Writing long passages or essays in exams can be daunting. You’re not sure what sure where to begin and all over a sudden you have no time to think. Here’s my advice on how to get ahead and get good grades.
The short answer on how to improve your writing is: legibility, maturity, punctuation and grammar. Here’s the long answer.
Firstly, make sure your handwriting is clear – the easier it is to read the easier it is to mark. Ensure your written standard is adult and varied by using different techniques such as:
These will help keep the reader engaged and sound good when read. When used well, good writing techniques can enrich description and add effect to narrative. Even outside of stories these effects can be used to emphasise points and give your explanations more clarity. They also display a good understanding of a subject. For example; the accurate use of a metaphor can suggests a comfortable knowledge of the topic you’re writing about. Markers pick up on things like this.
Next, check that your punctuation and grammar are of a high level. Vary sentence length, gauge paragraphs well and use a variety of punctuation. Clever use of commas and semicolons to expand sentences and hyphens or brackets to make asides all give your work a more comprehensible quality.
Also; use different words! I know people who still stick to using the same few words over and over. The prime examples of this are with words such as ‘nice’, ‘like’, ‘good’, and ‘and’. Use long words (they are big and they are clever!) and expand your vocabulary ensuring you use words relevant to the question. Remember word types: adjectives, adverbs, nouns etc. Constructing sentences using more than one of some of these is an easy way to impress and will really get you thinking about using new words and grammar techniques.
Finally, stay on topic. Think carefully about what is being asked of you and what the marker is looking for. A common criticism of exams against coursework is that a good exam technique can sometimes make up for poor revision and subject knowledge. Use this to your advantage by being fully prepared – reading through mark schemes (I cannot rate doing this highly enough) and practicing past papers over and over. Even just reading through sample questions will get you into the exam frame of mind! Remember, if you’re struggling to begin, reword the question. E.g. “How does the dog show he hates the cat?” You can begin your essay by writing: “The dog displays his dislikes for the cat by…” simple!
Put into practice the above you’ll have no dramas at all! Good luck with your writing!
Link to other exam techniques, all written by me, which you may find helpful: