2. Answer the question
1. Read the question carefully. It can be
your guide to how to organize your answer.
An essay question should have at least 3
paragraphs and a topic sentence. Form a
thesis sentence before you start and stick
to it. Be sure you stick to the question,
and don’t digress to something that was
not asked. Answer the entire question.
Choose important points. You can’t say it
3. 2. Give yourself a few minutes before
you begin to make a scratchy outline
and to think about what you are going
to say. Write down key words or make
a rough outline to trigger your memory.
Then you can take the pressure off
yourself to remember and write the
same time. As you have little brain
storms and remember things, add them
to your outline. I promise that in the
long run this method saves time and
produces more coherent essays.
Dr. Sara N. James Art History Study Guide
4. Separate the wheat from the chaff
When you separate the wheat from the
chaff, you select what is useful or
valuable and reject what is useless or
Like a juicy hamburger, a paragraph needs two
things to hold it together.
A paragraph is a group
of related sentences
that develops one main
idea. Although there is
no definite length for a
paragraph, it is often
from five to twelve
Clearly indent the first
word of every paragraph
about 1 inch (5 spaces).
contain one main idea
to which all the
The topic sentence
states this main idea.
The body of the
and supports this
main idea with
details, and examples.
7. ELEMENTS OF STYLE
CHOICE OF WORDS
Good writers are concise
and precise, weeding
out unnecessary words
and choosing the
exact word to convey
CHOICE OF STRUCTURE
A good writer varies
structures to hold the
Writing the same types of
sentences with the same
structures over and over
and over and over makes
for dull writing
8. In this context, "domestic issues" and
"foreign policy" are used in a general sense in
the first sentence. The writer then
elaborates by clarifying specific kinds of
issues ("welfare reform" and "peace in the
middle east") referred to by the more
general terms in the earlier sentence.
SPECIFIC AND GENERAL WORDS
The president's knowledge of domestic issues is
superior to his understanding of foreign policy. He has
been more successful with welfare reform, for
example, than with peace in the Middle East.
9. Choice of words and structures
make s/g better
work long hours
Women do not view
child rearing and
domesticity in the
same way as men do,
and as a result are
unable to commit to
It’s not the same
to write …
… as to write …
10. practice (n) to practise (v)
1. Read about
precision and choice of words
and adding clarity to
your written work
with specific nouns.
2. Choose two
sentences from your
written test and
3. Try this exercise.
11. A pronoun is used in place of a noun or another pronoun.
The word a pronoun stands for is called the antecedent.
Often antecedentless pronouns indicate a lack of
clarity in the writer's thoughts.
1. Highlight, underline or circle pronouns in your
2. Draw an arrow from the pronoun to its antecedent.
3. Revise all pronouns without antecedents for clarity.
12. Parallel structures: what needs changing in the
Not only should we think about this in terms of
knowledge but also we are supposed to solve ….
Under no circumstances should experience be
underestimated and must be taken into account in a
The amount of knowledge, not only technical or
scientific but also in Humanities increases at a high rate