English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

English: skills for learning

4.1 Reading the essay question

Answering an essay question is only possible if a student knows and understands it. Reading the essay question is therefore a very important step that must be completed before starting the writing process.

Activity 7

Allow approximately 5 minutes
Download this video clip.
Skip transcript

Transcript

Eulina
I really do try and stress to analyse the essay title or the assignment title. Just for 15 minutes, don't even start working, just have the title in front of you and maybe pick out the words that are telling you what to do. If it's to compare and contrast? Is it to outline? Is it to explain a theme? What are they asking of me? What are they looking for? If you get that right, you're halfway through into writing your assignment. And then from that you can write your essay plan.
Now people write essay plans in all different ways, in like a box, flow diagram, or in linear. And your essay plan should just be key words, or key themes that will then trigger off other, issues or other notes. So when you begin to write your essay you've got a plan in front of you, know exactly where to go for the information, you know exactly what information you're going for and I think if you work within that structure it becomes less confusing.
End transcript
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Now answer the following question:

What is the first thing students should do after reading the assignment question?

a. 

Write a plan of their essay using tables or diagrams


b. 

Find the words that explain what they are required to do


c. 

Start looking for the information they can use in the essay


The correct answer is b.

Comment

It is important to carefully study the key words contained in the assignment question to find out what it is asking the student to do. These key words as known as instruction words and content words.

SWE_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus