How do you begin to answer an essay question that is to be assessed?

Outlined below is a method that will assist with gaining a greater understanding of answering essay questions.
The very first stage with any essay question is to select what precisely you are being asked to write about. The majority of essay questions give some idea as to what information is needed, and the most usual ones are indicated below:
Common essay questions

  • Explain: Account for, provide reasons.
  • Examine critically: Look into in great detail.
  • Analyse: Study closely
  • Assess: Review, appraise
  • Compare: Look for similarities and differences; equate
  • Critically evaluate: Make judgments on an issue
  • Define:  the precise meaning of a word or phrase.
  • Describe: Present in great detail
  • Evaluate: Assess the worth of an idea; appraise.
  • Explain: Make plain, interpret and account for, give reasons.
  • How far…? Normally it is necessary to give evidence or arguments for or against, and then assess them.
  • Illustrate: Use examples to make an idea clear to understand
  • Interpret: Provide a clear meaning with your own opinion
  • Justify: Provide a good reason for a stated opinion
  • Outline: Provide the main aspects and ideas of the subject.
  • State: A short but clear statement.
  • Summarise: Give a brief, clear details which outline the main facts