A level essay questions

Much more than documents.

They are a wonderful way to test higher-level learning, but they require careful construction to maximize their assessment effectiveness. Among the strengths of essay examinations, faculty who use them find they are a valuable means to measure higher-order learning and a wonderful way, when scored properly, to further student learning. Given these strengths, essay tests require careful preparation and scoring. By nature, they require longer time for students to think, organize and compose their answers.

Politics A-Level (Edexcel) Essay Questions - UK Government

The action verbs under each domain illustrate the kinds of activities that a test item might assess. Use the verbs when constructing your essay questions so that students know what you expect as they write. While essay questions can assess all the cognitive domains, most educators suggest that due to the time required to answer them, essay questions should not be used if the same material can be assessed through a multiple-choice or objective item.

Reserve your use of essay questions for testing higher-level learning that requires students to synthesize or evaluate information. Holistic Scoring The holistic approach involves the teacher reading all the responses to a given essay question and assigning a grade based on the overall quality of the response.


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Holistic scoring works best for essay questions that are open-ended and can produce a variety of acceptable answers. Analytic Scoring Analytic scoring involves reading the essays for the essential parts of an ideal answer. In this case, you will need to make a list of the major elements that students should include in an answer. Your comments will help students write better essays for future classes and reinforce what students know and need to learn. Your comments are also a good reminder for yourself if students come to you with questions about their grades.

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This can happen when the essay question is vague or open to numerous interpretations. Another good way to prevent students from spending excessive time on essays is to give them testing instructions on how long they should spend on test items. While essay exams are quicker to prepare than multiple-choice exams, essay exams take much longer to score. You should plan sufficient time for scoring the essays to prevent finding yourself crunched to report final grades.

Read the question several times to make sure you understand what it is asking. When you have read the question should then analyse it. This is vital — many people do not make the distinction between what the question is asking and what the question is about.


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By breaking down the title into key words the issue to be considered and topic words the subject matter , you can ensure that you actually answer the question rather than provide a simple narrative of events. A look at a couple of examples will show what I mean:. This is without doubt the most vital part of writing an essay. It is your plan that determines what approach you take to answering the question.

If you have written your plan properly, you will know exactly what your answer is going to be — this is not something that should be decided while you are writing your essay. More importantly, your plan will ensure that you actually answer the question.


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  5. Everything you write must be related to the question, and without a plan it is all too easy to lose focus and write irrelevant nonsense. Not answering the question is the most common failing in A-level essays, and there is nothing a teacher likes doing more than crossing out huge chunks of an essay with the word 'irrelevant'! Write a good plan and this won't happen to you. Once you have made your plan, you are ready to begin.

    How do you start an essay? Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule — it will depend very much on each individual title. However, one thing is certain: your introduction must make a good impression. It is the first thing anyone will read: if it fails to grip, the rest of the essay will have to be very good to retrieve the situation. Ideally your introduction should sparkle, leaving the impression 'Wow, this girl knows what she's talking about: I want to read more'.

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    At the very least it must be competent. Preferably, it should also be short — if your introduction lasts much more than a third of a page, you have missed the point. So, faced with a blank piece of paper, what do you actually write?

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    Considering his reign as a whole, did he merit it? This approach will not excite an examiner, but as long as you have identified the key areas for investigation which you will have worked out in your plan , you will have made a satisfactory start. Another approach is actually to state your answer in the introduction and then go on to prove your case in the essay. This approach is far mare exciting because it shows that you have a definite point of view, and are prepared to argue it. It shows an examiner that you have planned your essay, know what you are going to say and in all probability will support it with good evidence.

    The final type of introduction is far more individual You might use an interesting quote, describe a significant event, take issue with the question or otherwise set the scene It is hard to define, but the effect will be to show that you have complete mastery of the subject, understand the issues at stake and will be dealing with them thoroughly. This kind of introduction will grip readers, impress them and make them want to know more.

    Not everyone can do this but, as long as you follow some of the guidelines above, you will avoid shooting yourself in the foot before you have even begun. The main body of the essay is where you prove your case. Once you have planned your essay, this section will almost write itself It is just a question of filling in the gaps.

    You will know what paragraphs you are going to write and what information you are going to use. However, remember that you are making an argument, not narrating a story.

    Gem of A Quote

    You have already identified the key words in the question — now is the time to use them. Every paragraph must refer in some way to the key words or it will be irrelevant. Be ruthless — you will have far more information than you need and must select carefully only that which you need to support your argument.