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Good essays = Good marks
All good essays contain a plan or outline, an introduction that details exactly what the essay is about and what it will discuss, a body that is the discussion and a conclusion that summarises what has been written. In addition, sentence and paragraph structure is also vital to a good essay.
Always seek advice from your teachers as every subject has a different impression of what good structure is e.g. in economics all good essays have an introduction, a diagram, an explanation of key words then the body and conclusion. Your teacher will have the latest conventions for your subject so make sure you ask them. You might find that by simply rearranging the way you structure your essay you will get more marks even if you are writing the same content.
How write a well structured essay
Example Essay Question - Discuss the issues facing Australian farmers in the contemporary environment.
Read the question very carefully and highlight any key words that must be addressed in your answer.
Write a plan of how you are going to address the question and have it at the top of your answer so that the assessor may see it and understand your intention.
The introduction of the essay should outline exactly what you are going to talk about.
Example introduction: Australian farmers are faced with both challenges and opportunities that could lead to dramatic failure or bountiful success. This essay will look at drought, salinity and erosion as potential issues that will lead to farming failures. New technology and the introduction of new farming products as potential opportunities for farmers will also be explored. Finally, the essay will conclude that the situation for farmers right now in the contemporary environment is very bright.
You will notice in this introduction that I have clearly explained what will be discussed in the essay. I have used key phrases from the question and I have explained what conclusion I will draw from the question. Essays are questions that must be answered. The examiner doesn't want you to just regurgitate onto the page what you know, they want you to clearly answer the question that has been asked.
The introduction of your essay gives you the structure that you will follow for the body. I mentioned that I will discuss drought, salinity, erosion, new technology and new products. Each one of these items will require at least a paragraph and perhaps two or three written about them. The first sentence of the body may read something like "Drought is a contemporary issue facing Australian farmers."
Then the first sentence of the second paragraph might read "Salinity, which is rising salt in farming land, is caused by a rising water table and is a major issue facing farmers."
And so on until you have covered all the issues you said you would talk about.
To very clearly show the structure you are using in the body of your essay you may like to use subheadings above key paragraphs (be sure to ask your teacher as some subjects don't allow this).
"Drought is a contemporary issue facing Australian farmers."
Concluding your essay
The conclusion of your essay summarises your arguments and what you have said and finally draws a conclusion. This means you clearly answer the question that was first asked in the essay topic. For example, in our question about farmers, my conclusion might sound something like "After discussing the detrimental issues facing Australian farmers such as drought, salinity and erosion I believe that the situation is looking bright. There is research that is producing answers to salinity and erosion, the current drought is predicted to break and exciting new products and technology are being introduced for Australian farmers. All these factors combined means that today we have a farming sector that can be confident about the position it finds itself in".
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