English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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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

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes
Download this video clip.Video player: swe_1_wk3_vid_starting_an_assignment.mp4
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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.
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Now answer the following question:

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


Write a plan of their essay using tables or diagrams


Find the words that explain what they are required to do


Start looking for the information they can use in the essay

The correct answer is b.


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.


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