Writing an essay

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Slide 1

Year 11 NCEA

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Step One Plan! Whether you are writing a homework essay, or sitting your NCEA exam, it is essential that you spend some time planning your essay. This is one of the most important stages. Planning involves brainstorming ideas and looking for references in the text to back up your points.

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Step Two Outline where your essay is going – it’s not a secret! Don’t be tempted to retell the story or the poem – the marker/your teacher already knows it in depth. Tell the marker where your essay is going, and what the main points you are going to make are.

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Step Three Each of your paragraphs should contain a major point, a development of the point and a reference to a specific example/quotation (PDR!). The points should be building your argument. Of ‘what, where, how and why’ – it’s the how and why that are important.

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Step Four Draw your ideas to a conclusion – which, if you planned your essay, should be what you outlined in your introduction. Briefly survey the ideas you have expressed in your essay. Do not introduce new ideas into your conclusion.

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Step Five This one always gets ignored, but it is so important! Read though your essay, checking that your points make sense, that you have included quotes and that you have covered all the parts of the question.

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Final Points The marker is looking for you to show perceptive understanding backed up by supporting evidence. The marker has no interest in you retelling what happens in the book or poem. There is no right or wrong – just well constructed arguments and poorly constructed ones. Your opinion is important.

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