Writing is one of the earliest skills a student is taught from a young age. However, not all of these students can pick up the skill well as the topics become more complex and the things examiners need to see in tests.
In Singapore, essays are a big part of A-levels which is why those who have problems with writing them tend to feel the pressure when essay tests come their way. As a result, they tend to fail their essays or score poorly.
For some parents, they would enroll their children in special A-levels tuition from a tutor or a prep school in Singapore to help them prepare and learn how to score higher for their A-levels essays. Some of these A-levels tuition schools or tutors even offer English Literature tuition to help students prepare for their essay writing.
However, if you want to also contribute to your extra English Literature tuition for your essay writing preparations in your own way, here are some tips on how you can write a great A-levels English Essay:
Pinning down the argument
Every essay needs to have a major argument that would encompass the entire essay and reflect your answer to the question given. Of course, not all questions require you to identify your argument clearly in the essay.
For example, the topic says “discuss Hugo’s presentation of Jean Valjean’s character throughout the novel ‘Les Miserables.’ In this example, the essay wants you to answer the following: How did Jean Valjean develop throughout the novel? Your answer should not focus on the other characters in the novel. You need to make sure such characters or elements of the novel relate to Jean Valjean’s presentation in the novel.
When you write your article, it should be stated clearly from the beginning of the essay and you should also note how all the points you will list in the essay would lead to the argument. With this in mind, you are like writing a thesis statement.
When writing the introduction to your essay, it has to sound confident and show how you think the question should be answered and how you will prove it. This part would also explain what readers should expect in your essay. If by chance one point wasn’t in the mind of your reader, they may have an idea of where that point will connect to your argument if you note it down in the introduction.
If the topic is of historical in nature or involves a biography of a person, you should write it down. However, make sure it is relevant to the essay question. Adding it for the sake of impressing your reader is inappropriate.
Writing the body of the Essay
Once you are done with the introduction, its time you move on to the main part of the essay.
When beginning a paragraph, make sure it has a proper opening and conclusion. The conclusion must be related to how that specific argument contributes to your main argument and how it helps answer the essay question. If you want to check if you are on the right path, copy paste your first and last sentence in a word document and see if they make an argument. If the points of each statement conflicts with the other, you need to revise it properly.
It is also not advisable to end each paragraph with a quotation because your last statement should link that statement to your main question.
Grammar must also be carefully followed because one simple mistake can change a sentence’s message. Having poor grammar on the essay can also frustrate the leader and cause you to lose points. Re-read your work aloud to see if it is grammatically correct.
If you have to work with sources showcasing a secondary criticism, make sure you look deeper on why such criticisms persisted in the text. When writing essays for English literature, you need to show that such criticisms match your ideas and thoughts about the text. You shouldn’t also fear to challenge another criticism because you are the one arguing on the essay and proving your point. Of course, don’t go off-topic and insult the critic since they do have a different interpretation than you.
You can also apply using the formula “point, evidence, analysis” you used to use in GCSE essays while doing you’re A-level essays. However, if you do use this formula to write your essay, make sure you do not just insert a random quote that relates to your essay. Make sure you explain how it relates to your argument properly.
Finally, to get an A for your English Literature essay, you need to showcase your understanding of how the language, form, and structure contribute to how the meaning of the text is created. You need to look into the quotations deeper and understand the images it presents, as well as how such image developed in your mind.
Finally, end your essay with a conclusion that brings together all your points and explains how your argument is reached throughout the essay. You need to make sure that your reader can easily see the structure on how your points were done and showcase that you indeed discussed everything written in your introduction.
Of course, when writing an essay’s conclusion, you need to ensure you are not just repeating what you said in the earlier paragraphs. Your conclusion must cause the reader to see that you could have explained the arguments further if you were given the time to explain it.
Giving this notion to your reader would help them think you know more about the topic and the argument.
Essay writing takes careful planning and structuring to get the grade you hope to receive from your teacher. Don’t be disheartened if you didn’t get a good grade on your first attempt and use it as a motivation to do better.
Take time in understanding the essay question before you and take time to structure your arguments. If you rushed your essay, you may skip out on critical details and show to your teacher that you did not understand the topic properly.
If you want that A in your A-levels, you need to be patient and think carefully before you write your essay.
For related articles on how you can score better in your A-levels, here are some to help you: