Essay Writing

Essay Writing for Assessment  #

As a student you are writing for a select or niche audience – your teachers or markers.  They have been programmed to appreciate the language of their chosen subject area and for you to receive compensation for your efforts you need to follow a few simple guidelines. 

It is important to realise that different study areas have distinctive requirements in approach, structure and diction.  The sidebar menus deal with the various forms and text types.  It is vital to use the jargonistic language peculiar to the study area; Scientific terms in the Sciences, Mathematical symbols in Maths, Literary terms in English, Historical language …….


Examiners want to know if you can express yourself in a cogent manner.  The most important features of good essay writing are:

1.    Fluency of expression.   

2.    Clarity of expression

3.    Forcefulness of your assertions

4.    Relevance and Cohesiveness of your ideas.

5.    Demonstration of sophisticated Expressive and punctuation skills.


Some people are born with these skills, many have to work hard at acquiring  them while some may never attain them.


There are many ways to improve your essay skills.  Wide reading and taking note of other writers flair will benefit your style.  There are also exercises you can do to improve your style.    I find that students who work hard at practicing essay writing get much better at it. 

To improve your vocabulary, you should do some of the exercises on this site.


The type of essay you write depends on the instructions you are given.  It is also determined by your purpose.  In English you will generally be expected to write Expository essays while in other subjects you write Informative Essays.  Check out the differences from the Menu above.

In Paper 1 you will need to give short responses to questions based on reading sources.  Make sure you note the weightings of marks for each question and budget your time accordingly. Write about 2 lines per mark, or spend about 2 minutes per mark.    In Short Responses you can maximise your marks by the following procedures:

1.  Note the specific direction and make sure you answer the question.
2.  Identify the techniques used in the passage.
3.  Provide examples and if relevant give short quotes.
4.  Indicate the effect of the techniques
5.  Use some evaluative language to indicate your approval or disapproval.

Here are some of our reasons for writing:

All other identifiable aspects of writing should be in keeping with the aim of the writer in a particular passage; they can be said to be appropriate to the writing.

Narrative: to tell a story 

Descriptive: to give descriptive information, often in a figurative or comparative manner. ** **

Informative: to give information and fact

Entertaining: to amuse, to provide light-hearted diversion

Satiric: to use humour as a method of ridiculing or exposing wrongs in any area of society; also uses irony and sarcasm.

Evaluative: after examining a number of differing views, to decide on the strongest case; a decision may he based on strength of a particular argument or a number of arguments

Argumentative: to put any number of differing views on one case, idea or situation and to examine the strengths of each view.

Opinionative: to express a view which is strongly and personally held; usually to the exclusion of a differing viewpoint

Persuasive: to try to convince an audience to agree with a particular point of view.

**Expressive: **to share one’s private, inner emotions; grief, anger, or exuberance.

Emotive: to express emotions; to try to develop a particular emotional response in an audience.

Reflective: to look back on an event or situation a comment on it in a personal way

Didactic (educative): to teach.  

Enjoy your essay writing; remember your power in life is determined by how articulate and convincing you are.

 Here is a guide to GCSE revision, designed to be helpful to parents and students alike:

a guide to AS level re-sits: