This is the second of a number of posts on Essay Writing. For more in depth help on writing successful essays, enrol in the essay writing classes in our holiday programs.
Tip 2 – Answer the question by understanding the action you are supposed to take
Our previous tip encouraged students to understand what a question required them to draw out of the text they are examining. This tip concentrates on the part of the question that tells you what action to take with the information from the text.
Let’s look again at our example question:
Discuss how text 1 positions readers to respond to ideas.
The key word that relates to this tip is the word ‘discuss’. A question will always have a verb that indicates what you are to do with the information from the text. ‘Discuss’ is reasonably neutral, you will outline/describe what is asked for in the rest of the question. However, words such as “contrast, compare, and evaluate” require not just description, but critical judgment of what the relevant text is doing.
You can’t answer the question successfully if you are not using the text in the way the question requires. So look for the key verb(s), and make sure you do what it says!