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Essay - ATK

Do I understand my essay title?

Understanding your essay question is an important first step in getting started with your writing assignment.  It may sound simple, but it is crucial that you understand your essay question- misinterpreting what the question is asking you to do will waste your time and result in lower marks.

Consider the following:

  • Read your assignment and ask yourself what you are specifically being asked to do.
  • Start thinking about your question as soon as you receive it. 
  • The more time you allow yourself to examine what you are being asked to do and plan your strategy for executing the assignment, the more likely you are to recognise any challenges you may encounter or skills you need to build for successful completion. 
  • Read your assessment criteria
  • Look for and make sure you understand the definition of any instruction words provided in the question.  Instruction words will instruct or direct you in the approach you should take towards the proposition of the question.  The exact meaning of instruction words vary depending on your subject area, and their meanings should be carefully considered in relation to your question. 

 List of common instruction words

  • Topic words within a question will indicate “what” you have to write about, and may provide you with ideas when considering your key search terms.   

Top Tips

Top Tips

  • Keep a copy of the question in front of you when you are writing - keep referring back to this when writing to stay focussed and avoid getting sidetracked
  • Remember that you must answer the question - you are not awarded marks for information that does not relate to the question
  • Use a dictionary to explore vocabulary used in the question and avoid using vocabulary if you are not sure of its meaning