughts and organising them in a logical way.

This will help you to fully answer the question and write a coherent and cohesive essay.

Make sure you answer all parts of the question. Underline the key points in the question before you start. Only write about two of the bullet points and stick to the word count.

Step 3: Write Use the notes you made as you prepared your paragraph plan as a guide to help you as you write your first draft.

Step 4: Edit – check your work against the assessment criteria Make time to read and check your essay. Think about the four assessment criteria as you check your work.

Scan for unnecessary repetition of words - could a pronoun be used instead? Are there synonyms that you could use?

Have you used discourse markers and linking words to connect your ideas and guide the reader? For example: in addition, however, as a result, therefore, on the other hand, furthermore, to sum up.

Step 5 – Review and Reflect – how successful were you?

What did you learn that you can use the next time you write an essay?

What did you do well?

What do you need to work on?

Did you make any errors?

Study tip Make your own Common Errors Checklist. Keep a record so that you know what areas of language you need to work on.

Build up your checklist. Check the feedback you get on your writing and add your mistakes to your Common Errors Checklist. Make sure you include the correction alongside the error.

Let's Practice!

Write an essay about one of the following topics:

In many countries people do not recycle their waste materials.

  1. What are the reasons for this?

  2. What can be done to solve this problem?

International tourism has brought enormous benefits to many places. At the same time, there is concern about its impact on local inhabitants and the environment.

  1. Do the disadvantages of international tourism outweigh the advantages?

  2. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write an essay discussing two ways that the workplace can be made more effective and people friendly. (light and ventilation, exercise and breaks, decoration)

You should explain which way you think is more effective, giving reasons to support your opinion

Your essay must be completed in 45 minutes, and it should be made up of between 220 and 260 words.

We can review your essays in the next class.

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