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Essay writing skills

Note for teachers:

This is intended as a sorting activity. In pairs or small groups, students arrange the comments
into a diamond, with the most helpful comments at the top and the least helpful or inaccurate
pieces of advice at the bottom. Ideally students then look at a sample essay and assess how well
it has been written. They can then apply the same strategy to their own essays.

What makes a good essay?

If you express an opinion Your essay should just


Every paragraph
about something, you retell the story of
should be relevant to
should be able to back it whatever poem or book
the title of the essay.
up with evidence. you have read.

You should give the


reader no option but You shouldn’t have to Your introduction should
to believe you are prove your point. relate to the essay title.
right.

A good essay has a You should skip from one A strong conclusion makes
carefully considered topic to another in the the reader remember your
structure. same paragraph. essay.

If you write more you get


If you use a big font You should let all your
a better grade, even if
it looks as if you’ve sentences run into each
your writing isn’t very
written more. other.
good.

You should show that you


You should use linking
Paragraphs are not understand your subject
words (connectives) to
really important. by including terms that
start new sentences.
you have learned.

Varying the way you It’s a good idea to imagine


start your sentences You shouldn’t bother that the reader has a basic
makes them more trying new vocabulary. understanding of what you
interesting to read. are writing about.

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